Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Review

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Review

Panasonic intends to focus on the important products and to identify unique selling points in the spirit of “quality instead of quantity”. The new top model is called the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (branded with the product names Panasonic Lumix TZ70 in the European Union and Britain and Panasonic Lumix TZ71 in Germany) and continues to zoom 30 times from the equivalent of 24 to 720 millimetres in its 34 millimetres slim housing. The resolution, on the other hand, drops from 18 to 12 megapixels to make the images less noisy. With the viewfinder, however, the resolution increases to a reasonable level.

Brief assessment


  • Well processed metal housing
  • Many setting options including M mode and raw format
  • A lot of zoom in a very compact housing
  • Acceptable image quality up to ISO 800 due to low-resolution sensor


  • Low image resolution
  • Flash is easily accidentally covered
  • Electronic viewfinder with poor visibility
  • Low light intensity lens

The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix TZ70 – TZ71) has an image-stabilised 30x optical zoom with a focal length of 24 to 720 millimetres. [Photo: Panasonic]

With the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix TZ70 – TZ71), Panasonic, the inventor of the travel zoom camera, continues its successful series now in its tenth generation. While the first generation had to make do with a 10x zoom in a 40 mm slim case, the TZ71 boasts a 30x zoom in a 34 mm slim case. Moreover, Panasonic dares to take a step back to a resolution that is reduced by more than 30 percent in comparison to the previous model. The remaining 12 megapixels should allow for better image quality in low light conditions. Furthermore, the ZS50 is probably the best equipped travel zoom camera and the only one with an electronic viewfinder.

With the small 1/2.33″ CMOS sensor, Panasonic realizes a light-sensitive area per pixel that is about 1.5 times larger than that of the predecessor model TZ60 by reducing the resolution. Compared to the 20 megapixel resolution of the competition, each pixel is even 1.66 times larger. As 12 megapixels are sufficient for almost all applications, high-resolution prints in A3 are no problem, the ZS50 benefits from lower noise, Panasonic even believes it can handle ISO sensitivities of up to 6,400, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix TZ70 – TZ71) ended up at ISO 3,200. In addition to photos, the ZS50 also records movies, although the maximum resolution is still Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080), the frame rate reaches a low-jerk 50p, and the memory is in AVCHD format.

The resolution of the 1/2.33″ CMOS sensor of the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix TZ70 – TZ71) is only 12 instead of 18 megapixels, which was still offered by the TZ60. [Photo: Panasonic]

Besides the sensor, other resolutions have also changed: In particular, the electronic viewfinder, which the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix TZ70 – TZ71) has ahead of the competition, has a resolution of 1.16 million pixels, which is significantly higher than the coarse-grained 200,000-pixel viewfinder of the TZ60; in addition, there is an eye sensor that enables automatic viewfinder switching. The resolution of the rear screen also rises slightly from 920,000 to 1,040,000 pixels, enabling an even finer picture. Thanks to 60 frames per second, the live image is displayed very smoothly. The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix TZ70 – TZ71) not only exposes automatically with scene recognition or a selectable subject program or scene mode program, but also semi-automatically or manually, with the lens ring assisting with the setting, whether it is the image stabilized zoom, aperture or manual focus. The latter is supported by a magnifying glass as well as focus peaking, an optical highlighting of sharp edges.

Panasonic, on the other hand, has eliminated the built-in GPS. The ZS50 now also relies on the GPS of a smartphone connected via NFC/WLAN. With the help of the corresponding app, the camera can also be controlled remotely and images can of course be transferred to a mobile device. In addition, the WLAN also enables the wireless transfer of photos to a PC and a television. The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix TZ70 – TZ71) takes over further features from its predecessor model, such as the 15 filter effects, the 10 continuous frames per second at full resolution and the fast autofocus with 240 frames per second sensor readout rate.

The screen resolution of the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 increases slightly to 1.04 million pixels, while the viewfinder now resolves a fine 1.16 million pixels instead of the meager 200,000 pixels of the TZ61. On the back, the PPanasonic Lumix ZS50 has a fairly high-resolution viewfinder, but the view isn’t particularly comfortable. The rear 7.5 cm screen is neither movable nor does it have a touch function [Photo: Panasonic]


The 30x zoom of the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 folds up in the 34 millimeter flat housing and the lens ring is designed to simplify operation. [Photo: Panasonic]


Since 2015, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is available in silver-black and black. [Photo: Panasonic]


Panasonic Lumix ZS50. [Photo: Panasonic]


The Panasonic Lumix ZS50’s micro HDMI and manufacturer-specific USB socket is hidden behind a small plastic flap, which is also used to charge the camera. The suitable cable should therefore not be laid. [Photo: Panasonic]


Relatively inconspicuously, the NFC symbol can be seen on the side of the Panasonic Lumix ZS50. If you hold an Android smartphone with NFC on it, the WLAN connection is established automatically. [Photo: Panasonic]


Behind the somewhat titchy flap is the relatively small lithium-ion battery with 4.5 Wh. Nevertheless, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 still takes a good 300 pictures according to the CIPA standard. The SD card compartment swallows even large SDHC and SDXC cards. [Photo: Panasonic]

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 has an optical 30x zoom with a focal length of 24 to 720 millimetres. Nevertheless, it is an incredible 34 millimetres flat and 243 grams light. The camera is thickest at the lens. The handle, if you want to call it that at all, is somewhat flatter. Thanks to the grained rubber coating it offers some grip. The corresponding counterpart on the back for the thumb helps. However, the positioning of the built-in flash is somewhat unfavorable. It is too easily covered by the middle finger.

The housing consists mainly of metal and looks solidly manufactured. On the right side of the case (seen from behind) there is a small, but quite solid plastic flap. The only two interfaces are hidden behind it. On the one hand, this is a micro HDMI connector (type D). However, it is only intended for image reproduction. There is therefore no live image output. On the other hand, there is a combined USB and AV interface. This is a manufacturer-specific socket. Unlike the USB cable, the matching AV cable is not included with the camera. This USB cable is required to charge the battery. It is a rather small lithium-ion battery with 4.5 Wh. It is sufficient for about 300 photos according to CIPA measuring procedures.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 has a handy lens ring that can be used to control various settings. [Photo: Panasonic]

The Panasonic Lumix ZS50’s built-in flash sits directly above the handle and is far too easily accidentally covered by the middle finger. [Photo: Panasonic]

As the only camera in its class, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 has a built-in electronic viewfinder. Whereas the previous model still had a pixel resolution of 200,000 pixels, the ZS50 now has a fine 1.16 million pixels. Due to the magnification of only 0.5x compared to 35mm, the viewfinder image appears somewhat small, making the individual pixels practically undetectable. Due to the 60 frames per second high refresh rate, the image delay remains low. Thanks to the (switchable) proximity sensor, switching from the screen to the viewfinder is automatic.

The rear 7.5-centimetre screen is permanently installed and offers no touch function. With 1.04 million pixels it has a fine resolution. Very practical are switchable superimpositions on the screen and in the viewfinder. There are different grid and helper lines. Markers indicate the section for 16:9 video recording. A live histogram and an electronic 3D spirit level can also be displayed. In manual exposure mode, the live histogram and viewfinder image will not show the true exposure level until the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. Only the exposure compensation has a direct effect on the display.

The ZS50 has two rotating wheels and a program selector wheel. In addition, there is a sufficient number of keys. This makes the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 surprisingly direct for a camera in its class. The lens ring and two buttons can be individually assigned. In addition, two memory locations on the program dial provide direct access to preferred setting sets. A quick menu allows quick access to other important functions. The main menu, on the other hand, is somewhat confusing. Instead of tabs there is an upper menu level. In the four to five submenus the user has to scroll through lists of up to nine pages.

Equipment And Features

The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is intended to satisfy both beginners and advanced users. She manages this quite well. The ZS50 offers on the program dial for example the intelligent automatic. It adjusts all camera parameters in the best possible way based on the subject. For example, if motion is detected in the subject, it increases the sensitivity. This reduces the shutter speed and thus prevents motion blur. The ZS50 also recognizes faces. These can even be stored together with date of birth and name for face recognition. The recognized persons are marked accordingly in the images. Even the age is displayed. This is particularly practical for the documentation of young people. However, if you wish, you can also select the appropriate scene mode manually. Otherwise the intelligent automatic system takes over. Another setting allows you to select one of 15 filter effects. They can be further configured depending on the effect. A very nice solution is the panning panorama mode. It is also called up directly via the program selector wheel. It is recommended to pan the camera in portrait mode. This results in a higher vertical resolution.

Despite an enormous 30x zoom, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is only 34 mm thin. When switched on, the lens also extends 34 mm out of the housing. [Photo: Panasonic]


The 30x zoom of the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 in telephoto focal length extends proudly six centimetres out of the housing. [Photo:Panasonic]

Program Auto (with Program Shift), Shutter and Aperture Priority, and Manual Mode give advanced users full access to photographic creativity. However, due to the small sensor, the depth of field is already very large at open aperture. The potential for exemption is thus severely limited. Also the exposure time window is limited with 1/2.000 seconds shortest and 4 seconds longest exposure time. There is no bulb long time exposure. Longer exposures of 15, 30 or 60 seconds are only possible with the starry sky mode. It is praiseworthy that the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 can even save recordings in raw data format.

The tripod thread of the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 not only sits outside the optical axis, but also very close to the battery and memory card compartment. It cannot be opened on the tripod or with a removable plate. [Photo: Panasonic]

It takes just 0.3 seconds from pressing the shutter release button to taking the picture at wide angle. In the telephoto position, however, the silent 23-point autofocus takes about twice as long. It can optionally be limited to a focus area with adjustable size and position. There is also a tracking autofocus. It keeps a fixed subject in focus even as it moves across the field of view. If you want to, you can focus the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 manually with the lens ring, a focus magnifier, focus scale and focus peaking help.

The ZS50 is not capable of 4K video recording, but it is capable of Full-HD with 1,920 by 1,080 pixels resolution. In AVCHD, 50p and 50i for Full HD and 50p for HD (720p) are available. In the internet- and smartphone-friendly MP4 format, it is only 25 full frames per second. The sound reaches the video via the stereo microphone located on the top of the camera. An electronic wind noise filter can be switched on. However, the microphone zoom function that can be activated only increases the gain. This also makes background noises louder when zooming instead of fading them out. Autofocus and exposure, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 smoothly and silently tracks the image during video recording. The zoom runs slower compared to photo, so zoom noise is hardly noticeable. The optical image stabilizer receives electronic support during video recording. Thanks to the video recording button on the top of the camera, video recordings can be started at any time.

There are even special editing functions for videos in playback mode. For example, a video file can be split. Unfortunately, you cannot join two videos together. The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 also supports time lapse photography. This can be used to create a video directly in the camera. Photos can also be edited. There is, for example, an auto-correction or creative filter. Date and title can also be inserted. Furthermore, it is possible to crop and resize an image. Thanks to WLAN and NFC, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 masters a comfortable and easy connection with the smartphone. Of course, the appropriate app allows the transfer of recorded photos. In addition, the ZS50 can be controlled remotely, with the live image being displayed on the mobile phone screen. Numerous recording parameters can be adjusted at Panasonic via App.

Image quality

Panasonic uses a small 1/2.3″ sensor in the Panasonic Lumix ZS50. With 12 megapixels, it has a resolution one third lower than the TZ60, which had 18 megapixels. Panasonic expects “enough resolution” with a better noise behavior.

In fact, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 surprised the test with the photography software with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Up to ISO 800 it remains in the acceptable range. Brightness noise only becomes visible above ISO 800. Color noise, on the other hand, is under control up to the highest sensitivity of ISO 6,400. Above ISO 400, the noise reduction function provides slightly softer images. However, the texture sharpness remains in the acceptable range up to ISO 800. Only above that the pictures look very washed out and get a watercolor look. The ZS50 thus delivers an extremely positive image in the travel zoom camera segment in terms of noise. It is as good at ISO 800 as the TZ60 at ISO 200, and the input dynamics of the ZS50 are also good, with around ten aperture stops in the ISO 80 to 800 range. Even at higher sensitivities it falls only just below nine f-stops. The actual color depth is also very good up to ISO 800, but never falls into critical areas. The situation is different with the initial tonal range. Above ISO 800, not enough brightness gradations are distinguished to produce a homogeneous image. The tonal value processing is typically strongly divided in a compact camera for high-contrast reproduction. When it comes to colour fidelity, however, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is comparatively neutral, even if the colors are not 100 percent of the original.

Even the TZ60 did not exactly know how to inspire with high resolution and cut a shameful figure, especially in the tele range. You’d think a 12 megapixel sensor would do the trick, and the effective resolution would hardly be lower. In fact, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 achieves a good resolution of 42 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in the wide angle at the image center. Dimmed to F4, the resolution drops slightly below the 40 lp/mm mark. At F5.6, however, the loss of resolution by diffraction already clearly strikes, still 30 lp/mm are reached, which are quite ok. With F8 it is only just over 20 lp/mm, which is hardly suitable for DIN A4 standards. However, the marginal resolution is bad, which at an open aperture of 15 lp/mm is only one third of the center resolution! During fading, the edge resolution barely increases, but doesn’t fall off up to F5.6, at F8 it’s only just under 13 lp/mm.

With a medium focal length of 135 millimetres, the edge resolution is better, but the centre resolution is only around 25 lp/mm. Faded down to F8 there are only 18 lp/mm in the center and at the edge of the picture. In telescopic position the dilemma becomes even worse, here the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 barely gets beyond 20 lp/mm, at the edge of the picture it is only about 13 lp/mm. This is good for postcard size, but not much more and is actually not worth the Leica label on the lens. The fact that the lens shows only slight distortion and vignetting is of little consolation. Color fringes occur slightly at maximum at all focal lengths and are lowest at medium focal length and highest at telephoto.


The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is technically a very well equipped, mature camera. It puts the competition in the shade, for example, with the built-in electronic viewfinder or good operation. However, the large 30x zoom factor in the 34 millimeter flat case is compromised. So the lens lacks light intensity. But the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 doesn’t spill glory on the resolution either. The 12-megapixel sensor is far from being exhausted in terms of resolution. The ZS50 is not suitable for large format prints. But it is also suitable for holiday albums, postcards, photo books, Internet albums or social networks. When travelling, the compact camera always fits in your pocket. And a photo with the small ZS50 is always better than no photo at all, because the big camera is in the hotel room. With the focus on a lower-resolution sensor, the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 even achieves quite good images up to ISO 800, where comparable cameras with higher-resolution sensors produce only pixel mud. Unfortunately the sensor resolution is not exhausted by the lens.

Profile Of The Panasonic Lumix ZS50

Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Panasonic Lumix ZS50 (Lumix DMC-TZ70)
Sensor CMOS 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6
)12.8 megapixels (physical)
12.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.5 µm
Resolution (max.) 4.000 x 3.000 (4:3)
Video (max.) 1.920 x 1,080 50p
Lens F3.3-6.4/24-720mm
Filter thread
Video finder yes, 100 % field coverage, 1,166,000 pixels resolution, 2.6x magnification, diopter compensation
Enlargement 0.5 (KB equivalent)
Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Resolution 1.040,000 pixels
AV Connections
PAL/NTSC video output (switchable) (device specific)
Video output (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Fully automatic yes
Scene automatic yes
Automatic programming yes
Program shift yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
Manually yes
Bulb Long Term Exposure
HDR function yes
Panorama function yes, panoramic view
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
fastest shutter speed 1/2.000 s
Flash installed
Synchronous time 1/2.000 s
Flash connection
WLAN yes
NFC yes
GPS external
Remote release yes, remote control via smartphone/tablet
Interval recording yes
Storage medium SD Card|SDHC|SDXC
automatically ISO 80-6.400
manually ISO 80-6.400
White balance
automatically yes
manual measuring yes
manual colour temperature
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 23 Contrast sensors
Speed 0,28 to 0,63 s
AF auxiliary light yes, LED
Dimensions (WxHxD) 111 x 65 x 34 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 243 g
Tripod thread off optical axis
Zoom adjustment Lens ring (motorized), ring rocker (motorized)
Battery life 300 (according to CIPA standard)
– = “not applicable” or “not available

This test of the Panasonic Lumix ZS50 was created with DXOMARK Analyzer.

Brief assessment


  • Well processed metal housing
  • Many setting options including M mode and raw format
  • A lot of zoom in a very compact housing
  • Useable image quality up to ISO 800 due to low-resolution sensor


  • Low image resolution
  • Flash is easily accidentally covered
  • Electronic viewfinder with poor visibility
  • Low light intensity lens

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Datasheet


Sensor CMOS sensor 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6
)12.8 megapixels (physical), 12.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.5 µm
Photo resolution
4.000 x 3.000 pixels (4:3)
4.000 x 2.672 pixels (3:2)
4.000 x 2.248 pixels (16:9)
3.840 x 2.176 pixels (16:9)
3.264 x 2.448 pixels (4:3)
3.264 x 2.176 pixels (3:2)
2.992 x 2.992 pixels (1:1)
2.560 x 1.712 pixels (3:2)
2.560 x 1.440 pixels (16:9)
2.448 x 2.448 pixels (1:1)
2.048 x 1.536 pixels (4:3)
2.048 x 1.360 pixels (3:2)
1.920 x 1.920 pixels (1:1)
1.920 x 1.080 pixels (16:9)
1.536 x 1.536 pixels (1:1)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
640 x 424 pixels (3:2)
640 x 360 pixels (16:9)
480 x 480 pixels (1:1)
Image formats JPG, MPO, RAW
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 100 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 50 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 25 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 200 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 25 p
Maximum recording time 40 min
Video format
AVCHD (Codec H.264)
MP4 (Codec H.264)


Focal length 24 to 720 mm (35mm equivalent
)30x zoom4
.3 to 129 mm (physical)
2x digital zoom
Sharpness range 50 cm to infinity (wide angle
)200 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro area 3 cm (wide angle)
Aperture F3.3 to F8 (wide angle
)F6.4 to F8 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus mode Contrast autofocus with 23 measuring fields
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (10x)

Viewfinder and monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,040,000 pixels, non-reflective, brightness adjustable, colour adjustable
Video finder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 1,166,000 pixels, magnification factor 2.59x (0.46x KB equivalent), dioptre compensation


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/2,000 to 4 s (Automatic
)1/2,000 to 4 s (Manual)
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Program Automatic (with Program Shift), Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Motif Automatic
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 3 shots, 1/3 to 1 EV increments, HDR function
Exposure Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 80 to ISO 6.400 (automatic
)ISO 80 to ISO 6.400 (manual)
Remote access Remote control via smartphone/tablet
, remote control from computer: no
Scene modes Baby, skin, landscape, night scene, night portrait, portrait, food, sports/action, starry sky, animals, 7 additional scene modes
Picture effects Cross development, color options, HDR effect, monochrome, sepia, softer, toy camera, 13 additional image effects
White balance Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Fine tuning, Shadow, Tungsten light, Manual 1 Memory
Color space sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 10 fps at highest resolution and max. 6 stored photos
Burst function Burst function with 60 consecutive images at 60.0 fps, 2.5 megapixel resolution (1,920 x 1,440 pixels)
Self-timer Self-timer with interval of 2 s, special features: or 10 seconds
Timer Timer/interval recordings with max. 200 recordings, start time adjustable
Recording functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram


Flash built-in flash
Flash range 0.6 to 6.4 m at wide angle2
.0 to 3.3 m at tele Flash range
at ISO auto Flash sync speed
1/2,000 s
Flash functions Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, red-eye reduction by pre-flash

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer electronic image stabilizer, lens shift (optical)
Internal memory yes (86 MByte)
Panorama Sweeping panorama
GPS function GPS external (Smartphone as GPS logger)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply unit no power supply connection
Power supply 1 x lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery (3.6 V, 1,250 mAh
)300 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Red-eye retouching, video editing, cropping, image rotation, image protection, playback histogram, playback magnifier with 16.0x magnification, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Face recognition Face recognition, face recognition
Grille can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Electronic spirit level, orientation sensor, Live View, user profiles with 2 user profiles
Connections Data interfaces: USBWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
NFC: availableVideo output
: yes (device-specific, HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF
Tripod thread 1/4″ not in optical axis
Special features and miscellaneous Exposure program “Starry Sky” with 15, 30 and 60 seconds exposure time; optical image stabilizer via 5-axis; eye sensor,

Size and weight

Weight 243 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 111 x 65 x 34 mm


standard accessory Lithium-ion battery, USB charger, USB cable, hand strap, CD-ROM (PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.6PE;LoiLoScope (trial version))


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