Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (TZ10) Review

Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (TZ10) Review

Panasonic’s new top model of compact super-zoom cameras is the new Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (TZ10 in Europe). The predecessor is the Panasonic Lumix ZS3 (TZ7 in Europe), and the successor is the Panasonic Lumix ZS10 (TZ22 in Europe).

It has an integrated GPS, with which the current recording position (or that of the last signal received) is stored in the photos. In addition to the position, the camera also displays the country, state (or county), city and nearby sights in text form.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (TZ10) contains over 500,000 sights from 73 countries. The camera clock can also be set automatically using the GPS including the correct time zone (local time). If GPS is activated and the camera is switched off, the signal will continue to be updated at longer intervals. In case one forgets to deactivate it, the function switches itself off after a certain remaining battery charge level, so that one is not surprised by an empty battery.

Panasonic Lumix ZS7 Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Balanced, good image quality
  • 25mm wide-angle lens, 12x zoom, image stabilizer, and fast autofocus
  • GPS with place name and point of interest and time setting
  • Thanks to manual exposure and user saving even for advanced users
  • Reliable intelligent automatic takes the “thinking” out of the photographer

Cons

  • No RAW storage format
  • With F3.3-6.3 or F4.9-6.3 relatively small aperture latitude (but fine adjustable)
  • Forced digital zoom in intelligent auto mode

panasonic lumix zs7

Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (TZ10) [Photo: Panasonic]

With the Lumix ZS7 (TZ10), Panasonic is taking its successful TZ series, which sells like sliced bread, into the fifth generation. 25 mm wide-angle (KB), 12x zoom, GPS, intelligent automatic, HD video, manual exposure, user memory, multi-format sensor – the list of features is almost endless.

Panasonic always retrofits where the previous models were lacking. In our test, we will see if this is the case for this product.

The 12x optical zoom with Leica label covers a range of 25-300 mm (KB) and is image stabilized by Power-OIS.

The Venus Engine HD II provides the necessary computing power and thus the fast autofocus (approx. 0.4 s) as well as the many intelligent automatic functions. The HD video function with stereo sound stores in either Motion-JPEG or AVCHD-Lite; optical zoom, scene modes, and other automatic modes are retained.

The video recording is controlled by a separate button on the back of the camera. The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) also has an HDMI interface including a Viera-Link. Photos or videos are stored on SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards.

The photo resolution increases to an effective 12 megapixels, with the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) using a 14.5-megapixel sensor. However, depending on the aspect ratio (4:3, 3:2 or 16:9), only a reduced number of pixels is used, which guarantees an identical image diagonal at all settings – so the camera does not lose any wide angle even in 16:9. If desired, the camera can even record all three formats simultaneously.

The rear screen measures 3″ (7.6 cm) diagonally and has a fine resolution of 460,000 pixels – its brightness is regulated automatically.

panasonic lumix zs7

Unlike all previous ZS (TZ) cameras, the exposure of the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) can also be controlled manually (or semi-manually), and thanks to the iris diaphragm even finely graduated aperture values are available.

Panasonic is thus meeting a user request that has been expressed time and again. This makes the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 even more suitable as a pocket superzoom supplement, for example for mirror reflex equipment.

Since March 2010, the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) is available in black, silver, chocolate, red and blue (each with a matt finish) for around 400 dollars. It can be found much cheaper currently more than ten years later.

 

panasonic lumix zs7

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) has a solid and well-manufactured metal housing, which comes in different colors – our test camera, for example, in red. Finally, the interface flap, behind which an HDMI connection and one for analog video/audio and USB are concealed, is also exactly the same color as the case.

The metal tripod thread on the underside of the camera is centered but not in the optical axis; when using a tripod, the door (with a feed-through for a power cable) to the battery/memory card compartment (SD/SDHC/SDXC) is blocked. The Li-Ion-battery is sufficient for about 300 photos (according to CIPA) and has an ID security chip, i.e. the camera refuses to work with batteries without a propietary battery.

 

panasonic lumix zs7

With its elegant design, both the lens and the handle stand out slightly, making the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) look like a “classic camera”.

This also improves the ergonomics, a ribbing for the thumb on the back does the rest. Thanks to the ring zoom rocker around the shutter release, the camera can be operated with one hand for snapshots. The zoom can be adjusted in very fine steps and works significantly slower during video recording, which benefits smooth zooming.

The 12x zoom covers a focal length range of 25-300 mm (KB) and is suitable for virtually all everyday subjects – the ideal travel camera, so to speak, and the optical image stabilizer compensates for shaking (trembling and swaying movements) extremely effectively.

 

panasonic lumix zs7

panasonic lumix zs7

The program selector wheel on the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) knows not only subject programs and intelligent automatic, but also semi-automatic and manual exposure. Especially for this purpose there is a new “Exposure” button on the back of the camera, which reassigns the left / right / up / down buttons so that you can easily set time and aperture – a smart solution.

The smallest aperture value is F6.3 despite the fine adjustment steps. The program dial does not know a special video mode, as a dedicated video button allows moving images to be recorded at any time.

 

panasonic lumix zs7

Equipment And Features

The most striking feature of the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) is its GPS, which can be recognized by the small hump with an inscription on the top of the camera. This way the camera knows – with a clear view of the sky – where it is and can store this information in the photo – this way the exact location can be shown on a map even after years.

As a by-product, the camera clock can optionally be set automatically. The position determination takes about 1-2 minutes.

Even when the camera is switched off, with “GPS on” selected in the menu, the position is determined at longer intervals, provided that satellite reception is available. A protection electronic ensures that the battery is not completely discharged, but that one has in any case some photos in reserve.

In airplane mode, the GPS is only activated when the camera is switched on; it is completely deactivated when the menu setting “GPS off” is selected. Although the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) has no built-in maps, which would be quite practical, it shows the country, the county (or the federal state or province, depending on the nation), the city and the surrounding sights in a somewhat too slow ticker. All details can be viewed and information can be deactivated in the menu.

 

panasonic lumix zs7

Another strength of the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) is its customizability. You can adjust almost everything in the menu according to your taste – but depending on the recording program, many menu items are also deactivated and set to default values – this way, you don’t lose the overview in the intelligent automatic, for example, or you can’t do anything “wrong” here.

This is also suitable as a “snapshot mode” for advanced users. The automatic can be “tapped on the fingers” if necessary, for example by setting the maximum sensitivity for the ISO automatic or by adjusting the shadow correction in three steps. Face recognition is able to recognize faces – either when a person is “accidentally” photographed frequently or by saving them specifically in the camera.

 

panasonic lumix zs7

In terms of video function, the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) is almost a rival to a small camcorder: In HD quality (1,280 x 720 pixels), recording is either in Motion-JPEG or AVCHD-Lite. The former is directly playable on computers, the latter compresses more effectively (MPEG-4) and allows a longer recording time at a stretch.

If desired, the autofocus can be adjusted, the optical zoom can be used (slowed down) anyway, and wind noise can be digitally filtered out of the stereo sound. The video button not only allows you to start recording at any time, it also largely adopts the current photo settings – in the intelligent automatic mode, even in video mode, subjects are detected, faces are focused on, dark areas of the picture are brightened, etc.

The autofocus tracking works to the point, the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10)’s focusing is extremely fast, and the autofocus has increased in speed compared to the TZ7. With 0.4-0.6 s it works pretty fast for a compact camera, especially a superzoom. In dark environments, a rather bright orange auxiliary light switches on.

The “multi-format sensor” is very practical. It is wider than a standard 4:3 image sensor, so that when switching to 3:2 or 16:9, it does not simply cut off pixels at the top and bottom, but also adds pixels to the left and right. This way, the maximum image circle is always used, i.e. with 4:3 as well as with 16:9 you have a 25mm focal length equivalent. Of the 14.5 megapixels, a maximum of 12 are actually used. Camcorders with such a wide angle will be hard to find.

panasonic lumix zs7

The flash is located between the handle and the lens, you should pay attention to your fingers so that they do not partially cover the flash. With automatic, forced on or off, pre-flash against red-eye (digital retouching, which the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 also masters, is preferable) and long-term synchronization, it offers the necessary standard program.

On the other hand, one has to do without a synchronization at the end of exposure and a flash exposure correction. The latter is at least dispensable, as the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) doses the flash well and also incorporates the ambient light for a natural picture impression, which can sometimes lead to a slight color cast due to the mixed light.

 

panasonic lumix zs7

One innovation promoted by Panasonic is the intelligent resolution. The image processor differentiates between scene parts with little detail and contours as well as those with a high level of detail such as textures and can “increase” the resolution by specific processing.

This avoids the highlighting of noise in monochrome areas. Panasonic uses this useful function for a digital zoom that is supposed to work lossless. It does so visually, but not metrologically – so the function should be used with caution, especially as it is annoyingly impossible to switch it off in the intelligent automatic system.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) then feigns a 16x zoom to the photographer, the transition from optical to digital zoom is only noticeable by the missing zoom noise and the displayed zoom factor.

Image Quality Of The Panasonic Lumix ZS7

The test for the evaluation of the image quality was, of course, carried out without digital zoom. That is our standard practice.

Although the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) shows a loss of resolution towards the image edge in all three measured focal lengths (25, 111 and 300 mm), this loss is still within limits and, for example, lower than that of the ZS7.

At the same time, the sharpness is surprisingly reserved for a shoot-to-print camera, here even more would have been possible to increase the resolution impression. Only minimal white clipping occurs, which would only be visible on extremely large posters at a short viewing distance. Even the artifacts on fine structures are not too intrusive.

panasonic lumix zs7

Both the edge darkening and the distortion are electronically corrected, otherwise, the extremely good measured values cannot be explained. At most at wide-angle, the distortion can still be visually detected in certain scenes (parallel lines at the edge of the image, for example in architectural photographs), but the natural character (barrel-shaped) makes it negligible in everyday subjects.

The noise is well smoothed, reaching its maximum value at ISO 400. In addition, certain losses in the resolution must be accepted, but the “intelligent resolution” is quite capable of preserving fine structures well and displaying surfaces without noise – a clever solution.

Nevertheless, as it is also the case for other cameras with such a pixel density: above ISO 200, one simply has to accept losses, those who attach importance to fine details in a compact camera will use ISO 80-200 in the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10), but in case of “holiday pictures” in 10x15cm prints or pictures in screen resolution, one can confidently resort to high sensitivities, as more than 1-2 megapixels do not resolve these media anyway.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) has both input and output dynamics well under control. It can handle subject contrasts of up to 8.8 f-stops, and it’s nice to see that there are still compact cameras with reasonably reasonable black levels in the output dynamic range after all – this ensures brilliant image results from the ZS7.

The two compression levels are also well chosen. The high quality is visually lossless, and with the higher compression, almost twice as many images fit on the memory card while still maintaining acceptable quality.

panasonic lumix zs7

Exposure metering and white balance usually work very reliably, and the ZS7 also works well with backlighting, as long as you leave it in automatic mode – otherwise, it’s up to the photographer to make use of the wide range of settings available in order to realize his own ideas.

With white balance, it is critical that there are no presets for neon light (fluorescent lamps). However, the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) can be credited with the fact that the automatic calibration works well with this light. In the intelligent automatic system, you can’t intervene anyway, in other programs you can use the manual adjustment using a gray card if necessary.

It’s a pity that the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) doesn’t offer RAW mode – that would have been the icing on the cake, especially as you could theoretically decide on the image format (4:3, 3:2 or 16:9) even on the computer thanks to the multi-format sensor.

Conclusion: Is The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 Worth It?

With the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10), Panasonic has simply done so much right that the search for criticism is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The intelligent automatic is reliable and especially suitable for beginners and snapshots, only the “forced digital zoom” disturbs the quality-conscious user. Advanced users, on the other hand, find everything manually adjustable and even stored in user memories.

The GPS, though without map display, tells the photographer where he is, which sights are nearby, and later on the computer his pictures are marked on the map. Also many criticisms of previous cameras were turned off, the autofocus works fast.

If it wasn’t possible to give unrestricted advice on the predecessor, the TZ7, due to the mediocre image quality, the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10) gets a purchase tip, especially since its entry price is even lower despite the better equipment.

Profile Of The Panasonic Lumix ZS7

Profile
Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10)
Price approx. 350 dollars at market launch.
Sensor Resolution 14.5 megapixel
,12.1 megapixel effective
Max. Image resolution 4.000 x 3.000
(aspect ratio) 4:3
Lens F3.3-4.9/25-300 mm
Filter thread
Viewfinder
Dioptre compensation
LCD monitor 3,0″
Resolution 460.000
rotatable
swiveling
as Viewfinder yes
Video output Analog PAL/NTSC and digital HDMI
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure
Scene mode programs
Portrait yes
Children/baby yes
Landscape yes
Macro yes
Sports/action yes
More 23 additional scene modes
Exposure metering Spot, centered, multi-field
Flash yes
Flash connection
Remote release
Interval recording
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Format AVCHDlite or Quicktime (MOV)
Codec H.264 or Motion-JPEG
Resolution (max.) 1.280 x 720
Frame rate (max.) 30 frames/s
Sensitivity
automatically ISO 80-1.600 (upper limit adjustable)
extended ISO 1,600-6,400
manually ISO 80-1,600
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous Shadows
Manually yes
Autofocus
Number of measurement fields 11
AF auxiliary light Orange
Speed approx. 0.4-0.63 s
Languages English
More 15 additional languages
Weight
(Ready for operation)
214 g
Zoom
Zoom adjustment motorized via ring rocker
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
yes
Triggering during storage possible.
Battery life about 300 pictures according to CIPA
– = “not applicable” or “not available

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Balanced, good image quality
  • 25mm wide-angle lens, 12x zoom, image stabilizer and a fast autofocus
  • GPS with place name and point of interest and time setting
  • Thanks to manual exposure and user saving even for advanced users
  • Reliable intelligent automatic takes the “thinking” out of the photographer

Cons

  • No RAW storage format
  • With F3.3-6.3 or F4.9-6.3 relatively small aperture latitude (but fine adjustable)
  • Forced digital zoom in intelligent auto mode

Firmware 1.1 for the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10): More Stability

Panasonic provides a new firmware version 1.1 for the travel zoom camera Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (Lumix TZ10). On the one hand, this is intended to increase the stability when switching on and on the other hand to improve the cooperation or exposure with external underwater flashes of the brand INON. This applies to the S-2000, D-2000 and Z-240 flashes, the update can be downloaded from the Panasonic website and installed by the user, an English manual is provided to help. If you don’t think you can do this, you should ask the camera service or a helpful dealer for assistance.

Panasonic Lumix ZS7 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CCD sensor 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6)14.5 megapixels (physical), 12.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.5 µm
Photo resolution
4.000 x 3.000 pixels (4:3)
3.264 x 2.448 pixels (4:3)
2.560 x 1.440 pixels (16:9)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Image formats JPG
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.21), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
848 x 480 (16:9) 30 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
Video format
MOV (Codec Motion JPEG)
MOV (codec n.a.)
MPG4 [codec MPEG-4]
MPG4 [codec MPEG-4]
Audio format (video) WAV

Lens

Focal length 25 to 300 mm (35mm equivalent) 12x zoom – Digital zoom 4x
Sharpness range 50 cm to infinity (wide angle) 200 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro area 3-200 cm (wide angle) 100 cm (telephoto)
Aperture F3.3 to F6.3 (wide angle) F4.9 to F6.3 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and Display

Display 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 460,000 pixels

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/2,000 to 60 s (automatic)
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Bracketing function with a maximum of 3 shots, 1/3 to 1 EV increments
Exposure Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 80 to ISO 1,600 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Scene modes Baby, fireworks, skin, high sensitivity, candlelight, landscape, aerial view, night landscape, night portrait, party, portrait, self-portrait, sunset, food, sports, starry sky, beach/snow, animals, and underwater
Picture effects Saturated color reproduction, natural color reproduction, warm tone,  and cold tone filters
White balance Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Fine-tuning, Fluorescent lamp, Manual
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 2.3 fps at the highest resolution and max. 3 stored photos, high-speed mode with 6 fps or 10 fps (speed priority) with max. 3-megapixel resolution;1.8 fps continuous shooting
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Recording functions Live histogram

Flashgun Of The Panasonic Lumix ZS7

Flash built-in flash
Flash range 0.6 to 5.3 m at wide angle1
.0 to 3.6 m at teleflash range
at ISO auto
Flash functions Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD
Internal memory yes (15 MByte)
GPS function internal
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery (3.6 V, 895 mAh) 300 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Image index, slide show function
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Face recognition Face recognition, face recognition
Image parameters Sharpness, contrast, noise reduction
Grille can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Orientation sensor
Connections Data interfaces: USB USB type
: USB 2.0 High SpeedVideo output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous Venus Engine HD-II signal processor Federal state City and sight from a database of 500,000 sights in 73 countries)
switchable optical image stabilizer (Power-OIS)
11/3/1-point autofocus (some with high-speed mode) with spot AF function Face Detection
AFHigh
ISO setting 1600-6400Digital
Red-eye ReductionMulti-format function
(with simultaneous recording of 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9)
additional 3:2 image resolution of 4.176 x 2,784Video
Scene Modes (Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Low Light, Party, and 13 others)
2-step Hue Adjustment (cool/warm)
15, 30 or 60 s Exposure Time in Starry Sky Program
ModeWorld Time FunctionShake WarningIntelligentResolution TechnologyContrast/Sharpness/Saturation/Noise Reduction
/- 2-Step Automatic Film ExposureControlOrientation Sensor

Size and weight

Weight 218 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 103 x 60 x 33 mm

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Li-ion battery charger USB connection cableAudio/video cableSnap

strapPhoto

editing software

Photo Fun Studio 5.1 HDUSB device driver

additional accessories Replacement battery Power supply unitRemovable memory card Camera bag
USB
USB 2.0 High Speed

 

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.