Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202): 5x zoom – Compact travel zoomer with large sensor
- Large 1-inch sensor in compact housing
- Rubber grip ensures good grip on the housing
- Extensive configuration options
- Good resolution, especially better than the ZS100 (TZ100 in Europe TZ101 in DACH countries)
- Right low light lens
- Visible loss of detail from ISO 1.600
- Tripod thread outside the optical axis
- Screen not movable
The speed of the 15x zoom only ranges from F3.3 in wide angle to F6.4 in telephoto, for comparison: the ZS100’s 10x zoom brought a speed of F2.8 to F5.9. An optical image stabilizer is of course still installed and is supported by an electronic one in video mode. The 20 megapixel image sensor is a back-illuminated CMOS sensor. By means of a new linear motor for the focus drive, Panasonic wants to accelerate the already fast autofocus even further. The sensor readout operates at 240 frames per second. The DFD autofocus compares two differently focused images and calculates the exact focus point. This should enable the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 in Europe TZ202 in DACH countries) to focus within 0.1 seconds.
The rear screen still measures 7.5 centimetres diagonally and is also a touch screen. The resolution, on the other hand, increases from 1.04 to now 2.23 million pixels. The electronic viewfinder was also revised. The magnification increases from 1.24x to 1.45x, which corresponds to a 35mm equivalent of 0.53x. The resolution has even doubled from 1.17 to 2.36 million pixels.
The metal housing of the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 in Europe TZ202 in DACH countries) is very elegantly designed. It is very angular at the top and bottom, while the sides are strongly rounded. This reminds one of Leica and one may speculate whether the traditional German manufacturer will launch the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 in Europe TZ202 in DACH countries) on the market under its own brand name, as was the case with many fine Panasonic cameras. The small handle is flanked by a rubber insert that improves grip and ergonomics. For operation, there are two dials, one as a lens ring, the other as a thumbwheel on the top, as well as many, partly programmable buttons.
The Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 in Europe TZ202 in DACH countries) is designed for beginners and photo enthusiasts alike, with intelligent automatic mode with scene recognition, filter effect mode, panorama mode, as well as the classic creative programs P, A, S and M with control over exposure time, aperture and/or ISO sensitivity, all accessible via the program dial. The macro mode even focuses from as little as 3 centimeters in front of the front lens, which is supposed to enable impressive detail shots. The Lumix also has a built-in pop-up flash, but photo enthusiasts have to do without a hot shoe.
The video mode operates at a maximum 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) at 30 frames per second. In Full-HD, on the other hand, even up to 120 frames per second are possible, which allows up to five times slower motion (at 24 fps). The stereo microphone is located on the top of the camera and even in video mode the photographer or videographer has full control over the exposure if desired.
The 4K photo functions are also on board. This not only allows you to take fast image series, but also to move the focus through the image to be able to shift the focus afterwards or, if desired, to calculate a photo with greater depth of field by stacking. The integrated WLAN for wireless image transmission and camera remote control via app is now complemented by energy-saving Bluetooth for permanent connection with the smartphone. This is especially handy for geotagging, so the location of the photo can be saved in the EXIF data of the image directly when the photo is taken.
With dimensions of 111 by 64 by 45 millimetres, the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) continues to belong to the travel zoom class. This not only makes it relatively flat, but also makes it relatively light at 340 grams ready for use, even though the weight has increased by 30 grams compared to the previous model. This makes it ideal as a flexible camera for traveling when you don’t want to take a large camera with you, but still don’t want to sacrifice too much image quality (compared to an interchangeable lens camera). Since March 2018, the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) is available in silver and black at a price of just under 800 euros.
Ergonomics and Workmanship
The ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202), which weighs just under 330 grams with battery and memory card, presents itself as elegant and small in a matt metal case. If a missing rubber lip on the “handle” was criticized on the ZS100, Panasonic has given the ZS200 such a lip. Although the handle is still very small, the grip has been significantly improved. With a depth of 45 millimetres, the camera is not the flattest travel zoom camera. However, since the lens covers a small image equivalent focal length of 24-360 mm and a physical focal length of 8.8-132 mm, this value is okay. The focal length can be adjusted either in eleven zoom levels (24, 28, 35, 50, 70, 90, 90, 135, 160, 200, 250, 300 and 360 mm) or continuously. This information on the set focal length is then shown on the display or viewfinder in a small-frame-equivalent size.
The 7.5 centimetre touchscreen monitor is located on the back. Unfortunately, the monitor is not movable, which makes using the camera in frog and bird’s eye view more tedious. The precision of the touch function is very high and thus the use in practice is pleasantly simple, fast and safe. But if you don’t like monitors, you can use the electronic viewfinder of the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202). It is quite small, but offers enough overview, unless you wear glasses. Although the camera has a fiddly dioptre compensation, as usual, it can only compensate for a certain range of defective vision.
The ZS200’s clearly arranged touchscreen provides a good overview and precise camera settings, but it’s not movable. [Photo: Panasonic]
Switching between the viewfinder and monitor is either done manually with the button or automatically. However, this automatic is very sensitive and reacts to objects that are about four centimeters or less away from the viewfinder. If, for example, the camera is worn around the neck and moves back and forth, the camera may switch permanently between the viewfinder and monitor. When this happens, the camera’s internal timer for power save mode is reset and the battery drains faster. So if you want to walk with the camera in front of your chest, the eye sensor should be deactivated.
If the photographer uses the left eye to view the viewfinder, it will be impossible to avoid the nose landing on the display. If the touch AF function is active on the display, the nose may move the autofocus point. The photographer then only has to deactivate this function or switch to the right eye for the viewfinder.
The ZS200 has a total of twelve function keys for operation, four of which can be reprogrammed. The camera also offers additional virtual function keys on the monitor, which are also programmable. The other function keys cannot be reprogrammed, but are assigned useful functions. Further customization options can be found in the corresponding easy-to-navigate menus of the camera. Just like the ZS100, the ZS200 also has a pleasant grip lens ring. This can be used for a wide range of tasks thanks to the extensive configuration options. Among other things also for the manual focus, which is supported by focus magnifier and peaking.
The two physical connections of the camera are located on the right side under a plastic flap. In detail there is a micro HDMI interface (type D) and a micro USB connector. The USB port allows the camera to be connected to a computer or charged. Continuous power supply (i.e. when the camera is on) via the USB port is not possible. The lithium-ion battery and memory card with SD form factor have their home under a flap in the bottom of the camera. The battery (DMW-BLG10E) has 1,025 mAh and 7.2 Volt. It should provide enough energy for 370 exposures (manufacturer’s information according to CIPA test procedure). The photographer does not have to do without a tripod thread either. Unfortunately, it is placed so close to the battery compartment that a quick-release plate has to be removed if the battery or the memory card has to be replaced. In addition, the thread is not located in the optical axis, which “presents” camera pans with a parallax error for video recordings.
With F3.3 initial light intensity in the wide-angle range, the ZS200 is somewhat inferior to the ZS100, and even in the telephoto range, it doesn’t look any better with F6.4 due to the higher focal length. For this purpose, the photographer can fall back on an optical image stabilizer, which is also necessary given the light intensity and the maximum focal length. The choice of a higher ISO sensitivity is therefore often unavoidable. How the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) performs in this area is explained in the section “Image quality”.
Travel zoom cameras must be particularly flexible. The Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) shows this necessary flexibility most clearly with the large focal length range. Furthermore, the multitude of functions provided by the ZS200 is a clear indicator of this flexibility. In addition to semi-automatic, manual and fully automatic modes, the ZS200 allows the photographer to select appropriate scene modes, or let the camera’s automatic shooting mode decide which settings are the right ones for the detected subject right now. This function, also called iA (intelligent automatic), recognizes more than just the subject. The camera calculates information on camera shake, face detection, motion detection and much more to help you find the optimal shooting and image processing settings. Surprisingly often the assessment of the motives is correct and the picture results are convincing.
Almost a matter of course for cameras of this class are individualizations for recording settings. With the ZS200, the photographer can use a total of three memory locations for configurations. In addition, the creative photographer can use some image effects such as “retro” look or the infamous toy camera effect. Even panoramas are no problem for the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202). The photographer simply activates the correct setting on the mode dial and all it takes is one press of the shutter release button and a camera panning shot. Internally, the captured images are then combined to form a panorama. If the camera is panned too quickly, the function will stop recording with a warning message.
Besides the quite fast mechanical shutter (1/2,000 to 60 seconds), the ZS200 has an electronic shutter (1/16,000 to 1 second). The photographer can quickly change the type of shutter himself in the menu or let the camera decide which shutter to use. However, not all functions are compatible with the electronic shutter, such as the use of the flash. In addition, the camera has a T-function. This allows very long exposure times for night shots or creative effects.
The ZS200’s continuous shooting speed is high, and the travel zoomer easily manages about ten frames per second (JPEG or RAW) (measured). If the autofocus is to be adjusted during continuous shooting, the rate of capture is reduced to about six frames per second. The autofocus is of the fast type. The camera triggers after about 0.15 seconds at the shortest focal length and after 0.27 seconds in the telephoto range. The pure shutter release delay is about 0.05 seconds. Even today, contrast autofocus systems may still be slower than phase AF systems such as those used in DSLRs. Many manufacturers therefore use hybrid autofocus systems in higher quality cameras that combine phase and contrast autofocus on the recording sensor. Panasonic takes a different approach with its in-house “Depth from Defocus” or DFD system for short. DFD autofocus takes into account characteristic blur features of the lens and knows whether the focus is in front of or behind the subject by means of two shots that are compared. This saves the AF system the measuring path in the “wrong direction”, can control the AF motor with higher torque and stop it more precisely.
Almost a tradition are the 4K photo functions in higher quality Panasonic cameras. The ZS200 is no exception. With the 4K continuous shooting function, the resolution drops to 8.3 megapixels per frame, but the camera records 30 frames per second with autofocus tracking. For example, the photographer can use the PreBurst function. This allows you to choose whether to take 30 pictures before and 30 after the shutter release button is pressed, ensuring that the right moment is not missed. The post-focus function allows you to set the focus point later (see the photo tip in the links below). The camera performs a series of shots and changes the focus point for each shot. With one series of shots, the up to 49 autofocus fields are controlled and an image is taken with each focus point. Later you can decide by touching the touch screen where you would like to have the sharpness or you can add up the shots so that everything or a certain area is sharp.
In video mode, the camera with 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160) can shine with a maximum of 30 frames per second. However, the recording will stop after a maximum of 15 minutes. The situation is different with FullHD recordings (1,920 x 1,080) at 60 frames per second. These have a maximum recording time of 29 minutes and 59 seconds. Thanks to the dedicated record button, video recordings can be started at any time. The video mode on the program dial allows further settings via filters up to manual video exposure. In addition to MP4, AVCHD is also available as a video format. The high continuous shooting speed and 4K video function require fast memory cards. Fortunately, the TZ202 supports fast SDHC memory cards up to UHS-1 class 3.
The built-in fold-out flash is a little bit offset to the optical axis of the lens and has a rather large distance from the left side. This reduces the risk of the photographer covering the flash with their fingers or blocking the mechanism. The flash can be synchronized to the second curtain, but it always fires a measuring flash at the beginning of the exposure. The Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) does not offer a wireless control option for other flash devices, nor does it offer a hot shoe.
Even in playback mode, the ZS200 shows a wide range of functions. In addition to simple image processing functions such as image resizing, images can be evaluated and tagged or inserted into a slide show. In playback mode, individual shots from the time-lapse and stop-motion functions can also be merged into one video. A comprehensive interval function or stop-motion assistant is available for recording.
While the integrated WLAN function was pure luxury a few years ago, it is now part of almost every high-quality camera. The ZS200 is no exception and comes with easily configurable wireless functionality. However, in this case the photographer has to do without the convenience of NFC coupling. Besides connecting to a smart device via WLAN, the camera can also be integrated into an existing wireless network. The Bluetooth connectivity in the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202), on the other hand, is celebrating its premiere. These were not yet available in the ZS series (TZ series in the European Union and in Britain) from Panasonic. If the camera is connected via Bluetooth, the photographer can use his smart device as a simple remote control. In addition, position data from the smartphone can be written to the metadata of the image when it is captured.
If a remote control with function setting and live image is desired or large image data are to be transmitted, the app switches the camera to WLAN operation. In practice, it has proved to be easier if the WLAN connection was set up first and then the Bluetooth connection. Once the hurdle of the setup is overcome, the use of the connection via the app turns out to be very easy. However, the free Panasonic Image App must be installed on the Android or iOS device and the camera must be paired with the smart device. The Bluetooth function requires Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as well as at least Android 5 or iOS 9 to 11.2.
Like the ZS100, the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) is equipped with a 13.2 by 8.8 millimetre 1″ sensor with a resolution of around 20 megapixels. Compared to other cameras in this class, which are equipped with 1/2.3″ sensors, the ZS200 has about four times the sensor area. However, the combination of a small housing and large recording sensor means that the zoom range is limited. Nevertheless, Panasonic has managed to accommodate a 15x optical zoom in the case of the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) and give it a 24 mm initial focal length (in 35mm equivalent). This means that the camera actually has all the prerequisites for convincing image quality.
Lenses with a long focal length range suffer quite often from color fringes, visible edge dimming and distortion. These turn out to be very low with the camera, which is probably due to the internal electronic correction. The sharpness is, in relation to a 20 x 30 cm printout, completely sufficient in all focal lengths and aperture settings – at which the maximum is F8 – but show a tendency to oversharpen. I measures the camera’s resolution performance with the software at 50 percent subject contrast and not at ten percent as other websites do. The reason for this is that the human eye is not able to recognize scene contrasts of ten percent very well. In addition, the difference between good and bad lenses is more clearly visible at the value mentioned for the MTF50.
The lens of the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) shows a maximum resolution at F3.3 and 24 mm focal length of slightly more than 52 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) and at the same aperture of 25 lp/mm at the image edge. If the aperture is closed, the resolution increases at the edge of the image, but decreases in the center of the image. At maximum focal length, the resolution is reduced to 36 lp/mm at the center and 22.2 lp/mm at the edge of the image. This is above the results of the ZS100, although the ZS200 has a longer focal length.
It is a known fact that the size of the recording sensor contributes significantly to noise sensitivity. Thanks to the 1″ sensor, which is quite large for travel zoom cameras, the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) has potential for a large signal-to-noise ratio. The larger this is, the more the image signal differs from the noise signal. 35 dB is considered the lowest acceptable limit. Although the Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) does not have a very high signal-to-noise ratio even at low ISO settings, it remains above the critical 35 dB limit up to about ISO 3,200. Only beyond this limit is the noise level below this limit and image noise has a clearly disturbing effect on the image. The disturbing color noise is no problem over the entire ISO range. The luminance or brightness noise becomes visible from ISO 6.400.
Texture sharpness measurement is performed to determine the loss of detail in the image sharpness at different sensitivity levels. The ideal value of 1 indicates that the image is sharp. If the value is above 1, the image is oversharp. A value below 0.9 is visible in the image as blur and is the acceptable limit. The Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) starts in the lower ISO settings with significantly sharper results. The measurement of the sharpness artifacts has also shown indications of this. Visual result control shows that image results with ISO 800 show hardly any loss of detail in fine structures. At ISO 1,600, noise reduction is a big hit, eliminating fine image details.
The input dynamics of the ZS200 are very good up to ISO 6,400 with ten to eleven f-stops and continuously deteriorating beyond that. The output tonal range behaves similarly. Here the camera achieves very good results in the lower ISO range. From ISO 400 the value is still good and only from ISO 3.200 the 7-bit limit is undercut. The tonal range and color fidelity show that the camera is designed to deliver images without extensive image processing. The mid-range contrasts are increased to make details in the mid-range clearer. Strong cyan and magenta tones are softened in the colours. Red and orange tones are displayed somewhat more strongly, yellow-green tones are shifted a little further towards green. This makes all colours that appear in landscapes and even portraits subjectively more pleasant. All in all, the colour deviation is small. In addition to JPEG data, the camera can simultaneously or individually record raw data. Depending on the amount of time required, even more quality can be tickled out of the images.
The Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) is unrivalled among travel zoom cameras. Focal length fanatics may remain unimpressed by the 15x zoom, but friends of small housings with larger sensors are at the right place. Equipped with innumerable automatics, the camera takes almost everything from the photographer to take a good picture. But also enthusiasts who like to take pictures themselves will get their money’s worth and can leave the safe area of the automatic and dive headfirst into photography with their individualized camera. Unfortunately, the lens isn’t as fast as the ZS100’s due to its focal length range, but Panasonic has obviously done its homework. The lens is well optimized for the sensor and the internal image processing has been improved in the right areas. The Bluetooth function is a useful extension of the wireless connections and the wide rubber lip, which was still missing on the ZS100, rounds off the camera. The Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 – TZ202) makes a “round” and coherent impression and is the right size for the backpack. Photographers who travel with little luggage will certainly not complain about the USB charging function.
|Model||Panasonic ZS200 (TZ200 in Europe – TZ202 in DACH countries)|
|Sensor||CMOS 1″ 13.2 x 8.8 mm (crop factor 2.7
)20.9 megapixel (physical)
20.1 megapixel (effective)
|Resolution (max.)||5.472 x 3.648 (3:2)|
|Video (max.)||3.840 x 2,160 30p|
|Filter thread||No filter thread installed|
|Video finder||EVF, 100% field coverage, 2,330,000 pixels resolution, 1.45x magnification (sensor-related)|
|Monitor||3.0″ (7.5 cm)|
|AV connector||HDMI output Micro (Type D)|
|Scene mode automatic||yes, automatic|
|Automatic aperture control||yes|
|Bulb Long Term Exposure||yes|
|Panorama function||yes, panoramic view|
|Exposure metering||Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot|
|fastest shutter speed||1/2.000 s|
|Synchronous time||1/2.000 s|
|GPS||external, permanent smartphone connection|
|Remote release||yes, remote control via smartphone/tablet|
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
|Number of measuring fields||49 Contrast sensors|
|Speed||0.15 to 0.27 s|
|AF auxiliary light||LED|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||111 x 66 x 45 mm|
|Weight (ready for operation)||340 g|
|Tripod thread||off optical axis|
|Zoom adjustment||Lens ring (motorized), ring rocker (motorized)|
|Battery life||370 recordings according to CIPA standard|
|– = “not applicable” or “not available|
- Large 1-inch sensor in compact housing
- Rubber grip ensures good grip on the housing
- Extensive configuration options
- Good resolution, especially better than the ZS100
- Right low light lens
- Visible loss of detail from ISO 1.600
- Tripod thread outside the optical axis
- Screen not movable
Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ202 Datasheet
|Sensor||CMOS sensor 1″ 13.2 x 8.8 mm (crop factor 2.7
)20.9 megapixels (physical), 20.1 megapixels (effective)
|Image formats||JPG, RAW|
|Color depth||24 bits (8 bits per color channel)|
|Metadata||Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard|
|Maximum recording time||29 min 59 sec|
|Focal length||24 to 360 mm (35mm equivalent
.8 to 132 mm (physical)
2x digital zoom
|Sharpness range||50 cm to infinity (wide angle
)100 cm to infinity (telephoto)
|Macro area||3 cm (wide angle
)100 cm (telephoto)
|Aperture||F3.3 to F6.4 (wide angle
)F6.4 to F8 (telephoto)
|Autofocus mode||Contrast autofocus with 49 measuring fields|
|Autofocus functions||Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (10x)|
|Filter thread||No filter thread|
Viewfinder and monitor
|Monitor||3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,240,000 pixels, touch screen, non-reflective, brightness adjustable, colour adjustable|
|Video finder||Video viewfinder (100% field coverage) with 2,330,000 pixels, magnification factor 1.45x|
|Exposure metering||Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement|
|Exposure times||1/2,000 to 60 s (Automatic
)1/2,000 to 60 s (Manual)
Bulb with maximum 120 s exposure time1/16
,000 to 1 s (Electronic)
|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 7 shots, 1/3 to 1 EV increments, HDR function|
|Exposure Compensation||-5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV|
|Photosensitivity||ISO 125 to ISO 12,800 (automatic
)ISO 80 to ISO 25,600 (manual)
|Remote access||Remote control via smartphone/tablet|
|Scene modes||Flowers, Backlight, Children, Landscape, Night scene, Night landscape, Night portrait, Portrait, Sunset, Food, Sports/action, 13 additional scene modes|
|Picture effects||Bleach bypass, cross development, high key, low key, miniature effect, monochrome, retro, sepia, softer, toy camera, 12 more image effects|
|White balance||Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Tungsten light, from 2,500 to 10,000 K, Manual 4 memories|
|Color space||Adobe RGB, sRGB|
|Continuous shooting||10 fps at highest resolution, 6 fps for Liveview,|
|Burst function||Burst function|
|Self-timer||Self-timer with interval of 10 s, special features: additional 2 seconds self-timer and 3-fold self-timer function|
|Timer||Timer/interval recordings with max. 999 recordings, start time adjustable|
|Recording functions||AEL function, AFL function, live histogram|
|Flash||built-in flash (hinged)|
|Flash range||0.6 to 6.8 m at wide angle1
.0 to 3.9 m at telephotoFlash range
4 (ISO 100)
Flash sync speed 1/2,000 s
|Flash functions||Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, red-eye reduction, flash compensation from -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV|
|Image stabilizer||electronic image stabilizer, lens shift (optical)|
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
|GPS function||GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)|
|Power supply unit||USB charging function|
|Power supply||1 x Panasonic DMW-BLG10E370
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 with music and transition effects, zoom out|
|Face recognition||Face recognition|
|Image parameters||Sharpness, contrast, color saturation, noise reduction|
|Grille can be faded in during recording||yes|
|Special functions||Electronic spirit level, orientation sensor, Live View|
|Connections||Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
: USB 2.0WLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
Audio output: noAudio input
: noVideo output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
|Supported direct printing methods||PictBridge|
|Tripod thread||1/4″ not in optical axis|
|Special features and miscellaneous||5-axis Image Stabilizer Hybrid Stabilizer20x
Intelligent ZoomDFD-AutofocusPost-Focus FunctionFocus Stacking FunctionFocus Bracketwith max. 999 shots4K
continuous shooting at 30 fps max. 15 min. time lapse videoStop
Motion VideoMulti ExposureTouch
Size and weight
|Weight||340 g (ready for operation)|
|Dimensions W x H x D||111 x 66 x 45 mm|
|standard accessory||USB cable, lithium-ion battery, charger, CD-ROM, hand strap|