Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 review

Review Date : Wed, 26 Aug 2009

Author :

Panasonic compact

The Panasonic Lumix ZX1 - the little brother of the popular TZ7 - gets the What Digital Camera review treatment. Is the ZX1 yet another accomplished Lumix compact? Read our Panasonic Lumix ZX1 review to find out...

Pros: Compact size, 8x zoom
Cons: low-res scene modes

Panasonic Lumix ZX1 review

Sliding seamlessly into the Lumix stylish compact range, the ZX1 offers a list of killer features to rival any other in the market. The new Power O.I.S (optical image stabilisation) is twice as powerful as the previous Mega O.I.S system and has been included on all of this year's new Lumix models. The ZX1 features an ultra-wide 25mm lens – a trademark of recent Lumix models – and an impressive 8x optical zoom, which can be further extended to 15.6x in 3MP mode. The intelligent Auto setting activates all of the functionality of this camera, including the Power O.I.S, intelligent ISO, scene selector, intelligent Exposure, AF tracking, and the improved face detection with face recognition for up to six faces.

Unlike its bigger brother, the TZ7, the ZX1 doesn’t feature manual shooting modes but it does have 29 scene modes available from the SCN (scene) or MS (My Scene Mode) modes, including a very stylish pinhole and film grain effects – though at much reduced resolution. There’s also a Travel mode, which allows you to set your travel dates, destination and local time for easier documenting of your trips away.

 

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Panasonic Lumix ZX1 review - LCD screen

On the rear it sports a 2.7in 230k dot LCD screen, which gives a high level of image reproduction even in strong light, and an almost flawless angle of view. With still plenty of space around the screen edge, however, you do wonder why this wasn't pushed up to a full 3in screen.

Panasonic Lumix ZX1 review - Auto focus


The autofocus system works quickly to provide focus, and both the tracking and face detection systems are effective at both finding and maintaining their subject. Only at the full extent of the zoom and under particularly low contrast conditions does the focus struggle.

Panasonic Lumix ZX1 review - Video

For video capture the ZX1 records in 1280x720P high definition, or a range of lower qualities, down to QVGA (320x240). This is recorded at 30 frames per second in an AVI motion JPEG format and produces very smooth looking video.

Verdict

The ZX1 is a really nice camera to use; it feels solid and well built, and yet is small enough to easily slip into your pocket. Images are bright and punchy with impressive detail even at the full extension of the lens. On closer inspection, however, there is a slight mottled effect on areas of flat colour and some signs of fringing around areas of contrast. The maximum ISO 1600 setting remains brightly coloured but the level of detail falls off rapidly. For the price, however, this is an excellent camera.


Compact Camera Reviews

Price as reviewed

£220.00

Scores

Scores
Design 18/20
Image Quality 18/20
Performance 18/20
Value 18/20
Features 18/20
Overall Score 90%