Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS60 Digital camera Review

Panasonic Lumix ZS60

MSRP $449.99

“Panasonic ZS60 with 30x zoom is the whole lot a journey camera needs to be, however it’s time to ditch the small sensor.”

Execs

  • Compact dimension
  • Leica lens with 30x zoom
  • 4K video seize
  • Put up Focus, 4K Photograph modes

Cons

  • Small sensor, works greatest in daylight
  • Sensitivity is nice for as much as solely 800
  • Noticeable artifacts in fast-action movies

With their large focal ranges, super-zooms (additionally known as mega-zooms or bridge) have at all times made nice cameras for holidays. With one system it’s straightforward to seize wide-angle vistas or zeroing in on the tops of faraway buildings. However to get a really lengthy lens, you used to have to purchase a super-zoom camera with a DSLR-like physique.

Now not: Compact, pocket-sized variants just like the 18-megapixel Panasonic Lumix ZS60 ($450, in black or black/silver) are packing an extended focal vary, whereas sustaining a point-and-shoot-style physique. However Panasonic packed in much more options, like its newest 4K-capture applied sciences. For holidaymakers, or anybody who needs a high-zoom camera with out getting an interchangeable lens camera, the ZS60’s dimension and listing of options are engaging. Regardless of the spectacular options and an reasonably priced value, its small sensor poses limitations that will drive away those that need one of the best picture high quality.

Options and design

There’s nothing notably attractive in regards to the camera’s boxy design, however the ZS60 has clear strains in addition to textured grips. It seems the identical as its predecessor, the ZS50, however it has enhanced (on paper, at the least) efficiency and options. The ZS60 is small, measuring 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches and tipping the scales at 11 ounces, so it might be simply carried wherever. One of the best half is that it packs a Leica Vario-Elmar 30x zoom with (24-720mm) built-in optical picture stabilization to scale back blur at lengthy ranges. Aperture vary is f/3.3 (huge) to f/6.4 (tele), so don’t count on an excessive amount of in dim gentle (extra on this in a bit). There’s a management ring on the base of the lens for guide focus and different capabilities. It’s much less cumbersome that the equally priced Lumix FZ300, which has a DSLR-like physique, however that camera provides you 5-axis picture stabilization, weather-resistant physique, and quicker lens (f/2.8).

panasonic lumix zs60 review dmc lens

panasonic lumix zs60 review dmc back 2

On the entrance are a built-in flash and an autofocus-assist lamp, whereas the highest deck has the primary mode dial, shutter button with zoom toggle, stereo mics, video report button, and energy key. There’s no sizzling shoe for equipment akin to a bigger flash, however we doubt it is a deal-breaker for consumers in search of a very good small-sized journey camera.

The rear has a set 3-inch LCD with a 1-million-dot decision. It’s not adjustable or tiltable however high quality is ok below most circumstances. It’s contact enabled, so it’s straightforward to regulate menu settings or contact to pick out a spotlight level. What’s useful is a tiny however usable 0.2-inch digital viewfinder with diopter management, which helps you to maintain the camera to your eye for extra stability or if the solar washes out the LCD. To the appropriate of the LCD are the same old keys and management wheel discovered on all cameras. Panasonic gives quite a lot of flexibility right here by providing the flexibility so as to add capabilities to lots of the buttons, in addition to digital perform buttons through the LCD.

On the appropriate aspect is a compartment with HDMI and USB connections, whereas the left has a mono speaker. The underside has the mix battery compartment/SD card holder. The battery is rated a strong 320 photographs, so it ought to final a complete day’s outing; it may possibly cost in-camera over USB

What’s included

The ZS60 comes with a chargeable battery, AC adapter, USB cable, and wrist strap. There’s additionally a fundamental guide. Not included within the field however accessible as free downloads are PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.8PE photograph editor, SILKYPIX Developer Studio SE for dealing with RAW information, and a trial model of LoiLoScope video editor. To pair with a telephone or pill, obtain the Panasonic Picture App for iOS or Android.

Guarantee

Panasonic gives a one-year guarantee for components and labor. The corporate gives an prolonged guarantee through SquareTrade.

Specs, efficiency, and use

The ZS60 has a 1/2.3-inch 18-megapixel sensor coupled with the Venus Engine processor. It’s a responsive camera that focuses rapidly because of a 49-point AF system. Nonetheless, just like the ZS50, this continues to be a small-chip camera, so there are some vital high quality points to be anticipated.

Though it’s not a good comparability, we just lately did a hands-on with Sony’s newest mega-zoom and the outcomes had been top-notch, because of the 20-megapixel 1-inch “stacked sensor” and a high-quality (and really huge) 25x (24-600mm) lens. However the RX10 III is a much bigger product that prices thrice as a lot because the ZS60, and, in cameras, you get what you pay for.

The ZS60 is small, but it packs a 30x Leica zoom with optical stabilization.

One-inch sensors have gotten extra widespread in 2016, with most camera manufacturers providing them. Primarily based on camera firms’ gross sales, sensors bigger than 1/1.7 inches are seeing development in an total down market. However, in an age the place telephones have taken over on the low finish, it goes to indicate customers are prepared to pay extra for superior high quality. Panasonic has the Lumix DMC-ZS100 ($699), a 1-inch sensor sibling to the ZS60 (however with a 10x zoom), whereas Canon’s has its 25x PowerShot G3 X ($999), simply to call two. So, there’s the tradeoff: You may spend extra for higher picture high quality, or get monetary savings and take successful. As for the ZS60, the query is, how a lot of successful?

For the reason that ZS60 is a perfect journey camera, we took it on a number of journeys. General, the Lumix ZS60 performs as one would hope, however once more, it’s removed from good as a consequence of that small sensor. For instance, we did some most telephoto (720mm) photographs of boats within the ocean, from a resort balcony, and the element was very poor. Nonetheless, after we captured wide-angle vistas and fewer excessive zooms from the identical place, the outcomes had been a lot better. This was the case in virtually each scenario, as you possibly can see from the samples.

Whereas the 49-point autofocusing system is snappy, and we like the flexibility to tap-to-focus wherever on the LCD, the camera will be gradual at instances, notably if it’s processing one thing. For instance, when shopping by means of a mixture of 4K movies and stills, or switching between capturing and playback, we encountered delays of some seconds. It’s nothing terrible, however annoying at instances.

The ZS60 has built-in optical picture stabilization (OIS) to assist get rid of blur. As with every high-power zoom, correct hand-holding methods are essential at excessive telephoto even with OIS. You may deliver the camera to eye degree because of the viewfinder – for further steadiness – however discovering a close-by railing to make use of as a makeshift tripod is useful. The EVF is small, however at the least it’s there and works properly. We just like the sensor that rapidly switches between the EVF and LCD, and you should use the LCD as a touch-panel to touch-focus whereas wanting by means of the EVF.

Ergonomically, the ZS60 is enjoyable to make use of with easy-to-read keys. The primary mode dial has the same old suspects: Clever Auto (two ranges), PASM, Film, Customized, Panorama, Scene, and Artistic Management (particular results). The touchscreen enables you to change settings with a minimal of fuss. Customers should not have any issues getting in control however we at all times suggest you at the least skim by means of the equipped guide to take advantage of the camera.

We took the camera to a Cactus League spring coaching recreation to check out the utmost body price of 5 frames per second, with steady autofocus (10 fps with out). The outcomes had been very uneven, with plenty of blur. Prime mechanical shutter pace is 1/2,000th of a second, which is an OK spec. Sports activities shooters, nevertheless, shouldn’t count on miracles right here because it’s a point-and-shoot camera and never a extra highly effective mirrorless or DSLR that may seize 100 JPEGs at 1/4,000th of a second. General, the camera actually works greatest with quite a lot of gentle, however even then, outcomes tended to overexpose and with out the depth of costlier fashions.

The ZS60 has an ISO vary of 80-3,200, expandable to six,400. Once more, a small chip isn’t going to supply super-high sensitivity ranges of 12,800 and past. In truth, ISO 800 is about as excessive as it’s best to go. Once more, with its high-aperture lens and tiny sensor this camera actually performs greatest with some critical sunshine.

We had been impressed with how films look in Full HD (1080 as much as 60p) and 4K (3,840 x 2,160 at 30p), each in MP4 for simpler uploads; AVCHD can be accessible, however restricted to Full HD. Nonetheless, the ZS60 has hassle focusing transferring topics, with jelly results (the place the picture wobbles like Jell-O) and rolling shutter galore. It’s apparent this isn’t a filmmaking camera, and we aren’t certain how helpful 4K is for the focused person, however it’s there for those who’re trying to shoot some memorable movies throughout a trip. Budding filmmakers in search of an all-in-one ought to think about the RX10 II or III, PowerShot G3, or Panasonic’s FZ1000.

With 4K seize, there are some notable options value mentioning as a result of they may turn out to be useful. The ZS60 gives Panasonic’s 4K Photograph and Put up Focus modes, which had been trickled down from its mirrorless cameras. When utilizing these capabilities, to the person it could look like abnormal photograph taking, however the camera is definitely recording 4K video. What occurs is, the camera then strips 8-megapixel stills from the video. These aren’t meant for on a regular basis capturing, however are helpful when the scenario requires them.

For instance, 4K Photograph is three burst modes which might be nice for motion photographs (you possibly can learn extra in regards to the characteristic in our Lumix G7 hands-on). In playback mode, you possibly can scan by means of the video and extract the second you need. Not like common burst mode, the camera saves a single 4K film file, as oppose to a number of JPEG or RAW picture information that aren’t as straightforward to play again. However you don’t get the total decision of the sensor, though, below the optimum circumstances, the outcomes aren’t dangerous. Additionally, you possibly can solely extract pictures in-camera (though Adobe Photoshop or Mild might be used, you lose the metadata).

Put up Focus is a characteristic we actually like, and the ZS60 will get factors for together with it. Like a Lytro light-field camera, a Put up Focus picture enables you to “refocus” after capturing. When enabled, the camera is grabbing focus knowledge from every of the 49 factors; like 4K Photograph, it’s not really saving 49 pictures, however recording a 4K video. Throughout playback, you’ll be able to refocus by tapping on any a part of the display, which you’ll be able to extract as particular person JPEGs. You don’t want to fret about focusing, however for it to be efficient it’s greatest for still-life and it’s best to use a tripod. The draw back, once more, is that you simply don’t get the total decision of the sensor, and you’ll discover some loss in high quality. However for what it’s, the pictures don’t look too dangerous and it’s enjoyable.

Regardless of the spectacular options and an reasonably priced value, its small sensor poses limitations.

One other characteristic value mentioning is Dwell Cropping for films. When recording video in 4K, you possibly can crop into the video in a easy panning method, as an alternative of the jerky unevenness you get with utilizing the zoom toggle. To make use of, you merely set the beginning and finish factors on the LCD, after which hit report (20 or 40-second durations). It takes some getting used to at first, however what you get is a filmmaking high quality. The ultimate video is simply Full HD, nevertheless, and the zoomed-in picture isn’t as sharp as we wish.

Word that 4K would require a quick reminiscence card with ample storage capability.

Regardless of these cool new options, picture high quality is restricted to what the small sensor is able to, 4K or no 4K. Regardless of the upper decision, we theorize picture high quality may have taken successful when Panasonic switched sensors; the ZS50 was lauded for its pictures. The camera works greatest with nonetheless pictures and plenty of gentle, and in these conditions the camera is greater than able to producing pleasing pictures for viewing on-line or printing in small sizes. It’s once you attempt to enlarge them, shoot in low gentle, or seize motion photographs, the place you’ll discover the deficiencies. When seen of their full dimension, you’ll discover the main points aren’t as sharp.

On a constructive word, the Lumix ZS60 has built-in Wi-Fi and pairing it with a Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6S was quite simple. The Panasonic Picture app does the fundamentals like distant capturing and sharing to social media, however it provides you some management over the assorted options, together with zoom. The corporate will get pluses for implementing the method properly. If we needed to knock it, it might be that we want there was a devoted Wi-Fi button, because it’s not straightforward to find within the menus.

Conclusion

At $449, the ZS60 is an efficient journey camera total. It’s comparatively gentle, and it’s very compact contemplating it’s packing a 30x zoom. The older ZS50, primarily based on buyer scores, was very fashionable, and whereas producers oftentimes get criticized for not updating their merchandise’ form-factors, we expect Panasonic did properly to retain the design. We additionally give the corporate kudos for together with quite a lot of user-friendly options, like Put up Focus, with each new camera, and the ZS60 isn’t only a minor rehash of the ZS50.

In principle, the ZS60 needs to be a implausible point-and-shoot just like the ZS50, however one thing occurred alongside the way in which to a higher-megapixel sensor that’s triggered a drop in picture high quality, which is just too dangerous as that impacts the usefulness of options like 4K Photograph. It’s higher than quite a lot of long-zoom cameras we’ve used, however we’re additionally seeing new compacts that may do a lot better. With that stated, judging from some early Amazon buyer reviews, the ZS60 has its followers, and we expect some informal customers will discover it interesting.

The ZS60 does the job, notably in well-lit environments. However you could possibly say that for many point-and-shoot cameras. The offender is a tiny picture sensor that’s beginning to really feel its age in 2016. If picture high quality is a precedence, you could possibly spend a bit extra for the ZS100, or think about Panasonic’s new Lumix G85 compact mirrorless camera with a very good zoom lens. Each choices use bigger sensors, and supply the identical 4K options.

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