Panasonic Lumix Camera Reviews

Panasonic Lumix SZ7 14.1 MP High Sensitivity MOS Digital Camera with 10x Optical Zoom (Black)

January 8th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Reviews

The LUMIX DMC-SZ7 combines a powerful 10x optical zoom with a 25mm ultra-wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens, in a slim and compact body, making it extremely portable and easy to carry. It can also shoot full-High Definition, 1920 x 1080 60i videos and with Light Speed AF, it has a super-fast focus response time of approximately 0.1 second – making it easy to capture spontaneous must-have photos.

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10 Responses

  • dj says:

    In my search for a pocket camera, I so wanted this to be “the one.” Unfortunately, it was not. There is so much good in this camera. I love the feel and heft of it, the set-up of the controls (you don’t have to search around for the on/off button or the view button), and the ease of use. There is a good selection of scene options, including “glass through” which I have not encountered in point-and-shoots of other brands, including Nikon, Canon and Sony. The video is satisfyingly clear, but the sound is less so. There are many special effects and features offered. However, I found that details of photos did not stand up to close scrutiny. On zooming in, they fall apart and become fuzzy very quickly. This became the deciding factor as I want to be able to print photos in larger sizes. In the end, as much as I love this camera in so many ways, I returned it in favor of a Sony Cybershot DSC-WX50 which has only a 5X zoom and less creative options, but takes an excellent still.

  • C. Moul says:

    If you like to take pics of kids and actually capture a smile this is the camera. I have spent hundreds of dollars on cameras. I’ve tried and returned less expensive cameras. This is it. Someday, I might get out into the mommy blog world to spread the news. The camera is quick and the lens is amazing. FINALLY after 8 years of digital cameras, one that fits in my purse and does the job I need it to. It is fantastic.

  • Panasonic SZ-7 Super Compact Digital Camera

    The new for 2012 Panasonic SZ-7 (SZ for ‘Stylish Zoom’) is a difficult camera to neatly quantify. It is one of the reasons that assigning stars to a digital camera doesn’t always make sense. Contingent on your own personal needs, the same camera could be a five-star or a zero-star camera. It all depends on what final form your pictures have and what shooting conditions you anticipate.

    It takes very little resolution for perfectly pleasing web-based pictures. Although “snapshots” are often a backhanded way of trying to discredit a camera, for many people a photo album of memories, just snapshots, are often as far as it goes. It is as far as it often needs to, as you can only put so many framed 8 x 10s on the wall.

    To try to make this a rational review, I’m comparing the 2012 SZ-7 to the 2010 Panasonic ZR-3. Both are diminutive in size and weight, not as wide as a deck of playing cards and slightly longer. The typical shot to shot time of the ZR-3 is 2.1 seconds, considered better than average in 2010. By comparison, the SZ-7 is a little rocket, with .7 seconds shot to shot. Is the SZ-7 a substantial upgrade from the two years old model? It is and it isn’t.

    The ZR-3 is slightly thicker and uses a more substantial battery. While the ZR-3 was rated for 320 shots, the smaller battery of the SZ-7 allows for about 220. While the ZR-3 has a 230,000 pixel LCD, the SZ-7 sports double the resolution at 460,000. Yet, the old LCD has far better viewing angles, the twisted nematic type of the SZ-7 has more dots, but vanishes when looking at it from an angle. The hinged access door to connection ports on the side of the ZR-3 is now secured by a couple plasticy pieces, with unknown durability. I didn’t break the little door off, but it still seems flimsy and fragile. Whether it really is or not, time will tell. The ZR-3 has a familiar mode wheel on the top of the camera, while this SZ-7 uses a button on the back of the camera to access different modes.

    This is a matter of personal preference. I find an external mode wheel intuitive, with no looking necessary, but it can be inadvertently bumped on removal from a case or pocket where the mode button is not as vulnerable. Additionally, while the ZS-3 has a fast stand-alone charger, the SZ-7 features the new trend of in-camera charging, taking the camera out of commission or necessitating the purchase of an additional product. With the poor viewing angle screen and the reduction on battery life, all of this might sound like an advance to the rear and a “two star” type of camera. But that doesn’t adequately tell the tale.

    On the plus side, the SZ-7 has far better shooting performance, a better (10x) optical zoom, better video capabilities, stereo mics, better burst modes, hand-held night scene, HDR mode, 3D, and a Panorama mode. It is a faster camera with better image quality, image quality that is most obvious in low light. While the image quality is very good for this size and price of camera with a successful backside illuminated MOS sensor, a reduction in megapixels resulting in less densely packed sensor likely would have offered a notch better output. Overall, the SZ-7 despite the caveats mentioned is a more powerful, more fully-featured camera than the ZR-3 at what currently is an entry-level price point of $129.99. Camera prices tend to fluctuate wildly, so what this $179.99 MSRP unit will sell for in the future is anyone’s guess.

    Pocket-sized is a vague term, as pockets come in all sorts of sizes. For a small and light camera (less than an inch thick, under 1/3 lb.) it is the sort of digital camera you can carry with you without feeling like you are carrying much of anything at all. Light in weight, light in price, and with very fast shooting performance if you want no excess bulk at all, this camera is very appealing. For snapshots to 8 x 10s under most conditions, along with surprisingly good video, it is easy to say that this camera is recommended and quite worthy of your consideration. It is fast, very very small, light, has a great “dummy” (iA) mode, and is easy on the wallet as well.

    For an extra thirty-five or forty dollars, there are longer-zoom options with manual controls, such as the Panasonic ZS-15, in bulkier but still compact frame sizes. As always, only the individual can scale the benefit of features and zoom against bulk and cost, based on their own unique needs. It is always nice to have choices and this is a very viable one.

    If you don’t mind more a bit more bulk, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS15 12.1 MP High Sensitivity MOS Digital Camera with 16x Optical Zoom (Black) is a more powerful package with better image quality. It has been as low as $160 or so. If bulk doesn’t bother you to a point, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX7K 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 7.5x Intelligent zoom and 3.0-inch LCD – Black nets a clear notch up in both still image and video quality, with the lesser zoom the only thing that might cramp your creative juices.

  • This camera takes incredible pictures and videos. I have a Canon SLR, and I understand that given the difference in the sensors the SLR must in some respects take better pictures, but I find the pictures from this little camera to be richer. I attribute it to the Leica lens — I used to have a Leica, and no other camera came close. I guess this is considered a compact, point-and-shoot camera, but it is not in that realm when it comes to picture quality. I also like the size and controls. It is very light and compact, and the menu is very easy to use. I don’t care about all the bells and whistles, the GPS and what-not of more expensive cameras; if you do, then you might find the controls here a little spare.

    The one negative I have found so far is the flash. It is too bright and harsh. I disable it when possible; things still do fine in normal indoor light.

  • I have tried probably 10 cameras between $120 and $250 over the past few months, looking for myself and my wife each a new camera.

    Through stores and by borrowing from friends and family, I understand what is out there, and let me tell you there are several duds and a few winners, but most are very competent outdoors, with decent indoor video if you dont compare to a $400 vidcam, and only passable for low light.

    That being said, I now own a Lumix ZS15 (grade A-) and this SZ7 (B+) is for my wife who uses iAuto mostly.

    This SZ7 beats Canon Elph300 (B) and SX160 (B+ but heavy), Samsung PL210(B or B-) Sony HX70(B-), and Nikon 6300 (B-).

    PROS: Very good Auto results, good Program Mode (SZ7 calls it Normal mode ).
    Very usable low-light no-flash with Auto, and even better if you use the “Scene” mode called “Hi-Sensitivity” set at 3mp… where you can get speeds set by the camera according to conditions – speeds from ISO 2000 all the way to 6400!! Sure, some other cameras will push ISO (also at lower mp’s ), but usually only with a single jump from 1600 to 3200, with no stops in between, and nothing above 3200! Granted, these high ISO pics will be grainy, but so were the old film cameras with pushed ISO. You will have a photo when no one else could get their under-$200 camera to capture any picture at all !
    Very good outdoor video, and better than most indoor video, with no hiss.
    Very good zoom – better than any other camera in its price range by a lot – very smooth and with no clicking recorded into the audio.

    CONS:- Flash underpowered. UPDATE 10-21-12 : This lil cam has a feature not found on many cameras at 2 or 3 times its price: It can use the +/- exposure (on the top of the rear control ring) to make flash pics brighter and dimmer. It will change the ISO being used with the flash, even in Auto mode. You can therefore control the “output” brightness when using flash. I don’t know of any other cam near this price that can do this, plus push iso to 6400 in special non-flash situations. What a combination !! A great camera for art and natural history museums.
    – The SZ7 has no A,S,or M settings for manual control. (Get the Lumix ZS15 or Canon SX260.)
    – Overall picture quality is nice in Auto, and better when you learn the +/- and ISO properly. But the output is not for 8×10 or larger. This can be said for every cam in the price range, but I just want you to hear it from a real admirer of the SZ7 for what this camera CAN do.

    SUMMARY: Best camera out there at this price and this slim….4.1 out of 5 stars.

  • I am very satisfied with Lumix DMC-SZ7 digital camera. Its small size makes it easy to slip into a pocket. The 10x zoom works well in both still and movie mode. Unlike other cameras I have used I hear no noise from the zoom mechanism in the movie audio during the replay. Auto focus and image stabilization work well. Previously I used the physically larger DMC-ZS7 camera which included an internal GPS to record position coordinates with the picture. I never used the GPS tagging. The smaller size of the newer SZ7 is far more convenient for me.

    I was disappointed that Panasonic chose to not include a separate battery charger with the SZ7. Instead, the charger is built into the camera with power supplied by a USB cable. I did some digging and found that other Lumix cameras use the same battery as the SZ7, model DMW-BCK7. Those cameras list Panasonic battery charger model DE-A91BA as an accessory. This charger plugs into an AC wall outlet and has a receptacle that holds the battery being charged. I ordered one of these from Amazon and it charged the SZ7′s battery. I can now continue to use the camera with a second battery while the other battery is in the DE-A91BA charger.

  • W. Munro says:

    Really loved this camera’s features. I wasn’t able to try it out though. The unit I received does not charge the battery. I am having to return for a replacement. Hopefully it is just fluke and not a bigger problem with the first production of these new cameras.

    Also, be aware that this camera does NOT come with an external battery charger, like previous Lumix cameras. The only way to charge the battery is inside the camera, by connecting the mini-USB cable. I don’t really like this method, as the door to the charging port on the camera is really flimsy and likely to break pretty quickly if I have to open it every time to charge.

    It may be possible to find 3rd-party charges that work for this battery, but I have not looked yet.

  • Yarii-Lynn says:

    This is my sixth Panasonic Lumix, I like to upgrade now and then and when I saw Panasonic came out with an affordable MOS sensor camera I had to have it. OK, it doesn’t have full manual control like other Lumix cameras I’ve owned, but I rarely used the manual settings other than Aperture Priority to get a blurred background. Intelligent Auto (iA) is normally where I leave the setting anyhow.

    Features of this camera I love:
    – WOW! Fastest camera I’ve ever owned, not only on start-up, but SUPER fast shutter response, and fast recycling to take the next photo.
    – Leica lens, one of the best lens manufacturers.
    – You can optically zoom during the video.
    – The size is not TOO small, yet not too big – JUST RIGHT! This is a small camera, but not what I consider to be an ultra-compact where there is NO place to grab onto, those tiny ultra-compact cameras are too easy to drop! This SZ7 is the perfect size.
    – Metal body – although it feels like plastic, I read on another site that it’s aluminum, good build quality.
    – Fantastic photos, HD videos in stereo!
    – Pretty decent in low light settings.
    – Miniature Effect: I find I use this quite a lot for a blurred background.
    – Panoramic feature is the best I’ve used.

    Features I’m not crazy about but I can learn to live with:
    – Black is the only color choice here, I’m tired of black cameras.
    – A mode dial on top would have been nice, instead of menus, at least there is a separate movie button on top.
    – No separate battery charger, this is the first Panasonic camera I’ve owned where the battery is charged inside the camera, it must be a cost-cutting measure for Panasonic.

    I recommend getting a Class 10 SDHC card if you’re using your camera for videos, the quality is better and they cost only a couple dollars more than a Class 4 or Class 6 card.

    My recommended Class 10 Card: Transcend 16 GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card TS16GSDHC10E

    My recommended semi-hard camera case: Lowepro Volta 20 Camera Case (Black)
    I’ve used this case for many of my cameras, there isn’t much padding but the semi-hard exterior makes up for less padding.

  • I really don’t understand some of these reviewers. They buy a nice little point and shoot digital camera and expect it to have the features of a five thousand dollar SLR and high end video all in one. This camera is inexpensive, compact, and produces great pictures indoors without a flash. It also compensates for uneven lighting. I used it outdoors to take pictures of Christmas decorations — it was perfect. I used it indoors to take pictures of gatherings of long-lost relatives. It was perfect with or without a flash. Macro was perfect and zoom was perfect. Sure you can’t take 300 pictures without a battery recharge and you can’t zoom in on something miles away. Maybe you can’t make a huge poster from a picture of a bumblebee taken from ten feet away. But there is really no shutter lag and the pictures really look good. This camera doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not and people who want it to be something it’s not have their head in the sand. It’s a nice little camera perfect for those quick capture moments that are so often missed because you’re busy with all the dials on your fancy Mount Olympus whatever superzoom SLRs. There is a battery indicator so you know up front when you need to recharge AND there is only one cord for downloading pictures and recharging right in the camera. If you want a spare charger and battery it’s available as well. Granted, if you want to use this camera during a category five hurricane outdoors to film your opus, it will probably not do the job. For those who complain about the detailed users manual only being available on line — I don’t use all of those fancy features anyway and the users manual included in the box had enough info for me. Bottom line: I like it!

  • Lumix had always been known for their video quality and SZ7 is no exception. It supports full HD resolution (but you can use lower resolution as well), you can zoom while taking video, and it has stereo mics. I found the mics to be excellent quality, they’re very sensitive and pick up smallest sounds in a quite room – I could hear noises from outside and even myself breathing. It also works great for loud conditions, I recorded at loud rock concerts and audio sounds great with no distortion. In fact, a friend of mine was also making a video at a concert with a ZS5 (which is a more advanced but older camera), and mine came out brighter and better sounding.

    For taking photos, I really appreciate the “Min Shutter Speed” setting that most cameras in this class lack. In low-light conditions, the camera would use 1/8 shutter speed, and I was getting a lot of motion blur when taking pictures at concerts. When I set shutter to 1/30, problem solved.

    I was choosing between this camera and ZS20/ZS19 which is better, but chose this one because of its size and weight. Having a pocket-sized camera is important to me.

    I also really like that the battery charges inside the camera. In my old Nikon camera, the feature that I hated the most was having to pull the battery to charge it, not to mention needing an external charger.

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