Panasonic describes the Lumix DMC-ZX1 as the superzoom that's sacrificed a small part of the zoom range for a big reduction in size. It's no bigger than a standard compact with a 3x zoom, but offers an equivalent focal length of 25-200mm -- pretty amazing stuff. It's available from PC World and other retailers for around £220.'s 'little sister'. It's basically a compact
Tiny, sharp lens
Panasonic claims to have designed the world's first 0.3mm, super-thin spherical and aspherical lens elements, and the result is an 8x zoom that takes up no more space than a 3x lens. It's not just a wideangle zoom, but a super-wide one, with a minimum focal length of just 25mm. That's noticeable when you use it, too, because the DMC-ZX1 can squeeze just slightly more into the frame than competitors.
Miniaturised lenses don't always work that well, but this Leica-badged lens is sharp right across its focal range, producing good definition even at full zoom, and hardly any chromatic aberration at all. It's crisp from the centre of the frame right to the edges, too.
Panasonic likes to bombard us with 'intelligent' technologies, but the 'intelligent exposure' is worth a mention because it effectively adjusts the ISO in different parts of the scene to capture a wider brightness range. The little DMC-ZX1 certainly resists highlight blow-out pretty well for a compact camera. The colours are good, the exposure system rarely makes a mistake, and the optical image stabilisation's been improved, making it more effective at counteracting slow camera movements, rather than just high-speed jitter.
The biggerand DMC-TZ7 superzooms have long been considered the perfect travel cameras, but the DMC-ZX1 maybe goes one step further, offering a 'travel' mode in which you can browse your photos and movies using a calendar display.