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First Look: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1

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First Look: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1

2:11 /

With a flexible lens in a pocketable package, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 is a pleasing point-and-shoot megazoom--both in design and photo quality.

>> Hey I'm Josh Goldman, Senior Editor for CNET Reviews and this is a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1. Like its line mate the ZS3, this is a 10 megapixel point and shoot camera; the 25 millimeter equivalent wide-angle lens and at 12X optical zoom all in a package small enough to slip in a pocket. However, the ZS1 is $100 less expensive because it dropped some features, the biggest one being that it doesn't have a High-Def movie mode. The ZS1 is VGA only. But the rest of the package is very good with a 2.7 inch LCD on back, straightforward control layout; nice sturdy built quality including this big grip on the right that makes it comfortable to shoot one handed if necessary. The only thing that was a bit of a problem was how freely the mode dial spends because the slightest nudge results in an error message. Since the ZS1 is for the most part a snapshot camera, its shooting options are fairly limited. You get Panasonic's intelligent auto that determines the most suitable scene mode and helps correct any blurring, focus and brightness issues. And of course you get a set of scene modes; you can even assign one of the scene modes to a My Scene spot on the mode dial. There's also a program auto option if you want control over settings like ISO, white balance and auto focus. Photo quality is very good for its class. Things that mega zoom photos typically exhibit--softness, barrel distortion; purple fringing; didn't seem to trouble the ZS1 and photos below ISO 200 were generally sharp with good detail, excellent color and exposure, though there was some highlight clipping. Performance was more of an issue, mainly shutter lag which took just less than a second from release to capture in good lighting. In spite of that though if you want a pocketable Point and Shoot Mega Zoom camera, this is one of the best options around. I'm Josh Goldman and that's the Panasonic LumixDMC-ZS1.

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