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First Look: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10

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First Look: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10

2:46 /

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 is a very good compact megazoom as long as you don't mind paying more for features and speedy performance than photo quality.

-Hi! I'm Josh Goldman, senior editor for CNET, and this is a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10. The ZS10 is Panasonic's top of the line compact megazoom or travel zoom which in this case puts a 24-mm wide-angle lens with a 16x zoom in a body that's just over an inch thick. Of course, that's just the lens and Panasonic has packed this model full of other features like full HD in high speed movie capture, and with that, a stereo mic and one-touch record button. You get semi manual and manual shooting modes, built-in GPS for geotagging your photos and several valuable burst shooting options. The high speed shooting combined with a long lens makes it a nice choice for shooting outdoor sports like a lot of people like to take pictures and my kids too and the ZS10 proves fast enough for that, and I'm sure it's shooting performance can keep up with active pets as well. However, the high-speed shooting and the GPS and the HD movies, they all wear down the tiny battery pretty fast. You definitely wanna add an extra battery into your budget. Another extra feature is the 3-inch touchscreen on the back, but Panasonic didn't do much with it, only using it for a handful of functions. For example, you can use it to focus and shoot photos, but menu navigation is still primarily done with the directional pad. In playback, you can use it to flip through your shots, but you can't do any editing or drawing or writing on photos. It just seems if you're going to be paying for a touchscreen, you should get more use out of it. As for its photo quality, that's really a matter of how picky you are or what you're planning to do with your shots. Photos taken outdoors with plenty of light look very good to excellent right out of the camera. But if you look at them at full size, you will see a lot of image noise and artifacts in soft fine details that make them less valuable for enlarging or cropping. The less light you have, the more you'll see those things and the softer your subjects will look. Video quality has the same issues but it is much smoother than I'd come to expect from a point and shoot. Basically, with this camera, you're getting a lot of features, a great zoom range for its size, and fast shooting performance. Its photos are very good, but maybe not for big prints or heavy cropping. I'm Josh Goldman and that's the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10.

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