Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1

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The Good Useful zoom range; great lens quality; solid build quality and controls; small size.

The Bad Over-enthusiastic noise reduction at all ISOs; very close to the Lumix DMC-TZ6 and DMC-TZ7 in terms of price and features.

The Bottom Line Why bother looking at any of Panasonic's other numerous 12-megapixel compacts now that the Lumix DMC-ZX1 is here? It beats the whole lot for zoom range and, from the look of our test shots, image quality too, yet it's no bigger. The DMC-ZX1's only real rivals are the Lumix DMC-TZ6 and DMC-TZ7 superzooms

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8.8 Overall

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Panasonic describes the Lumix DMC-ZX1 as the Lumix DMC-TZ7's 'little sister'. It's basically a compact 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.

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.

The glassware in the DMC-ZX1 is rather exceptional, combining low distortion with consistent sharpness across both the frame and the full zoom range (click image to enlarge)

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.

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