CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Panasonic Lumix ZS100 (TZ100, TZ110) review: The ZS100 is a camera for your inner Goldilocks

Performance

Shooting with the ZS100 didn't feel slow; I don't remember missing any single shots because of sluggish autofocus, or experience delays with playback or ability to change settings because of image processing. The one exception: because the lens drives so slowly, if you have zoom resume turned on (so it remembers your last zoom position) it takes too long to be ready to shoot when the camera wakes up from sleep.

It's not the fastest horse in the stable. It doesn't sink to the overall lows of the Canon PowerShot G5 X, but it's still relatively slow.

It takes about 2.3 seconds to power on, focus and shoot, which is about the same as the rest of the field. Focusing and shooting in good light is its best trick, coming in at about 0.1 second. But in low light that rises to 0.6 second, which is a little slow. It also takes about 0.6 second to shoot two consecutive images, which is close to other cameras. With flash enabled that's about 1.7 seconds.

On the other hand, its 5.7 frames-per-second continuous-shooting speed ties with the Sony RX100 IV, excellent performance for this type of camera. That's with continuous autofocus for more than 30 JPEGs. It's not quite as nimble for raw, which slows considerably after 18 shots.

In full autofocus mode -- letting the camera select where to focus rather than choosing yourself -- the ZS100 is as frustrating as most cameras, consistently selecting incorrectly. Even the custom multizone AF, which lets you select a specific group of autofocus areas for the camera to select from, never seems to choose wisely. I also found the tracking autofocus fairly ineffective, and the image stabilization not great when zoomed all the way out (I still had to set a relatively high shutter speed). In the sports mode the camera chose the wrong settings -- it set the shutter speed too low, even for slow-moving bicyclists -- though the pet-shooting mode did a better job for general action.

Its battery life isn't rated very high at 240 shots with the viewfinder, my preferred method of shooting, but it seems to last a lot longer than that. The viewfinder is small but comfortable, though it can't really keep up with high-speed continuous shooting.

Shooting speed

Sony RX100 III
0.3
0.1
0.5
0.5
2.0
Panasonic Lumix LX100
0.2
0.2
0.4
0.5
2.5
Sony RX100 IV
0.2
0.3
0.2
0.2
2.1
Panasonic Lumix ZS100
0.1
0.6
0.6
0.6
2.3

Legend:

Shutter lag (typical)
Shutter lag (dim)
Typical shot-to-shot time
Raw shot-to-shot time
Time to first shot

Note:

Seconds (smaller bars are better)

Continuous-shooting speed

Sony RX100 III
2.1
Panasonic Lumix LX100
4.1
Sony RX100 IV
5.7
Panasonic Lumix ZS100
5.7

Note:

Frames per second (longer bars are better)

Design and features

The camera is a great size given its lens, fitting comfortably in a jacket pocket, and a pleasure to shoot with. The ring around the lens, which can control a number of settings depending upon how you program it, is a little bigger than you usually find in a compact and a little more comfortable.

Most of the controls are well designed, easy to feel and manipulate and logically positioned. I have just two complaints: the video record button is hard to press and the diopter control on the viewfinder (which adjusts the focus distance for people with glasses) rotates too easily and loses its position every now and then. I also think that it could benefit from a flip-up LCD, since the camera has a lot of appeal for the selfie-and-groupie taker. Panasonic does have a great app for wireless file transfer and remote shooting, so that's one way to get around the lack of a movable display.

With Panasonic's Post Focus feature enabled, the camera takes a short 4K movie, focusing at different distances in the scene. You then choose which of the frames have the focus you like -- in camera -- and export them as JPEGs.

Lori Grunin/CNET

You'll find the full set of Panasonic's features, which includes a broad set of customizable filters plus time lapse, stop-motion animation and various 4K-resolution modes for extracting stills from video. It incorporates the company's Post Focus mode which is implemented better here than in previous cameras; there's a direct-access button to toggle it on and off. And the short videos it creates, which show the focus changing, are cool in and of themselves.

For a complete list of its features and operation, download the ZS100's manual (PDF).

Conclusion

If you're ready for better-than phone or point-and-shoot quality but don't want to give up the flexibility of a zoomier lens, the ZS100 hits the Goldilocks combination of quality and capabilities.

Comparative specifications

Canon PowerShot G5 X Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100
Panasonic Lumix TZ100 (UK)
Panasonic Lumix TZ110 (AU)
Nikon DL24-85 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV
Sensor effective resolution 20.2MP HS CMOS 20.1MP MOS 20.8MP BSI CMOS 20.2MP Exmor RS CMOS
Sensor size 1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Focal-length multiplier 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x 2.7x
OLPF Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 125 - ISO 12800 ISO 80 (exp)/ISO 125 - ISO 12800/ISO 25600 (exp) ISO 160 - ISO 6400/ISO 12800 (exp) ISO 80 (exp)/ISO 125 - ISO 12800
Lens (35mm equivalent) 24-100mm
f1.8-2.8
4.2x
25-250mm
f2.8-5.9
10x
24-85mm
f1.8-2.8
3.6x
24 - 70mm
f1.8-2.8
2.9x
Closest focus 2.0 in/5 cm 2 in/5 cm 1.2 in/3 cm 1.9 in/5 cm
Burst shooting 4.4fps
n/a
(5.9fps with fixed focus)
6fps
unlimited JPEG/12 raw
(10fps without AF; 30fps at 4K)
20fps
n/a
(60fps with AE/AF/WB locked on first frame)
5.5fps
(with electronic shutter; 16fps with fixed focus and exposure)
n/a
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
OLED EVF
2.4m dots
100 percent coverage
EVF
0.2-inch/51 mm
1.2m dots
100% coverage
2.6x/0.5x
Optional tilting EVF
2.4m dots
n/a
OLED EVF
0.4-inch/10.2mm
1.44m dots
100% coverage
Hot shoe Yes No Yes Yes
Autofocus 31-area
Contrast AF
49-area
Contrast AF
105-point phase detection
171-area contrast AF
25-area
Contrast AF
AF sensitivity n/a n/a n/a n/a
Shutter speed 250 - 1/2,000 sec 60 sec - 1/2,000 sec (1/16,000 electronic shutter); Time to 4 minutes 30 - 1/1,600 secs (1/16,000 sec electronic shutter); Time to 120 secs 30 - 1/2,000 sec (1/32,000 electronic shutter); bulb
Metering n/a n/a n/a n/a
Metering sensitivity n/a n/a n/a n/a
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p
MP4 UHD 2160/30p; AVCHD 1080/60p, 60i, 30p H.264 MP4 4K UHD/30p, 25p; 1080/60p; slow motion 1080/120p; 400x144/1200p XAVC S 4K UHD 2160/30p, 25p, 24p @ 100Mbps
Audio Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes n/a Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time 4GB/29:59 minutes 15 minutes n/a 5 minutes
Optical zoom while recording Yes Yes n/a Yes
Clean HDMI out n/a Yes Yes n/a
IS Optical Optical
5-axis hybrid
Optical Optical
5-axis hybrid
LCD 3 in/7.5 cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Fixed
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Tilting, flip up, touchscreen
1.04m dots
(97% coverage)
3 in/7.5cm
Tilting
921,600 dots
(plus another set of white dots for brightness)
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash No No n/a No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 215 shots
(1250 mAh)
300 shots (LCD); 240 shots (EVF)
(1,025 mAh)
290 shots
(850mAh)
280 shots (LCD);
230 shots (EVF)
(1,240 mAh)
Size (WHD) 4.4 x 3 x 1.7 in
112 x 76 x 44 mm
4.4 x 2.5 x 1.7 in
110.5 x 64.5 x 44.3 mm
4.2 x 2.5 x 2.0 in
105 x 61 x 50 mm
4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 inches
101.6 x 58.1 x 41 mm
Body operating weight 13.3 oz (est.)
377 g (est.)
10.9 oz
308 g
12.3 oz (est.)
350 g (est.)
10.4 oz
294 g
Mfr. price $750
£650
AU$990
$700
£550
AU$1,000
$650
£670
AU$900
$950
£920
AU$1,400
Release date (US) November 2015 March 2016 June 2016 July 2015

Best Digital Cameras for 2019

All Best Cameras

More Best Products

All Best Products

This week on CNET News

Discuss Panasonic Lumix ZS100 (TZ100, TZ110)