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Panasonic ZS200 ups the lens zoom for 1-inch compacts to 15x

Panasonic's successor to the ZS100 "travel zoom" compact brings the lens to 24-360mm, but sacrifices speed.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read

The ZS200's body is almost unchanged from its predecessor's.


When Panasonic launched the ZS100 compact about two years ago, it had the distinction of offering the biggest zoom range in the 1-inch sensor compact class; now, its successor, the ZS200, retains that advantage with its 15x zoom.  While Panasonic has tweaked the design a bit, the 24-360mm f3.3-6.4 lens,  a higher-resolution electronic viewfinder and the addition of Bluetooth are the primary changes.

Like the ZS100, it has may aliases: in the UK you'll find it as the TZ200, and in Australia the TZ220. It will debut at a higher price than the ZS100 though, $800, when it ships in March. (I don't have pricing for anywhere but the US yet, but that $800 directly converts to £580 and AU$1,020.)

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The ZS100 always teetered between being a mainstream and an enthusiast compact, which is part of its charm. With the ZS200, Panasonic prioritizes zoom over a wide aperture, pushing it firmly into the general-purpose zone, and kind of into a class by itself. 

Other 1-inch sensor former competitors like the $700 Canon G7 X Mark II and the $900 Sony RX100 IV have smaller zoom ranges but wide f1.8-2.8 apertures for better low-light performance and marginally better background defocus. This lets Panasonic increase the differentiation between Panasonic's LX10/LX15, another 1-inch sensor camera with a smaller, faster f1.4-2.8 lens that Panasonic released the same year as the ZS100.  

Watch this: Panasonic's just-right compact camera

On the flip side, there are a lot of cheaper cameras with big ranges but smaller sensors, which don't deliver the same photo quality.

Despite the bigger lens, the camera maintains its compact design; it's increased by less than 0.1 inch/1mm on two sides and gained only about 1 ounce/32 grams of weight.