Shop for Panasonic Lumix ZS200 (TZ200)See all prices
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.)
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 $700and the $900 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 , another 1-inch sensor camera with a smaller, faster f1.4-2.8 lens that Panasonic released the same year as the ZS100.
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.