Panasonic SZ8 Review -- First Impressions
by Dave Pardue
Preview posted: 01/06/2014
Panasonic's sleek and slim travel zoom line continues with the introduction of the LUMIX DMC-SZ8, successor to last year's DMC-SZ3. The SZ8 features a 12x optical zoom (24-288mm eq.) which slightly bests the 10x offered on the SZ3, and incorporates their Intelligent Zoom functionality which allows for a digital zoom extension up to 24x. Optical Image Stabilization is reported to effectively suppress typical hand shake issues at long zoom ranges.
The SZ8 sports a 1/2.33"-type 16 megapixel CCD sensor married to Panasonic's Venus processing engine, which the company claims excels in processing speed. It also provides HD video at 720p as well as a "high-speed" burst shooting mode of roughly 3 frames per second at 3 megapixels (full-resolution burst shooting is limited to 1.2 frames per second). ISO sensitivity ranges from standard settings of 100 to 1600, with up to ISO 6400 equivalent in High Sensitivity mode.
The lens itself has a variable aperture range of f/3.1 through f/6.3 across the zoom range and is comprised of 8 elements in 8 groups including 4 aspherical lenses. The 3" LCD has a much higher resolution than its predecessor at 460K-dots, and has an automatic power monitor mode.
The SZ8 is Wi-Fi compatible including a handy Instant Transfer function for rapid image delivery to your smart device, and can also be controlled remotely from your smart device. Creative effects come in droves and there's also intelligent auto (iA) to assist beginners in getting the highest quality image output. There's also an HDR (High Dynamic Range) setting which is helpful to have on a point-and-shoot.
Images and movies are stored on SD/SDHC/SDXC cards along with 80MB of internal memory, and power is derived from a proprietary lithium-ion battery rated at 200 shots per charge. In addition to built-in Wi-Fi, connectivity features include standard-def A/V out and a USB 2.0 port for data transfer and charging.
Pricing and availability of the Panasonic SZ8 have not been announced.
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