Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Review

 
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Panasonic ZS7 Performance


Timing and Performance

Good performance overall for a compact long-zoom digicam.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.5 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.

Shutdown

1.8 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

2 seconds *
(after 3 frame burst of L/F JPEGs)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly longer clearing times.

Good startup and shutdown times here for a long-zoom digicam. Buffer clearing times will depend a lot on the speed of the card.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.51 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide-angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.45 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus
Flash enabled
0.65 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide-angle position, Auto flash enabled.

Prefocused

0.012 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Panasonic ZS7's full AF shutter response is slightly faster than average at wide-angle for a long zoom, at 0.51 second. At full telephoto, AF shutter lag is much faster than average for its class, at 0.45 second. Enabling the flash increases lag time to 0.65s due to the preflash metering involved, but that's still pretty good. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of only 0.012 second, which is incredibly fast.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.96 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds to clear.

Early shutter
penalty?

YES

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.55 second (1.82 frames per second);
3 frames total;
2 second to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 3 frames.

Hi-Speed Burst mode
3-Megapixel JPEG

0.10 second (10.0 frames per second);
48 frames total;
5 second to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 48 frames.

Flash recycling

6.9 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are about average, at about 1.96 seconds for large/fine JPEGs.  The Panasonic ZS7's full resolution continuous shooting mode is a bit slower than average, at 1.82 frames per second for only 3 large/fine frames. Switching to standard quality JPEGs increases the buffer to 5 frames. The Lumix ZS7 has a Hi-Speed Burst mode at a reduced resolution of 3-megapixels, though. In that mode, we got 10 frames per second for 48 frames. The flash takes 6.9 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is a bit slow.

 

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

6,607 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are excellent.

 

Bottom line, the Panasonic Lumix ZS7's performance is generally better than average for a compact long-zoom, though full resolution burst mode and flash recycle times are slower than average.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still shot capture,
(CIPA standard)
300 shots
Video, continuous recording
(AVCHD or Motion JPEG)
100 mins
Playback
300 mins

The Panasonic ZS7 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Although battery life is about average, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Panasonic ZS7 accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and includes 15MB of usable built-in memory. For HD movie capture, Panasonic recommends using cards that are Class 4 or higher.

Image Capacity with
15MB Internal Memory
Fine Standard
4,000 x 3,000
Images
(Avg Size)
2
7.5 MB
3
5.0 MB
Approx.
Comp.
5:1 7:1
3,264 x 2,448
Images
(Avg Size)
3
5.0 MB
5
3.0 MB
Approx.
Comp.
5:1 8:1
2,560 x 1,920
Images
(Avg Size)
4
3.8 MB
7
2.1 MB
Approx.
Comp.
4:1 7:1
2,048 x 1,536
Images
(Avg Size)
8
1.9 MB
17
882 KB
Approx.
Comp.
5:1 11:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg Size)
65
231 KB
100
150 KB
Approx.
Comp.
4:1 6:1

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC memory card at least a 2GB card, preferably a 4 or 8GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings or video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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