Panasonic ZS100 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally very good performance for long-zoom compact.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~2.3 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.6 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Startup time was good for a long-zoom compact. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot was very quick.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Wide Angle

0.102 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Telephoto

0.106 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.

Full Autofocus
Single-area AF mode
Flash enabled

0.628 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. Auto Flash enabled.

Manual Focus

0.054 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.026 second

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

The Panasonic ZS100's autofocus speeds were excellent in our tests, especially for a camera that uses contrast detection only. The ZS100 produced full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) of 0.102 second at full wide angle and 0.106 second at full telephoto using 1-area (center) AF. That's faster than most DSLRs. Enabling the flash increased lag to 0.628 second, though, to account for preflash metering.

When manually focused, the ZS100's lag time was 0.054 second, which is fast. The ZS100's prefocused shutter lag time of only 0.026 second is very quick.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

YES

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H
Large Fine JPEG

0.10 second (9.90 frames per second);
80+ frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 80 frames with no signs of slowing.

Continuous H
RAW

0.11 second (9.49 frames per second);
14 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 14 frames, then slows to 0.59s or 1.69 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.11 second (9.48 frames per second);
12 frames total;
15 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 12 frames, then slows to 1.32s or 0.76 fps when buffer is full.

Super HS mode
5-megapixel JPEG

0.02 second (50.0 frames per second);
60 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over fixed buffer length of 60 frames.

Flash Recycling

2.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were so fast, they couldn't be measured accurately as it depends on the dexterity and rhythm of the user, however there was a pre-press penalty (if you press the shutter release too soon after taking a shot, the camera will ignore it and you have to press again to take another shot).

Continuous High Speed "H" mode burst rate was fast at 9.9 frames per second for best quality JPEGs, almost matching Panasonic's 10 fps spec with AFS (focus locked at the first frame). When shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG files, the frame rate reduced only slightly to about 9.5 fps. With continuous autofocus enabled, the top frame rate drops to 5 fps according to Panasonic, however we do not test with continuous AF in the lab.

In Continuous High Speed "H" mode full-resolution buffer depths were very generous (likely limited only by the card) for Large/Fine JPEGs at over 80 frames, but when shooting RAW files buffer size dropped to 14 frames, or 12 frames when shooting RAW+JPEG files.

The ZS100 also features a "Super HS" mode which captures 5-megapixel JPEGs at 50 fps for up to 60 frames using the electronic shutter. There is also a 4K burst mode, allowing you to shoot 8.3-megapixel JPEGs at 30 fps continuously, however we did not test that mode in the lab.

Buffer clearing was reasonable with a fast UHS-I card, ranging from 6 to 15 seconds depending on the file type and burst mode, and you can continue shooting (at a much slower rate; see table above) or change settings while the buffer is clearing. However, you can't view just-shot images until the buffer is flushed to the card.

Flash recycling after full-power discharge took an average of 2.8 seconds.


Bottom line, the Panasonic ZS100's performance is very good to excellent for its class. Startup and mode switching are fast, autofocus speeds are quick, and prefocused shutter lag is very low. Burst performance is very good to excellent depending on the mode. Buffer depths are excellent when shooting JPEGs in Continuous High Speed mode, though not nearly as generous with RAW files, and buffer clearing times were reasonable given the buffer depths.

Battery Life

Fair battery life for its size.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(LCD, CIPA standard)
300 shots
Still Capture,
(EVF, CIPA standard)
260 shots

The Panasonic ZS100 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with a single battery and an AC adapter for in-camera charging via USB. The CIPA-rated 300 shots per charge when using the LCD and 260 shots when using the EVF is decent for its size and class, but we definitely recommend getting a second battery for your ZS100 if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), 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))

 



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