Panasonic ZS50 First Shots: 30x zoom in your pocket with RAW files - but how does it fare in the lab?


posted Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 2:54 PM EDT


It's OK to admit it - you want 30x zoom in a tiny package. We're talking about a 24-720mm equivalent reach here, in a small body weighing only 8.6 ounces with the battery. This is Panasonic's latest in the popular Travel Zoom category, where several other companies have also recently unveiled their latest 30x offerings.

Sporting more than just the excellent range for the size though, the ZS50 also captures RAW files just as its predecessor the ZS40 did -- while most of the pack of competing Travel Zoom cameras don't. And in a bold move that we at IR have been in strong public support of, they've lowered the resolution to 12.1mp, down from 18.1 on the ZS40, thereby increasing the size of the pixels in order to potentially increase low light performance.

This is just the type of step that many of our core enthusiast readers like to hear about, as they, like us, are constantly in search of better products that can get the job done, even if just for a family trip. So, how did they do? Our lab First Shots are the best place to start, at least for analyzing ISO performance and overall image quality. The ZS50 Samples Page allows you to view our Still Life target across the ISO range, and also gives you access to the accompanying RAW files for download. And of course our Comparometer allows you to see side-by-side image comparisons with the predecessor or any other camera we've ever tested.

Below are a few sneak-peeks to get you started at ISO 100 and 800 at default sharpening settings (in-camera JPEGS):

Panasonic ZS50 • ISO 100

Panasonic ZS50 • ISO 800

ZS50 Samples PageComparometerZS50 Preview

Stay tuned for more to come on Panasonic's latest 30x travel zoom.