Panasonic ZS100 First Shots: See how well the latest long-zooming compact holds up in our test lab
posted Monday, February 29, 2016 at 4:28 PM EDT
Quick: What do you get when you marry a premium 1-inch sensored pocket camera with a premium 1-inch sensored long-zooming bridge camera? The Panasonic ZS100, of course! Almost as svelte in size as the popular Sony RX100 line of pocket cameras, the ZS100 can zoom 3.5 times farther than the latest RX100 IV. That's a total of 10x with this Leica-branded lens to be exact, or 25-250mm in 35-mm equivalent terms.
The closest competitor to this bridge-hybrid would then be the Olympus Stylus 1 and 1s models, which both sport a 10.7x zoom reach of 28-300mm equivalent range, making them just a bit farther at the tele end and a bit less wide when zoomed out. The Stylus 1/s both have a constant f/2.8 aperture across the full zoom range, where the ZS100 is variable from f/2.8 to f/5.9. And yet the ZS100's sensor is more than twice the size as the 1/1.7" type sensor found in the Stylus 1/1s, even though it's a good bit smaller in size. (The trade-offs never end!)
So, where does this leave discerning fans of these interesting hybrid models in their decision-making? In need of more information regarding image quality, for starters, and we're just the squad to bring it to you. Do-it-yourself investigators can dive right into our ZS100 First Shots sample page to pixel-peep our Still Life test target images, and also bring them up in our Comparometer beside any competitors you're interested in and view them side-by-side across the available ISO spectrum.
Does it hold up to the similarly-sensored Sony RX100 IV at base ISO? Or how about the other hybrid-bridge Olympus Stylus 1/1s models? These questions and more are awaiting your inspection in the Comparometer, and to get you started below are a few side-by-side 1:1 crops comparing the ZS100 to the RX100 IV and the Stylus 1.
Panasonic ZS100 vs Sony RX100 IV
Panasonic ZS100 vs Olympus Stylus 1
Upon initial inspection of our Still Life test target images, the Panasonic ZS100 is off to a good start. Intriguing Panasonic models have inspired us to create new categories in our Camera of the Year awards on more than one occasion (Pocket ILC, anyone?) and if the ZS100 holds up through the rest of our testing it wouldn't be at all surprising to see a new "Compact Bridge" category in our future.
As always, stay tuned for more review information to come!