Compact size, 10x zoom and a fairly large sensor - Panasonic ZS100 gallery images posted!
posted Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 7:27 AM EDT
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The Panasonic ZS100 is an interesting breed of camera. It's almost as if they took a Sony RX100 IV and married it with an Olympus Stylus 1, with the ZS100 being the offspring. It has the larger sensor of the RX100 series, and a fairly svelte body that's only slightly larger, and yet sports a much longer zoom range closer in stride with the Stylus 1/s. It doesn't have the constant f/2.8 aperture as the Stylus 1/s, of course, but is more compact and sports a much larger sensor.
OK - so enough genealogy already. Suffice it to say that as of this writing, there's no other camera out there quite like this little guy for size and abilities. It also feels terrific in the hands, with controls that have a real precision feel to them. Add in 5-axis IS to help with handheld shots, and you have an intriguing proposition indeed.
Our Panasonic ZS100 sample unit is now on the way to our reviewer Jeremy Gray for a Field Test around the countryside of Maine, but in the meantime we wanted to bring you some real world gallery images to tide you over while waiting on his report. These were all shot handheld, as that's the real nature of this little travel companion.
(Images have been resized to fit this page and cropped and/or altered in post, primarily to balance shadow and highlight detail. Click any image for access to the original version as delivered by the Panasonic ZS100, and head to our ZS100 Gallery page for access to more images, additional EXIF data and RAW files.)
I've always enjoyed seeing which cameras can make it to the moon, whether it be a superzoom camera going for glory or a full frame monster with a frankenstinian rig. This lunar image below, as all the images in this initial gallery batch, was shot handheld, so for 1/250s while zoomed to the 250mm eq. range, that bodes well for the onboard image stabilization system on the ZS100.
Don't be fooled though by this crop below - it's zoomed in all the way to 1:1 to see how close the camera can actually get to the lunar surface detail. But this hugely magnified image is really only good for online posting, and wouldn't make for a very large print. Click the image to see how the ZS100 actually saw the moon that night.
Hitting the countryside
Raising the gain
Moving up in sensor size tends to have significant advantages in image quality potential, with the single largest benefit being the ability to push the ISO gain higher when needed. I don't like to stray far from base ISO with cameras that have 1/2.3" sensors, as they just can't handle the noise very well, but 1" sensored cameras tend to be able to handle up to about ISO 1600 without too much loss of fine detail due to noise processing. Below are examples at ISO 400 and 1600, and there are more examples in our ZS100 Gallery.
Summing it up
I enjoyed my brief shooting time with the Panasonic ZS100 quite a bit. The precision feel combined with the relatively large sensor and nice zoom range invite tons of versatility for travel and everyday photography. I'd love a constant f/2.8 aperture, but there are always trade-offs, and at the size of this camera that would mean a smaller sensor or a shorter zoom range. This is one of the best all-around travel cameras I've shot with so far, and should make a fine choice especially if the majority of your shooting is in the great outdoors and the 250mm eq. length is enough zoom muscle.
Stay tuned for our full Field Test on this highly versatile camera. In the meantime head to our Panasonic ZS100 Gallery for more real world images, EXIF data and RAW file access.
• Panasonic ZS100 • Gallery • Lab Samples •
• Sony RX100 IV vs Panasonic ZS100 •
• Olympus Stylus 1s vs Panasonic ZS100 •
• Canon G7X II vs Panasonic ZS100 •
• • • • •
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Caffeine Priority is a new series of short photo-tidbits to ease you into your day, and give us a chance to share a bit more of what life’s like here at IR. We're more like a group of friends testing and talking about cameras and lenses than the buttoned-down, big-corporation world that some of our photo-friends at other companies work in; hopefully these little snippets will share some of that. So... grab another coffee and join in the conversation with us down below!