Depending on what your plans are for its photos, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7's shots are either very good to excellent or unusable. If you're looking to use its 14-megapixel resolution to enlarge pictures to full size and heavily crop in, don't buy this camera (or most other point-and-shoots). Things just don't look great when viewed at 100 percent.
However, those viewing on screen at less than 100 percent or making prints up to 8.5x11, which is probably the majority of buyers, will be really happy with the results. These are 100 percent crops from our test scene. Looking at them more closely you'll see subjects are somewhat soft and noisy even at the camera's lowest ISO sensitivities where things should be their sharpest.
As you go up in ISO, such as when you're shooting in low light, you'll pick up more noise, particularly yellow blotches. Panasonic's JPEG processing has gotten much better at these higher ISOs, though, making them usable. Things definitely get worse at ISO 1600 and above, however, so you'll want to avoid using them whenever possible. Also, subjects generally look soft above ISO 200; if it's something you're sensitive to, you can always sharpen somewhat with editing software.
August 13, 2012 10:06 AM PDT
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET
| Caption by: Joshua Goldman
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