Pros 12-16x zoom, Excellent Auto mode, 720p AVCHD and JPEG HD, 16x9 pics that are not cropped 4x3. Great viewing on Panasonic Viera device via SD card slot. Oh yeah, geotagging is very cool.
Cons AVCHD is a pain to work with on a Mac, though iMovie 9 (8.0.3) will import AVCHD but converts to a quicktime format.
Summary I love this camera. I am strictly a casual point-and-shoot user and have gone through 3 or 4 digital cameras from the bulky but excellent Canon S1 to the compact, rugged and mediocre Olympus Stylus 790SW. I've gladly given up the bombproof ruggedness of the Olympus for the features of the DMC-ZS7. The 12x optical zoom increases to 16x iZoom with little or no degradation and works for both photos and video. For my requirements the quality of both photos and 720p HD movies is excellent. I also bought a Panasonic Blu-Ray player with SD card slot that plays both photos and AVCHD video. Since we are using the the TV for playback the quality of 16x9 photos is really important. There is a good explanation on panasonic.net, but basically on the ZS7 a 16x9 aspect ratio is not a cropped 4x3 photo and it shows. Playback on our HDTV is simply stunning. No need for the family to huddle in front of a computer anymore. For taking pics I've mostly set the mode on Auto and let it do it's thing with very nice results. The number of options in Scenes mode is limited but the basics are there (snow/beach/landscape/etc). It also has a fully manual mode which I don't think I will ever use. I guess the ZS-3 got slammed for not having it so they included it in the ZS-7. I highly recommend this camera.
Pros easy to use once you explore all the features--16X zoom--HD video
Cons poor low light performance--you can compensate using manual controls, but takes some practice
Summary takes very sharp pics, better than Sony HX5.Many scene settings, good resolution in shaded areas, very fast shutter, (10 fps) on burst which is great for taking small children,face recog memory, multiple metering and focus settings, and I love the HD video,whihc yields very good pics on a screen snap---very good value.Dont have to lug around my Nikon D70s anymore when on a trip.Get 2 batteries and hdmi cable if buying.And very smart auto setting,works great in all situations, except low light
Pros 1. Picture quality is fantastic. 2. Feature-rich from fully auto to custom manual settings. 3. Scene options fit almost any situation. 4. Wide angle and Zoom is incredible; from 25 -300mm! 5. GPS feature gives you pinpoint location records.
Cons The battery / memory card cover is flimsy. In fact, the lock mechanism can come apart if you apply too much pressure so you have to be very careful about changing the battery or the compact flash card.
Summary I use to only take pictures on special occasions. Now since I have the Panasonic Lumix ZS7 I use it almost every day. It has incredible features that have put the fun back into taking pictures. The zoom has unbelievable distance not to mention the super wide-angle at the low end. That 25mm wide-angle means no more having everybody squeeze together and stand sideways for a group photo. The zoom allowed me to take just the torch of the Statue of Liberty from the top of the Empire State building several miles away! Not only that, using a tripod I have pictures of the Moon and planets that show detail like I've only seen in telescopes. The macro close-ups of flowers and butterflies have detail and color that is not only in focus but has tremendous detail. The pre-set Scene feature covers just about any situation from sunsets to the beach to an indoor party to a candle-lit wedding. The GPS feature when used with Google Earth shows me the exact location of my picture whether it was taken in the front yard or around the swimming pool in the back. The ability to set shutter speeds, aperture, and exposure manually is a bonus that has really broadened my picture taking skills. And since I can save up to three different custom settings it quickly allows me to have a just what I need when I need it. Of course the Intelligent Auto and the Program AE mode make everything automatic so even if all you want to do is point and shoot the pictures will turn out great. There is a long list of features and even after owning it for 4 months I have yet to try them all out. Some of the ones I enjoy the most are the trip picture organizer that saves and arranges the pictures based on when you start and end your trip, the face recognition feature that learns who you take pictures of the most so that focus priority and color balance is optimized for those people, What about video? There are 3 different high definition settings that give you complete flexibility to capture video recordings that will play on the camera, your PC, or the big screen TV. Video recordings can also be zoomed just like a standard video camera which is not something you find on most compact digital cameras on the market today. The camera can also use the new ultra-high capacity SDXC flash cards which can store pictures and video all the way up to 64 gigs! The software program that comes with the camera is pretty easy to use and includes good instructions. Though not as feature-rich as Photoshop Elements or as easy to use as I-Photo you can still download and organize your pictures as well as make albums, slideshows, and prints. Bottom-line: I love this camera and cannot imagine enjoying and using any other compact digital camera as much as I do the Panasonic Lumix ZS7.
Pros 1. Consistently takes perfect pictures in iA setting. 2. Realistic skin tones, not dry like a lot of other digital cameras. 3. High quality zoom lens with terrific range. 4. Very good anti-shake to make #3 usable. Easy to use video. 5. 3" LCD.
Cons 1. Needs a viewfinder. LCD is useless in sunlight. 2. If you have to use an LCD to compose your pictures, at least make it hinged so you can avoid the glare from the sun. 3. GPS needs an external switch so you don't have to go thru menus.
Summary I think its a great little camera. I can work around the cons above.
Pros I wanted a camera that could take very high resolution stills, Motion imagery, and GPS. This camera offers it all. It's small as well. I also needed a camera that is compatible with Apple Mac computers/software. This camera has it.
Cons .. not sure I've found anything yet I would call a "con". However, while the Mac doesn't support AVCHD, the camera will record in HD video format (.MOV) that is compatible with QuickTime, iMovie, iPhoto and Aperture3.
Summary Very good camera. Very sharp photos. Very clean video... note Apple doesn't support AVCHD and AVCHD Lite; but HD Video with .MOV is supported.
Updated on Jun 23, 2010