"Excellent compact digital mega-zoom camera"4.0 starson by xiache
Pros: Powerful mega-zoom. Compact and light weight (a bit lighter than SZ1). German LEICA lens. Image stabilizer. HD video with 16:9 ratio.
Cons: Shutter speed is lag/slow. Feels a little heavier than competitors. No color enhancement mode. GPS has no easy switch to turn off. Can't play back on a TV in HD mode.
Summary: If you are looking for a 12x plus mega-zoom compact digital camera, look no further. In this review, I am going to focus on the issues that I am happy with.
1) ZS7 is labeled as 16x Intelligent zoom, but the lens is labeled 12x. The additional 4x is coming from some extension and I am not sure how that works.
2) The HD video can't be played back with a HDMI cable on a LCD TV. I tried AVCHD Lite mode first. The default file is not mpg and not recognized by a LG or a VIZIO TV with the HDMI cable. After transferring to my computer, I had to rename it to mpg to be playable on my PC. Next I set it to mov mode, the TV still doesn't play it, but my PC computer can now take it. The only way for play back on a TV directly is to use the supplied RCA cable which is not HD quality. But the good news is at lease you can set the aspect ratio to 16:9 and it takes it well.
3) My Canon camera has a "vivid color" mode (and a few others) that makes the color really beautiful. SZ7 doesn't have color enhancement function.
4) Low light photo is quite poor. It feels about the same as other compact cameras. You would expect a LEICA lens to do a little better than this.
5) GPS is useless to me and it wastes battery even when the camera is off and hard to turn off. They probably should add a quick switch for the GPS in the next version.