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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 was announced in January 2012 alongside the SZ1 and is a super-zoom compact camera, available in black, white and brown for £179.00.
High-speed shooting is available in full 14.1 megapixel resolution at 10 fps, with 5 fps in continuous autofocus. Other modes include HDR (several images taken at same time and combined), miniature effect and Panorama Shot Mode. Pictures can be edited in camera through the Creative ReTouch menu which has the following six filters available: Toy Effect, Soft Focus, Dynamic Monochrome, Expressive, High Key and Retro.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound and optical zoom available.
- 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor
- 10x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-250mm)
- Intelligent zoom
- Full 1080p HD video recording
- Intelligent Auto mode
- 10 fps 14 megapixel sensor burst shooting
- 0.1 sec Light Speed AF
- 3.0 inch 460,000 dot TFT LCD screen
- HDR mode
- Miniature Effect
- Panorama Shot
- Creative Retouch
The SZ7 has an easy to navigate menu system, with the Q.menu button making it easy to make quick changes to the settings, dependent on which mode you are currently using. The battery has a CIPA rating of 250 shots which is plenty to keep you going for a full day of shooting. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.
|Shutter Response||0.1 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.3 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.4 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.1 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||1.0 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||1.9 seconds|
|10 fps AF-single
|5 fps AF-Continuous
|2 fps AF-Continuous
All the continuous shooting modes record at full 14 megapixel resolution except flash burst which is limited to 3 megapixels.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/500 sec | f/3.1 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Full Optical Zoom | 1/250 sec | f/5.9 | 45.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital Zoom | 1/125 sec | f/5.9 | 45.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/60 sec | f/3.1 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
There is no noise at ISO 100, with noise barely noticeable at ISO 200. There is a slight increase in noise at ISO 400, with images becoming a touch softer at ISO 800. Noise causes a significant decrease in image quality when switching to ISO 1600, ISO 3200 has plenty of noise and is best used for images which are to be resized for web use, rather than large prints.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 ISO test images
ISO100 | 1/6 sec | f/5.2 | 16.5 mm
ISO200 | 1/13 sec | f/5.2 | 16.5 mm
ISO400 | 1/25 sec | f/5.2 | 16.5 mm
ISO800 | 1/50 sec | f/5.2 | 16.5 mm
ISO1600 | 1/100 sec | f/5.2 | 16.5 mm
ISO3200 | 1/200 sec | f/5.2 | 16.5 mm
Landscape images have good blues and greens, with portraits having good skin tones and are free of red-eye. Panoramas are particularly impressive, with very little signs of any stitching and consistent exposure.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 Scene modes
Landscape | 1/1000 sec | f/3.1 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Landscape With Building | 1/200 sec | f/9.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.3 | 17.8 mm | ISO 800
Sport | 1/500 sec | f/5.8 | 37.3 mm | ISO 400
Panorama | 1/1000 sec | f/3.1 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
The auto white-balance (AWB) setting performs excellently, evidence of which can be seen in the images taken under our studio lighting. The incandescent preset has given a slight orange cast under the incandescent lights. There isn't a fluorescent preset, so you have to rely on the AWB setting under the fluorescent lighting, fortunately the camera copes excellently in this situation.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 8.6 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 8.6 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.5 sec | f/4.0 | 8.6 mm | ISO 100
The SZ7 has four different colour modes, with examples of each below.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 Digital filters
Colour Mode Black And White | 1/5 sec | f/5.0 | 15.3 mm | ISO 100
Colour Mode Sepia | 1/5 sec | f/5.0 | 15.3 mm | ISO 100
Colour Mode Standard | 1/5 sec | f/5.0 | 15.3 mm | ISO 100
Colour Mode Vivid | 1/5 sec | f/5.0 | 15.3 mm | ISO 100
Video ModeBelow is a video shot at full 1080p HD, the camera also allows the use of optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.
Value For MoneyThe Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 is currently priced at £179.00. Other cameras to consider are the Olympus VR-340 at £119.00, Fujifilm FinePix T400 at £129.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 at £169.00, Nikon Coolpix S6300 at £179.00 and Sony Cybershot W690 at £179.00, all with 10x optical zoom and 16 megapixel sensors.
When using the continuous shooting modes you are limited to the number of consecutive shots you can take, so you need to be spot on with your timing when capturing a fast moving subject. Other than that, the camera has some decent features which make it a worth while consideration if you are in the market for a compact camera with a decent zoom range.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 ProsFull 1080p HD video recording
Good amount of zoom in compact body
AWB performs well
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 ConsLimited number of shots in continuous shooting modes
One of the more expensive 10x optical zoom compacts
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.1 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||25mm - 250mm|
|CCD pixels||14.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Live MOS Sensor|
|Sensor Size||1/2.33 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.08mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.56mm|
|Screen resolution||460,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1600sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||8sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 6400|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 680mAh)|
|Box Contents||Battery Pack, AC Adapter, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM with PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 Advanced Edition / Adobe Reader|