Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 Review

3.5
December 31, 2012 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

Noise

The noise performance of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 is decent enough at low ISO settings. It doesn't give the sharpest results we've seen but they're acceptable. The camera gives the same results at ISO 200 but noise starts to creep in at ISO 400 which is unfortunate. The best idea is to keep the camera as low as possible and use the flash if the light is too dark. Images are sharp though, with edge definition good up to the mid range levels.

At ISO 800, not only does edge definition then begin to fail but noise starts to creep in quite badly. Green colour is present in dark areas. Noise reduction ups the ante in the final setting and while colour noise has been removed, this is at the cost of the colour in the pictures which is greatly reduced as well.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Although the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 gives a sharp picture, we thought it benefited from some sharpening in Adobe Photoshop. Although some areas looked a little over sharpened, on the whole they look better.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1's 10x zoom lens provides a very versatile focal length of 25-250mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

25mm

250mm

Chromatic Aberrations

We found traces of chromatic aberration on the edges of branches and other high contrast edges. It's most noticeable at the edges of the frame.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 has a good enough macro facility (of around 5cm) for the level of user it's aimed at. Centre frame edge definition is good but it suffers badly towards the edges. That's where chroma (see above) comes in too.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash performance of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 is great. It balances light out in the frame and gives the appearance of not being used which can also be attributed to a good white-balance system. In fact in the portrait shots, we had to look for catch lights back at the computer to work out which pictures had fired the flash and which hadn't. The flash leaves no vignetting in the corners at wide angle or full zoom.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (250mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (250mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We didn't find an instance of red-eye in our test shots but the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 has both a red-eye reduction mode on the flash menu and a red-eye removal mode in the main menu.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

There are two options open to you when taking night shots. The night mode in scenes will offer a longer exposure (8 seconds in our sample) but little else. This means that the auto white-balance can't cope with strong colour casts such as the orange glare of street lights.

Using the auto mode, we managed to adjust the white-balance to be less harsh but the exposure is a little dark because the longest exposure in that mode is 1 second.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 720p, wide-angle, 16 megapixel, beginner, manual, travel-zoom, travel, lumix, prosumer, 10x zoom, 25mm, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 Review, sz1, dmc-sz1

Tracker Pixel for Entry