Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 Review

4.5
October 15, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 produced images of very good quality during the review period. The 1/2.33 inch, 12 megapixel sensor used in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 produces noise-free images at ISO 100 and 200, with ISO 400 also looking good, although there's slight loss of saturation. ISO 800 shows some quite obvious noise and softening of fine detail, and ISO 16000 is even noisier, although still OK for small prints and web images. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 dealt extremely well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only at the edges of the frame in high contrast situations. The built-in flash is rather under-powered but worked fairly well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light. Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is good, allowing you to focus as close as 3 cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the DMC-ZX1 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% Crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

10M Fine (5.87Mb) (100% Crop) 10M Normal (2.82Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (200mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds in the Starry Sky Mode scene mode (there are also 15 and 30 second options) and 8 seconds in the Night Scenery mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 80. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/2 sec / 25mm
1/2 sec / 200mm

High Dynamic

The High Dynamic mode is an interesting new scene mode which helps to capture a scene with even exposure even if it contains extreme bright and dark areas. There are three options, Standard, Art, or B/W, making your photos look natural or more artistic.

High Dynamic Off

High Dynamic - Standard

   
High Dynamic - Artistic High Dynamic - B&W

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, wide-angle, 720p, 12 megapixel, 2.7 inch LCD, lumix, panasonic, 8x zoom, dmc-zx1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1 Review, zr1, zx1, dmc-zr1

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