Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 Review

April 3, 2015 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 has a 16 million pixel CCD sensor. There’s also a lens with a 12x optical zoom - which gives you an equivalent of 24-288mm in 35mm terms. There’s also an Intelligent Zoom available, which boosts it to 24x, as well as digital zoom which boosts it to 4x the reach. If you’re a fan of shooting selfies, this camera could be for you, as its 460k-dot, 2.7 inch LCD screen tilts forward 180 degrees and includes a purpose designed selfie mode. Additional features of the SZ10 include inbuilt Wi-Fi, 720p video recording, and different shooting modes which includes automatic, scene and digital filters mode. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 is available in black, silver or white and retails for around £149 / $199.

Ease of Use

With a sleek and slim body, you’ll have no trouble slipping the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 into your jeans pocket. It’s also covered in a pleasant matt finish which makes it feel pretty secure in the hand, despite the lack of a dedicated grip on the front of the camera.

On the top of the camera, you’ll find a shutter release button, which is surrounded by the zoom switch which operates the 12x optical zoom. The zoom is reasonably quick, allowing you to reach the telephoto end of the lens with ease. Before it enters the digital zoom (if you have it activated - something which you can do via the Main Menu), the zoom will pause before reaching it, which is handy if you want to keep an eye on only using the optical zoom.

The other buttons you’ll find on the top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 are an on/off switch, along with a dedicated video record button. This latter button is recessed into the body of the camera, which helps to prevent accidental video recording.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Moving to the back of the camera, and there’s quite a few buttons here. As the screen is not touch sensitive, you’ll need to use the buttons to make changes - and it is also perhaps for this reason that the screen is a little on the small side.

In order to change the exposure mode of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10, there’s a dedicated Mode button. From here you can choose between Intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, Creative Control (digital filters), Panorama Shot and Scene Mode.

There’s also a dedicated button for accessing the Wi-Fi functionality of the camera. If you press this button, you can set up a new connection to your phone (or tablet or PC). You will have three options to choose from, which allow you to choose between remote shooting, sending images while recording, and sending images that you have already taken. Sending images across allows you to share an image quickly via social networks or email.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

When you first set up the Wi-Fi, if you have the free Panasonic app installed on your phone, you can simply scan a QR code which appears on the back of the screen. This will then setup the phone with all the relevant settings you need. Alternatively, you can just use the password which is displayed on screen instead.

After you’re connected, you can zoom the lens in and out and fire off the shutter release from the app, making it useful for group shots, or perhaps the odd shot from an awkward angle too. You can also set the autofocus point.

Going back to the buttons on the back of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10. There’s a standard four-way navigational pad, with each of the directional keys allowing you to access a different function. Up accesses exposure compensation, while left controls the timer function, right the flash mode, and down the different display modes which are on offer. In the middle of the navi-pad is a Menu button which accesses the camera’s main menu.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
Selfie Mode

The final two buttons on the back of the camera are a playback button, and a quick menu button. Pressing the quick menu button brings up a number of different options which allow you to speedily reach some of the most commonly used settings you might want to change, such as ISO when shooting in Normal Picture Mode. When you’re in the Intelligent Auto mode, there are fewer options for you to choose from.

If you flip the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10’s rear LCD screen forward to face the front, then by default you will enter into self-portrait mode. This means, when you press the shutter release, there will be a countdown of three seconds before shutter is tripped. It will also take a further three more shots, each with a three second count

As you might expect from an entry-level compact camera, there’s not a great deal of changes you can make to settings, but you get the most flexibility when you’re shooting in “Normal Picture” mode. When in this mode, you’ll be able to change the picture size, sensitivity, white balance and AF mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 In-hand

Unfortunately there’s no way to set a single autofocus point, other than the central one, so if you want to focus on something specific, you’ll need to employ the focus and recompose technique. Alternatively, you can use Face Detection or 9-Area mode.

The main menu is split up into four different categories, allowing you to only look at the specific type of settings you’ll need to change, rather than having to scroll through pages of menus. Under the record menu, you’ll find a number of different things to change, and it’s reasonably sensibly arranged, not taking too long to get to grips with. Other things, such as the date and time can be altered via the Setup menu, while there’s also a section for Motion Picture and Wi-Fi settings.

Starting up the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 is relatively quick, taking roughly 1.5 seconds to go from completely off to ready to shoot. Autofocusing in good light is pretty quick, but that drops noticeably in low light where it can sometimes struggle to acquire focus at all - the SZ10 is really not a camera which is designed to be used in poor light, as you’ll see in the Image Quality section of the review.

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 6Mb.

If you’re only going to be using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 in good light, then you should be pretty pleased with what it can produce. If you’re somebody who doesn’t have a smartphone - or doesn’t want to use it take pictures for whatever reason (perhaps the battery life isn’t great for instance), then the SZ10 is also a good shout for you.

In bright light, colours are nice and punchy with a good level of vibrance, while skin tones are also quite nicely represented.

The overall impression of detail is fairly good when looking at an image at normal printing or web sizes, but if you zoom in at 100%, it’s possible to see some degree of image smoothing, even at those images which have been taken at low sensitivities.

As you move through the sensitivity range, less detail is resolved, and if you’re shooting in dark conditions, become almost unusable at the higher end of the scale. It’s not so bad if you’re shooting something fairly close - such as a person - where you can use the flash, but for night scenes, you might be left less than impressed.

There’s a decent range of creative options available here, and it’s worth using all of them to find out if any particularly jump out at you. There’s also a panoramic mode, which is fun to use so long as you don’t examine the final image too closely.

Generally speaking, exposures are well balanced, with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10’s all-purpose metering working well in most conditions. Similarly, automatic white balance does a reasonable job, erring only ever so slightly towards warm tones under artificial lighting.


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 has five sensitivity settings available at full resolution, ranging between ISO100 and ISO1600.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)



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.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10's 12x zoom lens provides a versatile focal length of 24-288mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 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 (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 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 (24mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (288mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (288mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots with the flash off and on.

Flash Off

Flash On
flash_off.jpg flash_on.jpg


In the dedicated Panorama shooting mode, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 can automatically create a panorame by simply pressing the shutter button and panning the camera from left to right.


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 20 second movie is 66.8Mb in size.

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 / Lens Extended

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 /Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 / Shooting Mode Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 / Tilting LCD Screen


Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Bottom of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Memory Card Slot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Battery Compartment


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 is a very simple camera which is aimed at those who probably intend to use it as their holiday or family camera. If you have a smartphone with a half decent camera, then you might find that you already have something which is just as capable as the SZ10 - but of course you have to rely on battery life lasting you throughout the day.

Otherwise, image quality is decent in good light. So, if you’re planning to take the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 on your holiday, it should see you in good stead. However, it’s worth noting that low light performance for landscapes is less than desirable. Flash performance is not so bad for close-ish subjects though, so it could also be a good camera for nights out and parties.

Using the camera is very easy, and with no manual modes, much of the decision making is left to the camera. It’s nice to be able to change a couple of key settings when using Normal mode though - such as sensitivity and white balance.

It’s also nice to see a good range of creative modes - it seems like something that the average user of this kind of camera will enjoy and appreciate, and Panasonic has some of the best available currently on the market.

Inbuilt Wi-Fi is useful for grabbing those group shots and shooting from awkward angles, plus it’s also handy for sharing your images quickly when you’re out and about. It’s not a huge surprise to see the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 including a “selfie screen” and the addition of a dedicated selfie mode also makes this element of using the camera quite fun.

Overall, the image quality of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10isn’t going to set the world alight, but it’s a pocket friendly all-rounder if you want something simple and easy to use.

3 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3
Value for money 2.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10.

Canon PowerShot A4000 IS

The new Canon PowerShot A4000 IS camera is firmly aimed at photography beginners. Offering a wealth of auto modes, a 16 megapixel sensor, 8x wide-angle zoom lens, 3 inch LCD screen and an attractive price tag of less than £150 / $180, the A4000 IS looks like the perfect family camera. Read our Canon PowerShot A4000 IS review to find out if that's the case...

Canon PowerShot A810

The Canon PowerShot A810 is the cheapest model in Canon's extensive range of compact cameras, with a street price of just £70 / $80. Despite its budget nature the A810 still offers a 16 megapixel sensor, 720p movies, 5x zoom and 2.7 inch LCD screen. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot A810 review to find out if it's too cheap to be true...

Fujifilm FinePix T400

The Fujifilm FinePix T400 compact camera offers a 10x zoom, 16 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, all for a street price of just £70 / $90. Read our Fujifilm FinePix T400 review to find out if it's a genuine bargain or one to avoid...

Nikon Coolpix S3700

The Nikon Coolpix S3700 is an affordable point-and-shoot compact camera with built-in wifi and NFC connectivity. Featuring an 8x, 25-200mm lens and a 20 megapixel CCD sensor, the S3700 also offers 720p HD movies and a range of special effects. Read our Nikon Coolpix S3700 review to find out if this budget shooter is worth looking at..

Nikon Coolpix S5300

The Nikon Coolpix S5300 is a stylish and fully-featured compact camera. The S5300 offers 16 megapixels, an 8x zoom with 25mm wide-angle setting, built-in wi-fi connectivity, 1080p HD movies and a 3 inch LCD screen. Read our expert review of the Nikon Coolpix S5300 to find out if it's a bargain or not...

Samsung PL210

The Samsung PL210 is an affordable travel-zoom compact camera, offering a 10x zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD and 720p movie recording, all for less than £150 / $175. Read our in-depth Samsung PL210 review to find out if this is the right pocket camera for you...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350 is the world's slimmest camera with a 20x zoom lens. This affordable travel-zoom also offers an 18 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, built-in wi-fi/NFC connectivity and Full HD movie recording. Priced at around £239 / €289 / $299, read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350 review to find out if it lives up to its full promise...


Metrics Dimensions (W x H x D) 99 x 59.9 x 29.8 mm/(3.90 x 2.36 x 1.17 inch)
Weight Approx. 163 g without Battery and SD Memory Card (0.36 lb)/Approx. 177 g with Battery and SD Memory Card (0.39 lb)
Pixels Camera Effective Pixels 16 Megapixels
Sensor Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter 1/2.33-type CCD Sensor / Total Pixel Number 16.6 Megapixels / Primary Color Filter
Lens Aperture F3.1 - 6.3 / 2-step (F3.1 / 7.8 (W), F6.3 / 16.3 (T))
Optical Zoom 12x
Focal Length f = 4.3 - 51.6mm (24 - 288mm in 35mm equiv.)/(26 - 314mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9 video recording)
Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) 16.9x (4:3 / 8M), 27.0x (4:3 / under 3M)
Intelligent Zoom 24x
Lens 8 elements in 8 groups/(4 Aspherical Lenses / 8 Aspherical surfaces / 1 ED Lenses)
2- Speed Zoom -
Optical Image Stabilizer/Five Axis Correction O.I.S. (On / Off) / No
Digital Zoom Max. 4x
Conversion Lens Compatibility -
Focus Focusing Area Normal / Intelligent Auto / Motion Picture: Wide 3 cm - infinity / Tele 150 cm - infinity
AF Assist Lamp Yes (On/Off)
Focus Normal/Quick AF (Always On), Continuous AF (only for motion picture)
AF Metering Face / 1-area / 9-area
Shutter Shutter Speed Approx. 8 - 1/2000 sec/Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec
Finder Viewfinder -
File File Format Still Image: JPEG (DCF/Exif2.3)/Motion Picture: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Recording Modes Mode Dial / Mode Button Intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, Panorama Shot, Scene, Creative Control
Creative Control mode Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Star Filter, One Point Color (15 filters)
Still Image Scene Mode Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Baby1*, Baby2*, Pet*, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through, HDR, Starry Sky * Birthday only.
Continuous Shooting Mode Full-Resolution Image (Unlimited Consecutive Shooting): 1.4 frames/sec/High-speed Burst: Approx. 3.5 frames / sec/(recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9, 2.5M for 1:1)
Motion Picture Recording (*2) HD Video 1280 x 720 pixels, 30fps (HD / Motion JPEG)
STD Video 640 x 480, 30fps (VGA / Motion JPEG)/320 x 240, 30fps (QVGA / Motion JPEG)
High Speed Video -
Continuous recordable time (motion pictures) AVCHD -
MP4 -
Actual recordable time (motion pictures) AVCHD -
MP4 -
Exposure Parameters Exposure Auto (Program AE)
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Auto (AE) Bracketing -
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple
ISO Sensitivity Auto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600/High Sensitivity Mode (ISO1600 - 6400)
Picture Quality Still Picture Recording [4:3] 4608x3456 (16M) / 3264x2448 (8M EZ) / 2048x1536 (3M EZ) / 640x480 (0.3M EZ)/[3:2] 4608x3072 (14M) / 3264x2176 (7M EZ) / 2048x1360 (2.5M EZ)/[16:9] 4608x2592 (12M) / 1920x1080 (2M EZ)/[1:1] 3456x3456 (12M) / 1536x1536 (2.5M EZ)
Image Quality -
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set
Photo Style / Film Mode -
Color Mode / Color Effect / My color -
Picture Adjustment -
Aspect Bracketing -
Other Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal) Yes (On/Off)
Wi-FI IEEE 802.11b/g/n/2412 MHz – 2462 MHz (1-11 ch)/WPA / WPA2/Infrastracture Mode / WPS/Wi-Fi Button
Zoom in Motion Picture Yes
Self Timer 2 sec / 10 sec
Self Shot Mode -
Display Playback Mode Normal Play, Slide Show, Category Selection, Calendar
Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback 12,30-thumbnails / Yes
Calendar Display / Dual- Image Playback Yes (Menu / Zoom Lever) / No
Set Favorites / Rotate Image No / No
Show Histogram -
Show Highlights -
DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection No / Yes
Edit Retouch Creative Retouch
Resize / Cropping / Aspect Conv. / Leveling Yes / Yes / No / No
Copy / Title Edit / Text Stamp Yes / No / No
Cut Animation -
Video Divide -
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All
Setup OSD language Japanese, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
Monitor LCD Monitor 6.4cm (2.7") TFT Screen LCD Display (460K dots)/Field of View: Approx. 100%/Power Monitor mode, AUTO Power Monitor mode, High-angle Mode
Flash Built- in- Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off/0.6 - 5.2m (Wide / ISO Auto), 1.5 - 2.6m (Tele / ISO Auto)
Media Recording Media Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Built- in- Memory Approx. 80MB
Audio Microphone / Speaker Mono / Mono
Interface Interface AV Output (PAL/NTSC), USB (AV/USB Multi)
Power Power Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, 690mAh, 2.5 Wh) (Included)/AC Adaptor (Input: 110 - 240V AC) (Included, connect with USB cable)
Battery life (approx.) 200 pictures (CIPA Standard)*1
Standard Package Included Software * The DMC-SZ10 Operating Instructions for advanced features is available for downloaded at Panasonic LUMIX Customer Support Site using PC, smartphone or tablet connected to the Internet./* The software for PC is not bundled with DMC-SZ10. Please use the software pre-installed to the PC or other general image viewing software to browse pictures.
Standard Accessories Battery Pack, AC Adaptor, USB Cable, Hand Strap
NOTE Recording conditions by CIPA standard
NOTE - Temperature: 23 oC (73.4 oF) / Humidity: 50%RH when LCD monitor is on.
NOTE - Using a Panasonic SDHC Memory Card
NOTE - Using the supplied battery.
NOTE - Starting recording 30 seconds after the camera is turned on. (When the optical image stabilizer function is set to [ON].)
NOTE - Recording once every 30 seconds with full flash every second recording.
NOTE - Rotating the zoom lever from Tele to Wide or vice versa in every recording.
NOTE - The number of recordable pictures varies depending on the recording interval time.
NOTE - If the recording interval time becomes longer, the number of recordable pictures decreases.
NOTE - CIPA is an abbreviation of [Camera & Imaging Products Association].
NOTE - Use a card with SD Speed Class with "Class 6" or higher when recording motion pictures. SD speed class is the speed standard regarding continuous writing.
NOTE - Motion pictures can be recorded continuously for up to 15 minutes.
NOTE - Motion pictures can be recorded continuously up to 2 GB.
NOTE - The maximum available recording time for up to 2 GB only is displayed on the screen.

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