Sunday, July 20, 2014

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30

My old beloved Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 died recently. No, I didn't drop it into soup. It stopped recognizing the SD card. It was more than 3 years old so I started looking for a replacement.

When I researched point and shoot cameras a couple kept coming up, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 the successor the my ZS7 and the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS.

This comparison pretty well sums up what I found. It's a pretty close decision.

A couple of things pushed me to the ZS30.

The ZS30 has a touch screen. It's not as over the top as the my Samsung CL-65 was. The use case for the touch screen that made a difference to me is that while you are recording a video you can simply tap the screen to take a still photo. Now admittedly you have to configure that before you start recording but still...

The ZS30 charges its battery from a USB cable while the battery is still in the camera. Unfortunately the USB cable has a proprietary connector on the camera end. You can buy an external battery charger.

The Wi-Fi on the ZS30 supports the obligatory web services but what I've found more useful is that it natively supports Windows shares. Without any software installed on a PC the ZS30 can connect via Wi-Fi to a folder on the PC and copy selected images/videos to that folder. That's really nice.

The SX280 has a reputation for a battery problem that is either resolved or not depending on who you listen to. It seems to have to do with a low battery indicator that comes on while recording video. Some users report that this causes the camera to power down. Some users report that it is just a nuisance.

I used the same 8GB SD card that I had in the ZS7. I figured out how to make the file numbering on the ZS30 follow the ZS7.

You'll recall that I did a thorough test of the ZS7's GPS capabilities. That resulted in my falling back to a Blackberry to record GPS information. On my first outing I compared the geotags from the ZS30 to those from my Moto X. I got good clustering from the ZS30. Here's the map of the tags.

I flashed the firmware up to v1.3.

Image capture
Camera type
Point & Shoot, GPS Capable, Wi-Fi Capable
18.1 effective megapixels
Image sizes
4:3 Aspect Ratio: 
4,896 x 3,672 pixels (18M), 
4,000 x 3,000 pixels (12M EZ),
3,264 x 2,448 (8M EZ),
2,560 x 1,920 pixels (5M EZ),
2,048 x 1,536 pixels (3M EZ),
640 x 480 pixels (0.3M EZ)
3:2 Aspect Ratio:
4,896 x 3,264 pixels (16M),
4,000 x 2,672 pixels (10.5M EZ),
3,264 x 2,176 pixels (7M EZ),
2,560 x 1,712 pixels (4.5M EZ),
2,048 x 1,360 pixels (2.5M EZ),
640 x 424 pixels (0.3M EZ)

16:9 Aspect Ratio: 

4,896 x 2,752 pixels (13.5M),
4,000 x 2,248 pixels (9M EZ),
3,264 x 1,840 pixels (6M EZ),
2,560 x 1,440 pixels (3.5M EZ),
1,920 x 1,080 pixels (2M EZ),
640 x 360 pixels (0.2M EZ)
1:1 Aspect Ratio:
3,664 x 3664 pixels (10.5M),
2,992 x 2,992 pixels (7.5M EZ),
2,448 x 2,448 pixels (6M EZ),
1,920 x 1,920 pixels (3.5M EZ),
1,536 x 1,536 pixels (2.5M EZ),
480 x 480 pixels (0.2M EZ)
File formats
DCF, JPEG (Exif 2.3), MPO : 3D Image
Image sensor type
1/2.33 inch MOS
Image processor type
not specified
Image stabilization technology
Optical Image Stabilization
Expendable recording media type
SD Card, SDHC Card, SDXC Card
Video capture
File format
Video size
1280 x 720 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Lens and focus
Lens type
LEICA DC Vario-Elmarit
Lens construction
12 elements; 10 groups; others: 3 aspherical elements, 6 aspherical surfaces, 2 ED elements
Optical Zoom
20 x zoom
Digital zoom
4 x
Lens mount
Not Available
Maximum aperture
F3.3 (W) - F6.4 (T)
Minimum aperture
f3.3 (w) - f6.4 (t) / mutistage Iris Diaphragm - f3.3 - f8 (w), f6.4 - 8 (t)
Focal length
4.3mm - 86.0mm (24 - 480mm in 35mm equiv.) / (28-560mm in 35mm equiv. in video recording)
Focusing area mode(s)
continuous AF, macro AF, Tracking AF, normal AF, Quick AF, Macro Zoom
Focusing distance
0.5m (w) - infinity / 2.0m (tele) - infinity , 0.03m (w) - infinity / 1.0m (t) - infinity
Exposure and imaging
Shooting / Drive modes
continuous, Movie, self-timer (2 and 10 sec delay), still
Exposure / Capture modes
aperture priority, manual, Program AE, shutter priority
Scene modes
3D mode, baby 1, baby 2, food, glass through, handheld night scene, HDR, high sensitivity, night portrait, night scenery, pet, portrait, scene (scenery), soft skin, sports, starry sky, sunset, underwater
Exposure Metering System
center-weighted, intelligent multiple, spot
Exposure compensation
±2 EV (1/3 EV steps)
Auto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600
High Sensitivity Mode (1600 - 6400)
Shutter type
combined mechanical and electronic
Shutter speed
1/2000 sec to 4 sec
White balance mode
auto, cloudy, daylight, incandescent, shade, white balance adjustment, white set
Picture effects / Color modes
sepia, soft focus, retro, miniature effect, expressive, high dynamic, cross process, toy camera, dynamic monochrome, high key, low key, impressive art, star filter, one point color
Flash and lighting
Flash Type
built-in auto
Flash Mode
auto, auto with red-eye reduction, forced on/off, slow sync + red eye reduction
Flash effective range
0.6m - 6.4m (wide - ISO Auto), 1.0m - 3.3m (tele - ISO Auto)
Maximum flash synchronization speed
adjusted to camera's shutter speed
Physical characteristics
108.3mm x 58.9mm x 27.7mm / 4.26" x 2.32" x 1.09"
172 grams
Available color(s)
silver, black, white
USB 2.0 (high-speed), HDMI Mini connector, AV output (NTSC)
Microphone and Speaker
built-in stereo microphone, built-in monaural speaker
Flash connection
Not Available
Tripod socket
standard 1/4 inch
Remote control
Not Available
Cable release capability
Not Available
Viewing features
3.0" / LCD / 460,000 dots
Not Available
Menu language(s)
Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
Power source
Li-ion battery pack (3.6V, Minimum: 895mAh) (included)
Camera management
Additional features
Water Resistant Capabilities
Not Available
Underwater capabilities
Included "in the box"
AC adapter/charger, hand strap, lithium ion battery, USB cable, ■ Supplied accessories may vary by region or country!, Lithium Ion Battery Charger
Adobe Acrobat Reader, PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.0 SE

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