Whether you’re a total camera nerd or more of a hobbyist, having the right camera is critical for getting the great photos you want. For some, the right camera has lots of deluxe and technical features for customized shots.
Others don’t need all the technical stuff, and instead prefer a simple camera that is both easy to operate and provides quality photos.
Whatever your preferences or needs, buying a quality camera can be quite the investment, and you want to be sure that you’re getting the best value for what you want. Below we will review the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 so that you have all the information necessary before deciding on a purchase.
What is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50?
The Panasonic ZS50 is a compact digital camera launched in 2015. It is marketed as the perfect travel camera. It’s slim in build, making it easy for slipping into a bag or pocket without weighing you down.
It also has features meant to perfectly capture any location, rendering high quality images that pick up the details in patterns and buildings as well as subtle shifts in color to create vivid images both indoors and out, wherever your travels may take you.
It offers 12 megapixels (MP) and a 1/2.3 CMOS sensor. The camera is ideal for low-light scenarios due to a high sensitivity sensor that makes the camera’s flash unnecessary a good deal of the time.
This sleek camera is also great for zooming in, magnifying the image up to 30x while still maintaining clarity. Like many compact cameras nowadays, the Panasonic ZS50 comes complete with an LED screen and a viewfinder, so that you can frame your perfect picture whichever way you like and need not be restricted by lighting conditions.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 Specifications
12.1 MP with a 1/2.3-inch large pixel sized High Sensitivity MOS Sensor
1920 x 1080p Full HD Video
3" LCD screen
Leica 24mm DC Vario-Elma 30x optical zoom
Light speed auto focus
HYBRID O.I.S Optical Image Stabilizer
4.36 x 2.54 x 1.35 inches
250-300 shots per charge
Unique and Notable Features
As stated in the overview above, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 has great magnification and low light features.
Its Leica 24mm DC Vario-Elmar lens allows for an optical zoom of 30x, making it ideal for getting great shots of views from far away or high in the sky. Its quality low light photos are made possible through its High Sensitivity MOS sensor and Venus Engine image processor.
The Panasonic ZS50’s live viewfinder is made to be adaptable and automatically sense when to go into action. It can sometimes be hard to make out an image on a bright sunny day through an LED lit screen, and the camera’s eye sensor will automatically detect these lighting circumstances and activate the live viewfinder.
This viewfinder is ideal for framing and image stabilization, rendering high resolution and color reproduction.
Panasonic also boasts of the camera’s intuitive design. Surrounding the lens is a control ring that you can manually control and adjust to get just the right amount of zoom without having to overthink it. The Panasonic ZS50 also offers a manual control ring for manual focus peaking, allowing you to adjust the composition and depth of your shot easily and visibly on the LED screen.
As for the more technical side of things, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 is 12.1 MP camera with a 1/2.3-inch large pixel sized High Sensitivity MOS Sensor and primary color filter. Its dimensions in terms of width x height x depth are 4.36 x 2.54 x 1.35 inches, and it is a light weight 217 g without the battery pack or memory card, or 243 g with.
The camera offers a shutter speed of approximately 4 - 1/2,000 sec, as well as a starry sky mode at 15, 30, 60 sec. The Panasonic ZS50 has a light speed auto focus feature, 10 frames per second (fps) during continuous shooting.
This Panasonic model can record HD video and translate the files into AVCHD or MP4 format, making your videos ideal for viewing on a computer or television.
The camera records 100fps in HD mode, rendering fast motions in the video crisp and clear and ideal for being put into slow-motion, where you can see each individual frame moving seamlessly and clearly into the next for a dramatic viewing effect.
The camera also comes complete with an Optical Image Stabilizer in the form of the HYBRID O.I.S. This stabilizer detects movement and compensates for it so that your images don’t blur. Additionally, this stabilization feature also detects any tilting while filming and autocorrects so that you maintain the perfect quality of footage.
The battery life of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 is actually pretty good, approximately 300 shots per charge. This is better than a lot of other compact cameras on the market that tend to be somewhere in the ballpark of 250 shots per charge.
This is also a pretty good battery life for such a small, light weight camera with an inherently smaller battery.
Public Perception—What Users Have to Say About the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50
Most users of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 seem to quite enjoy it. This little camera is praised for its sleek size and transportability combined with low price.
While the camera doesn’t have as many features or adaptable options as other, pricier cameras, users of the Panasonic ZS50 typically expect this and are happy with it for meeting simple photo-taking needs.
Purchasers of the camera also say that they are in fact quite pleased with the variety of features that are available for the camera considering its price, affirming the low light picture taking capabilities.
Additionally, it is praised as extremely easy to use, both with manual operation and automatic and preset settings.
There have been a few complaints of some of the camera’s features ceasing to function after a year or so and some difficulty in getting Panasonic to cover the repairs, but with some perseverance most of these issues have been resolved.
Pricing and Availability
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You can find the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 on Amazon just the camera, or you can buy the camera along with the Memory Card Bundle.
This is a relatively low-priced camera compared to other compact digital cameras available. You may have to limit your search for the Panasonic ZS50 to online—it is no longer available in electronics stores such as Best Buy.
How the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50
So, now that you’ve gotten a sense of what the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 has to offer, how do these features and functionality compare to other compact cameras within relatively the same price range?
We’ve compiled data to directly compare the Panasonic ZS50 to the Canon G9 X and the Olympus XZ-10.
Here are some general ratings and information to keep in mind about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 as we compare it to the competition:
Both the Canon G9 X and the Panasonic ZS50 were announced within a year of each other. Both cameras provide Optical Image Stabilization technology as well as built-in wireless capabilities.
Additionally, both cameras have a 3’’ fixed screen through which to view and frame images. Each camera also has a 1920 x 1080 video resolution quality.
The Canon G9 X is superior, however, in its imaging capabilities. It offers greater color depth, dynamic range, and low light capabilities. It also has a higher max sensor resolution, offering 20 MP to the Panasonic ZS50’s 12 MP.
Additionally, the Canon G9 X offers touchscreen capabilities that the Panasonic ZS50 lacks, making the camera more user-friendly and easier to adjust.
The Panasonic ZS50 is still able to get a leg up on the Canon G9 X in other aspects, though. For instance, where the Panasonic ZS50 has a viewfinder, the Canon G9 X has none.
So, while the Canon G9 X’s screen is a touchscreen, it is more dependent on it whereas the Panasonic camera is adaptable to multiple environments where the screen may not be visible. The Panasonic model also has superior focal and zooming options: both the wide and tele focal lengths are greater than the Canon, and the Canon G9 X only offers an optical zoom of x3, compared to the Panasonic ZS50’s zoom of 30x.
Furthermore, the Canon G9 X can only continuous shoot at a rate of 6 fps, while the Panasonic ZS50 boasts a rate of 10 fps. Lastly, the Panasonic’s battery life wins against the Canon as well: 300 shots per charge versus 220 shots.
All this combined with the fact that the Panasonic ZS50 comes at a $ off the Canon G9 X price, the Panasonic may be the better choice in this match up.
The Olympus XZ-10 is a compact camera that has more differences with the Panasonic ZS50 than it does similarities. Both cameras offer 12 MP 1/2.3" sensors, 3’’ fixed screens, and similar weights, but that is essentially the extent of their resemblances.
Most of the ways in which the Olympus XZ-10 is superior are external. The Olympus XZ-10 has an electronic touch screen, for one, which the Panasonic ZS50 lacks.
The Olympus model also offers a hot shoe for connecting external flash capabilities, inherently widening the possibilities for this camera in low light and dark situations. The Olympus XZ-10 also offers 12 additional focus points, 35 to the Panasonic ZS50’s 10.
The Panasonic ZS50, however, offers many more additional features over the Olympus ZX-10.
For one, the Olympus ZX-10 does not offer a viewfinder like the Panasonic ZS50, and it has a lower LCD screen resolution as well. Just like in the case of the Canon G9 X, the Panasonic ZS50 has superior focal and zooming options over the Olympus ZX-10 as well.
Additionally, this Olympus model can only continuously shoot at a rate of 5 fps, while the Panasonic camera doubles this. The Panasonic ZS50 also has built-in wireless capabilities, and the Olympus has none. Finally, the Panasonic’s battery life capabilities reign supreme with its 300 shots per charge, the Olympus ZX-10 lasting for 240 shots.
Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve taken an in-depth look at all the features that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 has to offer and seen how it stacks up against the competition, here’s a recap of all the major pros and cons of this compact camera.
An easy pro to identify for the Panasonic ZS50 is its low price. This is a pretty inexpensive camera compared to a lot of other options available on the market.
It is very small and lightweight and has a great battery life, making it ideal for travel. Its inclusion of a viewfinder and Optical Image Stabilization are great features, not to mention its powerful zoom function. The camera also offers superior continuous shooting and focal ranges to other similarly priced cameras.
One con of this camera is that it does not offer a touch screen or other adaptable capabilities, such as a hot shoe. It also only offers 12 MP, lower than most cameras though fairly on-par for its price range.
Additionally, while its color depth, dynamic range, and low light capabilities are decent, it can’t match the imaging capabilities of other, more advanced and pricier cameras on the market.
So, when it comes down to it, what should you take away concerning this little camera?
All in all, it seems to be a great value for its price. Though its imaging capabilities can’t keep up with more expensive models, it does offer pretty decent features for its price and size.
Its size and battery life are ideal for travel. This Panasonic model also has great zoom features, so if you’re going on vacation and plan on taking pictures of views and faraway objects it is also ideal. It’s pretty easy and intuitive to use as well.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 would do well for any hobbyist, or perhaps as a starter camera for a young adult wanting to get into photography.