Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 camera
The Lumix DMC-SZ1 is a decent, but uninspiring compact camera from Panasonic
- Easy to use
- 10x zoom
- Noticeable blurring at the edges
- Didn't always handle exposure correctly
The Lumix DMC-SZ1 is a small camera with a big lens that's easy to carry around for everyday use. However, its image quality isn't great, with some noticeable blurring and occasional mishandling of exposures.
Price$ 227.00 (AUD)
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-SZ1 is a small and automatic camera with a 16-megapixel sensor and a long, 10x optical zoom lens. It's a useful device to put in your pocket for those opportune moments when you want to capture a street scene or a funny-looking cloud, but its image quality, while very decent overall, isn't great.
Features and performance
The design of the Lumix DMC-SZ1 is similar to the Lumix DMC-SZ7, from the body shape to the control layout and the lens, but it's on the inside where the difference lies. The difference is the sensor, which in the SZ1 is a 16-megapixel CCD sensor; it's not as good as the 14-megapixel MOS sensor in the SZ7. Images from the SZ1 are decent for use with Facebook or other sites where the size will be kept relatively small (so are images from a phone for that matter), but imperfections will be noticeable when they are viewed at a large size.
In particular, the SZ1 struggles to keep the edges of a photo as clear as the centre of the frame, which can cause landscape images to look messy. Furthermore, the perspectives of straight lines towards the edges of the frame tend to look noticeably skewed. Chromatic aberration was noticeable in some scenes of high contrast (such as tree branches shot against the sky) and the camera didn't always handle highlights properly in our tests photos, greatly overexposing them. Colours were also underdone in photos that were taken in shade or dimly-lit conditions — many photos required adjustments on the computer to add some contrast and saturation (our sample images are untouched though, apart for resizing to fit this page).
The SZ1 is a largely automatic camera that doesn't provide many opportunities for adjusting the exposure. The best you can do is play with the exposure compensation to darken or brighten a scene, and you can change the ISO speed and white balance manually if you are in program mode — all this can be done through the convenient Q.Menu. Primarily, this camera is designed to be used in its intelligent auto mode, which can apply scene settings once the lighting conditions are detected. In one scenario during our tests, it added a fill-in flash when shooting in a shaded area, which would have been okay if we were shooting a portrait, but we just wanted to get the scene as a whole. Regular auto mode and scene modes (including sweeping panorama) can be selected as well.
While the picture quality of the SZ1 may not be great, it's very decent and it's a camera that might suit some users' needs quite well, especially because it has a large zoom lens. It can be a neat little unit to carry with you in the city, for example, if you want to take wide-angled shots of buildings and then zoom in on their details. It can even be used for macros, allowing you to get the front of the lens as close as a couple of centimetres away from your subject. It's an easy camera to use, too, with logically laid out controls and a noticeable half-step in the shutter for focusing, and its focusing performance wasn't bad — it picked up our intended focal point with ease most of the time and it was easy to change from area focusing to tracking or face detection through the Q.Menu when in the normal auto mode.
You'll need to use the exposure compensation button (the +/- button on the back) in order to get the best out of this camera in our opinion, and you'll also need to make sure that you frame your photos so that your intended subject of focus is smack-bang in the middle of the frame. Mostly, though, if you can afford it, we think you should pick up the SZ7 instead. It's a better camera despite having less megapixels, but it costs about $30 more.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HP Victus 16 review: This 16-inch gaming laptop delivers solid value
- 2 Motorola Edge 20 Fusion review: A mid-range smartphone with all-rounder performance
- 3 Beats Fit Pro review: Better than AirPods Pro
- 4 Acer Nitro 5 review: A big-screen RTX 3080 laptop with screaming value
- 5 iPhone 13 mini review: About as good as small phones get
Latest News Articles
- Apple offers 6 months free Apple Music, Keynote holiday greeting card templates
- Adobe expands Creative Cloud M1 support, claims over 80% better performance than Intel
- GoPro delivers Quik solution for videos and photos
- Got a GoPro Hero 8? You can use it as a webcam for your Mac
- Canon embolden mirrorless offering with EOS R5 and R6
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Legal experts have cast doubt on the Federal Government's proposed anti-trolling laws
- Best webcams: Logitech vs Microsoft vs Dell vs Poly
- The best Lenovo laptops
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?