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 PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- MSI GE62 7RD Apache gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- TPPrincipal Portfolio Officer - One Month Contract - DSITIQLD
- CCPeopleSoft Functional AnalystVIC
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerQLD
- CCC++ DeveloperNSW
- FTL&D ConsultantVIC
- CCTechnical Specialist - Cloud ServicesVIC
- CCService DeskSA
- CCPega DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior SharePoint Administrator. Location -ACTACT
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- CCProject ManagerQLD
- FTsolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst, Regulatory Reforms, FinanceNSW
- FTIT Support EngineerNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- TPDigital ProducerVIC
- TPData AnalystVIC
- FTJunior - Mid Level Technical Customer SupportQLD
- FTSplunk Software Developer | 6mth ContractVIC
- FTBPM DeveloperNSW
- FTImplementation Engineer - Cisco UCSWA
- CCSolution Architect with Magento experience wantedVIC
- CCMid-level Business Process Analyst (Automation) - Contract - ParramattaNSW