Field Review: Panasonic ZS-7 (Night 1)

The Panasonic ZS-7 and I took a stroll along midtown Manhattan yesterday to test out a couple of the features with the camera. It’s an interesting camera and has a couple of bells and whistles that would really stand out to people that love to travel often. As New York City is such a hot tourist spot, why not try it out there? More findings after the jump.

If you’d like some more information on the ZS-7, you should see my hands-on review done previously with it. Yesterday, I tested out the GPS feature along with the image quality and other aspects.

The GPS for this camera is a bit quirky. When left on, the camera will pull GPS information every now and then, even when the camera is powered off. It took me quite a bit of time to get that information working actually. At first I thought it was because I was inside my room, but then I realized that that isn’t the problem. The problem is that you need to be standing almost absolutely still in order for the camera to obtain accurate readings for the GPS information. I essentially concluded that I also walk too fast 🙂

When I started to obtain GPS readings, they were actually fairly accurate. The GPS information for this image says, “Grolier, New York.”

This one says “Richmond Shepherd Theatre, New York.” Once again, they’re all pretty accurate. The camera was passed around between myself and the hands of a couple of technology publication editors, writers, and even some PR people that used to be journalists. The general notion is that it feels very, very nice in your hands. The 12x Optical zoom is more than sufficient and the intelligent zoom feature can actually yield decent results.

This picture was taken while laying on my bed. It’s the ceiling fan in my room. While the image is still not as good as optical zoom quality, it is much better than conventional digital zoom. A problem that I had with this initially though was that I can’t seem to figure out how to take off forms of digital zoom. I turned off intelligent resolution and intelligent zoom and still nothing. That’s a big bummer for me.

While the autofocus is tack on and very accurate, the new Power O.I.S. isn’t as great as I thought it would be. Additionally, the images can get pretty noisy. To be fair, this is a point and shoot aimed towards travelers that will probably be using the camera during the daytime in excellent lighting. The GPS information for this photo is, “Visual Arts Museum, New York.” We’re obviously not in a museum, we’re in Choice Kitchen and Cocktails. They’re about four city blocks apart.

However, it can still take some nice photos. If I converted this to black and white and did some extra processing, this could make for a very nice picture.

As with most point and shoots, you need to be careful with your flash settings so that your subject doesn’t look like a vampire in the end. Will, in the photo above, doesn’t look like one at all, but it took me some experimentation to do so.

Colors that come out in the images are actually pretty damned accurate for a point and shoot though. That’s a relief to hear when you’ll be traveling around.

It also can yield some very interesting results. I personally felt that with the exception of the little bit of sun coming into my room, my room was darker than the venue that I went to last night. However, this image was taken at ISO 80, which can lead me to believe that readings may not always be accurate, but this will be checked. For reference, the other images were taken at ISO 400.

All images were also shot in either Aperture or Manual mode. From now I will be using it the exact way that the majority of their intended audience may use it: in full auto mode. I will also be turning on Intelligent Zoom and Resolution and using the camera exactly the way that a beginner would. To do this, I’ll also be throwing all my professional knowledge out the window in usage until it comes to writing up these field review entries.

Let’s see how this camera can really do 🙂

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.