Portable picture-taking power

Panasonic managed to pack loads of useful features into this tiny, pocket-friendly camera. The Lumix DMC-ZS15 boasts a powerful 16X optical zoom that's great for snapping crisp close-ups of famous landmarks from a distance or your kids from across the park. You can record detailed high-definition videos, too, and you can take full advantage of the zoom lens when shooting in movie mode. Optical image stabilization reduces blurring caused by a shaky hand. There's even a dedicated active mode for keeping handheld video shots rock-solid.

Take great people shots

The 'ZS15's ultra wide-angle lens lets you take in more of the scene in front of you — like a group portrait of your kid's entire soccer team. This camera's face detection function automatically finds up to 15 faces in your frame and optimizes the focus and exposure settings for pleasing results. It prevents the blurring of faces that can happen when a camera focuses on something in front of or behind the subject. The 'ZS15 also keeps faces from appearing too dark when shooting indoors or against a light source.

Automatic settings make snapping photos a breeze

When you don't know which mode will give you the best shooting results, simply choose the iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode and let the camera choose for you. It'll activate the image stabilization and face detection features as needed. It also activates the Intelligent Scene Selector, which automatically sets the mode to Scenery, Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, or Sunset based on your environment and lighting conditions.

Fun shooting modes

The 'ZS15 has 10 creative filters for applying different effects to your pictures, like "Retro," "Miniature Effect," and "Soft Focus." You can shoot images using your creative filter of choice, or apply effects afterward, in-camera. With the fun 3D mode you can take a series of panning shots, and the camera selects the two best (one for the right eye and one for the left) to generate a 3D composite image you can view using your 3D-compatible HDTV and 3D glasses.

    • 12.1-megapixel (effective) CMOS image sensor
    • records photos and video onto optional SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards
    • 16X optical zoom (4X digital zoom/64X total zoom)
    • 35mm equivalent lens focal length: 24-384mm
    • 3" LCD screen
    Special Features:
    • high-definition movie mode (up to 1080p @ 30 fps)
    • 3D Photo Mode stitches together two photos to create a 3D-like image to view on your compatible 3D HDTV
    • power optical image stabilization minimizes blurring caused by a shaky hand
    • Intelligent Auto (iA) mode adjusts settings for you, including face detection and intelligent contrast control
    • face detection identifies up to 15 faces in your frame and adjusts focus and exposure for better portraits
    • focus tracking follows your subject anywhere in the frame
    • Intelligent Scene Selector automatically chooses the best scene mode based on your shooting conditions; modes include Scenery, Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, and Sunset
    • Intelligent ISO Control detects movement and automatically adjusts the ISO and shutter speed to prevent blurring
    • Intelligent Exposure function to prevent wash-out and brighten darkened areas in your frame
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • high-speed USB interface
    • mini HDMI output (cable not included)
    • comes with rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charger
    • 4-3/16"W x 2-5/16"H x 1-5/16"D
    • weight (with battery and memory): 7.36 oz.
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    High-zoom cameras put you "right there"

    High-zoom cameras have powerful built-in lenses that get you close — really close — to your subject. Focus in on a hawk in the tree across the meadow, or zoom across the backyard for a candid close-up of your toddler's face. High-zoom cameras tend to be a bit bigger than the average point-and-shoot because of their larger lenses. These cameras also sometimes feature advanced controls for customizing your photos.

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    Hands-on research

    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Digital camera (black)
    • DMW-BCG10PP Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.6 V/895 mAh/3.3 Wh)
    • VSK0768 AC adapter (5 Volts/800 mA)
    • Wrist strap
    • 2' USB cable (with Type A USB on one end and a proprietary USB connection on the other end)
    • Panasonic LUMIX software on DVD-ROM
    • Basic Owner's Manual (Eng/Span)
    • Product Registration card

    Features and Specs

    LCD Screen Size 3"
    Adjustable-angle LCD No
    Wi-Fi No
    Touchscreen No
    Waterproof No
    GPS-enabled No
    Lens 35mm Equivalent 24-384mm
    Optical Zoom 16x
    Digital Zoom 4x
    Filter Diameter N/A
    Manual Focusing No
    Manual Exposure Yes
    Built-in Flash Yes
    HDMI Output Mini
    Internal Memory 70 MB
    Memory Media SD/SDHC/SDXC
    Effective Megapixel Count 12.1
    Total Megapixels 12.8
    Image Stabilization Optical
    Highest Resolution 4000 x 3000
    HD Video Recording 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720
    Width (inches) 4-3/16
    Height (inches) 2-3/8
    Depth (inches) 1-3/8
    Weight With Battery (ounces) 7.34
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year

    Product Research

    Inputs and Outputs Notes
    Supplied Software


    Recording Media: The DMC-ZS15 records images onto its internal memory (approximately 70 MB), or onto SD, SDHC, and SDXC Memory Cards. The camera is compatible with SD cards from 8 MB to 2 GB, SDHC cards from 4 GB to 32 GB, and SDXC cards from 48 GB to 64 GB. Pictures may be copied between cards and the built-in memory if desired.

    Lens: This camera is equipped with a Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens. Its 4.3-68.8mm focal length is equivalent to 24mm to 384mm in 35mm film photography. The lens' Nano Surface Coating has a very low reflectance ratio to minimize flaring and ghosting. The focusing distance depends upon the shooting mode:

    Shooting Mode Wide Angle Telephoto
    P / A / S / M 1.6' to infinity 6.6' to infinity
    Macro 1.2" to infinity 3.3' to infinity

    Extended Optical/Digital Zoom: The 24-384mm focal length of the lens gives it an optical zoom of 16x. The camera's extended optical zoom can increase the zoom up to 31.3x, depending upon the picture size. In addition, the digital zoom extends the focal length by another 4x.

    Intelligent Zoom (i.Zoom): The camera's Intelligent Zoom uses super resolution technology to extend the optical zoom ratio by approximately 2x while maintaining the original image quality.

    Image Sensor: For optimal image quality, the camera uses a 1/2.33" MOS image sensor with approximately 12.8-million total pixels and 12.1-million effective pixels.

    Image Recording Format: The camera records still images in JPEG in 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios. The camera can also record Full HD movies in AVCHD (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) or MPEG-4, as well as high speed movies in Motion JPEG. You can choose from the following resolutions for still images and movies:

    Aspect Ratio Picture Size
    4:3 12M
    4000 x 3000
    3264 x 2448
    2560 x 1920
    2048 x 1536
    1600 x 1200
    640 x 480
    3:2 10.5M
    4000 x 2672
    3264 x 2176
    2560 x 1712 
    2048 x 1360
    640 x 424
    16:9 9M
    4000 x 2248
    3264 x 1840
    2560 x 1440
    1920 x 1080
    640 x 360
    1:1 9M
    2992 x 2992
    2448 x 2448
    1920 x 1920
    1536 X 1536
    480 x 480
    1920 x 1080/60i
    17 Mbps
    1280 x 720/60p
    17 Mbps
    1920 x 1080 (16:9)
    30 fps/20 Mbps
    1280 x 720 (16:9)
    30 fps/10 Mbps
    640 x 480 (4:3)
    30 fps/4 Mbps

    Optical Image Stabilizer: The Optical Image Stabilizer helps solve the problem of unintentional hand movement that can result in blurry images, particularly with telephoto shots.

    Battery: The ZS15 is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery (DMW-BCG10PP). A fully charged battery gives you approximately 130 minutes of recording time, or about 260 images. Playback time using the LCD monitor is approximately 210 minutes. The battery takes approximately 260 minutes to fully charge in the camera using the supplied AC adaptor.

    LCD Monitor: The DMC-ZS15 has a 3" TFT color LCD monitor featuring approximately 460,800 dots. It has approximately 100% field of view. The camera does not have a separate viewfinder.

    Flash: The ZS15 has a built-in flash with a range of 2' to 21' (W) and 3.3' to 11' (T). Available flash modes include:

    • Auto: The flash is automatically activated when the recording conditions make it necessary.
    • Auto/Red-eye Reduction: A pre-flash is activated before the main flash to reduce the red-eye phenomenon.
    • Forced Flash On: The flash is activated every time regardless of the recording conditions.
    • Slow Sync/Red-eye Reduction: Same as Slow Sync, but with pre-flash to reduce red-eye effect.
    • Forced Flash Off: Flash is not activated regardless of the recording conditions.

    Shooting Modes: Using the top-mounted Mode Dial and the menu, the ZS15 allows you to choose from the following shooting modes:

    • Intelligent Auto Mode: Optimum settings are made automatically. The camera identifies the scene (people, babies, landscapes, night, sunsets, etc.) and makes the optimum settings automatically.
    • Program AE Mode: You can use the recording menu to change settings and set up your own recording environment.
    • Aperture-Priority Mode: You can control the range of focus (depth of field) by setting the aperture. The shutter speed is automatically adjusted to be appropriate for the set aperture value.
    • Shutter-Priority Mode: You can control the shutter speed, while the aperture is automatically adjusted to be appropriate for the set shutter speed.
    • Manual Exposure Mode: You can set any aperture value and shutter speed when automatic exposure adjustment prevents you from recording at the desired exposure. Long exposures of up to 15 seconds are possible.
    • Custom Mode: You can register up to 2 recording modes and menu settings so you can quickly switch to those settings when desired.
    • 3D: The camera continuously records multiple still images while being panned horizontally and combines them into a 3D still picture. To view 3D still pictures, a 3D-capable TV is required.
    • Scene Mode: You can select from different scene modes using the menu. Available Scene Modes include:
      • Portrait: allows you to make the subject stand out from an unfocused background and adjust the exposure and the hue to achieve a healthy complexion on the subject
      • Soft Skin: use for taking pictures of people outdoors during the daytime; enables the texture of their skin to appear even softer than with Portrait mode
      • Scenery: allows you to take a picture of a wide landscape
      • Panorama Shot: You can take pictures with connections suitable for creating panorama images
      • Sports: allows you to take pictures of a fast moving subject or sports scenes
      • Night Portrait: The subject can be recorded with brightness in real life by using the flash and the slow shutter speed; use of a tripod recommended
      • Night Scenery: for taking vivid pictures of a landscape at night; use of a tripod recommended
      • Handheld Night Shot: The camera automatically detects a night scene while the camera is handheld. By combining a burst of pictures into one, the picture has less noise and less blur.
      • High Dynamic Range (HDR): Records pictures with bright and dark regions of the scene expressed with suitable brightness when looking into the sun, at night, or in similar circumstances.
      • Food: for taking pictures of food with a natural hue without being affected by the
      • ambient light in restaurants, etc.
      • Baby1/Baby2: two selectable settings for taking pictures of a baby; you can use text stamp to show baby's name, birthday, or age
      • Pet: for photographing your pet; you can use text stamp to show pet's name or age
      • Sunset: for taking pictures of a sunset (red colors accentuated)
      • High Sensitivity: prevents blurring of subject in dark, indoor conditions
      • Glass Through: suitable for taking pictures such as landscapes through the transparent glass of a train, vehicle, or building.
      • Underwater: For taking pictures underwater (the DMW-MCTZ20 marine case, sold separately, is required)
    • Creative Control: You can select from various effects and take photos while confirming these effects on the LCD monitor. Effects include: expressive, retro, high key, low key, sepia, dynamic monochrome, high dynamic, toy effect, miniature effect, and soft focus.

    Self Timer: The self timer is useful when you want to include yourself in the picture when recording still images. The delay time for single shots can be set to 10 seconds or 2 seconds.

    Exposure Compensation: If you are shooting against a bright background or strong backlight, you may need to correct the exposure so that the subject doesn't come out too dark. You can set the adjustments from -2 to +2 in 1/3-step increments.

    Auto Bracket: In the Auto Bracket mode, 3 pictures are taken with different exposures, allowing you to select the picture with the desired exposure. You can set the exposure compensation from -1 EV to +1 EV in 1/3-step increments.

    Burst Modes: Pictures are taken continuously while the shutter button is pressed. The burst modes include:

    Setting Speed
    Description Number of Pictures
    Intelligent Burst 2-5 fps Burst speed adjusted automatically in accordance with the movements of the subjects. 100
    2 fps AF-Continuous 2 fps Camera is focusing and exposure and White Balance are adjusted with each picture. 100
    5 fps AF-Continuous 5 fps 100
    10 fps AF-Single 10 fps Focus, exposure, and White Balance are fixed with the first picture. Image sizes can be limited for each aspect ratio. 4
    40 fps AF-Single 40 fps 40
    60 fps AF-Single 60 fps 30
    Flash Burst Speed set according to conditions The burst of still pictures is recorded in low light conditions as the flash is used. Focus, exposure, and White Balance are fixed with the first picture. Image sizes can be limited for each aspect ratio. 5

    White Balance: You can choose from the following white balance modes:

    • Auto: automatically adjusts the white balance
    • Outdoor, Clear Sky: for recording outdoors on a bright day
    • Outdoor, Cloudy Sky: for recording outdoors under a cloudy sky
    • Outdoor, Shade: for recording outdoors in the shade
    • Incandescent: for recording under incandescent lighting
    • Set Manually: sets the white balance manually on a white object
    • Manual Setting: saves the setting obtained with Manual White Balance

    ISO Sensitivity: ISO sensitivity represents the sensitivity to light in values. If you set the ISO sensitivity higher, the camera becomes more suitable for recording in dark places. Auto sensitivity is set in a range up to 800, based on subject brightness. In the Intelligent ISO setting, the camera will automatically set the optimal ISO sensitivity, in a range up to 1600, according to the movement of the subject and the surrounding brightness. In the Preset ISO mode, you can select 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, or 3200.

    Metering Modes: The camera has three available metering modes:

    • Multiple: Measures brightness on the whole screen; for normal usage.
    • Center-weighted: Measures brightness in the center and surrounding area; for subject in the center of the frame.
    • Spot: Measures brightness in the center spot and close surrounding area; use if there is a great difference between brightness of subject and background (e.g. person in spotlight on stage, backlighting)

    Color Effect: You can use these modes to make your pictures softer or sharper, or change the colors for a special effect. Some color modes are only available when shooting in the Intelligent Auto Mode or Normal Picture Mode. Available color modes include:

    • Standard: the standard color setting
    • Vivid: images become sharper
    • B/W: picture becomes black and white
    • Sepia: picture becomes sepia
    • Happy: images have enhanced brightness and vividness

    Auto Focus Mode: You can choose one of the following AF modes:

    • Face Detection: Camera automatically detects a person's face, adjusting the exposure and focus to fit the face, regardless of what portion of the picture it is in. (maximum of 15 areas)
    • AF Tracking: Focus can be adjusted to a specified subject, and follow the subject even if it moves.
    • 23-area Focusing: Up to 23 points for each AF area can be focused. This is effective when the subject isn't in the center of the screen.
    • 1-area Focusing: Camera focuses on the subject in AF area on the center of the screen. Position and size of AF area can be changed.
    • Spot Focusing: The camera focuses on a limited narrow area on the screen.

    Still Image Playback: You can manually display images one at a time, 12 at a time, or 30 images at a time.

    Calendar Playback: You can display pictures by recording date using the calendar playback function. If there are multiple pictures with the same recording date, the first picture recorded on that date is displayed.

    Slide Show: Images can be played back in slide show fashion. You can set the duration between images at 1 sec, 2 sec, 3 sec, or 5 sec. You can also set on or off the repeat mode, music, and audio.

    Playback Zoom: You can view the picture at the original size, or enlarge the picture to 2x, 4x, 8x, or 16x. Using the arrow buttons, you can move the position of the zoomed picture in the monitor.

    Auto Review: After an image is recorded, it will appear in the LCD screen for a preset number of seconds for reviewing. Auto Review lets you choose one of the following settings: Off, 1 second, 2 seconds, or Hold.

    Resizing Pictures: This function is useful if you want to reduce the file size of the picture in cases when it needs to be attached to an e-mail or uploaded to a website. Once an image is resized, you can choose to keep the original image.

    Cropping Pictures: This function lets you trim unnecessary parts of the recorded picture. Motion pictures and pictures with text stamps cannot be trimmed.

    Auto Power Off: The camera is automatically turned off if it has not been used for a predetermined amount of time. The amount of time can be set to 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes.

    PictBridge Printing Capability: Using the supplied USB cable, you can connect this camera directly to a PictBridge compliant printer. PictBridge is the standard that allows you to connect a PictBridge compliant camera directly to a PictBridge compliant printer and make prints, regardless of brand.

    Inputs and Outputs Notes

    HDMI: The DMC-ZS15 has a mini-HDMI (Type C) for connecting the camera to an HDMI-compatible TV. A mini-HDMI to full-size HDMI cable is necessary to connect the camera to an HDMI-compatible TV. If connected to a VIERA Link-compatible Panasonic TV, you can control the camera using the TV's remote control. The unit is compatible with VIERA Link Version 5.

    AV out / Digital: This proprietary jack allows you to connect the camera to your computer with the supplied USB cable. You can also connect the camera to a TV or other A/V device using the optional DMW-AVC1 audio/video cable. TV output is NTSC only.

    Supplied Software

    PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 AE Edition: The PHOTOfunSTUDIO software allows you to acquire pictures to the PC, and categorize the acquired pictures by their recording date or the model name of the camera used. You can also resize pictures and add effects. Various printing functions are supported. PHOTOfunSTUDIO is compatible with the following Operating Systems:

    • Windows XP (32-bit) SP3
    • Windows Vista (32-bit) SP2
    • Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit) SP1

    LoiLoScope 30-day Full Trial Version: LoiLoScope is a video editing software that lets you create videos, use your music, picture, and video files to create videos, or share with your friends via email. The supplied DVD contains a web shortcut to the trial version.

    USB-connectible Environment: You can connect the camera to a computer that can detect a mass storage device. Compatible Operating Systems include:

    • Windows 7
    • Windows Vista
    • Windows XP
    • Windows 2000 Professional
    • Windows Millennium Edition
    • Mac OS X 10.1 to 10.7

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

    Great automatic and creative features

    Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 6/21/2012 9:12:00 AM

    The Lumix DMC-ZS15 makes for a great point-and-shoot. Like many cameras, it comes with a variety of settings to help you take better pictures — smile detection, image stabilization, light settings, etc. But thanks to its "Intelligent Automatic" (iA) mode, you don't have to keep all of those options straight. In iA mode, the camera did a great job choosing the right features to optimize the shots. All I had to do was, well, point and shoot.

    I also like the creative settings on the camera. I could go with a retro look, high-contrast black and white, sepia tone, soft focus, and few other cool effects. It was an easy way to get a more "artistic" shot. Which just made the whole session more fun. And I had some unusual images ready to upload as soon as I took them.

    What are the Labs?