Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8

14.1-megapixel digital camera with 16X optical zoom (Black)

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8


  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8

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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8

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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8

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Item #: 133ZS8K

Review Summary

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Our take on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8

by Kristen Schaub

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.

Panasonic's compact Lumix DMC-ZS8 makes an excellent travel companion. It features a 14.1-megapixel image sensor for crisp, detailed photos of the famous canals in Venice or Big Ben in London. The powerful 16X optical zoom will help you pull in for close-ups of your friend across Piazza Navona in Rome. It'll even shoot impressive 720p HD videos of your trek across the Great Wall of China that you can later watch on your HDTV. And the large, 3" LCD screen helps you easily find and sort your pics from St. Petersburg and Prague.

Take stunning people shots
The 'ZS8's ultra wide-angle lens lets you take in more of the scene in front of you — capture more people in your photos of the bull run in Pamplona. This camera's face detection function automatically finds any faces in your frame and optimizes the focus and exposure settings to give you stunning portraits. It prevents the blurry faces that can happen when a camera focuses on something in front of or behind the subject. The 'ZS8 also keeps faces from appearing dark when shooting indoors or against a light source. It even detects up to 15 faces at a time, making it extremely convenient for group photos. And the built-in optical image stabilization kicks in to compensate for any shake caused by an unsteady head, so you get clear, sharp photos even when you're unsteadily perched on a mule for a ride to see the Grand Canyon.

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 the where you're snapping your pic. It'll help you capture gorgeous images of a South African sunset or clear photos at dinner in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, you can also easily adjust the exposure, aperture, and shutter speed to get exactly the right look of your 3-star dinner in Paris.

Clear, natural photos without motion-blur
When the cam's in auto mode, Intelligent Exposure optimizes each part of an image to prevent backlighting from washing out details and to brighten darkened areas in your frame. It'll also activate the Intelligent ISO Control function, which automatically adjusts the ISO (sensitivity) setting and shutter speed to best suit the movement and light conditions in your scene. So when the 'ZS8 detects a subject in motion, like your child playing in Central Park, it'll raise the ISO setting and increase the shutter speed to prevent motion blur. On the other hand, when your subject is still and no movement is detected, it uses a lower ISO setting to take beautiful, more natural-looking photos. See more info on this item

    • 14.1-megapixel (effective) CCD image sensor
    • 24mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens
    • records photos and video onto SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards (not included)
      • an optional 4GB SDHC card holds up to 19,940 photos or 2 hours of video, depending on the settings
    • 16X optical zoom (4X digital zoom/64X total zoom)
    • 3" LCD screen
    Special Features:
    • high-definition movie mode (up to 720p resolution)
    • 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 choose that scene mode based on your shooting conditions, including 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 (USB and A/V cables included)
    • comes with rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charger
    • includes wrist strap
    • 4-3/16"W x 2-7/16"H x 1-3/8"D
    • weight (with battery and memory): 7.4 oz.
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    LCD Screen Size
    Adjustable-angle LCD
    Lens 35mm Equivalent
    Optical Zoom
    Digital Zoom
    Filter Diameter
    Manual Focusing
    Manual Exposure
    Built-in Flash
    HDMI Output
    Internal Memory
    70 MB
    Memory Media
    Effective Megapixel Count
    Total Megapixels
    Image Stabilization
    Highest Resolution
    4320 x 3240
    HD Video Recording
    1280 x 720
    Width (inches)
    Height (inches)
    Depth (inches)
    Weight With Battery (ounces)
    Parts Warranty
    1 Year, 6 Months CCD
    Labor Warranty
    1 Year, 90 Days CCD
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Digital camera (black)
    • DMW-BCG10PP Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.6V/895mAh)
    • DE-A65B Battery Charger (4.2V/0.65A)
    • Wrist strap
    • 2' USB cable (with Type A USB on one end and a proprietary USB connection on the other end)
    • 47" A/V cable (with proprietary USB connection on one end and composite video and mono audio RCA plugs on the other end)
    • Panasonic LUMIX software on CD-ROM
    • Basic Owner's Manual (Eng/Span)
    • Installing Supplied Software (Eng/Fren)
    • Product Registration card
    • UL Note (DE-A65B)

    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 open the box, verify contents, 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.

    Inputs and Outputs Notes
    Supplied Software


    Recording Media: The DMC-ZS8 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 focusing distance depends upon the shooting mode:

    Shooting Mode Wide Angle Telephoto
    P / A / S / M 1.64' to infinity 6.57' to infinity
    Macro, Intelligent Auto, Motion Picture 1.2" to infinity 6.57' to infinity
    Scene Mode Varies with the selected scene modes

    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 33.8x, 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 1.3x while maintaining the original image quality.

    Image Sensor: For optimal image quality, the camera uses a 1/2.33" CCD image sensor with approximately 14.5-million total pixels and 14.1-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 HD and SD movies in QuickTime Motion JPEG in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio at 30 frames per second. You can choose from the following resolutions for still images and movies:

    Aspect Ratio Picture Size
    4:3 14M
    4320 x 3240
    3648 x 2736
    3072 x 2304
    2560 x 1920
    2048 x 1536
    640 x 480
    3:2 12.5M
    4320 x 2880
    3648 x 2432
    3072 x 2048
    2560 x 1712
    2048 x 1360
    640 x 424
    16:9 10.5M
    4320 x 2432
    3648 x 2056
    3072 x 1728
    2560 x 1440
    1920 x 1080
    640 x 360
    1:1 10.5M
    3232 x 3232
    2736 x 2736
    2304 x 2304
    1920 x 1920
    1536 X 1536
    480 x 480
    Motion JPEG
    (30 fps)
    1280 x 720 (16:9)
    640 x 480 (4:3)
    320 x 240 (4:3)

    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 ZS8 is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery (DMW-BCG10PP). A fully charged battery gives you approximately 170 minutes of recording time, or about 340 images. Playback time using the LCD monitor is approximately 300 minutes. The battery takes approximately 130 minutes to fully charge with the supplied DE-A65B battery charger.

    Optional AC Adapter/DC Coupler: If you wish to operate the camera using ordinary household current, you will need the optional DMW-AC5PP AC adapter, along with the DMW-DCC5 DC coupler. The AC adapter cannot be used alone, as the DC Coupler provides a plug-in jack for the AC adapter. This is helpful if you have the camera connected to your computer or printer for a long time, or playing back photos in a slide show.

    LCD Monitor: The DMC-ZS8 has a 3" TFT color LCD monitor featuring approximately 230,400 dots. It has approximately 100% field of view.

    Flash: The ZS8 has a built-in flash with a range of 1.97' to 16.4' (W) and 3.28' to 9.18' (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.
    • Forced Flash On/Red-eye Reduction: The flash is activated every time with a pre-flash to reduce red-eye effect.
    • 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 ZS8 allows you to choose from the following shooting modes:

    • Intelligent Auto Mode: Optimum settings are made automatically. The camera identifies the scene and sets one of the following: i-Portrait, i-Baby, i-Scenery, i-Night Portrait, i-Night Scenery, i-Macro, or i-Sunset.
    • 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 60 seconds is possible.
    • Custom Mode: You can register up to 3 recording modes and menu settings so you can quickly switch to those settings when desired.
    • My Scene Mode: You can save any two frequently-used scene modes in MS1 and MS2 for quick access.
    • 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
      • Transform: changes the appearance of the subject to improve skin appearance
      • Self Portrait: setting for taking pictures of yourself
      • Scenery: allows you to take a picture of a wide landscape
      • Panorama Assist: 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
      • Food: for taking pictures of food with a natural hue without being affected by the ambient light in restaurants, etc.
      • Party: allows you to take a picture in a dim room (e.g. a wedding reception, a party, a banquet in a bar, etc.) clearly. The shutter speed or the exposure is automatically adjusted according to the brightness of the room.
      • Candlelight: brings out the atmosphere of a candlelit room
      • 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
      • Hi-speed Burst: takes pictures of rapid movement or a decisive moment
      • Flash Burst: enables continuous recording in dim locations takes
      • Starry Sky: takes clear pictures of starry skies or dark subjects (shutter speed can be set to 15, 30, or 60 seconds)
      • Fireworks: takes clear pictures of fireworks in the night sky
      • Beach: brings out the clear blues of the sky and sea without darkening subject
      • Snow: brings out the natural color of snow in ski slope and mountain scenes
      • Aerial Photo: takes pictures of the view from aircraft windows
      • Pin Hole: Picture is taken darker and with soft focus around the subjects
      • Film Grain: produces black and white pictures with grainy texture
      • High Dynamic: 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.
      • Photo Frame: superimposes a frame over the image
      • Underwater: For taking pictures underwater (the DMW-MCTZ10 marine case, sold separately, is required)
    • Motion Picture Mode: Enables motion picture recording with audio. Zoom can be used during recording.

    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. You can also use the self timer in Burst mode to take 3 pictures after the delay and in Flash Burst mode to take 5 pictures.

    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. In Normal Burst mode, approximately 1.9 pictures per second are taken, up to a maximum of 3 in fine and 5 in standard picture quality. In the Hi-speed Burst (Scene) Mode, pictures are recorded at approximately 5.5 pictures per second (image priority) or 10 pictures per second (speed priority). Up to 100 total pictures can be recorded. In the Flash Burst (Scene) mode up to 5 shots with flash are taken.

    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. 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, or 1600. In the High Sensitivity mode, the range is ISO 1600-6400.

    Metering Modes: The camera has three available metering modes:

      Brightness Measurement Position Conditions
    Multiple Whole screen Normal usage (produces balanced pictures)
    Center-weighted Center and surrounding area Subject in center
    Spot Center spot and close surrounding area

    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:

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

    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

    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 supplied audio/video cable. TV output is NTSC only.

    Supplied Software

    PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 (Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7): This 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.

    Operating Environment for PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0:

    • PC: IBM PC/AT compatible having Intel Pentium III 500 MHz or higher (XP), Intel Pentium III 800 MHz or higher (Vista), Intel Pentium III 1 GHz or higher (Win 7)
    • Operating Systems:
      • Windows XP (32-bit): Professional or Home Editions (SP2/SP3)
      • Windows Vista (32-bit): Home Basic (SP1/SP2), Home Premium (SP1/SP2), Business (SP1/SP2), Ultimate (SP1/SP2)
      • Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit): Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate
    • Display: High color 16-bit or more (32-bit or more recommended). Desktop resolution of 1024 x 768 or more (1280 x 1024 pixels or more recommended)
    • Graphics Card: DirectX 9.0c for XP, DirectX 10 for Vista or Win 7; DirectDraw Overlay support PCI Express x 16 is recommended; Video memory of 256 MB or more recommended; Direct3D accelerator: enabled
    • RAM: 512 MB or more if using Windows XP or Vista, 1 GB or more for Windows 7 (32-bit), 2 GB or more for Windows 7 (64-bit)
    • Free Hard Disk Space: Ultra DMA-100 or higher; 450MB or more for installing software
    • Other Requirements: CD-ROM drive (required for installation), Compatible drive and media required for DVD writing, Windows-compatible sound device, USB Port (Hi-speed USB 2.0), Mouse or other pointing device
    • Necessary Software: .NET framework 4.0, SQL Server Compact 3.5, Internet Explorer 6.0 or more, QuickTime Player 7.6.5 or more

    QuickTime (Windows XP/Vista/7): This software allows you to playback still pictures with audio and motion pictures (QuickTime Motion JPEG format) recorded on a digital camera.

    • Included as standard in Macintosh OSs.
    • For Windows 98/98SE/Me/2000, download "QuickTime 6.5.2 for Windows" from the Apple website (URL included in manual) and install
    • Purchase Apple QuickTime Pro recommended for editing movies created with the camera.

    Super LoiLoScope 30-day Full Trial Version: Super LoiLoScope is a video editing software that draws out the full power of your PC. You can create videos, use your music, picture, and video files to create videos, or share with your friends via email.

    USB-connectible Environment: Compatible OS include:

    • Windows Millennium Edition
    • Windows 2000 Professional
    • Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional
    • Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium
    • Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Ultimate
    • Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium
    • Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate
    • Mac OS 9.2.2
    • Mac OS X 10.1 to 10.6


    Estimated Still Image Capacity: The number of recordable pictures (Fine Quality):

    Picture Size Built-in Memory
    70 MB
    2 GB 4 GB 16 GB
    4320 x 3240
    13 330 670 2740
    2560 x 1920
    26 650 1300 5300
    640 x 480
    410 10050 19940 81340

    Estimated Moving Image Capacity: The available recording time:

    Recording Quality Built-in Memory
    70 MB
    2 GB 4 GB
    1280 x 720
    --- 8 min 10 sec 16 min 20 sec
    640 x 480
    --- 21 min 40 sec 43 min 10 sec
    320 x 240
    2 min 30 sec 1 hr 2 min 2 hrs 4 min
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    Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 Reviews

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    5 out of 5

    Panasonic DMC-ZS8 Digital Camera (Silver)

    Written By LarryH, Palatka, Fl. on Saturday, February 11, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
    It is a good pocket camera for taking quick telephoto shots while on vacation or at home.
    The picture quality is good and you get a lot of picture shots before recharging the battery.
    I haven't found anything that I dislike about the camera, yet!
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    5 out of 5

    Absolutely what I was looking for

    Written By Uli, Rhode Island on Thursday, January 26, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
    I was looking for a good point and shoot camera with reasonable zoom, and ability to take pictures in a darker environment. The zoom is what you would expect, not super sharp like a DSL, but good enough. There are plenty of scene settings that are easy to use, and takes good pictures with low light. I'm a camera novice, so this is more than enough for me. The battery life is great, I haven't had to charge it in a month if I just take pictures and not keep it on all the time. The response time, I personally feel is good. All in all a great camera, and a good buy.
    Good in low light, good battery, lots of scene settings
    The zoom is not wonderful, but this is to be expected at this price point.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    5 out of 5

    Love Panasonic Cameras

    Written By MMM, Minnesota on Saturday, September 17, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
    This is the 3rd Panasonic Lumix point and shoot camera that I have purchase in the last 15 years. Each one is better than the last and this one is very very nice. It would be nice if the manual controls were a little broader, the camera still wants to protect your from doing what it thinks is stupid, but you learn to live with the limitations. The zoom works very well and the picture quality is extremely sharp.

    24 out of 25 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No

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