Recently I had a discussion with some friends about the advancements in camera phones and the slow demise of standalone point and shoot cameras. I know many people use their smart phones for casual shots but sometimes you need something with a bit more quality. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 definitely can handle this role. It is a somewhat scaled down version of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10.
This is a good camera with decent picture quality, geared towards those that don’t really want to fiddle with too many extra settings. It is very easy to use and has an “iA” (Intelligent Auto) setting that tries to match proper settings depending on the scene you are trying to capture.
This camera isn’t perfect and we will discuss some of the cons later in the review, however, it is not bad for the price. In this Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 review we will give an overview of the camera, discuss the pros and cons and finally talk about some alternatives that you may want to consider.
Some Highlights of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 Include:
- The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 has a 16x optical zoom lens which lets you capture images at a great distance.
- The 16x Optical Zoom allows photos to have proper focus on subjects.
- The DMC-ZS8 has a 1/2.33-inch CCD with effective 14.1-megapixel high-resolution which increases image quality.
- Image Resolution is very good, images can be enlarged to sizes as large as A2 paper size.
- The Sonic Speed AF system features a higher-speed actuator which means that the camera comes on very fast (Ready to shoot within 2 seconds of power on).
What we liked about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8:
- 24mm ultra-wide angle lens. Allows for wide angle shots, you don’t need as much distance between camera and the subject.
- 12 element in 10 groups Leica lens which is an excellent quality lens.
- 16x optical zoom. Allows you to zoom in on shots from very far away, it has surprisingly good quality even when using the digital zoom for extra distance.
- Intelligent Scene System can choose scenes automatically. It works well most of the time.
- Subject Tracking. Once this is activated the camera can automatically focus on moving targets. A life saver when trying to capture fast action shots like pets or kids.
- Optical image stabilization. Many cheaper cameras use a digital system, this one has an optical system that makes images much sharper for those that have shaky hands.
- Variable zoom. You can adjust how fast you zoom in or out to suit your personal preference.
- 720p Video. While it isn’t 1080p video quality is excellent and saved in MPEG format which can be easily edited with popular video editing packages.
- Good button and menu layout. The menu is very intuitive and the menu buttons have a nice tactile feel.
- Comes on quickly. It is ready to take pictures within 1 – 2 seconds of pressing the power button.
- Very lightweight and compact
- See what others had to say here
What we didn’t like about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8:
- Proprietary Battery. Panasonic camera batteries are notoriously expensive. You can use generic batteries, however, they may not work and can also void your warranty. Modern Lithium ion batteries can last quite a while and it should last the life of the camera.
- No viewfinder. This may be an issue for some who prefer to use a viewfinder. The lcd is only difficult to use in direct sunlight.
- Plastic housing feels a bit cheap and aluminum housing around the lens is a bit thin.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 Review Summary
The camera takes great photos compared to cameras from just 2 years ago. Even though a point and shoot such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 won’t achieve the quality of an expensive SLR, it is still a great compact camera. We recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 to anyone looking for an all-purpose pocket camera that excels in taking scenic and panoramic shots. The enhanced zoom really helps and most will find 16x zoom more than enough. It definitely will make a solid main or secondary camera. Click here to learn more about the DMC-ZS8
Some Alternatives to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 – The big brother to the DMC-ZS8 features a touch screen and Built In GPS functionality. It also supports 1080p video and has a stereo microphone making it better for video. Overall photo quality is similar to the DMC-ZS8 though the touch screen does make it easier to navigate photos.
- Nikon COOLPIX S9100 – This could be a good alternative for those than what a bit more zoom. It has 18x as opposed to the 16x of the DMC-ZS8. It also offers good quality images with adequate image stabilization features. The tradeoff here is a lower megapixel count of 12.1 MP.