The Panasonic Lumix DMC SZ7 is just 21mm wide. This means it will slip easily into more or less any pocket. It has a surprising amount of features packed into its small body size.
To start with the Lumix DMC SZ7 has a 10x zoom lens. In addition it can shoot Full High Definition Movies. It can also record stereo sound while it is doing so.
Another feature worth mentioning is a fast burst mode that can capture up to 10 shots a second.
Compared with other pocket digital cameras at this price point the Lumix DMC SZ7 has the following:
The Lumix DMC SZ7 offers good value for money. You get a lot of power in a small body. Unless you would like manual controls this camera is ideal to take anywhere and have the flexibility to photograph most typical photo opportunities.
Megapixels and Zoom
The Lumix DMC SZ7 has 14 megapixels and a 10x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 25 -250mm in 35mm format. This means that the lens has a lot of flexibility. Any camera with a minimum focal length equivalent to 25mm is able to photograph wider scenes such as groups of people and landscapes. When you take into account the amount of zoom available you can see that the camera is able to photograph the vast majority of typical photo opportunities.
There may be times when being able to increase the amount of zoom available could help you. You can do this by taking advantage of a feature called Extra Zoom. You use extra zoom by decreasing the number of megapixels you are using. As the megapixels go down the amount of zoom available goes up. The maximum amount of zoom you can use is 21.1x. This is available at 3 megapixels.
Images can be stored on SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
The type of camera battery used is lithium ion. This type of battery can be recharged. Panasonic supplies both the battery and charger with the Lumix DMC SZ7.
In addition to being able to shoot full High Definition Movies the camera can also record stereo sound. The maximum resolution for a movie is 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.
The pre-set scene modes available are: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Hand Held Night Shot, Food, / Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through and Photo Frame. Using scene modes can help to improve your pictures. When a scene mode is selected the camera knows the type of photo you are about to take. It will then use what it thinks are the best settings for the shot.
For close up photography the camera can focus from 5cm away from your subject.
There is a panorama mode that can help you stitch together panoramas. These can either be horizontal or vertical.
High Speed Shooting
If you are looking to photograph fast moving action the Lumix DMC SZ7 is able to capture shots at a top speed of 10 frames per second.
Picture Quality Summary
The picture quality produced by this camera compares very well against other cameras with similar features and price tag. The pictures it produces are sharp and colourful.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
All the tricky bits in this scene are handled well. Focusing is sharp from the brickwork on the building in the centre of the picture to the edges of the boats. A second positive point is that the level of detail showing in areas of light shade such as around the names of the boats is more than most cameras manage to show. The camera also copes well with the way the sunlight strikes the reflective surfaces of the boats.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
The overall quality ion this shot is impressive. In fact you would have to be prepared to pay quite a bit more money to guarantee much of an improvement above this level. The big plus point is that most of the sharpness in the shot is retained as you move out towards the edges.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
This picture was taken on a very windy day. The camera does very well to freeze the motion in the shot. This makes objects such as the trees look sharply focused. You can also see the difference a camera with that bit of extra zoom power can make as it allows you to get in closer to your subject.
As with other shots the stand out feature of this shot is that there is very little fall off in sharpness as you move out towards the edge of the picture. Looking at the first four photos this camera performs very well outdoors even when the scenes are distant.
Compared to other brands Panasonic portraits tend to have a bit more colour and brightness. This is down to the fact they have a special white balance setting for shady places. So if you find some of your portraits look a little dull and flat try changing your white balance setting to shady and see what happens.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
There is just the right amount of light produced by the flash unit. There is enough to lighten difficult areas such as the hair. This helps to show the natural colour. The lighting does not overpower the shot though. This helps to ensure there is colour in the face.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
This is the one disappointing test shot. As with other Panasonic digital cameras there is a blue tint to the photo. This could be improved by changing the white balance setting to give you a better result.
For a mid priced compact camera the macro shot is very good. As long as you are not expecting to take great macro shots with this camera then you should be quite content with the quality of your close up shots.
The pictures this camera takes are bright and colourful. There is no longer a great difference between the leading brands when it comes to the colours their cameras produce.
There are no issues with noise when pictures are taken outdoors on bright days. As with any digital camera at this level, poor light will pose more of a challenge. Even then you should not see a great deal of noise unless the light available is very poor.
Nikon Coolpix S9300 Rating 86/100
For a camera that is small enough to take anywhere the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a lot of features packed into it. If you are planning to take a holiday GPS tracking will tell you where you were when a picture was taken. The length of the zoom lens also gives you plenty of scope when it comes to picture opportunities. Although there is plenty of completion in this category the picture quality on offer here combined with the features makes this camera very attractive indeed. Recommended.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Rating 86/100
The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is one of the very best digital cameras in this category. In fact if you are happy to miss out on features such as 3D photography and 360 degree panoramas it is very hard to beat. It has a great set of features packed into its relatively compact body size and picture quality helps to make it stand out from the competition. Although it is one of the more expensive cameras in this field it still offers good value for money.
Read Review: Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review
Sony DSC HX20V Rating 85/100
There is a lot to like about the Sony Cybershot DSC HX20V. As well as being crammed with features it is a very reliable when it comes to taking pictures. It can handle most photo opportunities without breaking sweat. The amount of zoom power and other features available gives you a great deal of flexibility. Competition between similar cameras is very tough, but this model performs very well when put up against its main rivals. I would happily own this camera.
Read Review: Sony DSC HX20V Review
Review Date: July 2012
The Panasonic Lumix DMC SZ7 is a good choice if you are looking for a camera that you can take anywhere, has plenty of flexibility when it comes to picture taking and takes a good quality picture. Looking at its price it offers good value for money compared with cameras with similar features. It has a touch of extra quality about it.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
99 x 59.4 x 21mm
SD / SDHC / SDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
Despite the small size of this digital camera Panasonic have laid it out in such a way to make sure you can get a good hold. On the back of the camera there is a clear area for your thumb. Panasonic have added nine dimples to the area to help further with taking a good grip. One factor you do need to be aware of is that the microphones have been placed on the top of the camera. When you are shooting a video care is required to make sure your fingers do not cover the microphones and muffle the sound.
The flash unit is positioned to the left of centre as you look at the camera. This is well out the way of any fingers that may get in the way of the light.
LCD Screen Quality
The screen is a good size for easy viewing. Like any digital camera if bright sunlight is shining directly onto the screen it becomes difficult to see. Otherwise you should have no problem viewing the screen.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Response times are slightly slower than average.
Design and Build Quality
Considering the features on offer the Lumix DMC SZ7 is very small indeed. At only 21mm wide you can slip it into more or less any pocket.
On the top of the camera is a switch to turn the camera on and off. There is also the shutter button, zoom ring and a button for shooting movies.
On the back is a switch to place the camera in review mode, plus buttons for changing the shooting mode, changing the information showing on the LCD screen, accessing the main camera functions and deleting unwanted images.
The main control section gives you access to macro mode, setting flash, the self timer, confirming a setting, accessing the menu and setting exposure compensation.