These are not easy times for compact cameras. The Smartphone phenomenon, the progressive decline in prices of the SLR cameras or the recent release of the newest Micro Four Thirds only make it harder for these kinds of cameras to stay afloat. That’s why manufacturers like Panasonic have changed the strategy, and are now releasing specialized compact cameras, like the super zoom model we will now review.
The new Panasonic Lumix ZS40 keeps the 18-megapixel CMOS sensor its predecessor, the TZ40, already had, but adds some interesting new features such as a 0.2-inch electronic viewfinder with a 200000 pixel resolution, as well as a 30x zoom (ten more than in the previous generation), offering the equivalent of 24-720 mm and a brightness of f3.3 -6.4.
A common handicap of this type of camera is the stabilization, especially if we take advantage of the tremendous zoom it has. Using a tripod is useful, but not everyone has access to one. Panasonic has therefore incorporated the new HYBRID OIS+ system (Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer Plus), a 5-axis stabilizer that works in both photo and video modes.
A common feature of the TZ series is the manual control. The Panasonic Lumix ZS40 features a full manual mode, RAW shooting (for the first time ever in this series), and a frontal ring to change parameters in real time and see the changes on the screen, instead of using the menu system. It has a peaking focus system to aid users in manual mode.
In recent years, manufacturers have taken the automatic mode in compact cameras to an impressive level, partly due to improved image processors and better software. The smart mode of this Lumix camera is perfect for beginners who only want to worry about pressing the shutter button. The 15 creative filters it has are great for those who do not want to post-process their photos.
The Panasonic Lumix ZS40 features Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC, vital features for a camera that has to compete against Smart phones. We especially liked the ability to remotely control the camera from a phone or tablet.
Panasonic’s newest camera is a versatile and with a lot of options. The focus system is excellent and the lens is amazing. The machine behaves outstandingly at 800 ISO and can even produce good results at 1600 ISO when lighting conditions are good. However, the normal limitations of a compact camera lens are noticeable sometimes.
The Panasonic Lumix ZS40 is one of the best compact cameras on the market, especially recommended for those looking for an advanced device with manual control possibilities and a good lens. The Panasonic Lumix ZS40 costs around 438 Dollars.