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Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS15/TZ25 Review

By dpreview staff on Jun 29, 2012 at 19:28 GMT

Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS15/TZ25 review. We've collaborated with Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page to bring you a 9-page review of the 'little brother' to Panasonic's top-end ZS20 travelzoom, the more affordable ZS15. The 12MP ZS15 features a 16X optical zoom range that spans 24-383mm (equivalent) but lacks the built-in GPS of its more expensive sibling. So how does it perform overall? Read our 9-page review to find out. 

This review is based on one originally published at the Digital Camera Resource Page, enhanced with a full set of our own product images, our usual studio comparisons and an expanded samples gallery, plus the addition of a standard dpreview score.

21
I own it
4
I want it
3
I had it
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Comments

Total comments: 28
louroll
By louroll (Jul 3, 2012)

In the "travel zoom" category, it would be useful to have a review of the Fuji F750 EXR/770EXR, which is briefly quoted in this review. They have been released end 2011, early 2012, and it does not appear that a DP Review was done on them, while it would be interesting to compare their features and quality with those of their pairs.

0 upvotes
DonInPgh
By DonInPgh (Jun 30, 2012)

I am a fan of Jeff Keller... on the dcresource.com page. Not here. I don't come here to read Jeff's reviews. I like to compare reviews from more than one source and warming over his reviews and posting them here as "collaborated" is pretty lame and shows a lack of effort on dpreview.com's part, as well as a lack of care overall about the quality and relevance of this site. First of all the worthless filler used to compensate for the lack of reviews, now you can't even be bothered to produce reviews. There was once a day when you reviewed every interesting camera, or camera of relevance. Not anymore!

One needs look no further than Kodak to see what happens when brands start a slow decline, and from my sitting spot the dpreview.com brand is damaged from what it was a few years ago and heading downhill. What a site it was! I come here mostly for the forums these days.

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 1, 2012)

Your comments are grossly unfair not only to Jeff, but to the in-house staff at dpreview. In the past, cameras like this would simply not have been reviewed. If you look at the reviews page:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews

You'll see that we've reviewed a lot of equipment in 2012, and in the next couple of weeks we'll have a review of the Nikon D3200, Fujifilm X10, followed by the new Canon EOS 650D/T4i....

Please don't insult what is a very small team of reviewers by telling us that we're not doing our jobs.

4 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Jul 2, 2012)

In my experience there is no better photography resource on the planet. Over the last 2 years I've been able to remove more and more other links from my favorites list because of this site. Your comments are myopic and the criticism is not justified.

3 upvotes
Effzeeone
By Effzeeone (Jul 12, 2012)

"Your comments are grossly unfair not only to Jeff, but to the in-house staff at dpreview. In the past, cameras like this would simply *not have been reviewed*."

That's when and why we, as users/customers, simply go to Jeff's site and give him the visit statistics, which is appropriate since it is his review, and he typically does review this type of camera.

"Please don't insult what is a very small team of reviewers by telling us that we're not doing our jobs."

It is extremely inappropriate/unprofessional to tell your customers not to provide negative feedback about your services. As customers of this site, customers of the owner's site (Amazon), and customers of any advertising on this site, we should be allowed to provide whatever feedback we want. If you don't like what you hear, then improve -- that's your job.

I'm very disappointed to see such a response from DPReview staff.

1 upvote
Realll
By Realll (Jun 30, 2012)

I would like to thank DP for this review. I have TZ25 and I totally agree that it is great little camera. My pixel peeping shows that it is definitely better than TZ31 and at least as good as SX230/260 which I own too. I'm happy with my new camera and I think it has very good low-light performance ( which is very important to me). Well done Panasonic, well done DP.

2 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Jun 30, 2012)

My conclusion after pixelpeeping the DPR's studio shots: ZS15/TZ25 has the better overall IQ then any other Panasonic travelzooms present in the comparison (TZ8, TZ10, TZ18, TZ20, TZ30). Especially at ISO800.

Comparing with ZS3/TZ8 at ISO800, the output of ZS15/TZ25 exhibits much less sharpening halos/artefacts, much less colour bleeding and much less pronounced chroma blotches.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Jun 30, 2012)

"Comparing with ZS3/TZ8 at ISO800, the output of ZS15/TZ25 exhibits much less sharpening halos/artefacts, much less colour bleeding and much less pronounced chroma blotches."

You meant ZS5 (TZ8), not the ZS3 (TZ7). The latter is still - along with the ZS5/ZS7 - the best of the Pana compact travelzoom ZS series, apart from its dismal AF speed, weak IS and 720p only video (also having a pretty bad H.264 encoder).

I've directly compared the ZS5 to the ZS15 at base IQ and 400 too. The ZS15 fared considerably better in both cases.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Lupti
By Lupti (Jun 29, 2012)

Please look for another writer than Jeff Keller. I miss the old DPreview reviews that were objective and prosy instead full of gushing praise. I have the TZ25 and it is by no means a good camera. Build quality is bad, and IQ is far from good. Look at the ISO100 samples, you will clearly see that these images look slightly smudgy due to massive NR. And you can´t change NR, sharpness, contrast or anything else in the camera, you only have the choice between standard and "vivid" look(beside Sepia and B/W). Also I think the price premium of the "bigger brother" is it worth as the TZ31 not only has longer zoom, better movie capabilites and GPS(IMHO useless) but also a slightly better IQ, however as the TZ31 also hasn´t the best IQ I would rather recommend looking for remaining stock of TZ10/ZS7 as this camera has MUCH better build quality, better IQ with adjustable settings and no rolling shutter in movie mode.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 29, 2012)

The point here is that compared to its peers the ZS15 performs very well, and as you can see from our studio comparison page, it gives slightly superior image quality across its ISO span at a pixel level than the more expensive ZS20. We're not in the business of 'gushing praise' but we have to compare a product sensibly, in the context of our expectations of its class. I think Jeff has done that.

13 upvotes
Lupti
By Lupti (Jun 30, 2012)

Superior IQ compared to ZS20? Strangely my observations are different. I have both cameras(got them free for testing) and the ZS20 is clearly better. And there are better cameras from the competition. And no hard feelings, but the writing style is too enthusiastic, I prefer DPreviews old writing style. It isn´t even a real DPreview review, it is from another site just with some DPreview details like the chart added. Why that as DPreview has more staff than ever?

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Jun 30, 2012)

"Superior IQ compared to ZS20? Strangely my observations are different. I have both cameras(got them free for testing) and the ZS20 is clearly better."

Well, after carefully comparing the ZS20 to the ZS15 in the comparometer, I think the former is a little bit (but not much!) worse up to 1600. It's only at 3200 that the ZS20 is considerably worse. Interestingly, there is almost no difference at base ISO.

In this regard, it's way better than, say, Sony's HX9V (also offered as one of the default cameras in the comparometer), which smears away details very agressively even at base ISO - and both Pana cameras are slightly worse than the Canon 260HS at ISO 400. (The Canon delivers better resolution.)

0 upvotes
Realll
By Realll (Jul 1, 2012)

I don't know what kind of comparison did you make but the fact that TZ25 has better IQ even at base ISO is too obvious for my eyes... The watch, the coins and the texture details is definitely better than TZ30's. Even at ISO 100 and more visibly at all ISO above 400. Just take a brief look at the label "NI-MH" on the batteries in the left corner at ISO100-400. You sould be blind to not see the difference...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 58 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Jimmy jang Boo
By Jimmy jang Boo (Jun 29, 2012)

Please, let me be the first to whine... It doesn't shoot raw! This is terrible! What a travesty! What was Panasonic thinking? If only someone would make the perfect camera...

1 upvote
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (Jun 30, 2012)

Jimmy boy, when was the last time you saw a camera in this class that shot RAW?

1 upvote
royshoonit
By royshoonit (Jun 30, 2012)

I had enough!!!
I am looking for a camera Several months and i can't find one.
Why???
Because:
1.All manufacturers Deliberately produce a low to Medium level of products.
2.Evolution of the cameras deliberately slow.
The proof:Canon Cameras:PowerShot S95 to s100, PowerShot SX130 IS to sx150 IS, PowerShot SX230 HS to PowerShot SX260 HS.
Same thing with Sony and Panasonic, Not to talk at all about the new generation of Nikon cameras.(ex: 9100 to 9200 to 9300), A catastrophe, Fujifilm A joke ( FinePix F770EXR, F660, F750, F600..).etc....!!.
Read reviews of buyers.
Manufacturers are taking one step forward Two back.
Pushuing us to to more expensive cameras that require Another purchase of lenses, etc.
No more!!!
I will not buy until manufacturers stop playing with us.

2 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Jun 30, 2012)

@KonstantinosK
Fuji F770EXR. But you are right, travelzooms in its entire history had not been bestowed with this capability.

0 upvotes
Andrew Wiggin
By Andrew Wiggin (Jun 30, 2012)

@royshoonit
http://www.hammacher.com/Product/81584
By your style of writing and impatient consumerism I postulate you are 7 years old, so surely you require a very compact travel camera.

0 upvotes
royshoonit
By royshoonit (Jun 30, 2012)

Dear Andrew Wiggin.
Why are you taking my comments personally?
English is not my native language.
My point is clear, Manufacturers choose to produce Medium quality cameras And direct as at least to mirrorless camera or DSLR.
Simple calculation:body Plus Basic lens +/- 550$, and if you Want more Than Basic lens ,
The sky is the limit.
Sony released now DSC-RX100.
You have Canon PowerShot S95...
They can produce cameras with Large sensor, Small or medium body and Normal zoom But they do not.
And quality of assembly and materials only Descending.

2 upvotes
jorichter
By jorichter (Jun 30, 2012)

Unfortunately I have to agree. My Canon SD500 (6+ years old) produced much better pictures than my daughters 310HS. Customers just look for tech specs, more is better (more MP, Full HD movie). But it's the customers behavior that make companies provide these cameras.
BTW, I'm looking forward to the RX100.

1 upvote
laquila65
By laquila65 (Jul 2, 2012)

I agree with royshoonit too. Digital compact cameras that were made 10 years ago produced better quality pictures, were made of much higher quality materials, and were much more reliable. I have a Canon G2 and Olympus Camedia that I bought about 10 years ago. They still work great and the picture quality is amazing (4 megapixels is more than enough). Low light performance is so-so, but who cares? Photography is about light, not darkness. I'm not buying digital cameras anymore. In fact, I've partially returned to shooting film.

1 upvote
photoguy622
By photoguy622 (Jul 2, 2012)

I agree, my SD850 IS took much cleaner images at low ISO speeds than the newer compact models. As such, I've stayed away from compacts completely, except for a waterproof model, which is only good for one thing.

0 upvotes
Kawika Nui
By Kawika Nui (Aug 27, 2012)

royshoonit & others,
You are right, but if you look at various product lines the motives of the makers are confusing. Fuji often includes RAW, but neglects other features. Canon routlinely ignores any serious burst capability. And so on. I just bought a new ZS15 on Amazon for $165--the list price is almost $300. Surely with that much price flexibility they could have included RAW (as with various Fuji models in the same original price range), even if they had to set the list price a few dollars higher. (After all, hackers have created RAW firmware for non-RAW Canon models--for free!). Actually, cameras like the FZ150, FZ200, Fuji S100, etc. come very close to many DSLR specs in everything but resolution (tiny sensors), and are priced much cheaper. The reasoning behind all this is hard to fathom. The object should be to sell product, generate profits, increase market share, and develop brand loyalty. And yet their offerings are all over the map, and we have to settle for less.

0 upvotes
putomax
By putomax (Jun 29, 2012)

both videos are interlaced which is fine as it's the camera MTS output, but IMHO should have been deinterlaced (something vimeo player does not) for internet watching purposes, as once you do that IQ is completely different, positively, also smother.
thanks for the collaborative review

gashô

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Jun 30, 2012)

These files aren't technically interlaced as they're based on 30p sensor output (and not 60i/60p) - they're progressive segmented frames ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_segmented_frame ). Therefore, no deinterlacing is needed, unlike with true interlaced content.

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Jun 29, 2012)

Bit surprised from lab test shots it's isn't as good as FZ150 having less "intelligent" NR,
still it's funny to see how different are NR algorithms and amounts at highest ISOs between ZS15 and ZS20,
PS still persuaded that ZS15 uses Sony sensor cutted down with bit worse jpeg engine that FZ150 has

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Jun 30, 2012)

Well, I think it is the lens. NR algoritms can get fooled dramaticaly by optical imperfections of the lens.

Look at ISO100 images, FZ150 is sharper in corners than the travelzooms, as expected. ZS20's *corners* are even softer.

My opinion is that travelzooms are quite nice camera category, but their transfocation ought to be limited to 25-300mm eq, as the TZ6/TZ7/TZ8 used to be.

Outside this range the inevitable optical compromises kill the concept.

0 upvotes
SarahAlex
By SarahAlex (Jul 2, 2012)

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1 upvote
Total comments: 28