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Movie mode

Now let's move on to the DMC-ZS15's movie mode, which Panasonic still calls Motion Picture mode. The ZS15 can record Full HD video (1920 x 1080) at 60 interlaced frames per second. The sensor is outputting 30 frames/second, so it's not true 60i. If you want smoother video, you can also record at 720/60p. The AVCHD codec allows you to keep recording until the elapsed time reaches 30 minutes. Monaural sound is recorded along with the video.

If you want to avoid AVCHD entirely -- which you might, since it's difficult to edit and share -- then you can also use MPEG-4 (a step up from Motion JPEG used on previous models). You can record video at 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720 and 640 x 480, all at 30 frames/second. Do note that recording stops when the file size reaches 4GB, which takes about 25 minutes at the 1080/30p setting.

As with its predecessor, the ZS15 lets you use the optical zoom while you're recording a movie. The lens moves slowly, so the noise from the motor is not picked up by the microphone. The optical image stabilization system works, as well, with an "active" mode that helps suppress severe camera shake. The camera can focus continuously while recording a movie, to help keep your subjects in focus, whereever they are.

Video recording is a point-and-shoot experience on the ZS15, with no manual controls (unless a wind filter counts). If you're in Intelligent Auto mode, the camera will pick a movie scene mode for you. The camera's Creative Filters are also available for videos. If you want to take a still image while you're recording you can take up to fifteen still photos of them, albeit at 3.5 Megapixel.

Sample Video 1:

Below is a sample movie recorded at the highest quality setting (1080/60i). I converted it for web viewing with Final Cut Pro X, and I've included a link to the original MTS file if you want to view it your own way.

Download original AVCHD file (36.7 MB, 1920 x 1080 @ 60i, MTS format)

Sample Video 2:

This clip, shot at the long end of the ZS15's zoom, shows how effective it's optical image stabilization system is in keeping everything nice and stable. Footage is pleasantly smooth and detailed, too. As you can hear though, the ZS15's built-in mic has picked up plenty of background noise - more or less inevitable with a scene like this, where the subject is so far away from the camera.

Download original AVCHD file (38.9 MB, 1920 x 1080 @ 60i, MTS format)
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Total comments: 3

I love my Lumix DMC ZS15 -- it's the best small camera I've ever owned. So, I was disappointed when spots began to appear on the lens; first one, then two, and eventually 6, and all were being recorded on my images. Not wanting to purchase a new (and different model) digital camera, I went to my local camera repair shop, and was told that this was a common problem with Panasonic lenses, and that he could clean the lens interior for $70. He said that small grains that collected around the outside of the lens were occasionally drawn into the camera when the camera was turned off. A few days later my Lumix was taking perfect, unspotted photos again.


I have the same issue.....and I get a spot on every picture in the upper right side. Very it an expensive fix at a camera repair shop?


I am one of three people in my town who bought this camera. WE all have issues with specks in the lens. We have not received support from Panasonic on this camera.

Total comments: 3