Great little compact but image quality / performance do not deserve the “enthusiast camera” label...

Started Apr 6, 2013 | User reviews thread
OP Alan Ernst Forum Member • Posts: 89
Re: question about responsiveness and buffering.

Hi Sean, Kerusker? and Markus,

Will try to answer all your questions together.
I am not a paid reviewer, my time is limited, I don’t have the technical gadgetry to exactly measure and compare specs / performance / resolution scientifically, and I don’t have access to every model that’s out there for a one on one comparison. If you want that, you have to wait for a formal review from one of the official review sites using benchmark testing.  I use dial up internet, so posting 6-18MP files on an on-line gallery clearly exceeds the time and effort I am willing to spend on something like this. That said, I am not affiliated or married to any one brand and my review is based on day-to-day use, some comparison shots to test out different ISO, focal length, apertures, etc. to see if I like the results and try and find the sweet spot of a lens.  Peer comparisons I can only make with whatever other models I have available.  I mention what I like and don’t like about a camera or lens and my observations are obviously subjective, based on what I am looking for in a camera...

1)      If you are looking at “snap shots” and 4x6 prints, probably any camera or smartphone out there will give you acceptable results these days. For me, the benchmark is 8x10 to 11x14 enlargements and sharp / detailed images on a 15 ½ “ computer screen. If I can’t get that, I am not satisfied.

2)      The SD card I used was a Class 6 card. I rarely do video and therefore don’t see a need to continually invest in the latest and most expensive memory out there. The 1-4 seconds measured were based on a single frame to a four frame consecutive capture. Using a class 10 U1 Extreme Pro card, it is roughly twice as fast so yes, the wait time is much less.

3)      AF speed, accuracy and shutter lag in my view are acceptable, but not what I would call “snappy”. I actually purchased the camera for my wife as well and to have something pocketable myself, which I can take everywhere - all the time.  I think you will just have to try it out and see what you can make of the picture quality.

4)      The Lumix LX7 and the ZS7 use a different concept, i.e. an oversized senser which is never used completely on any aspect ratio, in order to obtain a comparable resolution regardless of the aspect ratio you are using. That is a superb approach as it makes optimal use of the image circle and gives you better resolution on 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios than what you would get otherwise. It is one of the best things that Panasonic has incorporated in some of their models. Even though the sensors on LX7 and ZS7 have 12 and 14 MP respectively, the usable pixels are more in the 10 and 12 MP range. If the image quality from one camera is better than that from another – no matter what the resolution or technical specs – then that camera for me is a better camera! What I look for is sharpness, noise, detail, focus accuracy, correct exposure and colour rendition, and to a lesser degree distortion, light fall off, chromatic aberration, flare. I also own a Lumix TZ 3 with much lower resolution and prefer the image quality on that “archaic” model to any of the TZ/ZS’s that came after it (as long as you don’t enlarge them too much). UNfortunately, it has no choice of exposure modes.

5)      A generic external charger costs you less than an extra battery. The issue is that when you need to charge the battery in camera, you CANNOT use the camera, no matter how many batteries you own! It is simply another way of cost-cutting by the manufacturers.

6)      I rarely use AE-lock on any camera but rely on the histogram instead. The lack of an AE-lock in my view is mitigated by the ability to combine the AF and AE fields

7)      I would definitely like to see a wider shutter speed range from 60s to 1/4000s. However, with this small a sensor, the noise at longer exposures will be such that you won’t want to use it for extra long exposures in any case.

8)      I cannot compare the XZ-2 to the XZ-10 because I don’t have an XZ-2. The XZ-2 gets a great review from DPReview, but the reason I went for its smaller sibling is compactness and a more useful zoom range. I would expect image quality on the XZ-2 to be superior because of the larger sensor and lesser zoom range...

9)      I like the XZ-10, which is why I went and got another one after realising the first one was a dud! However, in my opinion it does not live up to the hype surrounding it (which can probably be said for most models that are released these days...). Whether it works for you or not, you will have to try out yourself. Everyone has different expectations and priorities...
If you do a lot of detail stuff and shoot at closer range, i.e. from portrait to 50feet or so, it performs well. If you use it for close-up, copy work or architecture where straight lines and corner to corner sharpness are important OR if you use the zoom a lot at infinity setting,  then you may find it unsatisfactory.

cheers, Alan

 Alan Ernst's gear list:Alan Ernst's gear list
Nikon D5200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic GX850 +19 more
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