Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100)

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20MP 1"-type BSI-CMOS sensor | 25-250mm equiv. F2.8-5.9 lens | 4K video capture

What we like:

  • Ideal blend of zoom and size
  • Built-in EVF
  • Excellent AF system
  • Good quality 4K footage

What we don't:

  • Soft lens, strong noise reduction reduces JPEG image quality
  • EVF is small, and some may be bothered by "color tearing"
  • Fixed LCD
The Panasonic ZS100 (TZ100 in most regions) squeezes a 10X, 25-250mm equivalent lens into a body much smaller than your typical 'super zoom' camera. It uses a familiar 20MP 1"-type sensor, which is capable of capturing 4K video. It also includes Panasonic's latest AF system. It offers both a fixed touchscreen display and a small-but-useful EVF. It's an older model, but still quite capable.
The ZS100 is small enough that you should be able to slip it into a jeans pocket. Its metal body is solid, though it has a slippery finish and not much of a grip. The camera has a 3" LCD with well-implemented touch features and an EVF that uses field sequential updates (that some users may find bothersome). EVF shooting allows use of the touchscreen to select a focus point, saving valuable time. On the whole, it's very easy to customize both physical and onscreen controls.
Overall, the Panasonic ZS100/TZ100 is a competent enthusiast compact, and one of few travel zooms with a 1"-type sensor.
The ZS100 uses Panasonic's latest autofocus system and it offers fast acquisition times and surprisingly good subject tracking. Continuous AF with face/eye tracking is also very good. The camera can shoot continuously at around 6 fps with continuous AF or 10 fps with single AF. Rated at 300 shots per charge, battery life is average for this class.
Image quality is a mixed bag. The ZS100's JPEGs have rather dull colors, and fine details can be a victim of its strong noise reduction. The camera's soft lens does not help with sharpness, either. There is quite a bit of detail lurking in the ZS100's Raw files, though, which you can easily 'pull' out shadow areas in photos. And, overall, the excellent 1"-type sensor's output is considerably better than what you'd get from the smaller sensors of most travel zooms.
The camera captures 4K/UHD video at 30p, with a maximum bit rate of 100 Mbps, and it looks very good. At Full HD a 60p option is available, as is a 5-axis hybrid image stabilization system, which generally works well unless the camera is panned. The ZS100 offers full control over exposure as well as zebra pattern and audio level monitoring (the camera lacks a mic input), which is impressive for this type of camera.
Overall, the Panasonic ZS100/TZ100 is a competent enthusiast compact, and one of the only travel zooms with a 1"-type sensor. Its lens range and small size make it a great choice for vacationers who don't want to carry around a bulky bridge camera all day. It offers still image quality that bests that of other travel zoom and its 4K videos look great. It's not the very best 1" sensor camera in terms of image quality, and its EVF is small and potentially irritating, but the ZS100 remains a very capable camera for those on the go.

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