Conclusion

What we like What we don't
  • Long 24-360mm (15X) zoom in a small package
  • Photo quality is generally competitive with its peers
  • Captures good quality 4K video
  • Malleable Raw files
  • Good-sized EVF for this class
  • Best-in-class battery life
  • Respectable subject tracking performance
  • Well-designed touch interface, with AF-point selection when EVF is used
  • Comfortable grip
  • Battery can be charged over USB
  • Good wireless connectivity
  • Slow maximum aperture reduces low light image quality
  • 1.5x crop in 4K limits wide-angle shooting, increases noise
  • Significant sample variation on lenses of three different cameras
  • JPEG noise reduction a bit strong
  • 4K video quality on the noisy side
  • Depth from Defocus system can 'hunt' at times, especially in videos
  • Some may be irritated by color tearing on electronic viewfinder
  • Tilting LCD would have been nice
  • Cluttered button layout on rear panel
  • No headphone or mic jacks

Overall Conclusion

Out of camera JPEG.
ISO 2000 | 1/100 sec | F4| 44mm equiv.
Photo by Wenmei Hill

If you're looking for a truly compact travel zoom with a 1" sensor, there are only two cameras to consider, and they're both made by Panasonic. The Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200 takes the 20MP BSI CMOS sensor from its predecessor (the ZS100/TZ100) and bumps the zoom by 110mm equiv. while increasing the size of the electronic viewfinder and boosting battery life. Panasonic did all this without making the camera larger, though the tradeoff is a slower lens.

What matters the most about any camera is the quality of its images, and the ZS200 is a mixed bag

There's a lot to like about the ZS200. It's 'jacket pocket' compact and feels like a premium product with good fit and finish. Something that comes along with a compact body are small buttons, though the touchscreen interface is fantastic (we just wish the screen tilted). We appreciate the inclusion of a viewfinder, though it's on the small side and can exhibit 'color tearing' that some people will find bothersome.

Out of camera JPEG.
ISO 200 | 1/1000 sec | F4.3 | 52mm equiv.
Photo by Scott Everett

What matters the most about any camera is the quality of the images that it produces, and the ZS200 is a mixed bag. The sensor, which we've seen many times before in other cameras, is great, but the combination of incredible zoom range, a complex optical formula and impressive compactness means the lens was a little softer than we'd like on all three samples that we used. However, the JPEG engine does a good job of sharpening images up, and color has improved compared to previous models. The 4K video quality is decent given enough light, but there's a crop and footage can get noisy and mushy as light levels drop.

Overall, the ZS200 is a very good travel zoom camera, and one that we can easily recommend; though as long as the ZS100 is still around you'll need to decide if another 110mm (equiv.) of zoom is worth at least another $100 of your money.

Out of camera JPEG.
ISO 125 | 1/250 sec | F5.6 | 86mm equiv.
Photo by Jeff Keller

What we think

We make sure that cameras change hands many times over the course of a review because, as a group, we all have different photographic backgrounds and approach photography in different ways. Here's what some other members of the DPReview team thought about the Panasonic ZS200/TZ200.


Wenmei Hill
Editorial Manager
The Panasonic Lumix ZS200 is now the camera I most often recommend to photographers looking for a small and highly capable option for travel or to have on hand for daily life photos. When I brought it along on a trip to a family theme park, I was impressed with how much it offered me from a capability perspective while it stayed out of my way from a user experience perspective: I was able to capture photos in a wide range of circumstances (from low light indoors to zooming in on the top of a roller coaster loop) without having to think too much about camera settings. This was key for me in being able to enjoy the trip while still capturing the memories. The only thing I really missed was an articulated LCD screen, but that was a pretty minor thing to give up in favor of the incredible versatility and reach of the 24-360mm equivalent lens.


Carey Rose
Reviews Editor
The compact superzoom category is a personal favorite of mine, and Panasonic’s DC-ZS200 has the longest zoom we’ve seen in a camera this size to date. I found the ZS200 to perform reliably well in a range of shooting scenarios, with the AF snappy, the zoom responsive, and the image quality perfectly usable for web sharing. It is a perfect camera for travelers focused on portability, but less ideal for those looking for the absolute best image quality, especially in failing light and at the long end of the zoom.

Compared to other travel zoom cameras

Panasonic ZS100: As mentioned above, the only true travel zoom competing with the ZS200/TZ200 in this class is Panasonic's own ZS100/TZ100, which is still on the market for $100+ less. It has most of the capabilities of the ZS200 but with a shorter (but faster) lens, no grip and a smaller EVF. Battery life is quite a bit worse, so you'll want a spare. If you don't need the extra zoom range then we'd go with the ZS100.

Sony RX100 series: While the RX100 IV and V are arguably the best enthusiast compacts on the market, their lenses have a small focal range of 24-70mm equiv., which isn't even close to 24-360mm. A more comparable model is the RX100 II, which has a 28-100mm F1.8-4.9 lens and probably a similar 20MP sensor as the Panasonics. It lacks an electronic viewfinder (that arrived on the RX100 III), though it does have a tilting (non-touch) LCD, and the top video resolution is 1080p.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II: The G7 X II is similar to the RX100 II in that it has a fast lens, with a slightly longer focal range of 24-100mm. Like the Sony, it lacks an EVF and 4K video capture, but you do get a snappy processor, a good (but not amazing) AF system, a well-built body and a capable Wi-Fi system.

The Canon G7 X II, Panasonic ZS100, Panasonic ZS200 and Sony RX10 V.

Panasonic ZS70/TZ90: The ZS70 is our example of an inexpensive, compact superzoom with a 1/2.3" sensor. The ZS70 in particular has a 24-720mm lens, electronic viewfinder and 4K video capture. The downside is that photo quality won't be much better than your smartphone.


Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 (Lumix DC-TZ200)
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ100 packs a 24-360mm equiv. lens into a body that fill fit into all but the skinniest pockets. Its time-tested sensor produces high quality photos, its autofocus system is snappy, 4K video generally good and battery life strong. However, there is a 1.5X crop in 4K video that also increases noise, a lens that tends to be soft, and an EVF that some may find bothersome. For those who want a long lens, compact body and 1" sensor, the ZS200 is one of the better choices out there.
Good for
Travelers who want a telephoto lens in a small package, and to be able to share photos quickly and easily.
Not so good for
Those who wish to capture video at wide-angles. Sports, portrait or low light shooters. Those sensitive to field sequential EVFs.
81%
Overall score