Panasonic launched the pocket superzoom camera category a few years ago and they’ve consistently led the charge with new features and great performance. For 2013 they’re stepping up their pocket superzoom game by adding Wi-Fi. The new Panasonic Lumix ZS30 has a 20x optical zoom lens, a new 18-megapixel sensor, full HD video at 60 frames per second, a touchscreen LCD display, GPS and built-in Wi-Fi. ¬The ZS30 isn’t the first pocket superzoom to include Wi-Fi but it’s certainly one of best spec’d cameras now that they’ve added it. Panasonic has also given the ZS30 a more refined and serious look with a beefier grip. The ZS30 looks more like Panasonic’s premium LX7 Lumix camera than a regular point-and-shoot now. Considering all the features and performance that’s packed into it, the upgraded image is appropriate.
Panasonic Lumix ZS30 Key Features and Specs:
- New 18.1 megapixel, high sensitivity MOS Sensor
- 20x 24-420mm f/3.3-6.4 Leica DC optical zoom lens
- Built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n)
- Panasonic Image App for iOS and Android
- New 5-axis image stabilization
- 1920 x 1080 AVCHD full HD video at 60 FPS with built-in stereo mic
- 3-inch touchscreen LCD display
- P,A,S,M manual shooting modes
- 10 FPS high-speed burst (6 image limit)
- Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 6400
- Built-in GPS with compass and map
- Built-in HDR and panoramic modes
Pocket superzooms are my favorite point-and-shoot cameras since they put so much versatility right in my pants pocket. If you’re only going to have one camera, a pocket superzoom is the right thing to do. Panasonic created the pocket superzoom category about 8 years ago when they introduced their first Lumix TZ – a pocket-sized camera with a 10x optical zoom lens. Since then the cameras have gotten smaller, the zoom range has increased and they’ve added a ton of features like built-in GPS, full HD video, manual exposure controls, touchscreen LCD display – and now, Wi-Fi. A couple of years ago I took the Panasonic Lumix ZS10 to Europe and it was excellent. You can read that review to learn more about why I love pocket superzooms (Panasonic Lumix ZS10 Pro Review).
The most important differences between Panasonic’s new ZS30 and the previous model, the ZS20, are the new higher-resolution 18-megapixel “high sensitivity MOS Sensor,” the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and new 5-axis image stabilization. Panasonic says the 5-axis image stabilization “detects and effectively compensates for the camera’s 5 types of movement – horizontal, vertical, axis of rotation, vertical rotation and horizontal rotation.” That sophisticated compensation will mean sharper photos at full zoom and in low light as well as smoother handheld video. The new stabilization system also allowed them to add a new feature called Level Shot, which keeps the horizon level no matter how you hold the camera.
Camera companies have been putting Wi-Fi in cameras for years now but it’s just now starting to be really useful. In the past, it mostly let you connect to a computer to transfer photos. Now, with the addition of Smart Phone apps, you can use your camera’s built-in Wi-Fi to transfer photos to your phone so you can share them immediately, no matter where you are. This makes a good point-and-shoot camera like the ZS30 a compliment to your Smart Phone. The Panasonic Image App is available for iOS and Android Smart Phones and tablets. Besides transferring photos and videos to your phone, the app can also be used as a wireless remote control for the ZS30, so you can use your phone’s display as “a real-time viewfinder and control the camera’s zoom and shutter directly from the device.” Imagine the photo and video possibilities with that kind of remote control!
Panasonic has always been on our list of top pocket superzoom cameras and it looks like the ZS30 has earned a spot there as well. The huge zoom range and built-in Wi-Fi makes the ZS30 a great camera for people who are looking for more than their Smart Phone camera can offer. I’m very much looking forward to getting one of these for review.
The Panasonic Lumix ZS30 will be available in March of 2013. You can get it in black, white and silver and it will cost you US $399.99. If you don’t need all the features the ZS30 offers, Panasonic also announced the new 16-megapixel ZS25, which leaves out the Wi-Fi and sells for just $299.99.