Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 review

Incredibly slim for a 10x zoom camera, and image quality and performance are up to scratch. Only the screen's poor viewing angles keep the SZ7 from an award

8 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Page 2 of 2Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 review


1/2.33in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 10.0x zoom (25-250mm equivalent), 133g

The camera handled our photo tests with confidence, too. Performance was superb, taking a shot every 0.8 seconds in normal use. The headline 10fps continuous mode lasted for just four shots, but the ability to shoot at 5fps with continuous autofocus is unprecedented at this price. It slowed to around 1.6fps after five shots, but that's still a fine result. There's not much to report about the controls and menus – they're straightforward and effective, and include all the key options we expect. Our only gripe is that the custom white balance mode can be selected from the Quick Menu but its calibration is only possible via the main menu. This had us stumped for quite a while.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 sample shot

Noise reduction works hard in low light, but messy edges around darker areas reveal this camera's limitations - click to enlarge

Comparing image quality with the similarly specified Canon Ixus 500 HS, the Panasonic delivered sharper focus into the corners of frames – a remarkable achievement considering that the Canon doesn't even try to focus light onto the edges of its sensor. There were some chromatic aberrations, giving red and blue halos around high-contrast lines, but they rarely made a big impact in practice. The Panasonic also exhibited less noise in bright light, but indoors there was little to choose between them, and in very low light the Canon broke out into the lead. It also displayed warmer, more flattering colours. Overall, though, the Panasonic takes the prize for image quality.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 sample shot

With reasonably sharp focus throughout its 10x zoom range, the SZ7 is a marvellous feat of optical design - click to enlarge

We could live with the video smearing issue but we're less inclined to put up with the screen's poor viewing angles. We prefer the SZ7 to the Ixus 500 HS, but the Ixus 230 HS is still the best compact camera we've seen to date with its 8x zoom and immaculate image quality.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 14.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.33in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 460,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 10.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 25-250mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,320x3,240
Maximum movie resolution 1920x1080
Movie frame rate at max quality 25fps
File formats JPEG; AVCHD, MP4 (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied 70MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 250 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB cable
Weight 133g
Size 60x99x21mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £222

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/3.1-9 (wide), f/5.9-16 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controls i.Exposure, i.Resolution
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 5cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer

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