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Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £222
inc VAT

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


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

The SZ7 looks like a typical ultra-compact camera, but Panasonic has somehow managed to cram a 10x zoom lens into its 21mm deep shell. This is a stunning achievement. Canon goes even further with the Ixus 500 HS, which measures 19mm and has a 12x zoom lens, but it uses a cropped sensor design to achieve this feat. There are no such compromises with the SZ7, which has an extremely flexible 25-250mm (equivalent) lens, focusing light onto a 14-megapixel, 1/2.3in back-illuminated CMOS sensor.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 front

It’s disappointing that the company feels compelled to claim a 20x Intelligent Zoom – this looks to us like plain old digital zoom, which magnifies without adding any extra detail. Annoyingly, it can’t be turned off in Intelligent Auto mode, so we had to zoom carefully to avoid going into this part of the zoom range.

The SZ7 can’t match the stunning good looks of the Ixus, but it’s still a reasonably handsome camera and its metal shell seems built to last. The screen is a big let-down, though, suffering from severely washed out colours when viewed slightly from above. We tend to hold compact cameras with our elbows to our sides to help hold it steady, and from this position the screen looked awful.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 top

We also noticed an odd, echo-like smearing of colours when recording videos. This wasn’t a problem with the screen, though – the recorded videos were smeared too. It was only visible in highly specific circumstances, with low light, fast motion and sharp, high-contrast subjects. As such, it wasn’t a big issue in practice, but it’s disconcerting nonetheless.

Otherwise, the SZ7’s videos were excellent, with crisp, smooth details and a high quality stereo soundtrack. They’re recorded in AVCHD or MP4 format at 1080p for up to 30 minutes per clip. The zoom motor was barely detectable on the soundtrack and the autofocus motor was completely silent.

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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 4,320×3,240
Maximum movie resolution 1920×1080
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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