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Panasonic SZ10 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £139
inc VAT

Well-conceived with its 12x zoom and selfie-friendly screen, but the Panasonic SZ10 lacks the quality where it counts.


Sensor resolution: 16 megapixels, Sensor size: 1/2.33in, Viewfinder: No, LCD screen: 2.7in (460,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 12x (24-288mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/17-35, Weight: 177g, Size (HxWxD): 60x99x30mm

Wex Photographic

There are far fewer compact cameras around these days, as most people just use their smartphones for casual snaps. There’s still a place for a dedicated camera, though, as long as it can offer something over and above what a decent smartphone can do.

The Panasonic SZ10 makes its mark with a 12x optical zoom and a screen that can flip up and over for self-portraits. Selfie mania shows no sign of abating, and this camera means you don’t have to rely on the basic front-mounted camera on your phone. It also benefits from an unusually wide 24mm (equivalent) minimum focal length, so you can pack lots of friends into the frame. Meanwhile, the 288mm (equivalent) maximum focal length means you can capture distant subjects in far greater detail than any fixed-zoom smartphone.

Flipping the screen over switches the camera into a Self Shot mode with various functions available. A Soft Skin effect is applied, and there are options to blur the edges of the frame and even to stretch the image for a wholly unconvincing Slimming effect. A three-second self-timer gives you time to don your most demure pout and there’s an option to capture up to four photos in a row without having to repeatedly press the shutter button.

Wi-Fi enables wireless transfers to iOS and Android devices, and also to a PC across a home Wi-Fi network. It can take a while to configure it – there’s no NFC for automatic configuration – but History and Favorites options in the Wi-Fi menu make revisiting settings easy and quick. There’s comprehensive remote control from the app too, including the ability to move the autofocus point by touching the screen – something that’s not possible on the camera itself. It’s just the thing for times when your arm isn’t long enough for a particularly large group portrait.

Beyond that, the features start to thin out. The screen is relatively small at 2.7in across, there’s no HDMI output and battery life is just 200 shots. There’s no orientation sensor so portrait-shaped photos must be rotated manually. Video capture is limited to 720p resolution in MJPEG format, which generates much larger files than the more common AVC format. Clips are limited to eight minutes and 40 seconds.

Performance was disappointing, taking 3.4 seconds between shots on average. Burst shooting was at a leisurely 1.1fps and the image on screen trailed a couple of frames behind the unfolding action. Autofocus speed was pedestrian and many of our test shots exhibited focusing errors.

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Sensor resolution16 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.33in
Focal length multiplier5.58x
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverageN/A
LCD screen2.7in (460,000 dots)
Orientation sensorNo
Photo file formatsJPEG
Maximum photo resolution4,608×3,456
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 1:1
Video compression formatQuicktime (M-JPEG) at up to 28Mbit/s
Video resolutions720p at 30fps, VGA at 30fps, QVGA at 30fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)8m 40s
Exposure modesAuto
Shutter speed rangeAuto
ISO speed range100 to 1600
Exposure compensationEV +/-2
White balanceAuto, 4 presets, manual
Auto-focus modesMulti, centre, face detect
Metering modesMulti
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, HDR, panorama
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)12x (24-288mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/3.1-6.3
35mm-equivalent aperturef/17-35
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus (wide)3cm
Closest macro focus (tele)150cm
Card slotSDXC
Memory supplied80MB
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, AV
GPSVia smartphone app
Body materialPlastic
AccessoriesUSB cable
Size (HxWxD)60x99x30mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£139
Part codeDMC-SZ10EB-K

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