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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

Panasonic SZ10 – Image Quality

We don’t expect dazzling image quality from ultra-compact cameras with big zooms, especially when they’re as keenly priced as this one. However, we do expect better quality than from a typical smartphone. The SZ10 delivered with the flexibility of its 12x zoom range, although focus towards the edges of the frame let it down a little and the somewhat unreliable autofocus took it down another notch. It failed to impress for colour accuracy or noise levels. Colours were often drab, with a dominant colour in the scene confusing the white balance, and skin tones were sometimes washed out. Noise reduction artefacts were visible in all of our test shots, and low-light photos were smudged and grainy.

^ Focus is sharp in the centre of this wide-angle shot but less so towards the edges. Noise reduction has taken its toll on subtle details. (1/80s, f/4.2, ISO 100, 59mm equivalent)

^ Focus in this brightly lit telephoto shot is pretty good. (1/320s, f/6.3, ISO 100, 288mm equivalent)

^ However, many of our telephoto test shots had focused on the background or on nothing in particular. (1/250s, f/6.3, ISO 200, 288mm equivalent)

^ There’s not much left of fine details in this ISO 400 shot, but it’s a respectable snap that would have been impossible with a fixed-zoom smartphone. (1/100s, f/5.8, ISO 400, 217mm equivalent)

^ Noise levels in low light aren’t any better than we’d expect from a smartphone. (1/25s, f/3.1, ISO 800, 24mm equivalent)

Panasonic SZ10 – Conclusion

It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a camera for under £150, and it’s good to see Panasonic catering for this market. The flip-over screen will be a selling point to many, but take that away and the SZ10 falls short for image quality, video capabilities and performance – three crucial areas in our book. Most will be better off spending £10 more on the Sony WX350 instead. If it that doesn’t suit your needs either then check out our regularly-updated Best Cameras list and buying guide.

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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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