Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR3, big zoom and high-quality video mode

By
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR3, big zoom and high-quality video mode

With its 8x optical zoom, the ZR3 snaps at the heels of compact ultra-zoom cameras such as Panasonic's TZ range. It's slimmer than these cameras, though, and blends in with the ultra-compacts here.

It's also the first camera we've seen to boast Panasonic's new Intelligent Resolution technology. This purports to extend the zoom to 10x by adding a small amount of digital zoom, or improve quality within the optical zoom range. Our tests failed to show any significant benefits in either mode, though.

Otherwise, the menus are home to the usual range of settings. There are no manual exposure options, but plenty of scene presets. Face recognition is used to store the faces of your nearest and dearest, giving them priority when taking group portraits. The 720p video mode is excellent, with sharp details, not much noise in low light, and detailed stereo sound. Autofocus and the optical zoom continue to function during recording, and there's an HDMI socket for watching clips on your TV.

Panasonic's cameras are usually pretty nippy, but while the ZR3 is responsive in normal use, its continuous mode lasts for just three exposures. That's presumably the result of the enormous 14-megapixel sensor.

The high resolution played a decisive role in our image quality tests too, with some noise visible even at ISO 80 and things becoming worse at higher sensitivities. Panasonic's superior Power O.I.S. stabilisation helped in low light, but the dark f/3.3-f/5.9 lens countered the advantage. Automatic exposures were well judged, but colours sometimes seemed a little sterile.

So although the big zoom and high-quality video mode are a boon, image quality isn't up to scratch for the price. If you're after a luxurious camera at a budget price, there are better options in this group.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR3
3 6
Verdict
Lots of strengths, including a long zoom and high-quality video, but image quality is disappointing
Image Quality
Features & Design
Value for money
Overall
Specs
$499
• Panasonic: www.ryda.com.au
• Price: 499
This review appeared in the September, 2010 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing
Tags:

Most Read Articles

More than 400 of the most popular sites are logging everything you type

More than 400 of the most popular sites are logging everything you type

Head2Head: Apple iPhone X vs Samsung Galaxy S8

Head2Head: Apple iPhone X vs Samsung Galaxy S8

Building believable AI in games: F.E.A.R.

Building believable AI in games: F.E.A.R.

AMD drops Ryzen prices for Black Friday

AMD drops Ryzen prices for Black Friday

Would you like to receive

Our Newsletter?