Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70K, 4K Digital Camera Review – 2020 Deep Dive

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A Deep Dive Into The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70K

This camera is one of a series of Panasonic products meant to bridge the gap between the zoom and clarity of a powerful DSLR with the ease of transport and use of an ordinary travel camera, combining manual focus and eye viewfinder with a slim chassis and intuitive control scheme. Whether you are shooting on the low or high end of this camera’s capabilities, you can take advantage of a considerable package of digital features to make your shooting, sharing, and onboard editing a breeze.

The Lumix is built around a 720mm Leica lens with 30x optical magnification and a manual focus ring to let you fine-tune every shot to your exact liking. Images appear on a 20.3-megapixel screen equipped with a full 180-degree rotation to let you take perfect selfies or show the subject what their photo will look like.

Although manual focus is included, the camera itself does no small amount to keep the pictures clear. With five-axle autofocus and post-focus stacking correct every frame almost as you hit the shutter, accounting for movement and error in the manual focus. High-sensitivity image stabilization accounts for even the least movements of the photographer and adjusts the shot against any blur or lighting change.

Users have two options for aiming the camera, either through a 1,166k-dot LVF for sunny conditions or using the screen for lower lighting. On playback, the screen brightens automatically to let you look over your shots even in broad daylight.

Along with its amazing still quality, this camera also supports 4K video capture with the same degree of both manual and automatic image optimization. The video format can be customized to MP4 or AVCHD; although they can capture sound, the microphone and speaker are definitely not this camera’s strongest point, so wait until you can play them on another device before despairing of the accompanying audio.

Who’s It For?

This camera is an excellent travel companion, made to snap incredible photos of the places and events that you came to see. It’s a great option for anyone with a penchant for photography but with neither the space nor budget for a more impressive camera. This makes it ideal at family events, field trips, or for taking promotional pictures for a small business.

For all that it tries to be, though, this camera is still not a DSLR and will not be able to replace it for professional purposes. Similarly, anyone looking to customize a particular setting may need a more advanced camera. While it is called a ‘travel camera’, it is by no means able to ‘rough it’, and should not be taken on long hikes, swimming or boating trips, or anywhere where it might sustain impact or moisture damage.

What We Like About The Panasonic Lumix

This camera has an amazing lens for its size, giving the user manual control and an impressive 30x optical zoom in a travel-sized package. With 20.3 megapixel photos and 4K video in one device that is always nice to have, and the screen gives a good viewing experience in all conditions.

Sharing is easier than on other devices as well; this camera supports WiFi connection to send anything you shoot straight to a connected device with the Panasonic app. If no WiFi is available, the camera can host memory cards up to 128 GB to give plenty of storage space even at the highest resolutions.

What We Don’t Like About The Panasonic Lumix

This camera comes with relatively few of the accessories that most photographers would like. Even without getting too demanding of the manufacturer, most cameras include an external charger and spare battery, and possibly a carry case or small starter memory card. This camera includes the very minimum possible with one battery and a cable to charge it while still in the camera, leaving your camera out of commission while the battery needs charging.

Unlike most cameras these days, which are rated for dust, mild shock, and/or IP waterproofing, this camera has no resistance to those impacts and has been reported relatively fragile. Its single battery means you are unlikely to be taking it too far from an urban setting at any rate, but it would be nice to have something that could take an accident or two even around the house.

PROS

  • 30x optical zoom
  • Five-axis image stabilization
  • 4K video capture
  • WiFi connection for rapid sharing
  • Manual control ring allows for precise image control

CONS

  • No penetration resistance
  • FeaDoes not include as many accessories as the competition

What’s Included?

As previously mentioned, not much is included; the basic package comes with the camera and a single battery. Buyers can also expect a charging cable, wrist strap, and basic user’s manual in the box. Everything else one might want is packaged separately and sold by Panasonic as ‘bundle’ deals, both with and without the camera.

Some of the more glaring omissions from the basic camera purchase are a memory card and memory card case, a carry case for the camera, and an extra battery with an external charger. There is also no mounting solution for screen cleaning cloth, less common inclusions but still nice to have around.

Overview Of Features

Physically speaking, this camera is gratifyingly compact, measuring 64.6mm tall by 110.7mm wide, and 34.4mm thick with the lens collapsed. It weighs only a little more than 11oz, making it a lightweight and compact photography solution for most casual needs.

The Leica lens features a manual control ring – a rarity in cameras of this size – and gives up to 30x optical zoom. Users have their choice of aiming with either the rear screen or an integrated LVF; either way, the result is a 20.3-megapixel photo in any of a variety of formats including JPEG and PNG.

Alongside the manual focus is a five-axis image stabilization program that checks movement in every direction but straight down, and a post-shutter stacking that fires the shutter at a number of minutely different speeds and sensitivities. This produces several different versions of the same photo with one push of the shutter button, from which the user can select their favorite and discard the rest.

The control scheme is relatively straightforward, with a standard T/W rocker for zoom and a mode selector wheel that lets the user cycle through the various shooting settings with ease. Technical settings such as the number of frames per push and length of exposure will need to be adjusted in the camera’s menu by way of a navigational pad on the back.

Video capture is fully supported on this camera. You can shoot 4K video with the same zoom and stabilization as you enjoy in still mode, although the manual focus is disabled and replaced by the camera’s internal autofocus. While the video is captured with sound and will be audible on playback, the speakers and microphone are understandably low quality – view the recording on another device if that is a problem.

As with most cameras, this one uses full-size SD cards and can support up to 128 GB of removable memory. Brand-name Panasonic cards are recommended to avoid formatting issues but are by no means vital.

Along with onboard storage, it is possible to download the Panasonic app to a mobile device and connect to the camera via a shared wireless network. This will allow the photos to be sent directly to the paired device without taking up space on the camera. It is worth noting that this software has been reported unstable and should not be relied upon for any particularly critical photos.

One thing this camera does not have is any real staying power, either physically or in terms of endurance. The battery is not exceptionally economical and there is no spare, so you have enough power for a day of shooting but not much more.

The camera does not resist any kind of rough treatment or penetration; dust, moisture, and even mild shocks can damage the delicate electronics or the lens mechanism, rendering the camera all but inoperable.

Review Summary

This camera is a great companion for anyone who will be shooting in a relatively urban environment with easy access to electricity. It produces extremely high-quality pictures, clear video, and good electronic optimization before and after you press the shutter. It is light enough to be easily carried about for a day of sightseeing or a field trip, and compact enough for a small purse or pocket.

That said, anyone looking to leave these conditions would be well advised to get a trail or sport camera instead, as this one is not up to hurly-burly treatment or adverse weather. Additionally, there is a distinct sense of profiteering, as the manufacturer sells most of the common accessories as a separate product for far more than the competition.

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