Panasonic aims for the long game with ZS200 travel compact
Panasonic has announced a new addition to its Travel Zoom series cameras. The Lumix DMC-ZS200 compact retains the 1-inch sensor and 4K video skills of the ZS100 compact from 2016, but gets longer zoom capabilities and a longer battery life.
There's no change in the megapixel count for the incoming model, which tops out at 20.1 MP. As with the ZS100 before it, the new travel zoom's 1-inch MOS sensor is paired with Panasonic's Venus Engine image processor for ISO125 to 12,800 sensitivity (which can be bumped down to ISO80 and up to 25,600), and up to 10 frames per second burst shooting.
What is new is the glass. The ZS200 (TZ200) sports a 24-360 mm equivalent Leica DC Vario-Elmar ultra-wide angle lens, with a useful control ring on the lens barrel for intuitive manual zoom adjustment. Though normal focus range starts at 50 cm (20 in) away from a subject, photographers can get as close as 3 cm in macro mode. And at the other end of the scale, distant objects can be brought much closer thanks to 15x optical zoom.
The camera features Contrast AF featuring Depth From Defocus technology – which looks at two images of different sharpness, compares them with current lens data and calculates the distance to the subject. A Focus Peak function should help snappers determine exactly where the focus is when setting up a shot, and 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization Plus will help with camera shake (and is available for both stills and video).
The 0.21-inch Live View Finder on the ZS200 gets a resolution bump over the previous model, now packing in 2,330K (equivalent) dots compared to 1,166K on the ZS100. And there's a 3-inch touchscreen display panel at the rear to preview a shot, access settings and apply style modes, including the new monochrome photo option.
4K (3,840 x 2,160) video recording capabilities are offered at 30p or 24p in MP4 video format, and new features have been added. As its name may suggest, Auto Marking in 4K Photo mode automatically marks points in a video clip where it detects action, while Sequence Composition can put multiple moving subject frames onto a static background for cool moving action stills.
The travel compact has a built-in, pop-up flash, can capture RAW images and develop them in-camera, and includes Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi for wireless file transfer and remote operation. Finally, its Li-ion battery is good for up to 370 images with the help of a new eco30fps mode.
The ZS200 is due for release in black or silver on March 20 for a suggested retail price of US$799.99. The video below shows the main feature set.