Sunday, December 06, 2009

Review: Panasonic DMC-ZR1

I like my Panasonic DMC-FX01 that I've owned for several years, but it is missing one thing: the ability to zoom during movies. The Panasonic DMC-ZR1 does that, along with 8x zoom instead of 3x. It should be the perfect camera, but alas, it was not to be.

I set out to determine if the pictures it took were at least as good as the FX01. They seemed to be. But the video was its downfall. Outdoors the video was fine. Indoors with the lens in its widest setting it was fine. When I took video indoors at night (lights were on) with the ZR1, as soon as I began to zoom, the video got darker and darker. After 2 or 3x it was too dark to be usable. An email to Panasonic support confirmed there was no way to brighten the video. Since I frequently take movies of my kids indoors at night, this was unacceptable. Especially since I hoped to take movies at school functions which requires zoom; The fx01 was able to take movies at3x zoom just fine. so I wasn't gaining anything with the zr1.

I am very sad this wasn't the right camera for me. It is a good camera in so many ways: small size, zoom during movies, a shortcut menu of common settings. and excellent outdoor performance. If zoomed indoor video isn't something you need. consider this camera. otherwise the Panasonic DMC-ZS3 is probablyy your best bet.

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