13 Sep

I Got My Panasonic DMC-ZS30K Pocket Digital Camera in 2013. It’s Still Going Strong.

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I travel, as a journalist, and sometimes I am in some dicey places where a full SLR can make you a target. 7 years ago I purchased a Panasonic Lumix and it served me very well. After it finally died, I decided to replace it instead of repair it. After doing some more research, I still returned to the Panasonic Lumix platform and this camera is a great improvement over the earlier model. It is much faster and has some impressive features. The photo quality is very good, and one of the things I like is its low light capability. I can keep the flash off and shoot discretely in places that before would need a flash. That said, the flash is not very powerful, so when you do need it, you will miss the ability to add a full size dedicated flash like an SLR.

The Leica lens is great. The video quality is good. I do wish they didn’t take away the ability to record raw format photos, but the full resolution JPEG photos are plenty huge – often over 10 MB. The video records in your choice of two different formats, an HDTV native, and MP4 format. A rudimentary stereo microphone is now built in, but the location of the mic is too close to where my finger likes to wander. One big drawback of my old model was the inability to zoom when recording video, but this is fixed now. There appears to be a limit of 30 minutes when shooting video, but video is a secondary feature for me. If you are video oriented, you probably are better off with a camcorder. This records nice video, but feature-wise, it’s a camera, not a camcorder.

I originally wrote this review back in 2013. The camera still works fine, and now serves me as a backup. The only functional sign of wear is the external shutter guard sometimes sticks on power-up and just needs a slight nudge.

2 really cool features now are the built in GPS / GLONASS, and the WIFI for transferring photos. THe WIFI is kind of maddening to learn how to use, but once you learn the quirks its a good way to transfer photos. I use it when I am in the field to transfer photos to my iphone, where I can then email them directly. That way I don’t have to wait to get back to my computer, and an internet connection.

The camera is much much faster than the old model, but still not as fast as an SLR. Flash recovery time is much better, but this camera is also much thirstier than previous models when it comes to battery life. One thing impressive is how fast the camera is ready to shoot upon turning it on. From pressing the power button, it is ready for action in less than 2 seconds.

The camera is actually more compact than the old model, the lens retracts into the body and it fits into my jeans pockets comfortably. There is a micro USB output and an HDMI TV output.

Some work is better suited to an SLR, but for the type of work I do: photojournalism in developing countries mostly, this camera does not leave me wanting for features that I left behind when downsizing platforms. I am 100% happy with this camera. It also is the camera I use for family snapshots, etc.

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