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Panasonic Lumix ZS5
Panasonic Lumix ZS5

Hey! You should know that Panasonic has released a newer version of this product: the Panasonic Lumix ZS8.

Panasonic Lumix ZS5

We've given the ZS5 a grade of A-.

Editor's Review

With a superb zoom range, solid design, speedy performance, and strong image quality, the ZS5 is one of the best travel zooms of the past few years. This configuration is perfect for travelers and hobbyist shooters who need a little more oomph than the run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot can provide. It has a smaller screen and more rudimentary feature set than many other cameras in the class, but the value is excellent -- at least for the next few weeks, maybe months, while it's still available. It's been replaced by the Panasonic ZS8, which is another solid travel zoom, but one that is a bit expensive for its relatively modest feature set. To be clear, there are cameras with faster performance, better image quality, and richer feature sets, but the ZS5 does it all quite well for a low price. We've recently lowered the ZS5's grade to an A minus because, as is typical for discontinued products, the price started to rise as units became scarce. Still a great camera if you want it, and it's not yet more expensive than the better-spec'd current-year models, but it's not quite the value for the dollar that it used to be.


  • 12 megapixels
  • 12x optical zoom
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 2.7-inch LCD monitor
  • 720p HD video (motion JPEG format)
  • Venus Engine VI image processor
  • Full manual controls
  • Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Release Date: Apr 06, 2010

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Panasonic Lumix ZS5 Reviews

Panasonic Lumix ZS5 Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 5.0 out of 5
PANSASONIC ZS6/ZS5 VS. CANON SX130 is also looked at Samsung & Fuji (Not Screwing Around — 01/01/2011)
I have just spent some serious time testing/comparing 4 cameras side by side. the 2 at the "top" ending up being the Panasonic ZS6/ZS5 and the Canon SX(?) 130 is. ( the other 2 the Samsung HZ30 W and the Fuji S1800. Samsung, more noise. "Better over all color balance?? To much noise if you blow pictures up. But Price, and best setting and features. It does not remember that you have forced the flash off. when you turn the camera back on. Then Fuji, took the Worst indoor shots! Dead Color and Noise. Outdoors good color?, Good focus in the center of the pictures, But focus gets soft as you leave the center of the shot. It also will often focus on something to the Side of what you are trying to take a picture of, if it is in front of the subject. Instead of focusing on what you want. I Dismissed the Fuji. the Samsung might be good for smaller prints, you can see the noise more and sometimes not quite as good of focus as the Panasonic and the Canon. But still usable, and probably the best control of all settings. and the most "toy settings features" If you don't want to blow up and frame your shots. I Probably a good camera to play with. I picked it up for only $149. It also has the most zoom 24mm with 15X optical. But If you doing that once in a life time trip down the grand canyon, or that "perfect shot" that you want to blow up and frame... do you want to risk it being on the Samsung... Samsung was also Slower than the Canon or Panasonic to start up and take a picture.) As far as the quality of the shots go. The Canon 130 clearly produced the Best Sunset shots. More Pure , clean, higher chroma blue" sky "More colors" better transition from colors/shading. the Panasonic produces "dirty blue skies. less color/ limited color. and poorer "color shading and transition", and sometimes? often? "over exposed as it gets "closer to the sun". When you look at the "tone" of the picture produced by the Panasonic it seems colder and a bit more lifeless than the canon. A bit of a "bluish wash"? to the picture. say by a" half step or a step" Then canon appears to have a Golden warm wash to the pictures, say by 2 "steps"? The Canon will produce Much Better color for sunsets, and possibly more pleasing pictures printed straight from the camera. But the Panasonic may be More Accurate with Color. Just a little "cold" And have “better contrast”. So Canon 130 Much better sunsets. Warmer over all picture. But Panasonic ZS6/5 More accurate color? With "regular scenic pictures, NOT Sunsets, leaning towards "cool blue" and when you click on view full size on the computer, the Panasonic Had Clearer Sharper focus. and in the daylight. often "finer/better"? noise control. The canon never seemed to be able to lock in on that final focus, I mean Never. Obvious when viewed "full size" THE Canons focus was always "Soft/and not quite in "Final" sharp focus", when viewed Full Size. And its screen goes, a bit grainy indoors at night while Shooting. and while testing I used like 6 sets of new alkaline batteries. Canon says that is should take 130 shots with Alkaline. I could only get 40 shots out of a set of batteries. I asked Canon about the grainy screen indoors, the Not quite being able to "finish focusing" and the batteries only getting 40 shots instead of 130, to see if it was a defective camera. there answer was to tell me not to use digital zoom, (duh!) and to take the batteries out and reset camera. took the batteries out longer than they said. and it all had no affect on the focus ( or settings) results. And when addressing the shortcomings with the batteries, they would not answer my questions, they just told me "lithium ion" batteries would get 330 shots. Nice misdirection and Not answering my questions. and Kind of Meaningless when they already told me the alkaline would get 130 shots. Kind of pissed me off. Does that mean the "lithium ion batteries will on get 100 shots? ... When It comes down to the bodies of the cameras. the panasonic is the smallest and lightest. it has all the style of an old candy tin or cough drop tin painted black. Not much to hold on to, and you have to remember not to block the flash.. or the mics. or the focus assist light, etc. the Canon looks more like a "real camera", and weighs more. It will Not fit in your shirt pocket. maybe your pants pocket. ( it fit in mine. Get a belt case with closed cell foam padding and put it in there anyway.) But the Canon is the easiest to hold on to, it has a more raised pronounced chrome decoration/grip on the front, and some "notches on the back for your thumb , and it is easier to work, especially for "man hands" and the "selection wheel on top it less like to get changed accidentally. and the way it is designed. you naturally do NOT block the flash, the mics, and the focus assist lame. You would pretty much have to Try to interfere with those things while taking a picture. its screen is also adequate for outdoor shots in the sun. I just hope they don't dim/fade after use. We Really should Demand "eye view finders" on cameras costing $140 and up. Maybe we should just stop buying them until they do that, that and demand that they provide USEFUL, PRINTED operators manuals. a CD is Worthless "out in the field" canons manual is Slight better than Pansasonics, still.... Worthless. The canon Being bigger and heavier is a Relative description though.. Compared to my old Pentax point and shoot IQ90-WR Film camera that I carried all over the place, hiking and back packing, the canon is about "half the size", and weight. Or even less than half the weight?. It is also more stable if you want to set the camera on something, set the timer, and step pack to get in the picture. The lens train also extends out from the body on the Bottom of the camera, making it more stable when set on something. The Pansasonic is thinner and its lens train bulges out on the side instead, it is More wobbly and like to fall over when setting/balancing it on something. The Canon also has the manual flip up flash. I like this. I don't know why many people don't. the flash will often/usual go off Cameras, when "not needed" (setting off flash, and raising ISO is the "easy/lazy way out of dealing with dimmer light.) and "mess up the pictures" On the canon, if you don't flip up the flash, it will not go off on you. You just have to remember to put it up at night or indoors and leave it up for low light shooting Where it is Actually Needed.. You don't have to worry about the flash going off when you don't want it to. and t he flip up flash raises the flash up above the lens train, minimizing shadow, and red eye. Although at least on the Panasonic if you "force off the flash" it will remember to keep the flash off when you turn off and on the camera. But just by looking at the camera body you can not tell if the flash is on, or off. ( the Samsung hz30 w will Not remember if you forced of the flash, when you turn it off and on. very annoying. and an noisier/grainier camera, best "features/settings and price, and "over all color balance"? though. But not in the running with its noise level showing up more when you blow up your pictures) Strangely at twilight. the Panasonic ends up with better color range, )In auto? or ISO set also?) But Much More noise than usual, and noticably more noise than the canon at twilight. Some how they switch at twilight/Low light. The canons noise was Better, but then its "color range" range ( and contrast?) Went Dead. The canon also uses Common AA batteries and hook up cable" which is nice. the Panasonic, "Proprietary" Believe it or not I am leaning towards the Panasonic for it Sharper/ Clearer focus on landscapes,(and everything) and its better Contrast. I am hoping I will not regret losing the canons Clearly "superior sunset picture quality". For the clearer focus. And "better contrast of the Panasonic. And sometimes that "golden wash" of the canon MAY be a bit much. Hopefully I will be better with the less heavy "blue wash" of the Panasonic? I also just when taking last shots. I saw somebody with their dog and I put the canons "wheel" on kids/pets later I looked at that shot.. Awful! Blurry! and Noisy? .. And then their is canons whole lack of support on the questions of battery, lack of focus, and screen. My questions were Not Properly addressed. Oh and it might be nice to be able to put the Panasonic in the shirt pocket at a party or something. Although the Canon handles "easier/better" And really is not big or heavy compared to my old film point and shoot camera that did Not even a 1/4 or a fifth of the zoom of the Canon. the Panasonic has a Wider zoom lens that takes a somewhat Noticably wider picture. 25mm equiv. for Panasonic 28 MM equiv. for Canon. The Canon will zoom in tighter... I'm thinking the extra wideness will be more useful then the extra zoom...? To bad none of these Digital point and shoots will take as good of a picture as my old film point and shoot. For some Annoying reason the Canon has the most Limited "pictures size/format settings. your are limited on the "4:3 or 3:2 or 16:9 settings" and the mega pixel settings... for example if you want to take a 16:9 picture to see on your plasma screen TV. You have to take it only in 10MP size, and eat up your memory space on Everything. when the TV Can't even show 2MP or detail. ,Pansaonic, a Little bit cold/blue, Sharper pictures better contrast, smaller and lighter, but more "difficult" to handle. Canon can't quite finish focusing/soft. (at full size) Overly warm? ("more off/increase on"golden warmness", than panasonic is on "cool blueness" But Canon takes Superior Sunsets! ( and that's probably it for its superior shot taking ability?) "Bigger and heavier" but "easier to handle, les likely to block things or accidentally change the Canons settings. And it has a flip up flash. ( panasonics wheel is "not that bad" at accidentally changing, although it may have been getting easier with use..., Samsungs changes noticeably easier) but what is with that battery life? Well I stayed up Way to Late, and I'm tired and forgetting stuff. I am going to bed. I spent allot of time and energy checking out, testing and comparing these cameras. hope that was helpful information. And honestly, I am kind of let down with the new digital cameras. my 5 or 6 year old 6MP Kodak camera will take much better indoor pictures with Noticeably Less noise/"smudging" and Better Color than these 2 new "better" cameras. Frustrating! I am not sure with what new camera I will end up getting. My Kodak apparently just quit today. Dang I Need Sleep! Good Luck! It is kind of a tough choice between the Canon and the Panasonic...As I may have already said, as of today... I am leaning towards the Panasonic as my next camera. It Really seems to be hit or miss with these digital cameras. Just More hit or miss with some than others. OH and if you decide on the Panasonic "ZS5" , and you can get into Costco. they sell the "ZS6" for about the same price as the ZS5. It is primarily a ZS5 with Possibly an extra button on the back, and Maybe A couple of Minor technical differences? or not... The Primary difference being the ZS6 Does have the bigger? And Better 3" LCD screen of the ZS7 with "460k dots instead of the 230k dots of the ZS5. So Tired! Goodnight! Good Luck!
  • 5.0 out of 5
ZS5 works beautifully, and Leica lens is one the best for sure. (RJ Zeto — 12/18/2010)
I've had ZS5 for more than 3 months with over a couple of thousands of shots. The still photo quality is super, and the HD video is good enough. If you don't use the camera for HD videos, you can save some money by getting ZS1 instead. The image quality, speed, controls, and battery life for ZS1 are just as good as ZS5 unless you care about 10.1 MP vs 12.1 MP. You can't really tell apart the photos from ZS1, ZS3, ZS5, ZS6, and ZS7 on screen or in prints. I'm totally happy with my ZS5, and highly recommend it to anyone who needs a great-quality travel camera.
  • 4.0 out of 5
i think my new Lumix digicam is great! (godfrey — 10/16/2010)
i bought my Lumix digicam at Best Buy, W Des Moines, Iowa on Sept. 20, 2010 for its company name, black color, good price - $238.00, light weight, compact, sturdiness, 12x zoom, intelligent auto made, optical image stabilizer, 90 mins. video record time, sleek design, my sister's recommendation, many other "intelligent" features, and option to use manual controls.
  • 5.0 out of 5
Great picture quality so far. (Rona — 10/02/2010)
I just purchased the ZS5 after doing extensive research for about a month. I decided this is the camera for me. I am going on vacation in 5 wks and that will be the test. I already owned a pentax, olympus and Nikon. My pentax is great but it's 6 1/2 yrs old. This camera has lots of features. First, I need to learn how to use all the features. The picture quality is great so far. I will definitely post my opinion of the zS5 in a few weeks.
  • 2.0 out of 5
disappointing (Richard — 07/27/2010)
Got this camera because of all the rave reviews, but does not live up to the hype!! very complicated to figure out. Sure it has a lot of features but the picture color is not so good, close ups not as expected. The Fuji I was going to replace is not happening, Doesn't have as many megapixels or the amount of zoom, but the pictures are far superior.
  • 1.0 out of 5
worst camera (michelle — 07/08/2010)
camera did not take quality pictures.
  • 4.0 out of 5
MADE IN JAPAN. GOOD QUALITY (alikcee — 04/23/2010)
This camera is good picture quality. Little bulky but its good. Will work with family reunion or travel . I have no problem ,The only thing the booklet don't give you much information how to use it. You just figure it out by yourself if you have patient left on you.