The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a flashy point and shoot digital camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 is not going to meet your needs. However, my review of the Lumix ZR1 shows a very solid digital camera with a surprising number of good features, compared to other cameras in its price range.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 carries an MSRP of $279, and most of its features would work in a camera that costs a little more than that. The ZR1's 8X optical zoom lens is especially impressive.
Even though it isn't the flashiest camera around, the ZR1 is a solid performer and is a good value.
- The ZR1 is a good value
- The 8X optical zoom lens offers good versatility
- The lens moves through its zoom quickly and quietly
- You have several options for shooting at different ratios and resolutions
- The ZR1's response times are very fast
- LCD could be larger
- LCD suffers from some glare problems in direct sunlight
- Lacks basic manual control features
- Camera body is a little thicker than some models
- Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 8X (25-200mm)
- LCD: 2.7-inch, 230,000 pixels
- Maximum image size: 4000 x 3000 pixels
- Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion
- Dimensions: 2.14 x 3.85 x 1.02 inches
- Weight: 4.8 ounces (no battery, no memory card)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/2.33 in.
Guide Review - Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 Review
Overall image quality is very good with the Lumix ZR1, especially for a camera with a sub-$300 price tag. Images are sharp and bright most of the time.
Panasonic has included several easy-to-use options for changing the image quality settings. For example, you can select from several shooting ratios -- including the standard 4:3, along with 16:9 and 3:2 -- at a variety of resolutions. You can shoot in a variety of special-effect modes, too, including sepia and black and white.
With dozens of scene modes available with the Lumix ZR1, you'll improve your chances of achieving the correct exposure and shutter speeds, which leads to better overall image quality.
Perhaps the best feature on the Lumix ZR1 is its 8X optical zoom lens. Its 25mm-200mm measurement allows for a very nice mixture of wide angle and telephoto options. For a sub-$300 camera, the ZR1's lens moves very fast and quietly through its zoom range, which is impressive. It also has a "quick zoom" button that makes the zoom move even faster. The lens focus is outstanding, especially with close-up photos.
Panasonic's image stabilization features with the ZR1, which the company calls "Power O.I.S.," work extremely well, especially in low-light situations. It's a rare occurrence to have a bad photograph because of camera shake with the Lumix ZR1.
One of the few drawbacks with the ZR1 is its lack of basic manual control features. However, most cameras in this price range are very basic when it comes to manual controls, so the ZR1 isn't lagging too far behind competitors.
The Lumix ZR1 isn't going to "wow" anyone with its looks. It's a solidly built, nice looking point and shoot camera that measures a little over 1 inch in thickness. You'll find the Lumix ZR1 available in black, blue, silver, and red body colors.
I'd like to see the LCD be a little larger than the 2.7-inch LCD Panasonic has included with the Lumix ZR1. The LCD also suffers form some glare problems in bright sunlight, although the ZR1 does offer seven different LCD brightness settings.
Finally, Panasonic has included a feature where you can tag photos with a child's name and age, a pet's name and age, or a travel location and date, among other items, which is a cool feature. The ZR1 offers a lot features that you'd expect to find in a slightly more expensive camera.