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Thread: Lumix ZS 15

  1. #1
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    Lumix ZS 15

    I am thinking about upgrading from my Lumix ZS 5 to a ZS 15. It has a slightly better zoom and, they claim, the MOS sensor is better in low light. I shoot mostly folk culture events and animals in Costa Rica - zoom and an unobtrusive camera are important.

    How much better is this model?

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    The lens is nice but the sensor still lets it down, same problem Panasonic have had for the last generation or two - go for a Canon SX240/260 (260 has GPS) as the HS System in the current Canon's is brilliant.

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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    Wouldn't it be better to go to a M4/3 camera which has small size like your existing camera but much much better IQ and ability to crop more than on a small sensor and still maintain good IQ. My choice is the G3 with the 14-140 zoom [28-280 AoV, not as much as x16 zoom but one can crop for 384 reach]. You also can use higher ISO than the ZS. Though I am suggesting more outlay which may not be acceptable.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    I looked at the specs of both camera and have played with / used my brother-in-law's JS-5. Personally, I don't see enough of a difference between the two cameras to make it worth spending the extra money. Sure it has a few more features, but frankly these mostly appear to be bells and whistles dreamt up by the marketing department rather than something that will produce better images for what you are shooting. My opinion is that MOS is not even close to the low light performance CCD sensors had and I suspect that any gain you will see over your current camera has more to do with cranking up the gain (and as a consequence, the noise level) than any real technical breakthrough.

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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    It sounds like this would be a good time to widen your field of possibilities and consider other camera makes, models and options that meet your requirements list.

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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    The latest CMOS BSI (Back Side Illuminated) sensor have improved dramatically over recent generations.......but....there are differences between the brands.

    To get the best from the technology it is still the case of less is more - less pixels in a small sensor is hugely advantageous so any brand who has bumped the pixel count up in a marketing department led fashion should be avoided. I have to say there is only Canon, the odd Samsung and a rare Nikon out there in the 2012 line-up that have the balls to keep the pixels to 12mp. I will try to show this when I have the chance as I've the SX240, the TZ30, the HX20 and a WB somethingorother in at the moment. I'll post a 1600iso shot from each, the differences are dramatic.

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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    The Panasonic Jack is considering is one of several with reduced MP in their range. They have been providing this option for some years now.

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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    Panasonic have this year moved back to 12mp as the previous model (TZ20) had a 14mp sensor and, to be frank, it was dire.

    Sony produced a BSI 12mp sensor two generations ago but then last year they lost the guts to stick with it and the pixels jumped again - the result - awful quality pictures at just about any ISO. This year they have lost the plot entirely and gone to 18mp and it's the worst sensor I've seen in recent years, plus they are charging more for their 20x camera than everyone else.

    I will get the images up soon but I still stand by my recommendation of the Canon models.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    These types of point & shoot cameras are all "commodity" cameras where the marketing departments has been busily been defining features that they can use to sell more cameras, regardless of what is actually useful to the end user. They are one step up from the cameras you will tend to find in your phone or tablet. Frankly, there is not much to choose between any of the brands you are looking at and over the years we've owned models by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic, if you are looking at the same general price point. I've found that Canon, Nikon and Sony all seem to think that they can offer less for more money because of their brand strength. My experience with the various companies can be summed up as follows:

    1. Canon - camera starts malfunctioning shortly after the warranty expires (I've had this happen with more than one low-end Canon camera / video product);

    2. Nikon - works, but results are so-so and would not get another (and I say this as a Nikon shooter; we own 3 Nikon DSLRs);

    3. Sony - expensive for what you get;

    4. Olympus - flakey camera from day one. You never knew if it would work well or not;

    5. Panasonic - best value of the bunch and it is still going strong after 7 years of use.

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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    1. Canon - Best build, best sensor and best processor....bar none. Not had any problems with reliability on the SX and HS range, same goes for the Ixus models. Can launch at a high price but sheer volume pulls this down very quickly, brilliant manual controls on the better models as they use the exact same dial as the EOS range, fast too. Last years SX models had a stupid screen ratio (changed on the latest generation) and the GPS ate the battery at a frankly alarming rate - again this has been sorted and to be fair it was a problem across the brands.

    2. Nikon - Bit hit and miss if I'm honest. Can be brilliant P7100/P500/P510 but they have a tendency to jam the cheaper models full of pixels and just ignore any attempt to control the noise, shame as I love their SLR's above all other systems. Very slick menu's, fast and dead easy to use so we sell bucket loads to the point-n-shooters. In the UK you get 24 months warranty not 12 so if they do go wrong its less likely to cost you.

    3. Sony - Expensive, menu's are crap, they make stupid noises until you go in and switch them all off, don't like the auto mode and I'll add expensive again as there is no reason other than they think they can charge for their name in a category where frankly they aren't top dog. Lenses are good plus they have plenty of toys like Sweep Panorama and 3D. Despite the price they sell by the lorry load because of the Sony Housholds - you know the ones, everything they own has a Sony badge...probably even the medallion they wear at their exposed, hairy chests.

    4. Olympus - Have to say we get very few back so can't have a moan at the reliability. Not convinced their menu system is very slick, don't like the feel (personal thing) have a tendency to be a little pricey as the volume of sales is low which keeps them high and I've never been convinced they know how to programme a processor very well resulting in so-so results. Good lenses mind.

    5. Panasonic - Pricey as they spend a fortune advertising 'Lumix' is the weekend glossy's and TV, don't think they feel that solid but they are reliable in general - hideously expensive to repair if the lens jams and we have had a few TZ's back because of this. Good sharp lenses, fast, lovely screens and pretty good menus. Not my favourite as I feel the other brands have not only caught up (the TZ's were the first to market) but have pulled ahead in performance.

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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    Dear Folks:

    Thanks for all the advice - really got me thinking and researching. I think that the ZS5 will remain my #1 camera for folk culture work. Photos are important, but secondary to my writing on the topic. They usually get put in along with the article.

    It has gotten me thinking about maybe running a larger camera with better zoom as well. There are a couple of events where I don't mind standing out as a photog that better telephoto would help. Example: Costa Rican bulls - the bulls do fine, it's the people that get mangled, trampled, tossed into the air, etc. Here I just need dramatic pics for presentations.

    Any thoughts on the Cannon SX40 or similar camera?

  12. #12
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    Re: Lumix ZS 15

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackdiv View Post
    Any thoughts on the Cannon SX40 or similar camera?
    I've taken about 5,000 images since I got my Canon SX40HS and I was much more pleased with it than I was expecting to be. Over half of my Project 52 images were taken with that camera. Having said that, there has been a new long lens Nikon come onto the market since then, the P510. It might be worthwhile checking out if you are looking in the 800-1000mm (FFE) range for a zoom camera.

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