WPPI 2018: Panasonic Pumps Up the Zoom with the Lumix DC-ZS200 and DC-GX9 Cameras


Point-and-shoots have been getting better and better, proving that they still have a place in this world alongside your smartphone. Panasonic's latest release, the Lumix DC-ZS200, makes a clear case as to why, with its impressively compact size and boosted zoom range. Building upon the success of its predecessor, this compact camera uses a relatively large 20.1MP 1" High-Sensitivity MOS Sensor, along with the Venus Engine Processor to capture clean, sharp imagery in a range of situations. The major advancement, however, comes in its new 24-360mm equivalent f/3.3-6.4 zoom lens, which manages to remain compact to ensure this point-and-shoot continues to be a pocketable option for everyday use. Being released alongside the ZS200 is another compact option, the DC-GX9, a rangefinder-styled mirrorless with improved imaging skills, stabilization, and monitoring options.

Let’s start off by talking about the ZS200, and we can begin with the three most important parts of the camera: the sensor, processor, and optics. Panasonic has clearly focused on that here by using the reliable 1" sensor of its predecessor and the Venus Engine to create sharp images at expanded sensitivities up to ISO 25600. In front of that sensor is the big-deal lens of the ZS200, which expands the respectable 25-250mm offering of its predecessor to 24-360mm, giving shooters a little extra on both the wide and tele ends. The lens incorporates Leica designs and is classed as a DC Vario-Elmar 15x f/3.3-6.4 lens with five aspherical elements, three extra-low dispersion elements, and one aspherical extra-low dispersion element, all of which help minimize distortion and aberrations. Assisting your image taking capabilities is a 5-axis HYBRID O.I.S.+ system, which will help minimize the effects of camera shake in your shots, and a macro mode for focusing as close as 1.2".

Other improvements to the ZS200 come on the operation front, such as a boost to battery life of greater than 1.2x, especially when using the eco setting on the LVF. Speaking of the LVF, we have seen the 0.21" 0.53x finder get an upgraded resolution of 2330k-dots for clearer imagery. The 3.0" rear touchscreen also receives a similar boost with a 1240k-dot resolution and improved visibility in bright sunlight. Another change comes with the grip, which now has an additional textured area to make it more comfortable to hold and more secure. Other photography-related options include a new L.Monochrome style for black-and-white images with deep contrast and in-camera raw development.

Since this is a Panasonic Lumix camera, we cannot forget to cover its video chops. The ZS100 is impressive on this front with the ability to record UHD 4K video at 30p with a 100 Mbps bit rate, putting it on par with many professional shooting options. This ability also supports many other related functions that will help capture action with ease. This includes a 4K PHOTO Sequence Composition, which lets photographers choose multiple frames from a video and create a single shot from them, 4K PHOTO Auto Marking, which will select a moment in the video intelligently to which users can jump, and more. Full HD video is boosted to 120 fps with a 30p output, for 4x slow-motion video. With all these improvements and changes, the ZS200, which is available in black or silver, has become one of the best high-end compacts on the market. 

Panasonic has seen fit to upgrade another compact camera in its lineup with today’s simultaneous release of the DC-GX9, a 20.3MP mirrorless camera that joins the Lumix Micro Four Thirds system. It features a rangefinder-style design that has some retro appeal and manages to squeeze in modern advancements like in-body image stabilization. The IBIS setup has been improved with the GX9, offering 5-axis Dual I.S. 2 that can work to compensate for up to 4 stops of shutter speed. Another way Panasonic has reduced shake from ruining a shot is through a redesigned shutter mechanism with an electromagnetic drive that reduces movement by about 90%, compared to its predecessor.

Lumix DC-GX9

Also, there are 49 AF points for quickly locking onto subjects, which is boosted by a Custom Multi AF mode to select focus points intuitively using the touchscreen. The touchscreen now has a higher resolution of 1240k dots and can tilt upward 80° and downward 45°. The Live View Finder received a similar bump in spec with a 2760k-dot resolution and the ability to tilt upward 80°. The last major specs of this camera include UHD 4K video with various Panasonic tech, including 4K PHOTO and a Light Composition mode. And finally, it is worth mentioning that the GX9 is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy for optimal connectivity to your smartphones. It will be available in black or silver as a kit with the 12-60mm lens.

Are you looking to add a compact camera to you kit? Does the ZS200 or GX9 fill the bill? Let us know in the Comments section, below!