Lumix Zs50 Camera

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by Facecard, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Facecard

    Facecard Member

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    I am looking at the Panasonic Lumix Zs50 camera. I would consider myself a beginner and I am only taking pictures of nature, family vacation, kids playing sports, etc... I have a few goals in mind with this camera.

    1. Compact- I am looking at this camera because it is small and compact. I can use it as a "travel camera" to take on vacations or sporting events.

    2. Zoom- I am looking at this camera because it has a 30x zoom. I wanted a camera that I could capture clear crisp photos from a distance.

    3. SD Card- I would be using an SD card to store the pictures and videos. Obviously, I would use 64gb or higher to make sure I have plenty of space.

    4. Inside/Outside- I want to use this camera to take pictures outside in bright and cloudy days. Also, I want to take pictures inside where the lighting is low or poor and I have to use the flash. I am not sure how well this camera would perform in an Auditorium setting where I want to use this camera to take pictures of people on stage.

    5. Battery- I want good battery life and carry an extra battery for those "just in case" moments.

    In conclusion, I want to see if this camera will best suit my needs for what I am looking to use it for and achieve my goals.

    Any suggestions are helpful.
     
  2. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I haven't had one of these long zoom travel cameras for several years because they tended to suck dust into the lens system. Perhaps this problem has been addressed by improved design but it's something to be aware of. Another drawback of these cameras is that, when at long zoom, the light reaching the sensor is reduced and the ISO rating and/or exposure time has to be increased and both these may reduce the image quality unless a tripod is used.

    Instead, I have been using a Panasonic Lumix LF1 with only a 7x zoom lens (F2.0-5.9) and it has a larger sensor with a relatively low (12MP) nominal resolution giving excellent low light performance. My side-by-side comparison of the image quality at full zoom between the LF1 and a TZ30 (20x zoom) showed that the LF1 was, is anything, fractionally better at capturing detail. However, the LF1 is no longer in production and no direct successor has appeared (so I bought a second LF1 to have as a spare!).

    John
     
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  3. Facecard

    Facecard Member

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    Thanks for the response. You would not recommend Zs50 based on design flaw where it sucks dust into the lens and light sensor issue? Do you recommend either the LF1 or TZ30 camera?

    Again, please keep in mind, I am a beginner and I will be taking pictures occasionally when there is a family event, my kids playing sports, my kids on stage in an Auditorium or on vacation. I don't plan on using the camera to take professional pictures. Obviously, I want the pictures to be crisp and clear either short or long distance.
     
  4. Facecard

    Facecard Member

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    Pardon my lack of knowledge, isn't 30x zoom better than 7x zoom for taking pictures long distance? Unless the 7x zoom has something to compensate it. How does TZ30 and Zs50 compare to each other? I know there will be subtle differences.
     
  5. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The TZ30 is the same as the ZS20 (ie 20x zoom). For some reason (perhaps to reduce grey imports) Panasonic have used different model numbers for the same camera depending on where sold so my comments based on that camera might not be relevant. I see that one strength of the ZS50 is that Panasonic have used a 12MP sensor although its low-light performance won't match the LF1 with its size bigger sensor combined with a wider aperture lens to let the light in.

    Perhaps my underlying message is that there's more to zoomed image quality than the zoom range. The sensor (pixel size), amount of light reaching the sensor and the optical quality of the lens are all factors. That's not to say that the ZS50 isn't a good choice but there is a bit of marketing competion in this sector where zoom range helps to shift the stock. Manufacturers also had a race with pixel count but many customers realised that about 12MP is plenty and, for a given sensor size, above that quantity comes with reducing quality. The ZS50 is now good value as it is 2 years old and has slid down the price ladder as newer models with a few more bells and whistles have appeared.

    John
     
  6. Facecard

    Facecard Member

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    Last night, I used the camera in an auditorium environment. I am disappointed in the results of the pictures. First, let me state by saying, it's probably not the camera but the user (ME) and lack of knowledge of the settings.

    I was sitting in the back of the auditorium probably a good 21 rows back which I am guessing about 20 - 30ft from the stage to where I was sitting. Obviously, it is dark except a bright light on the faces and students on stage.

    I was using Portrait mode to take the pictures. Obviously, I had to zoom in on the face to capture the picture. I think I had the flash OFF or fire when needed. I don't remember the setting that I was using. I was holding the camera instead of using a tripod.

    The first picture was blurry because of the slight movement of the hand, I had to wait for the camera to adjust the picture because it was blurry. The second picture was not clear and had a red tint to it. Most likely due to the flash going off or something with the flash.

    Both pictures did not come out clear as I was hoping for. I am sure I was using the wrong settings for this type of environment.

    I was thinking of getting a Canon Powershot SX50 for this type of environment where I need a good zoom to capture long distance pictures in a low level light situation.

    What settings should I be using in this type of environment?
     
  7. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    As a matter of interest, what ISO speed did the camera use in this challenging situation? You can find this by right-clicking on an image, select Properties, then Details? It's one of the inconvenient bits of science, but the higher the ISO number then the more noise in the image (the bigger the sensor in the camera then, for a given pixel count, the less noise - my Lumix DMC-LF1 has above-average indoor performance as it has a size bigger sensor than normal for the size of camera). With the lens at full zoom the maximum aperture is F/6.4 which won't let a lot of light through so the camera has to ramp up the ISO value. The light passing a given aperture size is related to 1/ square of the number, so F/4.6 passes twices as much light as F/6.4 and F/3.2 is twice as bright again. The ultimate fix for your problem is to have a big lens so it can capture plenty of light, helped by sitting on a tripod to reduce the workload for the image stabilisation system.

    The problem of image degradation under low light / high ISO conditions is demonstrated in this SX50 review. The SX50, with F/6.5 at 50x zoom is going to be a bit better than the ZS50 (F/6.4 at 30x zoom) as the SX50 is probably around F/5.6 at 30x zoom. You could also test the effect of reducing the amount of zoom to get a wider aperture (->more light -> lower ISO number -> less noise) and then cropping the image. It's time to do some experimentingwith indoor photography to find out what works best with your camera.

    John
     
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  8. Facecard

    Facecard Member

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    I will have to check on the ISO speed.

    Last night I went to another concert. This time I was sitting about 6 rows back from the stage. I still didn't get a good clear picture. I had the flash off with one picture and it make the picture look darker. I turned on the flash for the second picture and it was not any better. Both pictures were dark and you can't see the person on stage.

    To take both pictures, I zoomed to 3.6ft. and I still could not get a good picture. I had to take video instead which video is clear and bright. Taking video is better than taking pictures.

    The other issue, after I turn on the camera, as I am zooming in on the subject, as I am going from 0 to 3.6ft, I noticed the picture gets blurry and I have to wait for the camera to adjust the picture BEFORE I can take a picture. Most of the time, I have to zoom out in order to get the camera to adjust itself then I try it again. I zoom in closer to 3.6ft but I still have to wait for the camera to adjust the picture.

    When I am at a concert, I need things to be quick and I need to have the camera set so I can take quick pictures. I can't wait for the camera to adjust itself each time I zoom in on a subject. Perhaps I am using the wrong setting or the camera needs to adjust to low level lighting.

    One of the reasons I bought this camera was to take good clear pictures in an Auditorium environment or at a concert where the lighting is going to be low level and the bright lights are on the stage. This camera works well otherwise. The camera doesn't work well in a concert or Auditorium setting where you have low level lighting.
     

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