Review Snapshot

Quality build, quality photos, great features including unmatched 16x optical zoom and Leica lens


Very few niggles mentioned. This is a highly thought of product amongst customers.


Buy and enjoy! A camera you can slip in your pocket and take quality photos anywhere.

Reviewed by:
Jackie Gay : A published novelist, editor and university teacher, Jackie has recently moved t...Member Reputation 177 • 198 active Krits
Lumix DMX-ZS8 Digital Camera from Panasonic
Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS Digital Camera
Jackie Gay rates this 4.5/5
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Looking for the best compact camera with a powerful zoom? Check out the Panasonic Lumix ZS8

Looking for a compact camera with a decent zoom on it? Well let me tell you a story...

Once upon a time I had such a thing... which accompanied me on many adventures. However wild places entail wild conditions and I dropped it on the deck of a tall ship (whilst the zoom lens was out) and it broke.

I asked a photographer friend what I should look for in a new camera and she said a) the lens and b) the build quality. You need something robust, she said, that can stand up to the places you take it. And of course you want to take good pictures...

Enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8.

For a little more than $200 you get a 14.1 MP digital camera with 16x wide angle optical image stabilized zoom.

This is a pocket friendly creature with a Leica lens - an 'everywhere camera' from the company that helped create the pocket-long-zoom category of cameras.

As the reviewers say: 'A 16x long zoom in a compact camera. What's not to love?'

(There isn't any cellphone with a 16x optical zoom, just in case you were wondering).

Panasonic hasn't tinkered with success in the design of this model: 'The line has been drawn again with the Panasonic ZS8.' The body is robust, easy to hold and the controls and buttons are just where your fingers expect them to be.

The quality Leica lens is now even more versatile with a much praised 24mm ultra wide angle lens, which (according to one customer) 'means you can get more scenery in the shot at the edges. The lower the number the better - and 24mm is currently the lowest I am aware of,' he adds.
'And the 16x optical zoom is class leading. You can get really good close ups if you want to.'
Another customer agrees: 'For the majority of people looking for a "pocket" camera - they can stop looking. This will honestly do for pretty much everything you really need. It's the newly released little brother to the more expensive ZS10/TZ20.'
Which is pretty much what I felt as soon as I got mine. I have used it all over the world for every kind of photograph; people often say, 'you take great photos', but it's not me it's my Lumix!

Customers love the big zoom, the quality lens, the optical image stabilisation feature, the quality photos, the HD video, the auto focus subject tracking detection - 'helps with the kids and fast action shots' - and the overall design and feel.
One buyer adds: 'I read 100s of reviews and settled on this one... The camera's ability to capture fast action shots is amazing. Kids coming down slides, crossing the monkey bars, or spinning on the merry-go-round... all crystal clear.' 
The intelligent scene selector uses results such as focussing and brightness to automatically set the scene mode to one of scenery, portrait, macro, night portrait, night scenery or sunset, for 'beautiful results,' according to one customer.
This is a terrific little camera. The images are crisp and clear. It is a good size for a pocket camera. Not too small so that it is hard to hold and not too large to stick in my pants pocket. I use it every day. Yesterday I took some pictures of a bald eagle perched high in a pine tree in my yard. The 16X zoom makes it possible for shots like that.
And people use it for work, too:
 I am a insurance adjuster and take over 300 pictures per day and these cameras get a lot of heavy work and is constantly used in conditions that are not average. What I wanted most from a work camera, was the ability to zoom in and the wide angle. I take photos on roofs where damage has occured and this camera is unsurpassed. 
From hundreds of reviews available online, there are very few negatives reported. Some people complained about dust getting into the lens and others disliked the lack of viewfinder. And some reviewers reported that some of the (many) features were difficult to learn and that the price was 'somewhat expensive.

I don't agree. You know what you get if you pay peanuts... but if you're still not sure check out the reviews with detailed feature comparisons. 

And most people agree that, 'there is currently nothing on the market that is head and shoulders better than this - although there can always be a case made for different qualities.'
And Panasonic offer a great range of these 'point and shoot' cameras for different needs (waterproof, shockproof, smartphone connected.
It's just great to have a 16x zoom in a compact camera. Especially when that range starts at a 24mm equivalent, a real wide-angle. That's the real value of a camera like the Panasonic ZS8. You can take this camera anywhere and it will be equally at home shooting the interior of a dark church or a distant landscape. You need no accessories to enjoy that diversity, either.
So go enjoy! Mine has become a trusted friend that I use every single day. Get yours here.
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2012, 9:50 am
Reviewed by Jackie Gay
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