Panasonic DMC-ZR1 Digital Camera : Product of the Day 15, 2010


Don’s Panasonic DMC-ZR1 Digital Camera at CES

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The Panasonic DMC-ZR1 is a great digital camera.  I should know, because I have one!

Though I usually prefer to use my digital SLRs or Micro Four-Thirds cameras, there are times when I want something I can just put in a coat pocket and forget about.  My Panasonic DMC-ZR1 fills that role admirably and  brings some serious capability to the table.  To provide a proper sense of scale I need to mention the notebook in the picture above is quite  small.  The DMC-ZR1 is a little bigger than a deck of cards, yet it still has an 8x optical zoom.  Pretty amazing stuff.

What sets the DMC-ZR1 apart?

  • 8x optical zoom, 25mm-200mm 35 mm equivalent range
  • Advanced Panasonic Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization)
  • 720p/30 fps HD movie mode 
  • Intelligent Automatic Mode (iA)

Having taken quite a few pictures with my DMC-ZR1, I can say my favorite features are the 25mm wide-angle, which is truly useful, the extremely effective optical image stabilization, which makes even hand-held night photography a breeze, and the iA intelligent automatic mode, which seems to always get things right.  About the only thing I find less than perfect is the flash, which can be a little bit warm at times.  Admittedly I have not spent too much time tweaking it so better results may be out there.  Other than that the color is very accurate and natural. 

I also should add one of my best friends emailed asking me for a recommendation on a pocketable camera and I told him to get the DMC-ZR1.  I forgot about it and about a month later I was on the phone with him, remembered, and asked how he liked the camera.  His voice rose in excitement… “It’s awesome,” he said.  I asked him what he liked and he waxed enthusiastic as he told me about the long zoom range in a compact camera, the generous screen size, and the high percentage of usable shots he and his wife get from it.

Here are a few interesting pictures I took with my own DMC-ZR1 the past few months:


Check out the trumpets on the front of this garbage truck!


This is a vertically-oriented shopping mall with amazing electronics and neat toys.  I could have stayed there forever…


The DMC-ZR1 and its iA mode is great for night photography.


Neuhaus Labs Tube Amplifier, which I will be reviewing soon!

 Don’t forget the 720p HD  movie mode!  The video below is shrunk for the web, but if you have good computer speakers you will be able to hear how good the sound quality is, too.  They are playing the koto, a Japanese harp… the girl in blue is playing a bass version.  Can you recognize the tune they are playing?  I bet you can!  As you can see, it did a very nice job even in the low light of this restaurant.


Play the koto players Quicktime movie

BTW I pulled this movie into Roxio Toast, made AVCHD discs and played them on my 70-inch TV with my Blu-ray player.  It was grainy (as one would expect for a compact recording indoors in low light) but the performers and motion were tack sharp and it sounded just great.

At a little over $200, the Panasonic DMC-ZR1 is a winner.  Nice job, Panasonic.

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Panasonic DMC-ZR1 in black from

Panasonic DMC-ZR1 in silver from

See you tomorrow for the Product of the Day!

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