Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR3 digital camera
A small Panasonic camera with a big 8x zoom and plenty of megapixels; it's great for travellers
- Compact, big zoom, can take reasonably clear photos, ISO limiter, good focusing
- Images are a little soft, image noise
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR3 offers plenty of zoom in a small and manageable package. Its focal range is 25-200mm, so you can take it to the zoo or just use it around the house. Travellers will also find it a useful gadget as it can be used to quickly capture HD video. However, its image quality isn't perfect and softness and noise will be very noticeable if you crop photos heavily.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR3 is only an incremental upgrade over last year’s LUMIX DMC-ZR1 and, as far as we can tell, it captures similar quality images. The only difference is that its sensor packs in a few more pixels — 14 megapixels for the ZR3 compared to 12 megapixels for the ZR1. It’s still a small point-and-shoot camera with no manual features, and it’s aimed at anyone who wants a camera that’s easy to carry but also has a big zoom lens.
Indeed, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR3 has an 8x zoom lens with a 25-200mm range, so it’s useful for pretty much any type of outing, whether it be a backyard BBQ or a trip to the zoo. The large lens is housed in a body that’s only 2.6cm thick, and it protrudes around 3.5cm when it’s fully extended. The control layout is the same as it was on the ZR1, with the mode dial located just to the right of the shutter button. You can use the 2.7in LCD screen to frame your shot, but it can be difficult to view on bright days.
To use the LUMIX DMC-ZR3 effectively, it’s best to park it in iAUTO mode. In this mode, the camera will analyse the lighting conditions and focal length to select the most appropriate scene mode for the job. When using iAUTO you can’t change any settings except for the colour and drive modes; the ZR3 isn’t designed to be tinkered with though and it doesn’t have a manual mode. However, if you park the camera in normal mode, you can use the Q.Menu button to change the white balance, ISO speed and focus mode.
The focusing of the LUMIX DMC-ZR3 is fast and accurate. It has a face recognition mode that can easily track a face if it’s moving across the screen. Furthermore, you can lock the focus on any object, which will then track it and keep it in focus even if it moves toward you, away from you or side to side.
The camera can shoot super-macro snaps and you can take photos as close as around 3cm from your subject.
One great thing about using an automatic camera is that you can use it for spur of the moment shots when you see something interesting. In this shot the camera noticed we were trying to get a close-up and switched to the appropriate mode. The iAUTO mode won’t work magic all the time though, so you’ll still have to be mindful of the lighting conditions when you shoot to make sure your shot will be properly exposed.
The super-macro mode is capable of capturing good detail, but despite the 14-megapixel size of the images, you won’t want to crop images too closely as you will lose detail. This is what you get when you zoom into a photo 100 per cent.
If you don’t want the camera to take charge of the exposure completely then you can choose from one of 29 scene modes, including a couple of arty modes such as ‘pin-hole’ and ‘film grain’. In some of the scene modes you can also change the white balance yourself. There are two custom scene mode settings on the mode dial, which means you can quickly access up to two of your favourite scene modes with the dial.
Video can be captured at the press of a button, regardless of the position of the mode dial — even if you’re in pin-hole mode. The camera captures video at 1280x720 and it can autofocus relatively quickly while doing so. This makes the ZR3 very handy to have with you when travelling.
The overall picture quality of the ZR3 is a little noisy and soft. This means that if you crop your images too closely, or if you want to get something printed larger than A3 size, you will lose plenty of detail. When viewed at the native size of a high-definition TV (1920x1080), image details look fine and you can’t see the blemishes. Exposure is handled as well as can be expected by the ZR3, even on very bright days.
You can see that in this scene the main focus of the image is exposed quite well and that there is only slight overexposure in the brightest white areas. Given the strength of the light, the very dark shadowed area was expected.
This picture was taken in the shade. The camera did well to expose it properly and it adjusted the white balance automatically, too. The overall detail captured in this shot is good, and although it looks a little blurry when you blow it up to full size, the feathers and main details of the image are still clearly visible.
If all you want is a small automatic camera with a big zoom, then the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR3 is the one to go for. Despite its images being a little soft and noisy when viewed at large sizes, the ZR3 can take well exposed and clear shots and is fine for almost any photographic endeavour. However, we’re disappointed that it’s not much of an upgrade to last year’s ZR1; if you can find the ZR1 on any store shelves at a good price, you’d be wise to pick that up instead of the ZR3.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Apple iPhone X
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Toys for Boys
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Bose SoundLink Micro
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Xbox One X
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTFinance Applications SpecialistOther
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Engineer (devOps)NSW
- CCHelpdesk Support AnalystNSW
- CCChange specialist OR Junior Change managerNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTJunior Product/Project Manager - North QueenslandQLD
- CCJava Developers (EOI)QLD
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTAPS6 Data Management OfficerACT
- CCDynamics CRM Functional Consultant - BrisbaneVIC
- FTSAS Solution DesignerOther
- FTDevOps SpecialistACT
- FTProject ManagerACT
- FTEnterprise Solution ArchitectOther
- FTAccount Manager - Enterprise AccountsOther
- CCExstream DeveloperNSW
- TPTest CoordinatorQLD
- TPProject CoordinatorACT
- FTLead Change ManagerOther
- FTIntegeration ArchitectOther
- CCLead Technical Specialist ? SQL Lead -DBAVIC
- FTService Desk Analyst/Telecommunications Service AnalystOther
- TPSenior Project Manager - Office 365QLD
- TPAndroid DeveloperNSW