Panasonic 12MP Digital Camera with Leica 12x Optical Zoom & HD Video

Tempting, but ‘Refurb’ has me concerned. Cameras are far more sensitive equipment than laptops and I’ll avoid refurb laptops like the plague.

This isn’t your typical walmart point and shoot type to carry around taking blurred overexposed pictures of your friends taking shots of tequila and for taking bathroom pictures of yourself to post on Facebook :stuck_out_tongue: Ok maybe it can do that, and does it very well.

But it’s an actual camera that does what cameras should do, catch memories at the best quality possible. Camera’s like these need some meat on them lol.

i’ve been taking pictures for more than five decades. i carry at least 2 or 3 digital cameras with me most of the time. i got this at the last woot, and it is by far my favorite go-to camera ever. in fact, it’s in my pocket right now, helping me document the antics of my new kittens.

if you’d like to see the kind of pictures it takes (unedited, unenhanced, and unencumbered by the thought process) see for a dropbox gallery i’ve been using to stash some shots. you’ll need to click the “full size” button after clicking the thumbnail for full res. note that i’ve was overiding the “intelligent auto” function and adjusting exposure manually for some of the shots. the “intelligent auto” is by far the best auto-exposure system i’ve ever used.

it allows full control, with a program setting, as well as aperture-preferred, shutter speed-preferred, and a useful macro. the shake reduction works very well, and it’s easy to get to the settings i need when not on “intelligent auto” like exposure compensation, flash, macro, self timer, and so on.

it has some bells and whistles i find amazing, like face recognition. note, this is NOT face detection (which it also does, of course). it actually RECOGNIZES faces of a half dozen people, and if there are several people in a shot, it makes sure the one it recognizes is in the best focus. and when playing back photos, the NAME of the person appears under their face. it’s like picasa in a pocket.

i also took some time exposures the other night on a small tripod - they turned out great. this is the best overall camera i’ve ever had. it’s 2/3rds the height of my droid x, narrower, and will easily slip in an empty shirt pocket. it’s not great for low-light exposure with the flash turned off - but with the flash, it works fine.

the “scene” settings are even useful - normally, i don’t use any. it even lets you pre-specify certain combinations of settings so you can recall them just by turning the settings knob to “custom.” it’s been very well thought through. it changed my opinion of panasonic.

the main difference between this camera (the zs-6, i believe) and the current zs-7 is that the newer one has a built-in gps unit.


i’m tempted to get an extra one as a backup, but i’d never be able to face the guys at wootaholics anonymous.

oh well.


  • AMAZING 12x OPTICAL zoom!

  • Excellent quality lens by Leica, a very well-respected lens maker

  • OPTICAL stablization as well as a hybrid mode combining optical and digital stabilzation. Unless you use a tripod, stabilization is crucial when zooming, and a necessity when you zoom 12x.

  • Ability to Zoom in movie mode


  • It uses the very inefficient Motion JPEG CODEC. Many newer cameras now use H.264 compression, which is 4x more efficient. That means you can fit roughly 4x more video in the same amount of space at similar video quality when using H.264. MJPEG is old technology. Then again, it’s much more universally playable, i.e. you can plop the file into many digitcal picture frames and play EXCEPT…

  • Panasonic stupidly decided to use the Apple’s Quicktime (MOV?) container. I don’t know for sure if this is the case, but the description mentions Quicktime. That would usually mean MOV, although it may also mean the more universal MP4 container. MOV is a bad idea because it’s not supported in the Windows world (inhabited by the vast majority of computer users). I know of no Free or Shareware Windows program that would allow you to edit MOVs, You’d normally have to convert before editing, which means a decrease in quality. And it’s time consuming, considering that these cameras tend to have lots of separate clips. Furthermore, virtually no digital picture frame (besides those from Kodak) or DVD player support MOV, which means that you can’t just plug in your SD card for playing on TV. Panasonic should have chosen AVI, which is much much more universal, or even MP4.

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a good concert camera for a while - not for video, but mainly for taking the odd picture or two.

Does anyone know how this one fares when taking pictures of fidgety songsters? I’m tired of sorting through 60+ colourful blurs, regardless of setting.

Guys, bought one after seeing your reviews and in Amazon.

This is my first Woot and my first camera (ever!) and hopefully it turns out good else… :slight_smile:

My video usage will not be heavy with this and so the space issue shouldn’t be a problem I hope.

Even though I have never bought anything from Woot, I’ve been following this site for a while now and so I hope I do not go wrong with you Wooters!!!

I bought this camera the last time it came up and have been very happy. I have five other digital cameras including a just purchased Nikon D5100. This little Lumix takes great pictures in just about every situation. The screen is very visible in bright light and it takes great indoor pictures in limited light without the flash. The one I received was in perfect shape, no scratches or wear.

Yes. I have a different model but it’s pretty much the same. fits perfectly into pockets.

I have the DMC-ZR3 model.

Bought this camera for my mother who lives in another state. Decided to try it out before sending home to Mom with my sister. Camera is still with me and I just bought another one today and had it mailed directly to my Mom.

In general, great photos, but what surprised me was the video. Quality is excellent.

so far no problems, but there is always SquareTrade warranty to cover problems.

I bought this refured on the last woot, and was very impressed with its quality. Refurbs leaving the factory are usually tested more thoroughly than new ones. Just in case, I did purchase a three year warranty from squaretrade (if you google it, you can usually find a 20% discount code. Even with the Extended warranty, it was(is) still $80 less than a new one. And worth every penny. I love mine.

I bought this camera couple months ago and the picture and video quality are amazing. I took a video during my son’s graduation from college and I could zoom in from 100 ft away w/o any quality loss.

Does anyone know if it possible to get expedited shipping?

I prefer the Samsung HZ30W 12MP Digital Camera w/15x Opt & Schneider Lens which also occasionally shows up here. I got it on Woot for $119 last year. Many of the specs are comparable to this Lumix, but the video capabilities are superior for two reasons:

  • The Samsung uses state-of-the-art H.264 compression, which is 4x more efficient than MJPEG CODEC used by this Lumix. That means you can save roughly 4x as much video in the same amount of space in comparable quality. In fact, I’m somewhat shocked that a high end point-and-shoot like this Lumix still uses MJPEG, which is usually only used by low end or old cameras (because H.264 needs a high speed CPU). That makes me think that this Lumix is old and will be discontinued if it hasn’t already happened.

  • The Samsung is one of the VERY few cameras that can PAUSE during recording. In fact, many dedicated video cameras like the Flip and higher end camcorder can’t pause. Pausing is very useful for saving space and energy, and prevents the headache of having to edit out junk footage later.

  • The Samsung has a 3 Stereo audio modes when recording. You can 1) Mute and not record sound; 2) Record sound constantly.; or 3) Have an auto-Mute mode that mutes if you zoom. This can be helpful because a lot of people hate the sound of the zoom lenses moving. The stereo mics are only an inch away from the lens so you can imagine how loud the sound is.

Of all the point-and-shots I’ve used, the Samsung has the best video features. The stills are also excellent. Because of this, and the lower price, I’m recommend the Samsung over this Lumix.

In for one, even though it’s a proprietary battery back. (hate those, but this is too good to pass up)

This was the best digital camera I ever had…until I dropped it and shattered the screen

I really love Panasonic phones… that being said, do not use this as reason to buy camera.

It’s a “Dave’s Pick” so I’m in for one. I’ve had great luck with refurbs (cameras, laptops, TVs, etc.) I believe the better brands test them thoroughly before release.

I got one of these around December from woot. Not a s95 but great pics regardless. Also can’t complain about the zoom feature as well.

Here’s a link to a lot of amazing pics taken with this camera. (not my pics)


If you are in Texas or one of the other states that require tax don’t forget to use the coupon code TAXSUCKS to save $5. That means we only pay $6.55 more than everyone else.

When I picked up this camera last time on woot, I bought 2 1250mAh batteries (original is 895 mAh) on ebay for $18 including shipping.