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- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20
- The Panasonic DMC-ZS20 follows up and improves upon last year's dud, the DMC-ZS10.
Panasonic DMC-ZS20 Digital Camera Review$349.99
Noise on the Panasonic ZS20 was hardly apparent all the way through its ISO sensitivity peak of ISO 3200. The camera's JPEG engine (it does not provide RAW shooting) was able to very accurately diagnose and reduce noise without destroying all the fine image detail at low ISOs, though noise reduction is heavily applied at ISO 1600 and above. Small details such as text were all but gone, but the overall application of noise reduction was better than last year's ZS10. More on how we test noise.
Without a variety of noise reduction levels to compare it to, it's tough to tell how much detail is scrubbed by the JPEG engine that otherwise may have been preserved. That being said, in our still life example you can see that a good measure of fine detail remains in most of our images at low ISOs, with normal size text remaining perfectly readable up until ISO 800. Beyond that the typical struggles of point-and-shoot cameras are apparent, as noise reduction is relied upon heavily to keep images clean. Your best bet at these high ISOs is to not crop too much of the image out and use images on the web only, as prints from ISO 3200 shots will not look very appealing.
ISO options aren't extensive on the Panasonic ZS20, with a whole-stop scale of 100-3200 available, along with an automatic and intelligent ISO option. Intelligent ISO simply selects from a range up to ISO 1600, but it accounts for both subject movement and brightness. If you go into the camera's scene menu you can also select a "high sensitivity" scene mode that allows for a maximum ISO of 6400 when absolutely necessary, but for performance sake we recommend sticking to the main ISO scale of 100-3200 when possible.