I received a Panasonic Lumix ZS60 digital camera while on the TravelingMom 2016 retreat. As always, all opinions stated here are either my own or those of my family.
Two years ago, I had the great fortune to receive a camera from Panasonic to review as part of our annual TravelingMom #TMOMDisney retreat. My Lumix ZS40 camera has captured photos everywhere from the girls’ soccer games to Hannah’s hospital rooms and I’ve been thrilled with both the photo quality and camera features and ease of use. So when I discovered that Panasonic was going to be sharing their updated version with us at this year’s retreat, I was curious to see what exactly could be improved upon.
I was more than happy to have the chance to discover that for myself, as I have a brand-new Lumix ZS60 camera to try out and play around with, courtesy of Panasonic. I was not given any messaging to share or anything like that – I simply used the camera (with the help of a Panasonic expert to answer questions) and am giving my own opinions and thoughts on it here.
The first things that I noticed when comparing the updated ZS60 to the ZS40 is that the new version is slightly more robust and feels sturdier in my hand. There’s also an improved grip on both the front and back of the camera, making it much easier to hold and keep steady while taking photos or video. I’ve already used it at my oldest’s band concert and the grips make a big difference when you don’t have a tripod handy but need to keep the camera held up for several minutes at a time without shaking it.
I also noticed that the battery is larger in this camera, which means increased battery life – another feature which I’ve already seen just in the couple of weeks that I’ve been using the camera. The battery lasted me through 4-1/2 days of our Florida trip, plus two soccer games at home before I had to recharge it.
And believe me, there were plenty of photos taken both in Florida and at the games. Just ask my kids, who roll their eyes every time I pull the camera out. 😉
Along with the features that made me love my Lumix ZS40 to begin with, a few new features that make the ZS60 even easier to use are the touch LCD screen on the back, additional scene modes (including two separate modes for sunsets, something I take a lot of photos of), and the fact that the camera will automatically adjust between the electronic viewfinder and the LCD screen when you raise the camera to your eye or lower it. I switch back and forth between the two constantly and where the ZS40 had a button that allowed you to do so manually, this camera does so on its own, making it so much more intuitive. Even just having a camera with both an LCD and viewfinder is a huge plus for me and something that’s not common at all in point-and-shoot cameras nowadays. I shoot a lot of photos in bright light (soccer games, beach shots, etc.) and having a viewfinder available when there’s too much glare for the LCD to be easily visible is one of my absolute favorite features of both the ZS40 and ZS60.
I’m self- taught when it comes to photography, and although I do have a basic sense of how ISO, aperature and shutter speed work together when you’re taking a photo, I also am a busy mom and love that I can get good shots in just about any lighting situation with the ZS60 without having to spend time making decisions on which settings to use. The Intelligent Auto setting works well for basic shots and the camera also includes common settings such as aperature-priority, program and even manual, which is really fun to have when I have the extra time and want to learn more about how to best compose and take a shot.
I used my new Panasonic Lumix ZS60 camera for the second half of our trip to Florida for my TravelingMom retreat last month and found it to be a superb option while traveling. The small size is easy to fit in a purse or backpack (or even a large pocket) but with the 30x optical zoom, you can still be right there where the action is while kids are on rides or to see the view up-close from your hotel window. I appreciate not having to lug a large camera when I’m spending the day walking and toting a backpack full of snacks and the other essentials that a mom ends up carrying while on vacation. Both the ZS40 and ZS60 came with a wrist strap and I have a neck strap that I feed through as well so that I can wear the camera around my neck for easy access when I need a quick photo. My teens and tween don’t cooperate for a lot of photo ops lately, so when I do get a chance to grab a quick shot, I like that the ZS60 is on and ready to go with just the quick press of a button.
One improvement over the earlier model is the addition of 4K video. I’ve shot some video with the ZS60 but haven’t delved into the 4K options yet. I look forward to trying it out and learning more about how to make the most of 4K. A few other features that I haven’t had much chance to play with yet but can’t wait to try are the 4K Photo and 4K Post Focus modes. With the Post Focus mode, you can change the focus of your subject after you take the photo, and the 4K Photo mode allows you to capture still shots from 4K video footage. I can see this being a huge plus when trying get the best shots of my girls’ soccer games, where the action is so fast that it’s hard to catch just the right moment when you press the shutter.
I have grown addicted to the wi-fi capability of these Panasonic Lumix cameras – being able to connect the camera to my phone to either use the phone as a remote shutter, have an alternate LCD screen for viewing over crowds, and transfer photos from my camera to my phone for quick sharing to social media sites right there and then. I use this feature all the time – including just recently on Mother’s Day when we took some family photos with the ZS60 for the higher resolution and quality than my phone right before heading out to dinner and I was able to copy the photos from the camera to my phone and share them on Facebook while we were out. And then, yes – I put the phone away afterward so that we could enjoy an electronics-free family dinner.
It’s very safe to say that the Lumix ZS60 has already replaced the ZS40 as my ‘go-to’ camera that travels with me constantly. Yes, I still use my phone for many of those spontaneous moments, or to stealthily sneak photos of my teens when they’re not paying attention (shhh!), but I look forward to many hours of exploring the rest of the features that the Lumix ZS60 offers and learning ways to improve my photo-taking skills. I know there are so many features that I haven’t even touched on yet – but these are the ones that stand out to me after a few weeks of use.
Remember when I mentioned enjoying taking plenty of sunset photos? This is one that I shot with the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 recently. The top photo was with the Intelligent Auto Mode, the second one was taken with the Romantic Sunset Glow scene mode and the bottom one with the Vivid Sunset Glow scene mode, taken only just seconds apart. All three photos are beautiful, but it’s a good opportunity to see how you can change things up and play around with the different modes to get a shot that you’re the happiest with.