There are some features that are identical, but then there are 3 major differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 and DMC-ZS3.
First let’s take a look at the features that are similar that help these two cameras stand apart from the digital compact camera crowd.
* 10.1 megapixel image sensor
* Leica Lens with 25-400mm Optical Zoom – this is an amazing range, especially with the extremely high image quality ratings enjoyed by both cameras
* ISO of 80-1600 (expandable to 6400 with high sensitivity) or auto
* Fantastic image quality
* iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode – includes Face Detection, Subject Detection, AF (auto focus) Tracking, Scene Detection (Intelligent Scene Selector), Light Detection (Intelligent Exposure and Auto Backlight Compensation)
One note about the ISO range of compact digital cameras – most compacts are notorious for the amount of digital noise at higher ISO settings, and the Panasonic line of compact digital cameras is no different. However, Panasonic is making advances in this area of technology so that the noise level is less than other cameras of similar price and features.
The differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 and DMC-ZS3 are few, but they are significant enough for Panasonic to release two cameras.
1. First difference: The LCD panel – the ZS1 has a 2.7″ LCD display with 230,000 pixel screen resolution while the ZS3 has a 3.0″ polycrystalline LCD display with 460,000 pixel screen resolution capable of wide angle viewing. The extra 0.3″ with double the pixel resolution make viewing and composing your images in more difficult light much easier.
2. Second difference: Video – the ZS1 has video capability that most compact camera users are familiar with at 640×480 pixels, 30fps and mono sound. In the ZS3 Panasonic has raised the bar, including HD Movie at 1280×720, 60fps and stereo sound. Playback is pretty much equivalent to the playback of a dedicated camcorder. Intelligent Auto is also part of the video experience so that face detection and scene detection render the best quality video.
3. Third difference: Price – this would seem like a foregone conclusion, but consider that the difference in price is only about $100. If you are looking for a fantastic camera that takes the highest rated photos for a compact digital camera, either one of these two will qualify. However, if you are in the market for a compact digital camera that also takes amazing video, the ZS3 is the camera for you.