Skip to main content

Panasonic’s Lumix ZS40 is a 30x long-zoom compact we’re drooling over

One trend we’ve talked about before and evident here at CES 2014 is the importance being placed on bridge cameras. Since it’s difficult to compete with smartphones at the low end, camera companies are strengthening areas where smartphones can’t compete, and that includes long-zoom. Bridge cameras traditionally have a bulky DSLR-like form-factor, but they’re starting to become more compact like pocket point-and-shoot cameras. One really exciting new product is the Lumix DMC-ZS40 ($450) from Panasonic, “the world’s slimmest 30x zoom” camera. If we didn’t tell you it has a very long optical zoom, you would have thought it was a plain compact camera, but it packs a lot. We saw a good amount of bridge cameras introduced at CES, and some of them have slim bodies as well, but the ZS40 takes the prize.

Like every other mainstream camera maker, Panasonic has dropped barebones models while concentrating on high-zoom editions. One of our favorites, the ZS40 is a compact with a Leica 30x zoom (24-720mm). The 18.1MP CMOS ZS40 offers manual shooting and RAW capability, features you don’t normally find in this type of digicam. It has optical image stabilization (OIS), takes 1080/60p videos, and has a 10-frames-per-second burst mode. The ZS40 also has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for sharing; a built-in QR code helps you pair up your smartphone or tablet. Also nice is a built-in GPS to geo-tag your images, a control ring, 10 frames-per-second burst mode, GPS, and focus peaking,  and Panasonic managed to fit a very usable electronic viewfinder as well. It’s highly pocketable, although folks with very large hands might find it too dainty; we didn’t think so. Despite our admiration for this camera, we’re going to hold final judgement until we get our hands on one to test performance.

To achieve the thin form-factor while accommodating the long optical zoom, Panasonic utilized a “sliding structure” that shifts internal components to the side when the lens retracts back into the body. Panasonic may be considered a mid-tier company when it comes to cameras, but it knows how to make great cameras. For all the talk about Panasonic possibly exiting the camera biz, it makes us sad because we’d be missing out on cameras like this. The ZS40 is one advanced compact that we’re lusting over.

Click here to read more about Panasonic’s other digital imaging products at CES 2014.

(David Elrich contributed to this story.)

Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
Save 35% on this SanDisk 128GB SD card for a limited time
The 128GB version of the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card, on a white background.

When you buy from camera deals, you should also purchase an SD card or two to make sure that you have ample storage for your photos and videos. Unfortunately, the costs will start racking up if you're also going to buy accessories, so you should be on the lookout for offers like this one from StackSocial -- the SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB for only $20, following a 35% discount on its original price of $31. That's $11 in savings on a dependable SD card, but you'll need to be quick in completing the transaction because there's no telling when the bargain ends.

Why you should buy the SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD card
DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras usually use SD cards as their storage devices, according to our guide on how to pick the right memory card for your digital camera. If you need one, the SanDisk Extreme Pro is an excellent choice because it offers shot speeds of up to 90 MB/s, which is perfect for recording 4K Ultra HD videos, photos in burst mode, and other types of content that will require a high-performance SD card to keep up with them.

Read more
This Canon mirrorless camera deal cuts the price by $85
A Canon EOS R100 mirrorless camera on a white background.

For one of the best camera deals, check out the discount on the Canon EOS R100 mirrorless camera over at Walmart right now. Usually you’d have to pay $499 for the camera, but right now you can buy it for just $414, meaning you’re saving $85 off the regular price. The perfect time to treat yourself to a superior photography experience for less, here’s what you need to know before you commit to a purchase.

Why you should buy the Canon EOS R100 Mirrorless Camera
Ideal for anyone checking out the best mirrorless cameras but wanting to keep costs down, there’s a lot to love about the Canon EOS R100 Mirrorless Camera. It’s the smallest and lightest EOS R series camera while packing in plenty of features. It has excellent still-image capabilities with its 24.1 Megapixel APS-C size CMOS image sensor and DIGIC 8 processor. It also has Dual Pixel CMOS AF with the ability to detect human faces and focus on their eyes. Its sensor is significantly larger in size than many smartphones and can capture images with natural bokeh. It’s also able to take high-sensitivity and low-noise images which capture the atmosphere, even if you’re taking photos in low-light conditions.

Read more