Panasonic's ZS200 compact camera doubles down on zoom

A new 15x Leica lens makes it even more useful for travelers.

Along with the all-new GX9, Panasonic launched the ZS200 compact superzoom, a successor to the excellent ZS100. The new model hasn't massively changed, as it still offers a 1-inch, 20.1 megapixel sensor, 5-axis stabilization, 4K, 30 fps video and more. However, there's enough new stuff there to make it interesting. Mainly, the Leica-built zoom lens has an increased range of 24-360x, compared to 25-250x (35mm equivalent) for the last model, albeit at a loss in aperture speed from f/2.8-5.9 to f/3.3-6.4.

Panasonic says the new lens offers "minimal distortion and flare," but we'll have to see if it's sharper than its predecessor at longer zoom lengths. It also offers a nice 3cm macro capability, all of which should make it a more useful for its intended tourist and casual shooter market. The higher minimum f/stop is unfortunate, but the ZS200 has pretty decent light sensitivity for camera with a 1-inch sensor. In particularly dim situations, you can also use the built-in flash.

The ZS200 has a new 2,330K-dot EVF and updated 4K Photo mode that makes it easier to find interesting shots and do post focus and other effects. It also gains an L.Monochrome mode for more artistic black and white shots. Features carried over from the last model include a 20.1-megapixel sensor and Venus Engine with 0.1-second contrast-detect autofocus, 4K, 30fps video, and wireless transfers via WiFi or Bluetooth 4.2. The Lumix ZS200 will hit stores on March 20th in black or silver for a suggested retail price of $800.