Panasonic ZS40/TZ60


In this Section:

Features of the ZS40/TZ60

Close Macro and Telemacro with the ZS40

Testing of the Resolution of the ZS40 and the Canon SX700-HS

ZS40 Resolution Update

An Adapter for the ZS40

ZS40 with Teleconverters

Example Images taken with the ZS40

ZS40 on a Trip

Features of the Panasonic ZS40/TZ60

Widest Available Apertures with Focal Length

The ZS40 represents a departure from the previous ZS/TZ models in several respects.  It is the first in the series to have a viewfinder, a lens ring, and to offer RAW.  It also has a considerably longer zoom range than the previous models, being 30x with a focal length range of 24mm (equiv.) to 720mm.

After the ZS40 was announced early in 2014, Canon announced the SX700-HS, which is similar in size and zoom range to the ZS40.  I have compared various features of these two models, plus the Sony HX60V, in a thread on the DPR Panasonic forum:

Compact travel zoom models have a restricted range of apertures at longer focal lengths as a result of the design of their ultracompact zoom lenses.  Below is a graph which I constructed showing the focal length versus widest available apertures for the ZS40, the Canon SX700 and the Sony HX60V (Click on the image for a larger view.):

Widest Available Aperture versus Focal Length for the ZS40, Canon SX700-HS and Sony HX60V

As can be seen, the f number of the HX60V lens rises quickly to f/6.3 at about 125mm and remains there for the rest of the zoom range.  The f number for the SX700 rises more slowly, and remains at f/5.6 over the range of 160mm to 570mm before rising to f/6.3 and then to f/6.9 only in the final step from 680mm to 750mm (there is no intermediate zoom step between those two FLs).  The Panasonic plot lies somewhere between that for the other two models, and its rise in f number with FL is gradual, with more intermediate steps.

Notes about the EVF, Lens Ring and Menu System on the ZS40/TZ60

Unlike earlier models in the ZS/TZ series, the ZS40 has an inbuilt EVF (electronic viewfinder).  It is necessarily small to maintain the small and convenient size of the camera, but it is useful in outdoor situations in very bright lighting where it is difficult to view the LCD.  All the overlaid information that is displayed on the LCD is also shown on the EVF.

Other departures from previous models are that the ZS40 has a lens ring which can be assigned different functions, a rear scroll wheel which doubles as a D-pad, and RAW capability.

I have found it useful to set the lens ring to control the zoom (as described on p134 of the manual).  In conjunction with that I have also found it useful to set the zoom lever to “Step Zoom”, as described on p83 of the manual. Those settings are maintained even when the camera is switched off.

At its default, the zoom lever setting is displayed on the LCD as a zoom factor (1x to 30x) whereas for Step Zoom the actual focal length is displayed (as the 35mm equivalent).  This makes it simple to set the FL to an exact step value.  However, by also setting the lens ring to zoom, fine adjustments of FL can be made between the larger marked step values.  Using step zoom with the zoom lever allows only access to the marked step values.

There are other advantages in having the steps in FL easily available.  These are described in the section dealing with close macro and telemacro using the ZS40.  In addition, step zoom has an advantage in relation to using EZ zoom, if you want to take images at reduced size (less than 18MP) but don’t want to crop, which is what happens with EZ zoom at zoom settings above 720mm (35mm equiv.).  It is a simple matter to stop at 720mm as that is a distinct step when using the zoom lever in step zoom mode.

On p134 of the ZS40 manual there is a note saying that “The assigned function setting [that is, as applied to the lens ring or to the rear control wheel] applies to all the Recording Modes. However, the assigned function may not operate when combined with certain Recording Modes.”

With the lens ring set to zoom I have tried the various mode settings (P, A, S, M, SCN, iA), and the lens ring still changes the zoom at all those mode settings. However, as the note says, if the set function is other than zoom, for example the aperture, then the aperture would not be adjustable in iA mode because the aperture is automatically set when in iA mode.

With M mode and the lens ring set to zoom, it is necessary to use up/down on the back control ring to change from setting the shutter to setting the aperture as viewed on the LCD. The up/down arrows are enabled and show on the LCD after pressing the Qmenu button.

A Note about Folder/File Renumbering

On p71 of the ZS40 manual are instructions for resetting folder and file numbers for recording on the SD card.   However these instructions are rather hard to understand, as discussed on the DPR Panasonic Forum (

My interpretation is that the instructions should say:

“By pressing “No. Reset” the folder number is reset to the next higher consecutive folder number (for folder numbers in the range 100 to 999) and subsequent images that are recorded are placed in the new folder with file numbers starting from 0001."  In other words, it isn’t necessary to reformat the SD card to change the folder number and file numbering. You only need to reformat the SD card if you wish to renumber the folder to 100.

Continue to Close Macro and Telemacro with the ZS40

Continue to ZS40 Resolution Testing

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