Features & Controls

By Matt Metzker

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The 8x zoom lens on the ZR3 retracts into the camera when it is powered off to protect the lens as well as make it easy to store in your pocket, purse or backpack. Panasonic incorporates something they call "Intelligent Zoom" which extends the zoom ratio by approx. 1.3x utilizing the digital zoom. Panasonic maintains that image quality is not lost in this process.

Focal Range:
  • Normal: 50 cm (1.64 feet) (Wide)/2 m (6.56 feet) (Tele) to infinity
  • Macro/Intelligent Mode: 3 cm (0.10 feet) (Wide)/1 m (3.28 feet) (Tele) to infinity


panisonic_dcm_zr3_flash.jpgThe flash range (in ISO AUTO) is 1.97 feet (60cm) to 17.4 feet (5.3m). The location on the camera is just above and to the left of the lens. While this is a great location for keeping fingers from blocking the flash, the lens may block some of the flash when shooting close up (as in macro mode) causing part of the picture to be dark.

panisonic_dcm_zr3_controls_top.jpgControls on the top of the camera consist of the power switch, zoom control/shutter release and the shooting mode selector. The zoom control is wrapped around the shutter release and is activated by either pushing it left for wide angle or to the right to zoom in.


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Back of the camera controls consist of a switch for either still image shooting (red camera icon) or playback (green triangle). In playback mode, the camera brings up images stored either on the SD card or the internal storage starting with the last image/video taken. Below that is the movie mode button. When pressed, the camera goes directly into movie recording for a quick transition. Press it again to stop recording. The cluster of buttons below that are what we normally refer to as the 4-way control as it is usually all one piece that surrounds a center button. Here they are 5 separate buttons. At the top is the exposure control, going clockwise we have the flash settings button and then the macro mode button winding up with the timer. In the center is the menu/set button which allows you to access the camera menus. On the bottom is the display button and the quick menu button (more commonly referred to as the function button) which also serves as the delete button when in playback mode.





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The HDMI and AV/USB ports are located behind a door on the side of the ZR3. The HDMI will link the camera up with High Definition devices and the AV/USB port is used to connect the camera to televisions, computers and printers.










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The ZR3 accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC storage cards. The camera itself has 40-MB which will store several images. Pictured here is the SanDisk Extreme 4-GB SDHC card. SDHC cards up to 32-GB can be used. If you use the SDXC cards, up to 64-GB cards can be used.


panisonic_dcm_zr3_battery.jpgHere you can see the ZR3's 3.6v 895mAh Li-ion battery pack. It's charged in the included AC charger, which features fold-away prongs for increased portability. Panasonic claims you can capture up to 330 photos on a single charge.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.