Panasonic SZ5

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 front
  • 14MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 3" Fixed Display
  • ISO 100 - 1600 (Increase to 6400)
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 25-250mm (F3.1-5.9) lens
  • 136g - 104 x 58 x 21mm
  • Released July 2012
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Panasonic SZ5 overview

Panasonic SZ5 is Panasonic's Small Sensor Compact camera first announced on July of 2012. It has got a 14 MegaPixel, CCD 1/2.3" sized sensor and has a peak resolution of 4320 x 3240.

The SZ5 ranks at #76 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras and all around #882 out of 1465 for cameras in our list. You can check our Advanced camera finder to see camera ratings based on your custom criteria.

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The following is a diagram of various criteria used in the scoring system.

Panasonic SZ5 family

The Panasonic SZ5 comes with a history of related cameras. Underneath, you can discover all older and the latest models along with important specifications.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ10 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ10
SZ5 vs SZ10
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ8 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ8
SZ5 vs SZ8
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Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ3 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ3
SZ5 vs SZ3
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ5 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ525-250mm
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ7 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ7
SZ5 vs SZ7
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-S2 front thumbnailPanasonic S2
SZ5 vs S2
Snapchat Adds Watermarks to AI-Created Images
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ1 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ1
SZ5 vs SZ1
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-S1 front thumbnailPanasonic S1
SZ5 vs S1
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-S3 front thumbnailPanasonic S3
SZ5 vs S3

Panasonic SZ5 Pros and Cons

Below is a checklist of advantages and disadvantages of the Panasonic SZ5 based on aspects that are often seen as crucial in a camera.

good resolution (14MP)
good zoom range (25-250mm 10.0 x zoom)
great min ISO (100)
has built in flash
has image stabilization (Optical)
lighter than average (136g)
offers face detection focus
offers tracking autofocus
quite wide (25mm)
screen is a good size (3 inches)
very long reach (250mm)
doesn't offer selfie friendly display
does not have phase detect auto focus
does not have RAW format
external flash not possible
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
lack of manual focus
lack of shutter priority mode
low resolution screen (230 thousand dots)
max zoom aperture not good (f5.9)
missing external microphone support
missing HDMI out
missing headphone support
missing Timelapse mode
no aperture priority mode
no manual control
no moving screen
sensor is tiny (1/2.3")
slow continuous shooting (2.0 frames per second)
somewhat slow max aperture (f3.1)
video res low (1280 x 720 pxls)
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Panasonic SZ5 Sensor details

The measurement of the sensor in the Panasonic SZ5 is 6.08mm x 4.56mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor is able to resolve 4320 x 3240 pixels at aspect ratios of 1:1, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. The camera has got Image Stabilization (Optical). In body stabilization is better than digital stabilization as the latter may cause cropping.

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The CCD sensor boasts 14MP and provides a native ISO range of 100 - 1600. This ISO can also be increased digitally to a high of 6400. Unfortunately, RAW files are not supported therefore the user has less room to maneuver in post.

The image below displays the SZ5's sensor dimensions in comparison to other common sizes. The SZ5 sensor comes with a crop factor of 5.9 and is showcased in green.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 sensor size Japan-exclusive Leica Leitz Phone 3 features big sensor and new modes

To get a sense of various aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Panasonic SZ5 dimensions

Panasonic SZ5 is 0.30 lbs (136 grams / 4.80 oz) and features outer measurements of 104mm x 58mm x 21mm (4.1" x 2.3" x 0.8"). The weight of general Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 grams so the Panasonic SZ5 is lighter when compared with other competitors.

Photography Glossary

The following is a photo of the Panasonic SZ5 alongside a soft drink so you can have a sense of its scale.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 dimensions scale

The top view below will illustrate the button arrangement on the SZ5.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 topview buttons dials

Panasonic SZ5 Lens specs

The SZ5 is equipped with a built-in lens providing a focal range of 25-250mm making it a 10.0 x zoom which is not amazing but it may be useful in a few circumstances.

At the widest 25mm, the lens provides an aperture of f3.1 which will be pretty slow and not the best in low light situations and you will probably find it hard to capture good bokeh. You will likely also have to raise the ISO setting giving you noisy pictures. At the tele end, 250mm is phenomenal zoom and comes to f5.9 which is pretty slow and you will need to use slow shutter speeds.

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Panasonic SZ5 Connectivity

The SZ5 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes

Cameras that consist of NFC or Bluetooth support can easily be used wirelessly by smartphones. You can easily send pictures and sometimes adjust settings without the hassle of connecting directly to the camera.

Several applications even give a Liveview and press the shutter in case you aren't near the camera. If the camera provides a HDMI out, it could be attached to an external monitor. Almost all cameras will allow you to recharge the battery using the USB socket.

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Panasonic SZ5 Video specs

The highest video resolution in the Panasonic SZ5 is 1280 x 720 and it can capture in MPEG-4 format. 720p is terrible by today's standards. You really should try to get a minimum FUll HD resolution for video. The camera doesn't include a mic or headphone port which means that you have no control over your sound. It is perhaps best to purchase another camera in case you want good sound in your video clips.

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Panasonic SZ5 Weather Sealing

Panasonic SZ5 doesn't include weather sealing so wet conditions could damage the camera.

Panasonic SZ5 Display and Viewfinder

The Panasonic SZ5 has got a 3 inch fixed display screen boasting a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Unfortunately the display screen is not a touch screen.

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The View Finder specifications regarding Panasonic SZ5 are below:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders are quite handy during bright outdoor situations which can easily make the camera display washed out and very difficult to view.

Panasonic SZ5 Shutter specs

Panasonic SZ5 continuous shooting speed is 2.0 frames per second. The maximum shutter speed is 1/1600 seconds.

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Panasonic SZ5 Flash and Hot shoe specs

Panasonic SZ5 has got only inbuilt flash with no external flash ability.

Panasonic SZ5 Autofocusing specs

Panasonic SZ5 has got just Contrast Based Autofocus and lacks Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection focusing is more quicker & precise when compared with Contrast Based focusing. The camera has got Face detect making it valuable for portrait photography.

The Sensor has got 23 focus points to pick from. It also features Tracking Autofocus for subjects on the move. Panasonic SZ5 lacks manual focusing. Manual focusing is useful during low light situations or you need more precise focusing control.

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Panasonic SZ5 Battery life

The battery power on the Panasonic SZ5 is built to last for 250 pictures according to the CIPA standards making it about the same as its competition. The typical Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 offers the highest (470) battery life within this category of cameras.

Here is a number of Small Sensor Compact cameras with the highest battery life:

Panasonic SZ5 for various categories of photography

The following illustration provides a overview of the Panasonic SZ5 for various categories of photography. To check out more, visit the specific paragraph below.

Panasonic SZ5 Portrait photography factors

The Panasonic SZ5 receives a points tally of 34 which is horrible, meaning that it is not appropriate to use for portrait photography. Shooting portrait images favors heavily to sensor resolution, support for RAW files along with the flexibility to work with external flash.

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decent megapixels (14MP)
offers face detection focusing
focusing manually not possible
no manual control
can't use external flash
sensor is tiny (1/2.3")
has no RAW format

Panasonic SZ5 Street photography advice

Having a above average rating of 63, the Panasonic SZ5 is a respectable choice for street photography. A very good street photography camera provides a fine balance of picture quality and portability.

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image stabilization (Optical)
lighter than average in class (136g)
screen is fixed
sensor is tiny (1/2.3")
lack of RAW format

Sports photography with Panasonic SZ5

A horrible sports photography points tally of 40 means the Panasonic SZ5 is not appropriate for photographing sports. A camera really should have great tracking plus shutter speeds for sports photography.

Photography Glossary
built in image stabilization (Optical)
megapixel count decent (14 megapixels)
provides tracking focus
very slow continuous shooting (2.0 frames/s)
no shutter priority
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
doesn't have phase detect autofocus

Travel photography with Panasonic SZ5

Portability is very critical when buying a camera for travel. In general, the Panasonic SZ5 gets a very good 70 as a travelling camera which is a good fit for your trips.

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lighter than competition (136g)
good megapixels (14 megapixels)
built-in flash
decently wide (25mm)
long zoom (250mm)
missing Timelapse recording
does not contain selfie friendly display
sluggish max aperture (f3.1)

Panasonic SZ5 Landscape photography info

For anyone planning to pick a camera for landscape pictures, the most vital aspect will no doubt be image quality. The Panasonic SZ5 at it's horrible rating of 42 for a landscape camera is not appropriate in the current market.

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quite wide (25mm)
screen is a good size (3")
built in image stabilization (Optical)
megapixel count good (14 megapixels)
focusing manually not possible
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
slow max aperture (f3.1)
manual exposure not possible
sensor size is small (1/2.3")
doesn't have RAW files
lack of Time Lapse function

Panasonic SZ5 Vlogging details

A camera for vlogging should have a articulating screen, microphone port and ideally IBIS. Taking all things into account, the Panasonic SZ5 is not appropriate as a vlog camera as it receives a horrible score of 32.

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relatively wide (25mm)
has image stabilization (Optical)
has face detect focus
lighter than average in class (136 grams)
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.1)
display is not selfie friendly
low quality video (1280 x 720 pxls)
no microphone port

Panasonic SZ5 Alternatives

If you want replacements to the SZ5, here is a list of the highest ranked cameras that fall into the class of Small Sensor Compact.

The chart down below shows you a bird's eye view of the SZ5 vs it's top ranking competitors mentioned earlier.

There are more cameras you may take a look at as alternatives. To go through a extensive comparison, visit the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5
Small Sensor Compact
Physical type
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
6.08 x 4.56mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
14 megapixel
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
1:1, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
Highest resolution
4320 x 3240
RAW files
Highest native ISO
Highest boosted ISO
Lowest native ISO
Focus manually
Autofocus touch
Autofocus continuous
Single autofocus
Autofocus tracking
Autofocus selectice
Autofocus center weighted
Multi area autofocus
Live view autofocus
Face detect autofocus
Contract detect autofocus
Phase detect autofocus
Total focus points
Lens support
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
25-250mm (10.0x)
Maximal aperture
Macro focusing distance
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Fixed Type
Display size
3 inches
Resolution of display
230 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch operation
Display tech
TFT Screen LCD
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Lowest shutter speed
8 seconds
Highest shutter speed
1/1600 seconds
Continuous shooting rate
2.0 frames per sec
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Set white balance
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash distance
5.60 m
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow Sync
External flash
White balance bracketing
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Video resolutions
1280 x 720p ( 30,25 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video file format
Microphone support
Headphone support
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
136 gr (0.30 lbs)
Physical dimensions
104 x 58 x 21mm (4.1" x 2.3" x 0.8")
Battery life
250 photographs
Battery style
Battery Pack
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 secs)
Time lapse feature
Type of storage
SD/SDHC/SDXC, Internal
Card slots
Pricing at launch