Lumix ZS40

TravelingMom Founder Kim Orlando uses her Panasonic Lumix ZS40 to take a photo of her food–there’s a setting for that. Photo credit: Cindy Richards/TravelingMom with Teens

Capturing family travel moments without juggling multiple photo devices led me to explore for review purposes a new lightweight camera with abundant capabilities, the LUMIX ZS40 from Panasonic.

ProductReviewToo many options to tinker with them all on my first weekend outing. Guess that means anticipation of future travel and more photo-feature discoveries.

LUMIX ZS40 Lightens Loads

The LUMIX ZS40 has a 30X super zoom Leica lens and allows still and HD video. That lightened my load and the confusion of reaching for different cameras.

Fit in my small purse one day and a generous skirt pocket the next. I never felt I might drop it because the wrist strap is ample.

The LUMIX has Wi-Fi to allow in-the-moment sharing with social media but I didn’t like taking the moment to download from camera to smartphone so I could upload to Instagram.

Speed Versus Artistic Details

Lumix ZS40

Settings on the Lumix ZS40 let you take the photo in color or black and white. Fountain Square in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo credit: Christine Tibbetts/Blended Family TravelingMom

Definitely not as fast for social media as my smartphone by itself, so this is a conversation to have with myself about speed or quality.

Memories move fast on my family trips with a backlog of way too many blurry photos of beach games, bike riding, soccer kicks and ziplining.

This camera is loaded with stabilizers and tracking skills; set the dials, plant my feet firmly, move slowly from the hips and I can follow my kids in action and in focus.

Each member of the TravelingMom Writers Network received a LUMIX camera to test during the annual retreat hosted by Disney World and tested some of the many features, including: live view finder, 30X optical zoom, video recording, panorama, high dynamic range, creative controls, burst shooting, control ring, remote control and night mode.

Plenty of cameras have little tiny icons to guide the user toward settings for various landscapes and moving targets; The LUMIX has a brightly lighted screen with clear icons plus words scrolling by to explain them.

Most help I’ve ever received in a camera.

Interesting reason the camera’s called LUMIX: lumen means lights and this one’s mixed with technology.

Ask a Lumix Luminary

Lumix ZS40

This features lets you take clear photos even through glass.Museum of Art in Montgomery, Alabama.  Photo credit: Christine Tibbetts/Blended Family TravelingMom

“Luminaries” shed light about the vast options within the camera. They’re nine professional photographers seemingly well vetted to enjoy teaching newbies as well as working with pros.

I found them at Lumix Lounge, which Panasonic calls a hybrid photographer’s hangout.

The Lumix luminaries respond to tweets and e-mail, post videos of previous discussions, encourage discovery of new skills with this camera.

Maybe I’ll need them when I try the feature that lets me add special effects later. How cool does that sound? Improve my photos later.

Not sure if it’s my eyeglasses or my age but I’ve complained about screen glare in recent years. This camera brings back the view finder. With eyeglass support too.

A Luminary told me holding the Live View Finder against my face adds even more stability to the stabilizing technology.

LUMIX ZS40 is available directly from www.Panasonic.com and through fine camera shops. Suggested retail about $450.