In the present paper, ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) with particle size of 20-50 nm have been synthesized by hydrothermal method. UV-visible absorption spectra of ZnO nanoparticles show absorption edge at 372 nm, which is blue-shifted as compared to bulk ZnO. Photoluminescence (PL) and photoconductive device characteristics, including field response, light intensity response, rise and decay time response, and spectral response have been studied systematically. The photoluminescence spectra of these ZnO nanoparticles exhibited different emission peaks at 396 nm, 416 nm, 445 nm, 481 nm, and 524 nm. The photoconductivity spectra of ZnO nanoparticles are studied in the UV-visible spectral region (366–691 nm). In spectral response curve of ZnO NPs, the wavelength dependence of the photocurrent is very close to the absorption and photoluminescence spectra. The photo generated current, Ipc = (Itotal - Idark) and dark current Idc varies according to the power law with the applied field IpcαVr and with the intensity of illumination Ipcα Vr, due to the defect related mechanism including both recombination centers and traps. The ZnO NPs is found to have deep trap of 0.96 eV, very close to green band emission. The photo and dark conductivities of ZnO NPs have been measured using thick film of powder without any binder.