Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ20
|Photo answers rating
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ20 sports a super long zoom and is packed with more features than you could ever wish for in a compact.
Photo answers review
Photo answers rating
The 14.1MP TZ20 is the latest model to roll off the Panasonic production line, and it boasts an impressive 24mm ultra wide-angle 16x optical zoom with image stabiliser and a touch-screen LCD. On top of that you get Full HD video and advanced GPS technology that allows you to tag images with the location.
Let’s start with the standard features, as it’s these that are likely to first spark your interest. The sensor is a 14.1MP chip, and this is controlled by the Venus Engine FHD processor that delivers impressive high-speed operation and improved image quality. The lens has a massive range covering the 35mm equivalent focal length of 24-384mm. It’s great to have a wide-angle starting point from such a long zoom. There are two ED glass elements in the lens construction, plus a new Nano surface coating. This, along with an advanced optical and mechanical design, helps deliver better image quality. Managing such a long zoom when handholding the camera is greatly assisted by the built-in active Optical Image Stabiliser (MEGA O.I.S.). On the back of the camera sits a 3in LCD screen that has the added advantage of touch-screen technology. The LCD also provides a superb framing platform in the absence of an optical viewfinder for both still and moving images. Talking of the latter, the TZ20 captures Full HD movie files with stereo sound. Other features include a GPS system that can work out exactly where you are and tag the image with location details. There’s also a 3D capture setting that allows an image to be shot (at 2MP) and played back on a VIERA 3DTV.
Before we touch on the image performance, we should say how impressive this camera is when it comes to speed. You can shoot 10fps at full resolution. General operation is very simple, thanks to well-labelled controls and a clear menu layout. Add to this the benefits of the touch-screen and handling comes out well. We did, however, find the touch-screen to be rather fiddly at times, especially controlling the zoom. It was far better using the traditional zoom control. The image quality from the 14.1MP chip isn’t bad, but on close inspection the limitations of a physically smaller chip are obvious, as the definition isn’t great. This is not a DSLR though, so in context the images are good. Colours are very strong, and the exposures are accurate. Sharpness does suffer a touch, as images are not what we would call pin-sharp, but they are not that bad.
Photo Answers’ verdict
You’d be hard pushed to find a better specified model than this in the compact camera arena, with high performance levels in a pocket-sized product. The Panasonic DMC-TZ20 is the perfect travel compact, with exciting and useful additional features.
Street price £300
Effective resolution 14.1MP
Sensor type 6.13x4.6mm MOS
Lens (35mm equivalent) 24-384mm f/3.3-5.9
Exposure modes PASM, scene, iA HD movie, 3D
Metering modes Intelligent Multiple, spot and centre-weighted
ISO range 100-1600 (6400 expanded)
Shooting speed 10fps
Card type SD/SDHC/SDXC
LCD monitor size 3in
Aspect ratio 3:2, 16:9, 4:3, 1:1
Live View Yes
Built-in stabilisation POWER O.I.S.
Weight/size (wxhxd) 219g/104.9x57.6x33.4mm
Recommended: Six months of use and I found the ZS20 to be a fantastic "with me camera." I have added a 37mm ring to the lens so as to allow filters. To my surprise, the camera will take IR at 850 nm and requires only one second.
I have taken some clear hand held moon shots with the camera telling me that I am hand holding and then taking three blended shots.
I have always found a problem with any camera. All lack something.... this one does not have a built in phone... only comment!!!
(Written by: dpullum)
01 March 2013 23:05
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