The upgrade to the TZ20 was significant with no loss in functionality/specification.
BUT I'm curious about whether this newer TZ30 model (launched as a write) offers the same advantages as an upgrade...
I was initially unable to see the user guide (it wasn't downloadable), but one key feature on the specificatiion listing on the Panasonic website seemed to be missing (and also on the TZ25, which 'replaces' the TZ18).
And that is the massively useful 'Panorama Assist' mode. Instead it has the new 'fad' mode of a panorama 'sweep' mode...
The user guide is now available and I'm still left confused how it differs from the present TZ20 panorama capability and what the other differences are ....
This is especially true as despite reading extensive comparison reviews of the TZ10 vs TZ20, many differences were still not highlighted - eg the GPS has a on/off lamp, the USB connection is different.
So, it pays to be thorough when investigating your proposed purchase and not rely 100% on a 'professional' review - user reviews often highlight differences better as the person has obviously more long-term usage of the camera....
Yes, the trouble is that if you wait you never actually end up buying no doubt !
The jump to the TZ20 from TZ10 was noticeable (and I got £35 cash back, offer now ended).
I'm still not sure how dramatic the TZ30 improvements are - reviews will show hopefully.
The change in the 'panorama' method is significant as I prefer to compose each shot then use the software to automatically join them. I think the 'sweep' method is likely to result in a lower resolution image and requires a steady hand it would seem.
Dec 12/Jan 13 will no doubt again show a big price drop for he TZ30 and a cashback, so the potential temptation can wait until then....!
I'm also waiting for the FZ150 to drop in price, as that has the same panorama assist function as the TZ10/20 and will no doubt be superseded with a replacement.
Update - As of early Mar 13 the price has already gone below £300....
The user guide is now downloadable and regarding the panorama feature I'm most interested in, it is now the 'sweep' method with no option to compose each shot individually.
This newer method might be easier to use but (especially considering the notes associated to it in the UG about what aborts the process) you are surely prone to camera 'wobble' in the 8s you have to 'sweep' your shot and have less control over how you form the composition and affect your shots for later compilation to a panorama using the PC-based software.
The only other noticeable difference (aside from extra GPS functionality) is that whilst the same battery is used there is now NO external battery charger, meaning it is done in-camera which I think is a BIG backward step...
As bought, it is done in-camera; you can download the user guide from Panasonic to see the full info.
But, as with other electronic devices you can usually get hold of separate external chargers (eg well-known online auction sites and Amazon of course....).
It seems Panasonic are moving to this primary method for all, as I also noticed that the newer version of my camcorder now charges in-unit and does not supply a separate charger....
I can only think it saves on costs or Panasonic think customers prefer to have one less item to carry around - I prefer to have the ability to charge batteries/use the device simultaneously and also avoid putting mains-derived electricity into my electronic device (as it prevents surge/lightning damage etc - I've trashed £300+ equipment that way before so am wary !)....
Thanks for the info Laurence. I'm really interested in getting the TZ30 and wont let the in camera charge bother me as a separate charger can be bought. Having done as much research as I could on the TZ30 there are only a handful of reviews but none from a consumer as I think they are only just starting to make their way into the high street stores. Prices are ranging from £399 at Currys (I went in to ask today and they said they expect them in May?!) to £369.95 at Jessops right down to £300 with Amazon. Given that the TZ20 released at around the £350 mark I think I might just go for it.
ive had all main previous models.... tz20 went back after 1 week.ive got tz30 and its fresh and quick af is superb.panorama is now as sonys brilliant.zoom is great and pretty easy to get sharp shots .movie as expected.i like various creative modes not tried gps but think its same.love this camera ...previous non panny cameras are sony 9v and fuji 770 .
That's handy to know, thanks - it's much earlier in the year for Panasonic to do the cashback offer which they always seem to do for certain models (both my TZ10 and then TZ20 were bought from Amazon in conjunction with Panasonic cashback towards the end of each of the last 2 years).
I'm not sure it's going to convince me to buy as I'm happy with my TZ20 and prefer the 'older' Panorama-Stitch capability it has to the new 'sweep' method of the TZ30 - I use it a LOT and cannot envisage being without the specific capability that it offers.
I've now discovered the 'sweep' is time-limited and fixes the lens at the widest zoom setting, both unsatisfactory as far as I'm concerned....
Anyway, I also think the downward price movement of the TZ30 has some way to go still...!
A very interesting discussion. For Mr Williams especially, I am an enthusiastic amateur looking to replace my TZ10 and note posters above have had both a TZ10 and TZ20. Would you recommend TZ20 as best replacement for the TZ10 in the panasonic range (have a lot of other panasonic equipment so seek ease of use/compatability)?
To my relatively inexperienced mind my TZ10 was and possibly still would be perfect, but harder to find the TZ10 brand new now. It produced consistently great results especially in iA mode. I printed off some terrific pictures at home on high end paper. Don't need a camera to do many more tricks if any than TZ10, and infact never used the GPS function, so assume that the TZ25 would be a waste too. Only criticism of TZ10 was poorer performance in low light conditions, which from reading reviews was a known pitfall, it seems that this may have been addressed in its sucessors, is this right? I cant afford a TZ30 so think that the TZ20 looks the best bet, BUT JUST DON'T WANT TO FIND THAT I GET POORER QUALITY IMAGES (esp. when printed on photo paper, standard sizes 10x8 at biggest).
I used my TZ10 a lot and thought it an excellent camera, I've never been aware or concerned about any low-light capability - probably because of how I mostly use the camera.
I was conscious that some commercial reviews had hinted that the TZ20 worsened certain image quality aspects, but was prepared to check for myself as whenever these issues are mentioned I rarely notice them myself - perhaps I am less demanding ? !
I wasn't sure the video of the TZ10 could be improved, but as I then bought a Panasonic HDC-SD600 camcorder I was so amazed with the greater quality video that I thought the TZ20 should offer something nearly as good.
[By the way, I also have this camcorder (which has 1080p video AND, unusually, high resolution stills) as video footage is more easily taken due to the way you hold the device and, more importantly, the zoom speed is almost instantaneous across the zoom range whereas these cameras take several seconds - I simply could not capture my nature/animal footage with a TZ10, or now the TZ20, as the zoom change from close to far is MUCH slower and panning is more tricky, BUT you really pay for that capability as this camcorder was twice the cost of a TZ20 ! The TZ zoom speed is fine for landscapes etc, so I take my camera when in cities or geological attractions for example as the subject is stationary and I can also panorama-assist !]
As the TZ20 was on offer with cashback I decided to 'upgrade' and firstly compare my TZ10 to the new TZ20 to confirm I wasn't losing anything. Happily, for me, no functionality was lost and in certain ways improved (menu capabilities).
Also, the increased zoom range and, most notably, the jump in HD video specification to 1080i were big factors to eventually make me keep the TZ20 and sell my TZ10. Yes, the TZ10 720p video is good, but once I experienced the 1080i of the TZ20 it confirmed that for me, it was a massive improvement.
I should also add that the GPS was initially not attractive to me, but as I go abroad so much more in recent years to often desolate areas it really has turned out to be very useful, much more than I anticipated; the TZ20 has doubled the number of landmarks and menu capabilities are improved.
As you can see, we all have different priorities for the camera capabilities, so a definitive answer on which is 'best' can be difficult to make; I, like you, don't do huge print enlargements...
Whilst the TZ30 again offers improvements over the TZ20 in zoom/video specification, like the TZ20 did over the TZ10, the reason I don't think I'll ever get the TZ30 is because the other feature I use a LOT (as you no doubt have noticed from my earlier comments) is the 'panorama-assist' mode. It is implemented in a different manner on the TZ30 and is, in my opinion, a backwards step - not forwards. I cannot see it allowing me to achieve the same kind panorama 'results' I can with the TZ20, which works in the same way as the TZ10 of course.
I am also wary that the GPS software functionality has been changed for the worse....
If I could use a TZ30 for a lengthy time to confirm my suspicions I would be better placed (I can't rely on reviews for the panorama assist vs sweep comparison), but like you perhaps unless the price comes down a lot I can't risk buying the TZ30 and then finding out I need to sell it !
Although I've said that commercial reviews cannot be completely definitive on image quality (we all have different eyes !), if it's of any help a review site I've found can be helpful is 'PhotographyBlog'.
As you may not have seen them, here are the links to their extensive reviews of the TZ10, 20 and 30 :
Unfortunately for you, you will see that the more expensive TZ30 is deemed to offer significant improvements in low-light capabilities over the TZ10/20 !
So, I'm sorry but I cannot say if the TZ20 will downgrade your low-light capability/requirement from the TZ10, but if you can confirm this elsewhere ('PhotographyBlog' say it is the same) I think the advantages it offers in zoom and video quality might mean it is an attractive upgrade.
However, it seems that for an IMPROVED low-light capability (rather than apparently unchanged as on the TZ20) you have to consider the TZ30, so perhaps you can wait for the price to drop - which I feel it will !
Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-K Compact Camera - Black (14.1MP, 20x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD I have a TZ20 and I have just bought my wife a TZ30 for her birthday so will be able to compare the two over the next couple of months. The main immediate difference apart from the specification is the in-camera charging on the TZ30, for which there are pros and cons as the other posts state. However, the batteries appear to be the same as for the TZ20 so we should be able to use the charger that came with the TZ20 if we want to. One issue with the TZ20 which I will be interested to see if it is the same on the TZ30 is the fact that video clips downloaded on to a PC can only be viewed through the software provided by Panasonic (PhotoFun Studio 6.1 Lite), rather than through Windows Media or Picasa which is a problem. If anyone has found a way round this I would be interested to hear.
I'll be interested to hear about your comparisons. I knew about the battery 'issue' but am still unconvinced about the practicability of the new panorama method as I found the previous method very flexible (esp as you can also take horizontal panoramas with the camera sideways, by using the choice of direction modes available - this makes close-up panoramas more viable as the lens is not set to such a wide-angle).
More importantly for you, it IS possible to play the TZ-20 video on Win Med Player - I do it and also did it with my TZ-10 footage.
You need to download and install the necessary 'codec' for the video file format of the TZ-20, which is '.m2ts' (you can see that is the file extension from Windows Explorer), which is then associated with WMP to make it compatible with that file type - the video then opens and is played in the same way as for all other media you presently use with WMP.
I get the codec in the ubiquitous product called 'K-Lite', which is essentially a 'pack' of codecs which also adds other file formats not supported by WMP as standard (eg 'MP4', which is the MPEG-4 file format).
Better still, it is a free download from many Internet sources and I see the latest version is V8.9.2. - the website (reliable and it also offers extensive advice sections) I get it from is :
There are alternatives but I like this product as the install process allows you to pick and choose completely which 'bit' you want (eg the codecs) installed and it also does the integration with WMP for you, but again only if you confirm you want it to (which you will as that is the solution to your query !).
Take your time pondering each 'page' of the install process to ensure you are asking it to install (via checkboxes) what you want it to install !
I hope that works out for you and is a good enough long-term 'bribe' to ensure you provide a comparison update sometime in the future !
Bingo! Dowloaded K-Lite; wasn't sure which which bits I wanted so clicked on 'all' - but avoided various things like the AVG searchbar which come with it if you are not careful. Can now play videos recorded on my TZ20 on our Venice trip in Win Med Player. In the meatime I also discoved that if you select Motion JPEG in the Record Mode in the camera (described as 'best for viewing on PC) rather than AVCHD (described as 'best for HDTV') this allowed me to view the downloaded video in WMP. I tried it and it worked before I saw your post and downoaded K-Lite. However, this is a compromise since (as I read somewhere) the file size is bigger and the maximum length of any video ccip is reduced.
Many thanks, MF
PS videos from Venice now viewable in Picasa as well!
Yes, there may be more options with K-Lite than you want - I did try and warn you about checking, but I think I could have suggested you first go through each installation 'page' to familiarise yourself with the possible options but not select the final 'Install' button (or whatever it says), then go backwards through each page and start from page #1 again, armed with that 'knowledge' so you know what to select/not select.
I say that as my older version has an option to install a 'classic' version of WMP, which is not required to be selected by most as we are just after the codecs and already have a superior/later version of WMP installed; but it's easy to miss the option as it's on a particularly 'busy' page of the installation process !
MORE IMPORTANTLY :
You really want to record with the maximum video resolution possible (ie AVCHD) all the time - that is, after all, one of the reasons you've spent a few hundred quid on such a high specification camera isn't it ! ?
Aside from getting the best resolution video 'at source', you'll find small differences like, as you mention, the max record time with AVCHD is much more than with MPEG selected....
And anyway, you can always convert that AVCHD video to MPEG at a later stage from within PhotoFun Studio (which is actually quite a powerful program, there are a wide range of other capabilities within it if you 'play' around with it for a bit !).
I do this when posting video onto websites or e-mailing to people etc as not everyone can play AVCHD - like you couldn't until today !
I did an extensive Amazon review for the TZ-10, but not the 20, but another feature I find handy is that if you've a Panasonic Blu-ray player you can load the camera SD card and play the content to your TV via the BR player.
Don't forget you can always buy a cheapo HDMI video cable to directly connect the camera to a TV as well - I find that handy when on holiday etc when you've not necessarily got a computer to hand but want to show others your footage.
With your video in AVCHD format you'll be playing back the best quality video your camera is capable of....