Customer Review

675 of 686 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good things do come in small packages!, 10 April 2012
This review is from: Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-K Compact Camera - Black (14.1MP, 20x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)
The TZ30 (or ZS20 in the US) is Panasonic's new top of the range point and shoot travel camera. Since the release of the TZ20 competition in the sector has hotted up considerably with offerings from Canon (SX 260HS), Sony (DSC-HX30V), Nikon (Coolpix S9100) and Fuji (F770EXR) all competing with the TZ30 for a slice of the market. The "ball park" price of all these cameras is around the £300 mark.

The TZ30 packs a huge 20x optical zoom together with GPS into a genuinely pocketable package. The 14. 1 Mega pixel sensor has been redesigned to give better low light performance and is supported by a very effective anti-shake system. To me the pictures are noticeably better than the TZ20 which we also own. I can best summarise the pros and cons of this camera as follows;

Pros
- The build and pocketable size combine to produce a stylish package - because of these factors this is the camera you are most likely to have on you for that once in lifetime shot.
- Huge 20x zoom with effective stabilisation plus further usable digital zoom.
- Pictures are pretty good most of the time (but see below) and certainly better than the TZ20.
- GPS works well plus there is a mapping DVD provided with a database of over 1 million landmarks across the world - you load the region you are using the camera in and it saves the data to the SD card.
- Good burst mode and fast autofocus with tracking mode.
- 1080p video is very good with a wide range of formats to choose from.
- Clear touch screen display.
- Lots of scene modes plus, creative controls, panorama and a 3D facility.
- Seems to cope well with backlit subjects.
- Battery life quite good for a small camera unless you use GPS a lot.

Cons
- Pictures are not noise free and follow the inevitable pattern of the higher the ISO the noisier the shot (but show me a truly pocketable camera where this isn't the case).
- GPS runs the battery life down very quickly, especially, as it remains on when the camera is off unless you switch it off.
- You can't input text via the touch screen plus, although ok, it is not as HD as some other brands - the Sony has twice as many pixels.
- No raw mode, and, in IA mode the camera decides on picture quality for you.
- Prone to red eye (like all small cameras where the flash and lens are close together) but there isn't a specific camera tool to edit this (or I can't find it).

Overall, this is an impressive camera, and, the "cons" are, in effect, limitations that all of the competitors suffer from too. In essence, it produces good results, is versatile, and, of course, there's that huge zoom crammed into a tiny package which really does get you close to the action. Although still new, I like this camera and it's growing on me, plus, it's small enough to keep in my pocket. Good things can come in small packages. Recommended.

PS. Although the description of box contents on this page suggests the camera comes with a stylus for the touch screen it does not. Also, if you are looking for a "minimalist" pocket case try the Lowepro Seville 20.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Apr 2012 10:02:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Apr 2012 10:04:05 BDT
Hello & thanks for your interesting review.

I'm hoping that as you're someone who genuinely has used the TZ20 and now owns a TZ30 you can offer correct comparison info as I've found reviews often miss out details eg the USB connector style changes from the TZ10 to TZ20, but no 'official' reviews mention it !

I had a TZ10 and upgraded to the TZ20 recently.

The big feature I use a lot is 'Panorama Assist'.

On the TZ30 it's now a sweep method as opposed to the previous take-photos-manual-one-by-one-then-stitch-later-on-your-PC using the Pana software.

Have you used that feature on the 20 and then the 30 much to compare the practicalities of each please ?

I'm not bothered about the new ability to see the panorama stitched together on-camera, but I've seen a demo video of it in action and what I can't quantify is how easy it is to lose the subject in vertical framing - something you can ensure remains constant with the picture-one-by-one method....

Also, does the 30 still have the 1s-or-so 'blank screen' after pressing the video record button (an annoying 'feature' which both the 10 and 20 have !) before it shows what the lens sees again or does the display constantly show the lens view (ie like my Panasonic camcorder does).

I often find that dwell time means I've moved the lens view during it and the subject is not in frame any longer - especially pertinent when zoomed-in.

[I hope I've explained these 2 very specific aspects well enough for you to understand them !]

As an aside, I'm disappointed that Pana are moving their photo products to charge-in-the-device when previously it's via an external charger. Have you had any problem getting /considered an external charger or spare battery please ?

Thanks in advance for any info/opinions.

Kindest Regards,
Laurence Williams

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2012 21:19:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Apr 2012 21:29:43 BDT
Paul Madge says:
Hello Laurence,

Thanks for your feedback. I now have both cameras in front of me and will try and address your points.

- As you mention a change in connectors from the TZ10 to TZ20, well, out of interest, Panasonic have done it again - the mini HDMI is preserved, but, on the TZ30 it now has a mini USB type socket like those on satnavs etc. replacing the flatter/wider USB connector on the TZ20.

You ask about Panorama Assist - to me, the TZ30 is a bit of a retrograde step because you have less control. Instead of retrospectively stitching a series of shots together the TZ30 prompts you to move the camera in a horizontal or vertical plane and then starts taking a series of shots (the shutter sounds quite fast like an old Super 8 cine camera) as you move it. The camera then processes this and you have an instant panorama but to me it isn't perfect, and, you are absolutely right in what you suggest as part frames seem to be missed out. This may be because I'm moving the camera too fast due to my inexperience with it. I preferred the retrospective software solution on the TZ20 where you do the stitching with software. I don't yet know if you can edit panorama shots on the TZ30.

On the matter of the second or so blank screen before video recording starts - this does not seem to occur on the TZ30 - the screen image remains continous and clear when pressing the video control, although, it switches to a 16:9 screen because of my settings but you do not lose the picture at all.

I hope these answers cover your queries ok - if not, please contact me again and I'll do my best to answer them.

On your final point about charging - the TZ30 comes with a mains adaptor which you then plug the camera's USB cord into - so the lead can be used for USB charging, connecting to your PC via USB and also as a mains charging lead. I have bought both a spare battery from Amazon here's the reference - you can see my review on the product page - Panasonic DMW-BCG10E Lithium-ion Battery Pack This is a genuine Panasonic battery.

I have also bought a 3rd party charger which is the sort that you put the battery into after taking it out of the camera - here's the page - Battery Charger for Panasonic DMW-BCG10 / DMW-BCG10E / DE-A65 / DE-A65B / DE-A65BA / DE-A66 / DE-A66B suits Select Lumix Digital Camera (Models Stated Below) World Travel Plug Version - UK/USA/Europe+ Although cheap, this charger seems fine, and you get a lead which allows you to use it in the car as well included.

Kind Regards

Paul Madge

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Apr 2012 16:59:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Apr 2012 17:00:48 BDT
Dear Paul,

Thanks once again for a comprehensive reply.

My reservations about the new 'PA' assist mode capabilities appear to be confirmed.

It might be easier to perform, but the loss of control is definitely reduced and results likely to be 'inferior' - at least for how I use it..

I use that feature so much it is a biggie for me and probably means I stop the upgrades with the TZ20 !

It seems the 'IA' mode (which I hardly use) for novices has crept into other areas and simplified the 'Pan Assist' mode...

The USB connector/charging method are other changes, which in the case of the latter is annoying. Your solution is mandatory as I've come a cropper charging in-unit and a mains surge frazzled my device ! Charging externally means you only 'lose' a charger and potentially a battery, so it's a VERY wise move....!

I know you dealt with the video 'delay', but as your reply stated 'does not seem' do you mind if I nail down it definitively please ? [It's so much better to get a users view and I doubt I could wander into a shop and get to test it that way !]

It's the only other feature that is supremely important and the delay on the TZ10 AND TZ20 prompted me to buy a Pana SDHC-600 HD camcorder as it takes even better video, 14MP stills AND the display remains constant (the price was also somewhat higher though...boo !).

On the TZ10/20 when I press the button the screen goes blank - then a large red video camera icon is quickly displayed - then the lens view is restored + recoding begins.

This significant 'blank' period means that if I'm zoomed in a lot or panning fast-moving objects, the shot I'd framed at button press will almost certainly be different as I am likely to have moved the camera slightly and/or lost my view of the 'targeted' object.

I've videoed it to show how it manifests itself for me, the link to my online media album for the specific (very short) video clip is :

http://s37.photobucket.com/albums/e80/lpwilliams/TZ20%20Delay/?action=view¤t=20120421_0903102.mp4

I then have to recapture the views/object I wanted - sometimes never achievable as I can't find it again due to the zoom amount/the object has moved so far away eg birds or aeroplanes in flight or even animals scurrying along the ground !

This 'feature' is not a problem when your subject is static/close but a real pain otherwise....

I can't help feeling that with the latest batch of TZ/SDHC camcorders Panasonic have tweaked (often detrimentally) rather than massively improved and that the TZ20 is perhaps the last in the line for a viable purchase.

I was tempted not too long ago with the FZ-150 (better zoom and RAW capability), esp as it has the 'older' PA method rather than sweep. I declined purchase and I the hope that a newer model (2013 FZ-200 ???) will add GPS, but am wary it might do that but also 'evolve' those other important features to the newer, inferior (for me) mode ! I'll have to wait and see and doubtless pick a purchasers brain again to get the accurate 'truth' as reviews often fail to spot the differences properly !

I hope you understand and any additional info would again be much appreciated - no need for a rapid reply though, please do it at your leasure - I've rabbited on at some length but don't feel pressured to reciprocate !

Regards,
Laurence Williams

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 11:56:13 BDT
Paul Madge says:
Hello Laurence, I'm so sorry it's taken this long to get back to you, but I wanted to give you the best reply I could to the video switching issue. I put the TZ30 into iA mode locked on with autofocus and then decided to use video - my view is the video recording does start immediately but what was slightly deceptive was the fact that as the video recording began the camera was switching from a 4:3 picture to 16:9. However, when you set the still picture to 16:9 the screen does not go blank at all when you start videoing, although, there is a slight change in the zoom level. I really hope this helps - if you want me to check anything else for you please don't hesitate to ask and I'll try and get back more quickly next time!
Regards Paul

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 19:13:54 BDT
Dear Paul,

Thanks for your reply - any delay was entirely acceptable, I'm grateful for you sparing the time at all !

You hopefully saw from the video-clip I gave info for in my question how the 'problem' manifests itself on the TZ10 and 20 ?

If so, from what you say the TZ30 has cleared the issue up, which is good news - although I'm still unhappy about the P'Assist change....

Thanks again - Regards,
Laurence Williams

Posted on 13 Dec 2012 15:56:55 GMT
A. Brown says:
Hi Paul. I'm sorry to have to disagree with you, but I cannot see that the TZ30 is an improvement over the TZ20 when it is not even an improvement over the TZ10! I am talking in terms of overall image and video quality, not for camera features which is unfortunately what attracts most people. I upgraded from the 10 to the 30, and I will grant you that low-light photography is an improvement, but not really much else. My TZ10 produced much sharper clearer defined images than the TZ30, and as for video, the TZ30 was much more washed out with no overall improvement in the image quality. No-one seems to point out the limitation of viewing AVCHD either except with dedicated software, whereas the earlier AVCHD Lite was viewable even in media player at 50fps.
As I said image quality is all that is important, features are a bonus, but image wise I'm afraid that the TZ30 doesn't cut it for me.
I have now returned my TZ30.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Dec 2012 19:01:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Dec 2012 14:55:39 GMT
Paul Madge says:
Hello. Apologies for not replying earlier. As I mentioned in my review I own both cameras - the TZ-20 and TZ-30 and you have the added advantage of owning the TZ-10 too. In my perception the TZ30 produces sharper pictures, and, is more tolerant of less than ideal lighting conditions than the earlier models. My perception of an improvement in image quality is clearly not in accord with yours - perhaps you are more demanding of your camera, whereas, I'm a bit of a self confessed snapper rather than professional photographer. The video is not a feature I use very often, I do however, agree that AVCHD is more limited in its compatibility compared to other formats.

I'm sorry you've had to return your TZ-30. There are some people on these pages that seem to hold your views, but, also, a number who seem delighted with the TZ-30 albeit, the majority of them may not have owned the TZ-10 and TZ-20 to benchmark it against.

Regards Paul Madge

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2012 12:33:13 GMT
does the TZ30 use the same battery charger as the TZ20?
thanks m miller

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2012 14:51:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 31 Dec 2012 14:52:12 GMT
Paul Madge says:
Hello Michel, no. The chargers are different. I recall the TZ20 has a charger where you take the battery out of the camera and place it in the charger unit. The TZ30 has a micro USB cord which you plug into the camera at one end and the mains charger at the other. The battery charges in camera. Hope this helps.

Happy New Year. Regards Paul

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013 17:27:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jan 2013 17:30:01 GMT
Does this mean you can't have a spare battery and charge separately? I was thinking of updating from the TZ10 which I have been happy with, but I like the sound of the zoom on this later one. My daughter has the TZ20 and is happy with it but doesn't take the same amount of photos as I do. I am getting confused now. I don't want to go for a bridge camera as I have had one and found them too bulky.
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Paul Madge
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