Top positive review
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Good things do come in small packages!
on 10 April 2012
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;
- 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.
- 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.