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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 DMC-ZS20 GPS Pocket Zoom Review

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Category: Compact Cameras
Product: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Price: £165.00
Rating: 4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 ZS20 Travel Zoom Review - The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 / DMC-ZS20 features a 20x optical zoom lens, GPS positioning and built in map, could this be the perfect compact travel camera? Joshua Waller finds out.

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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30

The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 (aka ZS20 in the US) is the top of the range travel zoom from Panasonic, and features a 20x optical zoom lens, 14.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor, 3inch screen, built in GPS and map in the camera. Also available is the Panasonic Lumix TZ25, a 16x optical zoom lens version of this camera, without GPS.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Features


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30

The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 features a new GPS map system built into the camera that will show you where you've taken photos. As you can see we don't get out much. 

Panasonic Lumix TZ30 Gps Settings Panasonic Lumix TZ30 Gps Map
Panasonic Lumix TZ30 GPS Settings Panasonic Lumix TZ30 GPS Map (Playback)

GPS settings let you switch GPS on and off, as well as setting the GPS to be on even when the camera is off, as well as an airplane mode that ensures GPS is off when the camera is switched off. The camera has the option to load assist data that can be updated via the PC or from the SD card (after downloading it from Panasonic's website), this will allow the camera to get a quicker GPS lock when loaded onto the camera. The camera also gives the option to update the date and time from GPS information.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30

Key Features

  • 14.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 20x optical zoom lens equivalent to 24mm - 480mm
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 3inch 460k dot touch screen
  • GPS / Map
  • Full HD video with stereo sound
  • ISO100 to ISO6400
  • 3cm macro mode
  • 10fps continuous shooting
  • Manual shooting modes P/A/S/M
  • Available in a number of colours

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Handling

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30

Handling - The camera features a metal body, on/off switch and record/playback switch making it easy to switch the camera on and change between modes. There is a dedicated mode dial on top giving access to: Program, iAuto (intelligent auto), Creative Effects, Scene modes, 3D, Custom 1 and 2, Manual, Shutter and Aperture. There is a dedicated video record button so you can start recording video regardless of which mode you are in. There is some grip on the front of the camera (rubber grip) and just an area of raised dots on the back so a wrist strap is recommended. In addition there is an exposure button which is used in Aperture/Shutter/Manual modes.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30

Menus – The Panasonic menus are very easy to use with the camera providing clear text and built in help showing what each option does. Where there are a number of icons, such as the scene mode, each one is explained underneath. The number of options available in the menus changes depending which mode you are currently in, making it very easy to use even for the beginner.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30

Battery life
- CIPA life is rated at 260 shots. We were able to take over 230 shots before the battery went flat. It's worth noting that the camera charges the battery in the camera using the provided USB cable connected to a computer or the provided AC adapter.

Speed - Bold claims of 0.1 second AF performance need to be tested, so that's what we did. We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.


Panasonic TZ30 Panasonic TZ25
Shutter Response <0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
0.2 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.7 1.6
Shot to Shot (without flash) 0.6 0.6
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.4 1.2
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 10fps (10 shots) 10fps (4 shots)
Continuous AF Shooting (JPEG)
Continuous High Speed
Continuous 2.5 megapixels
5fps (13 shots)
40fps (5m, 40 shots)
60fps (60 shots)
5fps (5 shots)
40fps (3m, 40 shots)
60fps (30 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) 0.6s (5 shots, 3m) 2fps (5 shots, 3m)

Focus speed is very good, as is shutter response. Focus at full optical zoom is also very quick which is impressive considering the camera has a 20x optical zoom lens. Shot to shot is excellent and the camera has a number of high speed shooting modes, including 10fps at full resolution, shooting 10 shots. The high speed continuous shooting modes are improved over the Panasonic Lumix TZ25 allowing more shots to be taken and at a higher resolution depending on which mode is selected.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Sample Photos

Group Photo Cloudy | 1/100 sec | f/4.2 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100

Group Photo Cloudy | 1/100 sec | f/4.2 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 13.3 mm | ISO 500

Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 13.3 mm | ISO 500
High-Res

Thoresby Hall | 1/1000 sec | f/3.7 | 6.1 mm | ISO 100

Thoresby Hall | 1/1000 sec | f/3.7 | 6.1 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

HDR | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 200

HDR | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 200
High-Res


Sample Photos - The camera has good colour, with good skin tones, and there is very little red-eye in the flash photo above. Exposure is good with the camera producing consistant results.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Lens test images

Wide | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Wide | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Full Zoom | 1/250 sec | f/6.4 | 86.0 mm | ISO 100

Full Zoom | 1/250 sec | f/6.4 | 86.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Purple Fringing CA Test | 1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Purple Fringing CA Test | 1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Macro 1/4 sec | f/4.2 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100

Macro 1/4 sec | f/4.2 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res


Lens test images - Detail is good in the centre and to the edges and the camera copes well with lens flare. There is some purple fringing in the shot of the trees above, but little in other shots. There is some distortion with barrel distortion at the wide end and pincushion at the telephoto end of the zoom. Vignetting was not noticed. Macro performance is very good letting you position the subject roughly 3cm from front of lens, it's also possible to zoom slightly to get even closer.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 ISO test images

1/5 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 100

1/5 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

1/10 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 200

1/10 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

1/20 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 400

1/20 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

1/40 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 800

1/40 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

1/80 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 1600

1/80 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 1600
High-Res

1/160 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 3200

1/160 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 3200
High-Res

Low Light Mode 1/40 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 3200

Low Light Mode 1/40 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 3200
High-Res

Very Low Light 1/4 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 6400

Very Low Light 1/4 sec | f/5.3 | 18.2 mm | ISO 6400
High-Res


ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO100, with a slight increase at ISO200. At ISO400 chroma noise starts to appear and some colour is lost as the noise becomes more noticeable. ISO800 appears to deal with any additional noise very nicely, with there being little extra noise than the ISO400 shot. At ISO1600 you start seeing noise increase again and detail is degraded. At ISO3200 noise is dominant with seemingly random white and black dots appearing in the image - therefore this setting is best avoided. The low-light / high sensitivity scene mode reduces the image size to 3 megapixels and gives a soft image.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 White-balance test images

Awb Tungsten Light | 1/10 sec | f/4.1 | 7.9 mm | ISO 100

Awb Tungsten Light | 1/10 sec | f/4.1 | 7.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Tungsten Preset | 1/10 sec | f/4.1 | 7.9 mm | ISO 100

Tungsten Preset | 1/10 sec | f/4.1 | 7.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

AWB Fluorescent Light | 0.4 sec | f/4.1 | 7.9 mm | ISO 100

AWB Fluorescent Light | 0.4 sec | f/4.1 | 7.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance performs quite well under Tungsten light with the Tungsten preset doing little to improve the image, instead giving it a slight orange cast. Auto White Balance performs very well under fluorescent lighting.

Panoramic | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Panoramic | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100 - The camera features a panoramic sweep mode, where you press the button and pan. The camera then automatically stitches the photo together into one panoramic image.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Digital filters

Expressive | 1/25 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Expressive | 1/25 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Hikey | 1/13 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Hikey | 1/13 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Lokey | 1/30 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Lokey | 1/30 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Mono | 1/20 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Mono | 1/20 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Miniature | 1/25 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Miniature | 1/25 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Soft | 1/15 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Soft | 1/15 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Hi-dynamic | 1/8 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Hi-dynamic | 1/8 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Toycam | 1/13 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Toycam | 1/13 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Miniature | 1/25 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400

Miniature | 1/25 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 400
High-Res


Digital Filters - There are a number of creative effects and scene modes including expressive, retro, hi-key, lo-key, sepia, mono, high dynamic (takes 1 shot), toy, miniature and soft. In addition, there is a dedicated HDR mode that combines 3 photos at different exposure.

Video - The camera records full HD video as AVCHD (progressive) and MP4, with the option to record GPS information with the video. Options include continuous AF and wind cut. A high speed video mode is also available recording at QVGA (320x240), an example can be viewed on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel. It's also possible to shoot 3.5 megapixel photos while recording video.


Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is available for around £299, this puts it at a very similar price to alternative travel zooms with GPS built in including Canon Powershot SX260 HS (20x, £299), Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR (20x, £279), Nikon Coolpix S9300 (18x, £259), with the Sony Cybershot HX20v costing the most at £379. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 provides a number of useful features including an impressive 20x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, full HD video recording with stereo sound and built in GPS. There is a 3 inch touch screen on the back, however, the nice thing about it, is that you don't have to use it as the camera still has a good number of external buttons and controls.

Image quality is good, with good colour and detail and the high speed shooting and rapid focus certainly help get good shots. Video is impressive with a high speed option as well as the ability to record GPS information with videos. In fact, there's very little to complain about with the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 and the camera makes an excellent compact camera.
 
  The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is an excellent GPS camera with a wealth of options making it the perfect travel zoom.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Pros

High speed continuous shooting
Good image quality
Great macro performance
Full HD video, stereo sound, GPS logging
Compact metal body
20x optical zoom
In camera HDR / Panoramic
GPS features with map
Quick focus


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Cons

Rubber grip on the back would be nice
Battery life could be better

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
VERDICT

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
Lens
Max Aperture f/3.3 - f/6.4
35mm equivalent 24mm - 480mm
Optical Zoom 20x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels 14.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 4320
Pixels (H) 3240
Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size 1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width) No Data
Sensor Size (height) No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 3in
Screen resolution 460,000 dots
Touch Screen Yes
Focusing
Min Focus 3cm
Focusing modes
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest 15sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity 100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp +/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 10fps
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS 25
Stereo Sound Yes
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi No Data
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 895mAh)
CIPA Rating 260
Box Contents
Box Contents Battery Pack, AC adaptor, USB Cable, Hand Strap, DVD (Map Included)
Dimensions
Weight 184g
Width 104.9mm
Height 58.9mm
Depth 28.2mm

View Full Product Details




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Comments

dpullum99
dpullum99  1 United States
4 Jun 2013 - 12:49 PM

This is a great article, thank you Mr. Waller. Grin
I have had the ZS20 for about a year and was and still amazed at the outstanding performance. Prior I owned a TZ3 and thought I was just upgrading the Pixels of the sensor... Wrong looks alike, not alike. Since the camera is with me in a belt pack and is not like P&S cameras of old I have coined it a to be a "24/7 Camera."
I would add to the "Cons"
1. No RAW, but I live around that using Topaz-labs auxiliary programs.
2. No Filter/auxiliary-lens threads. Ok, I added them. See my article: http://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-75114-1.html
3. Regarding Battery life in Waller's list, I purchased low cost charger and 2 Li batteries they work fine.
4. No grip. Agreed. Just checked out feel of Velcro teeth that seems to be one route for improvement. Another solution would be "soft dots" used to quiet cabinet doors during closing. They are made of Silicone polymer.

In addition I am working adding a mirrored surface modified light shield so I can hold the camera low and see the screen while looking down like the old twin lens cameras. The finished unit will be great for street photography.

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