Andy Westlake tests Panasonic's pocket travel camera with a 1in sensor and 10x zoom lens

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100

AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:


  • + Really useful zoom range covers most subjects
  • + Excellent image quality from 1in sensor
  • + Pocketable design
  • + Well-implemented in-camera raw conversion


  • - Electronic viewfinder is rather small
  • - Enthusiast photographers may find the controls frustrating
  • - Fixed rear LCD limits compositional flexibility


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 review


Price as reviewed:


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Panasonic TZ100 flash

The tiny built-in flash is released by sliding a button on the back


It’s safe to say that the TZ100 offers one of the richest feature sets of any pocket camera to date. First of all there’s that hugely flexible lens range, which covers a very respectable 25mm equivalent wideangle to a decently long 250mm equivalent telephoto. This immediately places the TZ100 in a class of its own among 1in sensor compacts for compositional flexibility; its closest competitor, the Canon G5 X, tops-out at 100mm. To get any more range, you’ll need a considerably larger bridge-type model.

The price you pay is a pretty modest f/2.8-5.9 maximum aperture (via f/4.1 at 50mm, and f/5.2 at 100mm), which makes the TZ100 less suited to low-light shooting or experimenting with shallow depth-of-field effects compared to shorter zoom cameras such as the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV or the Canon PowerShot G5 X. The minimum aperture is f/8, which makes sense on a 1in sensor to avoid excessive diffraction blurring, but means that overall there’s only limited adjustment available, especially at the long end of the zoom.

Headline specs include a native sensitivity range of ISO 125-12,800, which is extendable to ISO 80-25,600. Continuous shooting is available at 10fps with focus and exposure fixed at the start of the burst, or 5fps with focus adjustment between frames. Hybrid 5-axis optical/electronic image stabilisation helps avoid image blur from camera shake.

Panasonic TZ100 battery

The DMW-BLG10E battery is rated for between 240 and 300 shots per charge


As I mentioned at the start, Panasonic has included 4K video recording, at frame rates up to 30fps. This technology enables 4K Photo mode, which in effect allows users to shoot high speed bursts of images and easily extract single frames as 8MP stills. It’s well implemented and genuinely useful when shooting moving subjects.

The firm’s recent 4K Post Focus mode is also included. This takes a series of images at different focus distances and stores them together as a movie format file, which in playback mode effectively allows you to refocus the image by tapping on the screen. Panasonic considers this sufficiently clever to merit its own button on the camera’s back, but I’m really not convinced it’s much more than a gimmick. There just aren’t that many situations where it’s useful.

Naturally, Wi-fi is built in, allowing you to control the camera remotely using your smartphone or tablet, and copy images to the device for sharing with friends and family. Oddly for a travel camera, however, the TZ100 doesn’t have built-in GPS. Instead, the idea is that you use your smartphone to record a GPS log via the Panasonic Image App, then geo-tag your images by syncing the data with the camera over Wi-fi. In practice, this actually works just fine as long as you remember to enable it on your phone, but it’s an additional step and less convenient than having the process built-in.

  1. 1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 review: introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. Autofocus
  5. 5. Pocket camera lenses: range vs speed
  6. 6. Image quality
  7. 7. Dynamic range and noise
  8. 8. Conclusion
  9. 9. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 review: First look
  10. 10. Page 10
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  • noelshouse

    HI Chris, I checked your pics out and you have some nice ones in there. You can see in places where the limitations of the camera are hindering you but you clearly know how to get the best out of the camera regardless. And I’m like you, I like the quite life too so would never take my SLR to a venue; having said that I have had my compact questioned on a few occasions; one of which resulted in a written apology from the venue.

    Anyway, as far as the Panasonic tz100 is concerned I would say it would be a big upgrade to your 30x current camera. You are right that the bigger sensor will allow you to use the digital zoom or crop in post if you have to but also you will get better results at higher ISO which will be a big help.

    Stage lighting will always dictate how well you can shoot at a gig. I was at a concert just last night and even front row I was struggling slightly at f2.8 because the lighting was so bad.

    either way good luck in your decision and if you get the Panasonic or try it out, let me know what you think of it.
    regards, Noel

  • Chris Jack

    You can look up my efforts to date on Facebook: I’m chris.jack.52438 – I’m reasonably happy with them but I am looking for a new camera.

    I usually go to seated acts at places like the O2 or Hammersmith Apollo. When I do manage to get close to front of house seats, a 30 times zoom is still useful (look at how close I can get to Duran Duran, Two Cellos, and Neil Diamond). I shot with a Canon G10 for a long time but the 5 times zoom was a problem – especially when I was more than 20 rows from the stage.

    According to my maths, a 10x zoom with a one inch sensor probably gives you better resolution than a 30x zoom with a 1/2.3 inch sensor so, once the TZ100 is released and I have seen a few more reviews, I may well go with that (in the absence of any 30x zoom cameras with one inch sensors).

    And sure – a big zoom on a compact is a compromise.

    The problem is partly that venues can be slightly vague (and inconsistent) about what cameras are allowed in. I want a quiet life so am sticking with compacts with integrated lenses. But I am seeing more and more people sneaking DSLRs into venues like the O2.

    And I have got permission to take my Nikon D4 into a number of gigs (like Barry Humphries, Cirque Beserk) but I’ve either been forewarned it’s OK or have asked explicitly for permission.

  • noelshouse

    Forget big zoom compacts, too many limitations; as you said ISO plus slow lenses and tiny sensors are no good in low light. I use the Canon G7X at gigs, only a 4.2X zoom but I get there early and get as close to the front as possible. Check my Instagram: therealnoelmorgan and have a look at my results with the Canon. I do like the look of the Panasonic TZ100 but for me the weak spot will be the slow lens at the long end but it may depend how quickly it stops down to f5.9.

  • Chris Jack

    I’m looking into buying a new camera for shooting at gigs. Places like the O2 have strict rules about what sort of cameras you can bring in. The Sony Cybershot HX50 I currently use has a 30x times zoom but shows it limitations with a maximum ISO of 800. I have to throw a lot of photos away for technical reasons.

    30x time is very useful at getting reasonably close shots in large venues.

    So… I’m considering either the Panasonic TZ100 (with a 10x zoom but better sensor) or the TZ80 (with a 30x zoom but smaller sensor).


  • Andy Westlake

    The RX100 IV is a lot more pocketable; it measures 101.6×58.1×41.0mm compared to 110.5 x 64.5 x 44.3 mm for the TZ100. However the TZ100 has a much longer (but slower) zoom, 25-250mm equivalent f/2.8-5.9 compared to the RX100 IV’s relatively limited 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8. So they’re rather different cameras. You pay your money and take your choice.

  • Seven_Spades

    I would like to see a comparison with the Sony RX100, some how I suspect that the Sony will be more pocketable.

  • BonzoDog1

    For me, I can’t give up the manual shutter/aperture controls of the LX100.
    If I need more reach I’ll use a second camera.

  • Martin

    I was just about to pull the trigger on buying the LUMIX LX100 when I spotted this about the TZ100. Undecided now as this seems like the better / newer option?!?
    Seems to be like lx100 with bigger zoom?