In this Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 review, Jon Devo tests the follow-up to one of the most popular cameras of 2014, the TZ60. This new compact travel zoom has some key upgrades, including a 12.1-million-pixel sensor with larger pixels for greater light capturing capabilities.
Image Quality Lab Results
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 Review – Image Quality Lab Results
If you’re aware of the previous Panasonic TZ model you’ll have noticed the significant drop in resolution from 18.1-million-pixels to 12.1-million-pixels. However, the size of the DMC-TZ70’s pixels are 1.5 times larger than those featured on the previous model, this should give the TZ70 the edge in terms of light gathering capabilities and reduce the impact of noise at higher ISOs.
Our lab results and image samples show an improvement over the previous model at higher ISO sensitivity settings in particular, but more subtle improvements in terms of resolution, dynamic range and general image quality.
Looking at the dynamic range chart, the Lumix DMC-TZ70 has performed typically for a camera with a 1/2.3in sensor. The TZ70 shows decent performance at low ISO sensitivities, with a maximum of 11.8EV at ISO 100, but this drops off sharply as the sensitivity is increased. At ISO 800 the dynamic range falls to 9EV, where we begin to lose useful shadow detail. Comparing this model to the previous version, the TZ60, the new camera does perform better on average and still manages to keep the dynamic range from falling below 6.2EV, whereas the older model drops below this after ISO 3200.
The images below are 100% crops taken from our resolution test chart, which we shoot at each ISO setting. Multiply the numbers below by 100 to calculate the resolution in lines per picture height (l/ph).
Resolution is perhaps the main area where the older model appears to have an advantage over the new Lumix DMC-TZ70. As you can see, its 1/2.3in sensor with only 12.1-million-pixels at its disposal only resolves a maximum of 2400l/ph on our resolution chart at ISO 80. As you increase the sensitivity the camera seems to hold resolution quite well until ISO 800. But it then deteriorates further at ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, dropping to 1800l/ph where noise begins to have a more pronounced impact on image quality.
The TZ60 doesn’t have ISO 80 or ISO 6400 included its native sensitivity range. But at ISO 100, the TZ60 can resolve 2600l/ph, and at its ISO 6400 extended setting it still matches the TZ70’s 1800l/ph. These findings aren’t exactly a surprise – more pixels simply bring higher resolution.
The examples below are 100% crops of our standard test scene, taken from the camera’s JPEG files at each ISO sensitivity.
Being a small sensor compact camera, we would not expect to see staggeringly great noise handling capabilities at sensitivities from ISO 800 and beyond. However we would hope to see some improvement over the previous model, given the decreased resolution and the corresponding increase in pixel size .
Looking at our sample JPEG images, it’s clear that noise is handled relatively well up until about ISO 400, with no visible luminance or colour noise in the shadow areas. Naturally, noise starts to make an impact on image quality as you increase the sensitivity, with images losing detail as the camera attempts to smooth the image. Only some luminance noise is noticeable at this level however. It’s not until ISO 1600 when colour noise also begins have a significantly detrimental affect on image quality.
At the extremes of the TZ70’s sensitivity range, shadow areas begin to be tinged with purple and the images lack detail. For these reasons, I recommend reserving the use of ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 for absolute emergencies.