Andy Westlake tests Panasonic's pocket travel camera with a 1in sensor and 10x zoom lens
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 review: introduction
At a glance:
- 1in, 20.1MP sensor
- 25-250mm equivalent f/2.8-5.9 Leica DC lens
- ISO 125-12,800 standard, 80-25,600 extended
- 1.160-million-dot electronic viewfinder
- 1.04-million-dot 3in touchscreen
- 4K 30p/25p video recording and 4K Photo
- Price £529
Perhaps because it was never a traditional film camera company, Panasonic has always tried to find ways of offering something beyond the ordinary with its Lumix cameras. It invented the ‘travel zoom’ class by combining a long zoom range with a compact, portable body, with the original TZ1 in 2006. More recently, it’s embraced video technology, offering high-resolution 4K recording in most of its cameras, along with associated 4K Photo modes that use the same technology to shoot high-speed stills. Now it’s combined these in a pair of new TZ models for 2016.
The first of these, the TZ80, which we reviewed in the 2 April edition of AP, is essentially an iteration of last year’s TZ70, with a small 1/2.3in sensor and 30x optical zoom. However, the subject of this article, the TZ100, is a very different beast indeed. Instead, it employs a much larger 20-million-pixel 1in sensor that promises much-improved image quality.
The main trade-off is a less extensive zoom, although its 10x 25-250mm equivalent range should still be more than sufficient for most purposes. This all fits in a body that’s just slightly thicker than the TZ80, and that fits easily in a coat pocket or small bag.
In essence, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 promises to shake up the travel zoom class much the same way Sony’s RX100 upstaged all previous enthusiast compacts back in 2012. For the first time, it should give the kind of image quality that won’t disappoint critical enthusiasts, in a way its smaller-sensor cousins could never quite manage. It also offers a decent level of manual exposure control, along with a built-in electronic viewfinder. So the question we need to answer is simple: is the TZ100 the pocket travel camera that serious photographers have been waiting for?
The TZ100’s 10x lens covers a very useful 25mm equivalent wideangle to 250mm equivalent telephoto, illustrated below: