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.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 Review – Autofocus
Given the range of the TZ70’s lens, its autofocusing system is expected to cope with a wide variety of scenarios and for the most part it does quite well. The TZ70 uses a 23-zone contrast detection AF unit with some useful features including AF tracking, face detection, focus peaking and a macro focusing option that can focus as close as 3cm at the wide end of the zoom.
In lowlight, the camera can project a red AF assist beam, which does a good job of locking onto targets in challenging conditions. However if you’re in a low-light scenario such as a theatre performance, the bright beam will likely draw some unwanted attention.
Experimenting with fast and unpredictable moving subjects such as birds and dogs, I was quite pleased that the camera was able to recognise and follow moving targets. I managed to capture some great shots of birds taking off; one of my favourites features two crows, with one stationary and one flying just across the frame slightly behind it.
With textured or heavily patterned backgrounds such as tree branches I did notice a tendency for the camera to lock focus on these rather than the subject, but this can be dealt with easily by recomposing or even making manual focussing adjustments.
Focusing at the wide end of the focal range in good light is fast and accurate, but it slows significantly as you approach the telephoto end of the zoom range. Despite this, I still found the focusing very useable and was able to capture some good shots of moving aircraft such as planes and helicopters.