Panasonic’s TZ range of compact cameras have long proven popular with travelling or holidaying photographers – the TZ stands for “travel zoom”. The TZ90 is the most recent addition to the fold, offering a 30x optical zoom. By contrast, the TZ100 has been around a little while longer and features a more modest 10x optical zoom – but it has a larger sensor. Here we’ll extract the differences between the two to help you determine which will be best for your travels.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Sensor
The TZ90 has a classic 1/2.3-inch size sensor, which offers 20.3 megapixels. In contrast, the TZ100 has a much larger 1-inch type sensor, but also offers around the same resolution at 20.1 megapixel. The larger sensor of the TZ100 should make it perform better in low light, as well as giving better scope for creating shallow depth of field effects.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Lens
Here’s where the main difference lies between these two cameras, and which you prefer will depend entirely on your needs. The TZ90 has a much more extensive 30x optical zoom, which offers a 35mm equivalent of 24-720mm. That could be really useful for trips where you want the most flexibility possible, such as safaris and so on. Meanwhile, the TZ100 has a much more modest 10x optical zoom, giving you the equivalent of 27-270mm (note that it’s also not quite as wide as the TZ90’s). You will probably find that for the majority of situations, the shorter zoom is still flexible enough to get what you need and is worth the trade off for the larger sensor.
It’s also worth considering the maximum aperture ranges of each of these lenses. The TZ100’s maximum wide aperture is f/2.8, while the TZ90’s is f/3.3. The former gives you more scope in low light, and to create shallow depth of field effects, especially when combined with the larger sensor.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Screen
Both of the cameras use a 3-inch, 1040k-dot touch-sensitive LCD screen. However, the TZ90 has the advantage here as it’s capable of tilting up to 180 degrees. That makes it useful for shooting from some awkward angles, including of course the ubiquitous selfie.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Viewfinder
In this respect, it’s a tie between both of these cameras as they both use the same viewfinder. It’s a 0.2-inch, 1,166k-dot device which offers a 100% field of view and 0.46x magnification. It’s fair to say that they are small viewfinders, but they can be extremely useful if bright sunshine (a blight of holiday makers the world over) is blocking your view of the screen.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: 4K Photo Modes
Both the TZ90 and the TZ100 utilise Panasonic’s 4K video recording technology to make use of 4K Photo modes. These allow you to extract still images from 4K video clips, ostensibly giving you a super fast 30fps to shoot with. New additions to 4K photo include Post Focus, which gives you the opportunity to alter the focus point after you’ve taken the shot – this mode is available on both cameras.
The main difference between these two cameras 4K Photo offering is that the TZ90 offers 4K Selfie, the opportunity to capture selfies using the tilting touch-screen, making sure you get the perfect pose.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Advanced controls
Both the TZ90 and the TZ100 offer full manual modes, as well as semi-automatic options (aperture priority and shutter priority). There’s also a range of scene and creative modes, as well as fully automatic. Both of the cameras shoot in raw format.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Dimensions and weight
Despite the fact that the TZ90 has the smaller sensor, it is still the (slightly) larger of the two cameras – presumably to house both the more extensive lens, and the mechanism needed for a tilting screen. You should be able to fit both in a reasonably loose pocket, though. The TZ100 weighs in at 310g and measures 110 x 64.5 x 44.3mm, while the TZ90 weighs 322g and measures 112 x 67.3 x 41.2mm.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Battery life
It’s the TZ90 which has the upper hand here, offering 380 shots per charge (if you only use the monitor). Battery life drops a little to 250 (if you were exclusively using the viewfinder). Of course if you use a mixture of the two, the battery life is likely to fall somewhere in the middle of these two figures. The TZ100 on the other hand has a battery life of 300 shots (monitor), and 260 (viewfinder).
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Price
The TZ90 will be available for around £399, while you’ll pay an extra £150 or so for the TZ100, which can currently be picked up for around £549.
Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic TZ100: Conclusion
Both of these cameras should make for excellent choices for the travelling photographer. Ultimately, it will probably come down to what you are looking for in a compact camera. If the idea of an extensive zoom is what appeals the most, go for the TZ90. On the other hand, if higher image quality is what you need, go for the TZ100.