Panasonic Lumix TZ10 review
Review Date : Thu, 1 Apr 2010
Author : Mat Gallagher
The Panasonic TZ10 is Panasonic's flagship superzoom and is aimed at the more advanced travel shooter. Take a look at our review of the Panasonic TZ10.
|Pros:||Solid, well-built camera with plenty of creative control|
|Cons:||AVCHD lit format needs specific software|
The Panasonic TZ10 is Panasonic's flagship superzoom and is aimed at the more advanced travel shooter. It features a 12.1MP sensor, outputting at 4000 x 3000 pixels in 4:3, 4176 x 2784 in 3:2 or 4320 x 2432 pixels in 16:9 format.
The ISO offers a standard 80-1600 and up to 6400 using the high sensitivity mode at a reduced resolution. The 12x optical zoom offers the benefit of an extra wide 25mm to get more in the shot, while still providing a decent 300mm at the long end, with an aperture maximum of f/3.3 to f/4.9.
Creative shooting is well catered for with a choice of PSAM shooting modes. For simple control there's an Intelligent Auto mode, which optimises the settings according to the type of scene it detects. There's also a selection of 29 scene modes and a custom setting.
The rear LCD of the Panasonic TZ10 is a 3in, 460k-dot display, and despite the choice of shooting formats has chosen the more native 4:3 format, which means in standard shooting you are using the screen to its full potential.
The Panasonic TZ10's video mode uses the AVCHD Lite format that delivers a 720p high-definition image with stereo sound. This is a format developed by Sony and Panasonic and offers high levels of compression while maintaining very high quality. The downside is that it needs video-editing software to convert it before it can be viewed easily on a computer. The included PC-only Photofunstudio software will download and burn AVCHD Lite files to DVD, but for proper editing you will need to buy additional software. Another clever feature is GPS, which allows you to pinpoint where the images were taken by location and also by landmarks, thanks to the inbuilt database.
Panasonic TZ10 design
The Panasonic TZ10 is the chunkiest in this test, but only by 1mm. It is the only model to have a form of finger grip on the front allowing a more solid hold, while on the rear there is a textured area for thumb grip.
The body feels solid and well made, with a small mode dial inset on the top panel. The rear is dominated by the 3in screen but also features a five-button layout for menu and quick function access.
There's a Q-menu button for common feature adjustment and dedicated buttons for exposure and movie recording. The flash remains built into the body rather than a pop-up, and its central positioning keeps it clear of fingers. Overall, navigation is quick and easy to explore.
Panasonic TZ10 performance
This is a very pleasing camera to use and its ample zoom combined with the 25mm wideangle setting keep all creative options open. The zoom is quick and smooth and the autofocus comes with a wide range of options from spot to face detection and tracking, all of which work speedily, even in low light.
The shooting modes cover all eventualities and the scene modes are both practical and creative. Shooting video offers full optical zoom and the Power O.I.S stabilisation really shows its strength.
The only downside is that the Lite version of AVCHD is only just starting to be supported by editing software, so updates may be required for programs such as iMovie.
Panasonic TZ10 value for money
Being one of the pricier models in the test, the Panasonic TZ10 justifies its extra cost with some useful features, such as the GPS, the zoom, and the creative modes. It produces great-looking images and all image attributes can be adjusted from the menu.
The video mode gives great- looking results and is easy to use, however the AVCHD Lite format makes reviewing and editing trickier than with some other formats.
Panasonic TZ10 image quality
Images appear bright and punchy with deep blacks. Images are sharp and well detailed, but noise reduction can be seen even at low ISO in out-of-focus and shadow areas, and at higher ISO values leave the image with a slightly mottled appearance at close inspection.
The Intelligent Resolution mode also assists in intelligent sharpening for improved results.
Exposure is competent and copes well with tougher lighting conditions. However, the punchy appearance can lead to occasional loss of highlights. Skin tones are well handled, though the flash a little harsh.
Video quality is impressive especially in terms of its stereo sound and the quiet zoom motor.