Thursday 19 October 2017

Panasonic Lumix TZ100: Tech review

Great zoom and very good photo

Panasonic Lumix TZ100
Panasonic Lumix TZ100
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Our Technology Editor reviews the Panasonic Lumix TZ100 camera

Price: €710 in Conns  Compare Prices

Cameras Rating: 4/5

I've raved before about Panasonic's Lumix LX100. Even at almost two years old, its picture quality and flexibility keep it among the best compact cameras you can get for under €700.

But it's missing one thing: an extended zoom. The LX100 gives you a 3x optical zoom which, while appreciated, makes it limited for some as a travel camera.

Panasonic now has a slightly smaller camera with a similar sized sensor that extends the zoom right out to 10x. That's the 35mm equivalent of 250mm, which can capture objects quite clearly even at a very significant distance away.

I brought this camera abroad with me to two different work events that required steady, decent photos in darkened conditions almost 100 metres from the subject. The TZ100 did the trick fairly admirably.

Particularly impressive was its stabilisation. When you zoom in to something far away on a compact camera, even the tiniest of jitters in your hand is going to make the picture jump and shake like there's an earthquake under way. But the TZ100 wasn't phased, smoothing micro-movements and giving me nice, crisp shots of Tim Cook on stage in San Francisco from all the way back Row Z. Its autofocus was really fast, too.

The TZ100 is generally aimed at beginners or novices who just want to switch it on and start shooting. This is good in that it's easy to use as an automatic that works immediately. There's also a red button for instant video recording (either full HD or 4K), again with stabilisation applied to avoid shaky videos.

One big advantage to the TZ100 is its super-compact size. You can slip this in a pocket without much trouble. Another is that it recharges using a common Micro USB cable (the same as used by most smartphones and portable gadgets). There's a nifty pop-up flash and an electronic viewfinder, too.

The image quality is generally very good. The TZ100's lens lets in a lot of light (f2.8) at its widest (25mm or 1x zoom). When you zoom to the maximum, it lets in a lot less (f5.9). This is fairly normal, but bear it in mind when shooting in low light situations.

If image quality is the be-all and end-all, you'll get one or two higher end products at around this price (such as the LX100). I'd also have liked a flip-out screen for total flexibility. But for portability, decent zoom, solid picture quality and a high-performing all-rounder, the TZ100 is a very good choice.

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