Panasonic Lumix TZ30 Compact Digital Camera

Panasonic’s Lumix TZ series are among the ones who offered versatile zooming capabilities over a compact, if not slender, body. Indeed a fraction of people would want a good-zooming camera without having to buy additional costly lens barrels for interchangeability. With the late TZ1 and TZ2, good zooming options have been greatly offered at a relatively low price range for people to love, and remarkably, the new TZ30 gave a great new face but without the usual low price. Playing around $360, should the TZ30 be a good zooming camera option?

The TZ30 of Panasonic, or ZS20 in the US, packs itself in a gorgeous metallic body case with an ergonomic rubber grip. Coming in three choices of color, the TZ30 is relatively slim in its form factor at just 28.2mm, and has a body size of 104.9×58.9mm. Thankfully, the lens barrel hides itself off the shell when turned off so the front-facing slim factor is maintained, not to mention yet how the LCD display at the back is slightly depressed to do the same end. Compared to its predecessors, the new TZ30 is packed with a better 3-inch display that is now with touch capability, built-in GPS system, 3D mode, and a robust movie recording capability at 1080p.

Looking at the front of the camera aside from the rubber grip and the barrel, we have a nicely positioned flash with an AF illuminator beside it.  On one side we have the eyelet for the camera strap (included in the package) wherein the door for HDMI and USB is found, and nothing except screw heads on the other side. On the top we have the lots of controls that include the mode dial, the shutter button wherein the zoom level is ringed on, a direct video record button, a switch-type power control, an LED indicator for GPS, a mono speaker grille, and two-channel microphone grilles for stereo recording during video capture.

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At the back we have the touch-sensitive display that does not tilt nor articulate, another switch-type control for switching between capture mode or playback mode, an exposure/map button, the 5-way pad, a display button, and another menu labelled ‘q.menu/trash.’ Lastly, at the bottom we have the slots for battery, memory cards, and a screwed hole for a tripod. All these hardware said, we are grateful for the sufficient amount of controls without any complexities to perplex newbies, and having an HDMI is a plus in sharing captured pictures on a big screen.

Featuring a 14.1-MP MOS sensor, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 also boasts of the superzoom lens capable of up to 20x optical zoom. The said lens capability is equivalent to a 24-480mm lens on a regular 35mm camera, and merrily, this zooming feature is backed with an optical image stabilization technology. The said lens is also capable of wide-angle family shots at 24mm, though as tested, you have to stand off the subject for at least 2meters for the speedy 0.1-sec AF to work properly.

The said 14.1-MP sensor also promises better speed and better image quality, though you must not expect large poster-size photos. I believe there are a few people who intends a good pixel count over performance, but when they grabbed this camera, such a matter won’t matter anymore considering how much features this camera sports. One good thing about this sensor also is the relatively wide aperture at f1/2.3inch, and is greatly capable of shooting quality photos from afar even when under tricky or dim light. The only scarcity in this camera in relation to the sensor and to the DIGIC4 processor is the inability to process RAW files regardless the 10fps burst shooting speed.

With the GPS feature and the touch-sensitive display being said, the claimed HD video quality is also clean and easy with this camera from Panasonic. Capable of AVCHD progressive video capturing at 50-60fps, having great quality videos won’t be a problem anymore. The stereo microphones also work well with videos, though when zooming in and out, you’ll hear the works of the machine. But in relation to picture quality, both videos and photos are intelligently capable of coping under different lighting situations without losing quality. Lastly, for the ISO performance, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 has an integrated feature to clean up the grains even on higher sensitivities, though of course you will still see small spots especially on areas out of focus.

As for my verdict, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 has all the good automatic features plus an acceptable amount of manual features for different types of photographers. However, for the relatively high price, I wish to see this camera not only with the GPS, but also with Wi-Fi capability for sharing files on the fly. And before I miss it, if you want to buy this one, be sure to buy extra batteries since the included one do not really feed your excitement much.

Panasonic Lumix TZ30 Compact Digital Camera Price in Singapore Dollar (SGD): Approximately S$ 450.00

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