Friday, 25 May 2012

Reviewing Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30

A Look at Panasonic's latest Travel Zoom flagship Camera

Panasonic is the first company which invented the travel zoom camera category, the travel zoom range of cameras combines high zoom into the compact body. For the year 2012 Panasonic has come up with the Lumix DMC TZ30 (known as ZS20 in USA). The TZ-30 boasts a 20x optical zoom lens measuring 24-480mm. fitting a lens of 20x in such a compact body is no easy task and requires some real effort of precise engineering. It comes equipped with a high sensitivity MOS sensor. The LCD screen is a touch screen hence touch focus is supported. This model comes equipped with full manual controls such as P, A, S and M. it offers best in class 23-point multi-area autofocus system which is real quick. The TZ30 can also click 3D still images, HDR photos and a great panorama shot which is a copy of Sony’s panoramic sweep feature. With an upgraded Venus engine VI processor and the excellent POWER O.I.S. anti-shake system produces pictures which are blur free. 

With an aperture of f3.3 this lens is comparatively slower. Although it employs a 15.1 megapixel sensor, it actually uses only 14.1 megapixels in 4:3, 16:9 and 3:2 formats. Since this camera offers full manual option the option dial represents similarity with DSLR camera. There is no RAW capturing mode so those who intend to post process images will be disappointed. GPS is onboard so seamless geo tagging is available. It comes with a dedicated movie record button so there will be no hassle while recording movies. Movies can be recorded at 1080p as well as 720p. The frame rate is 50/60 fps for AVCHD format. The advantage of the touch screen LCD is that with a simple tap on the screen you can focus on your subject which is a great feature. Burst mode is also available with which you can capture 10 images per second.  The touch screen is one of the best features of this camera since you have to not keep on pressing the real buttons. with the travel zoom range known for its high zoom this camera handles 20x of zoom very well and focusing is not a problem at the telephoto end.  

We all know the previous model was known for the pathetic image quality with noise visible in the base ISO, thankfully Panasonic has worked hard on it has reduced the noise by w huge margin which is great compared to the TZ20. Yet there is some noise in the images due to which the TZ30 lags behind the competition in image quality. When used at the full 14.1 megapixel average file size is 5.5 MB. The most visible improvement is that in the range of ISO 100-400 where the pictures are almost noise free, but as you enter the ISO 800 and higher horizon noise is very high. The maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds which is great news for folks who are serious into night photography. There is an HDR mode where the camera takes 3 consecutive images at different exposure to create an HDR photo. Overall the Panasonic LUMIX DMC TZ30 is a very versatile travel zoom camera with huge capabilities such as full manual option, HDR and panorama modes. Image quality has definitely improved over last year’s model but yet has some noise. with GPS turned on this camera has power only for 150 shots so better keep it off when not in use which shall yield you 260 shots. 

Pro's : 20X optical zoom, touch screen LCD, 50 fps video.

Cons : noisy Image quality, focusing in low light, battery draining due to GPS.

Cost: $289.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 Specifications


File Format Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3) / 3D Image: MPO / Motion picture: AVCHD, MP4, QuickTime Motion JPEG (only for High Speed Video)
Mode Dial / Mode Button Intelligent Auto, P, A, S, M, C1, C2, 3D Photo, SCN, Creative Control
Creative Control mode Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, High Dynamic, Toy Effect, Miniature, Soft Focus
Still Image Scene Mode Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Hand Held Night Shot, HDR, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through, Underwater, High Speed Video
Continuous Shooting Mode Full- Resolution Image: 10 frames/sec Max. 10 images / with AF Tracking: 5 frames/sec, 2 frames/sec Max.100 images / Intelligent Burst Shooting / High- speed Burst: approx. 40 frames/sec (recorded in 5M) / approx. 60 frames/sec (recorded in 2.5M)
Motion Picture Recording (*2) [HD Video] 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50p (GPH: 28Mbps, PSH: 28Mbps / AVCHD) / 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50i (GFS: 17Mbps, FSH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 50p(GS: 17Mbps, SH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) / 1920 x 1080 pixels, 25 fps (FHD: 20Mbps / MP4) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 25 fps (HD: 10Mbps / MP4) / [STD Video] 640 x 480 pixels, 25 fps (VGA: 4Mbps / MP4) / [High Speed Video] 320 x 240 pixels, 220 fps (Motion JPEG)
AVCHD (Continuous recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 55 min (GPH, PSH), 65 min (GFS, FSH)
MP4 (Continuous recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 70 min (FHD)
AVCHD (Actual recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 55 min (GPH, PSH), 65 min (GFS, FSH)
MP4 (Actual recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 40 min (FHD)
Exposure Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Auto (AE) Bracketing 1/3 -1EV step, Max +/-1EV, 3 frames
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot
ISO Sensitivity Auto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)
Still Picture Recording [1:1] 3232x3232 (10.5M) / 2736x2736 (7.5M EZ) / 2304x2304 (5.5M EZ)/ 1920x1920 (3.5M EZ) / 1536x1536 (2.5M EZ) / 480x480 (0.2M EZ) / [4:3] 4320x3240 (14M) / 3648x2736 (10M EZ) / 3072x2304 (7M EZ)/ 2560X1920 (5M EZ) / 2048X1536 (3M EZ) / 640x480 (0.3M EZ) / [3:2] 4320x2880 (12.5M) / 3648x2432 (9M EZ) / 3072x2048 (6M EZ)/ 2560x1712 (4.5M EZ) / 2048x1360 (2.5M EZ) / 640x424 (0.3M EZ) / [16:9] 4320x2432 (10.5M) / 3648x2056 (7.5M EZ) / 3072x1728 (5.5M EZ)2560x1440 (3.5M EZ) / 1920x1080 (2M EZ) / 640x360 (0.2M EZ)
Zoom in Motion Picture Yes
Image Quality Fine / Standard (3D mode: MPO Fine / MPO Standard )
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set / White Balance Adjustment
Color Mode / Color Effect / My color Color Mode : Standard, Black&White, Sepia, Vivid (in P / A / S / M mode), Happy (only in iA mode)
Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal) Yes
Self Timer 2sec / 10sec

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