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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Digital Camera Review

panasonic20120827ea.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Keith Parsons

Approaching the top end of the compact camera range the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 is considered to be a feature laden travel camera and from reading the specifications sheet it certainly fills that description boasting a touch screen, GPS geotagging, 3D shooting capability and a hefty 20X zoom lens which translates to a 480mm equivalent zoom length in old-school 35mm terms.


So does the cameras image quality and overall functionality match the impressive feature list? Read on to find out.

 

Appearance and Functionality


The Pansonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 has a lovely appearance that has obviously been thoughtfully considered by Panasonic designers to give it an air of sophistication. This is a good thing as with a street price jsut under $400 it actually looks like a camera that might cost you considerably more.

The camera feels really nice in your hand with a solid alloy construction and the addition of a contoured grip pad for your right hand it is the sort of camera you could hold for hours without fatigue.The included wrist strap will further these feelings of comfort allowing you to dangle it from your wrist worry free.

panasonic20120827eb.jpgThe layout of the buttons appears logical and on the rear panel Panasonic has allowed room to include its rather large 3” LCD touchscreen. The buttons benefit from metal construction and their action feels far more precise than regular plastic buttons. The addition of a mode selection dial is a positive as a number of companies are opting for a mode selection button whereby you must cycle through the modes on the screen before selecting one rather than having them in front of you to view.

A major selling point for the Lumix DMC-TZ30 is the ability to add Geotags or GPS co-ordinates to your images. This allows you to later create albums or maps with images displayed on them. Now technology similar to this has been in use by a number of other manufacturers including Panasonic for a few years now although the Lumix DMC-TZ30 offers you a lot more. You are able to use the cameras GPS more like a car GPS in that you can zoom in and out of maps and look for landmarks, though it does require a certain amount of set up to work effectively.

The camera has a swathe of shooting modes available with the often overlooked Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual Exposure modes all featuring. A very large set of scene modes is also available with a number of them being quite handy for users who do not want to manually set exposures. A few of my favourites would be the option for taking images through glass, panorama images, sunsets and a range of options for getting nighttime images. Though if you prefer it simple then there is also a full Auto mode to get you going as soon as you switch the camera on.

The Lumix DMC-TZ30s menus are also a breeze largely due to the rather large and bright LCD screen but also in that the menus are set out in a way that won’t confuse the user. The setup menus are accessed from a centrally located button and offer the full range of customisation expected on a model of this quality. The playback menus also offer some customisation as you are able to remove all of the unwanted information and view the image as a whole, making the most of the LCDs space.

A trend that has emerged alongside travel cameras is the wall charger. As a result of people no longer wanting to lug around chargers that are often larger than the cameras themselves. The Lumix DMC-TZ30 utilises a small wall charger that connects to the cameras USB output. One thing to note though is that the GPS must be turned off before turning the camera off or otherwise you will see considerably decreased battery life.

 

View street test images on our Facebook page

 

Image Quality


The Lumix DMC-TZ30 uses a 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor that has been slightly redesigned from previous models to enhance image quality. Noise has been an issue for many years with compact cameras although the Lumix DMC-TZ30 handles noise quite well below 400ISO and even at 1600ISO images are usable although perhaps for smaller output functions. The camera can push right up to 3200ISO although I would avoid this at all costs as the images have a very clunky feel as is expected of smaller sensors.

With the Lumix DMC-TZ30 you are able to shoot at a number of quality levels and some of the smaller options will suit things like facebook or email whilst the full resolution option will allow you to print somewhere in the region of a 16”x20” print. A size that is considered quite large for a quality digital print.

 

Lens Quality


panasonic20120827ec.jpgThe 24-480mm (20X) zoom lens found on the Lumix DMC-TZ30 will allow the user to cover pretty much every angle from wide portraits of groups to close up sports style shots. It really is a very versatile and practical range of zoom, especially for a travel camera.

There is also the option to open up the camera to Macro shooting and the Lumix DMC-TZ30 handles this quite well. There are a couple of macro options available but the pick of the bunch is when the camera forgoes using any lower quality digital zoom and sticks to its optical zoom range. You will find image shot in macro to be quite sharp with a minimal focus distance of 3cm.

 

LCD


panasonic20120827ed.jpgThe Panasonic’s 3” LCD screen is rather impressive in size but also in its brightness and contrast and offers a hefty 460,000 dot pixel resolution. The screen is also a touch sensitive screen allowing to you to actually control the camera and take images by simply touching the screen. Ito be honest I rarely found myself using this function although it is nice to have it available anyway.

The only downfall of an LCD screen is that in direct sun it is often hard to see the information displayed on the screen. However the Lumix DMC-TZ30 handles this about as well as I has ever seen from a compact camera due largely to its impressive brightness and pixel density.

 

Video


We have seen recently the rise and rise of shooting video on stills based cameras and the way that HD video has swept into the market has been rather impressive. The Lumix DMC-TZ30 offers a very formidable video option which records in a plethora of formats from the AVCHD 1920x1080HD 60p right through to the easier to edit and share MPEG 4 options. The sound recording is also top quality for a compact camera and is in Dolby Stereo Surround format.

The camera also features an image stabilisation option to reduce camera shake and even has an active setting that will attempt to stop even the most violent of shakes from impacting upon your footage. You are also able to use the cameras zoom function which moves rather slowly though this is to reduce any noise leakage from the zoom motor into your footage.

 

 

 

 

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Conclusion


I have been rather impressed with the Lumix DMC-TZ30 and all that is has to offer. The image quality is good, the lens offers a massive 24-480mm range, there’s Geotagging capability and the camera has the quality to shoot Full HD video with DOLBY sound.

So if it is a do it all travel camera you are after then consider the Lumix DMC-TZ30 as a very solid option as not only does it look very sharp it indeed it cuts the mustard on the inside as well.

 

Accessories Used During Testing:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SD Card 

Tamrac Evolution Zoom 16 / 5715 Bag

 

Recommended Retailer:

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View / Buy The Panasonic Lumix TZ30

 

Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
4.5 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
4.5 stars
Value for money 4 star
Street Price
$399.95
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 14.1 megapixels
Sensor Type
1/2.33-type High Sensitivity Mos Sensor / 15.3 Total Megapixels / Primary Color Filter
Image Sizes 24 sizes / 4 ratios
Lens F3.3 - 6.4 / Mutistage Iris Diaphragm (F3.3 - 8.0 (W), F6.4 - 8.0 (T))
Lens Mount
-
Resolution Settings: Stills [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)
Resolution Settings: Video [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)
GPS Yes
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority
Yes
Shutter Speeds 15 - 1/2000 sec
ISO Auto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)
LCD Monitor 7.5cm(3.0") TFT Touch Screen LCD Display (460K dots), AR Coating / Field of View : approx. 100% / AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode
Viewfinder -
Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, / 0.6 - 6.4m (Wide/ISO Auto), 1.0 - 3.3m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Hot Shoe No
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set / White Balance Adjustment
Self Timer 2 seconds or 10 seconds
Stills Format/s
JPEG
3D Format/s
MPO
Video Format/s MP4
Video Recording Time/s 29 Minutes / 4GB
Storage Type - External SD, SDHC, SDXC memory cards
Storage Type - Internal
12MB
Connectivity miniHDMI, AV Output (PAL/NTSC), USB2.0 High speed
Power Source AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC)(Included, connect with USB cable, playback only)
Battery Options Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 895mAh)
Battery Life  
Dimensions 104.9mm (W) x 58.9mm (H) x 28.2mm (D) 
Weight 184g (including battery and memory card)
















 


 

 

About Panasonic

 

Panasonic Australia is a proud member of the Australian corporate community. With long standing links to local manufacturing and with hundreds of employees, Panasonic Australia is committed to fostering good relationships with consumers, businesses and governments alike.

 

On both a Local and International basis Panasonic is deploying long term strategies related to stable economic growth, responsible use of resources and being friendly to the environment.

 

The pages contained within the 'About Us' area will give you an insight into how Panasonic Australia operates and an overview of our companies history.

 

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