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  • Showing posts with label PANASONIC. Show all posts
    Showing posts with label PANASONIC. Show all posts

    Monday, 2 July 2012


    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    A luxury 14MP travel compact with a 20x Leica lens and GPS

    Panasonic's flagship TZ camera series has always been about squeezing a big zoom into a small body. And the Panasonic TZ30 pushes the boat out.

    Last year's Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 featured a 16x zoom and a four step increase over the 12x zoom in thePanasonic Lumix TZ10.
    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 follows suit, delivering a 20x optical zoom. This gives a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-480mm, a 25 per cent increase at the telephoto end.
    Not that you can tell from the camera's comparatively slim proportions, of 104.9 x 58.9 x 28.2mm.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The substantial lens only barrels in and out of the body once the camera's switched on and off, thanks to some fancy folded optics. The rest of the time, you're left with a sleek-looking metal shell, the design of which has remained fairly consistent since the launch of the TZ-1 in 2006.
    Over the years, each update to the TZ superzoom has delivered incremental improvements to the big zoom formula. However, the Panasonic TZ20 was a significant upgrade over the TZ10, introducing an exhaustive feature set that included touchscreen controls, 1080i recording and integrated GPS.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    In terms of specifications, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is less of an upgrade over its predecessor. It shares many of the same features as the TZ20, including the aforementioned touchscreen LCD display, Full HD video capture and GPS.
    Naturally, Panasonic has fine-tuned many of these functions for the new Lumix. HD video can be shot in 1080p at 50 frames per second rather than the TZ20's 1080 interlaced. The GPS has been updated to include an on-board map, too, and the camera now features a 3D shooting mode.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The sensor size remains unchanged at 1/2.33-inch, as does the resolution of 14 megapixels.
    However, the new MOS sensor has been engineered to deliver an improved signal-to-noise ratio, promising cleaner images at all ISOs.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30's standard sensitivity range is increased by one full stop, peaking at ISO 3200 compared to the TZ20's ISO 1600.
    Last of the Panasonic Lumix TZ30's big additions is the overhauled autofocus system, borrowed from the Lumix G series of compact system cameras (CSCs) such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Impressions during the test were good: it made light, precise work throughout the focal length range. To compensate for camera shake with the monster zoom, the image stabilisation system has been upgraded, too.
    But these upgrades don't come for free. Priced at £350 in the UK or $350 in the US - where it's called the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 - the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is more expensive than it's older brother. It sits in the same price bracket as the Samsung EX1 (TL500), Nikon Coolpix S1200pj and even the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review: Performance

    Pictures produced by the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 have a bright, dynamic look. Contrast levels are decent and saturation is strong, without detail being sacrificed for vividness.

    Where detail is lost, however, it's invariably down to noise and the smudging effects of noise reduction. Luminance noise is visible throughout the ISO range. Viewing images at actual size (or 100%), some mottling is noticeable in blue skies shot at ISO 100.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Edges also start to look choppy from ISO 400, and at ISO 800, artefacts and colour noise become obvious.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    In other words, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 puts in a typical performance for a 1/2.33-inch sensor that boasts a resolution of 14 million pixels.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Despite there being some slight purple fringing around high-contrast subjects such as telegraph poles and trees against bright skies, the zoom delivered acceptable sharpness through the range.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    There's some drop-off towards the edges, and there's always the nagging feeling that the image processing is masking some of the potential of the Leica lens.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The metering system produces generally well balanced exposures. It tended to bias readings towards mid-tone and shadow detail during the course of our test, meaning that delicate details in bright skies, pale flower petals and other highlights were sometimes lost to overexposure.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30's HD video recording is more than capable. A one-touch movie button enables you to start shooting instantly, and full-time zoom and autofocus are available while you record.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The continuous autofocus can take a while to catch up, particularly at full zoom, but this function can be switched off.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Video shot in low light is a little noisy, and the stereo mics mounted just above the lens pick up the grind of the zoom motors in quiet situations (our test camera was particularly creaky as it approached the tele end).

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The optical image stabilisation system is active when filming, though, which certainly helps when using the zoom at its maximum extension. Ultimately, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is an excellent compact camera for HD capture.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review: Sample images

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is a fun camera to use. The GPS map feature is entertaining and works reasonably quickly. Pressing the DISP button while on the map screen enables you to view a stream of thumbnails that have been tagged with a certain location's data.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30's Creative Control exposure mode features 10 preset effects, including High Key, Retro and Miniature, as shown here. Creative Retouch can be used to apply six similar treatments to previously captured images.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The success of any superzoom rests in the strength of the lens. The versatility of the 24-480mm equivalent on offer here is impressive. In macro mode, it can even get you within 3cm of a subject at the wide setting.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Quick Menu button enables you to change key camera settings quickly on the LCD using the four-way pad, without having to dive into the main menu. This can help you react faster to picture opportunities.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The autofocus worked exceptionally well outdoors in good light during our test. When the camera was held at arm's length above the crowds at this spot, the AF system reacted quickly and enabled us to capture action that we couldn't see. There are four main AF modes on offer: Spot, 1-Area, 23-Area and Face Detection.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 features a dedicated 3D mode. This is more suited to static subjects such as this scene, where the camera takes a series of frames once you press the shutter release, and combines the images that will produce the most pronounced effect.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 at 4.3mm (24mm equivalent)

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 at 86mm (480mm equivalent)
    Overall, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 leaves a good impression. The extensive zoom, excellent optical image stabilisation and spritely autofocus mean it's a responsive and easy to use camera.

    We liked
    The touchscreen won't be to everyone's taste, though, and the fact that you have to flick a small switch to shift from playback to record mode, rather than simply dabbing the shutter release, means that there can be a frustrating lag between reviewing shots and taking them.
    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 offers a flexible zoom range and extensive range of creative options in a compact body.

    We disliked

    When it comes to dealing with noise, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is still left a little wanting. Weak battery life and lack of raw capture are disappointing, too.

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is quite an expensive camera, although when you take into account the raft of functions it starts to appear good value.
    Final verdict

    Features are one thing, though - image quality is quite another. Although the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is capable of capturing good pictures, we don't feel the camera's images match the high levels of performance it delivers elsewhere.
    That said, it's a great all-rounder that gives you a versatile optical zoom, 1080p HD video capture and GPS in a robust body. Few compacts include such an efficient autofocus system, too. While it's a step up from the TZ20 in terms of performance and picture quality, it's possibly not a significant enough one to rush into upgrading.

    Thursday, 21 June 2012




    -->NIKON COOLPIX S9300

    Price: £260/$330
    Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 18x zoom with optical VR, 1080p video, GPS


    Nikon has managed to squeeze an impressive 18x zoom lens with optical Vibration Reduction into a slim camera body that is only 30.6mm thick. The Vibration Reduction system will help increase the chance of taking sharp images, especially at the telephoto end of the zoom range, and it will also help steady the image on the 3-inch LCD screen, for easier composition.
    A 16MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor coupled with the latest Expeed C2 image processing chip should provide better quality images at high sensitivities and smoother video than previous processor generations.
    Nikon's usual comprehensive array of automatic scene modes and a wide range of special effects will help beginners to be creative. GPS technology can be used to track your location and share where images were taken when uploaded to many popular image sharing websites.


    Price: £330/$350
    Specs: 12MP CMOS sensor, 20x image stabilized optical zoom, 1080p video, GPS


    Sporting a 20x zoom lens offering an angle of view equivalent to a 25-500mm lens on a 35mm camera, the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS should be very well equipped for those who wish to travel light.
    A 12MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor, coupled with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor, enables this camera to take great quality images, even in low light. The image stabilizer system will also help with taming camera shake when shooting at low shutter speeds.
    Full HD video can be recorded and output via the built-in HDMI interface and global positioning information can be recorded for sharing on image and video sharing websites. Advanced photographers will also appreciate the inclusion of manual exposure options, whereas a wide range of automatic shooting options are also included for those who are less technically inclined.


    Price: £400/$400
    Specs: 18MP CMOS Sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p video at 50fps, GPS


    An 18MP Exmor R sensor promises excellent quality low light images, despite the relatively high resolution. A 20x optical zoom lens providing an angle of view equivalent to a 35-500mm lens on a 35mm camera should cover most photographic situations when traveling.
    High quality Full HD 50p videos can be recorded, and a GPS function is included for tagging images with your position. Plenty of artistic picture effects and easy creative options are also included to get your creativity flowing.

    -->OLYMPUS SH-25MR

    Price: £190/$350
    Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 12.5x zoom, take still images while recording HD video, dual Image Stabilization


    Although a 12.5x zoom range may seem quite modest when compared to other travel compacts on offer, the 24mm wide angle will certainly be handy for shots in cramped conditions, or large buildings you may encounter on your travels.
    Just like many other travel-orientated compact cameras, GPS tracking is included and a rear-illuminated 16MP CMOS sensor should provide decent quality in low light conditions.
    Unique to this camera is the ability to take still images at the same time as recording video clips, enabling you to capture high quality stills to complement your high definition video.


    Price: £279/$290
    Specs: 14.1MP CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, touchscreen interface, 3D still images


    The TZ30 (or ZS20 in the US) replaces the TZ20 (ZS10) as Panasonic's flagship TZ camera and pushes the zoom range from 16x to 20x, with a focal length equivalence of 24-480mm.
    In other respects the TZ30 is very like the TZ20 having the same touchscreen LCD display, GPS technology and a raft of automated shooting modes as well as more advanced options for experienced photographers.
    However, HD video can be shot in 1080p at 50 frames per second rather than the TZ20's 1080 interlaced. And, although the sensor is still a 14MP 1/2.33-inch device, it has been redesigned to produce cleaner images across the sensitivity range.
    There's a lot packed into this relatively small camera.


    Price: £300/$345
    Specs: 16MP EXR CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, ISO 12,800, 1080p video, 8fps high speed continuous shooting


    If you've ever struggled to capture the perfect shot of Minky the Whale jumping through a hoop at Sea World, then the Fuji F770 EXR has the solution. It is capable of taking full resolution shots at a blistering pace of eight frames per second, and if you wish to share where the image was taken via popular image sharing services, GPS information can be recorded too.
    The rear-illuminated 16MP EXR CMOS sensor has a few tracks up its sleeve too. It can be optimized to take high resolution 16MP images or images with improved dynamic range at reduced resolution.
    By combining neighboring pixels, sensitivities of up to ISO12,800 are also possible, making this camera ideal for shooting with in adverse conditions.



    Price: £335/$420
    Specs 12.1MP CMOS sensor, 35x image stabilized optical zoom lens, 1080p HD video, swivel LCD screen


    An impressive 35x zoom lens equivalent to 24-800mm on a 35mm camera adorns the Canon Powershot SX40 HS. Unlike its predecessor, the SX30 IS, this camera uses Canon's HS system, which combines a high sensitivity sensor with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor to provide, clean and sharp images, even in low light conditions.
    Both casual snappers and experienced photographers are catered for a comprehensive range of scene program modes, Smart Auto and full manual control. 1080P HD video clips can also be recorded using either the electronic viewfinder of Vari-Angle LCD screen for composition.


    Price: £199 (about $320)
    Specs: 14MP CCD sensor, 21x stabilized optical zoom, 720p video, smart portrait system


    This budget offering from Nikon aims to make picture taking as easy as possible, while providing a raft of impressive features, for not a lot of money.
    For starters the 21x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 25-525mm lens on a 35mm camera, and features Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology to tame camera shake. For close up images, the macro facility enables focusing as close as 1cm from the front element of the lens.
    The Smart Portrait system uses Smile Detection, Red Eye Fix, Skin Softening and a warning if the camera detects that your subject may have blinked in the picture. This system should make taking pictures of family and friends a foolproof affair.

    -->OLYMPUS SZ-31MR

    Price: £280/$400
    Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 24x optical zoom, take still images while recording HD video, dual Image Stabilization


    As well as including a 24x zoom lens covering a range equivalent to a 26-600mm lens on a 35mm camera, the Olympus SZ-31MR has a few other tricks up its sleeve.
    1080p videos can also be recorded, and if you spot an opportunity for a still image, one can be captured while recording video. Standard definition video at frame rates up to 240fps can be recorded for creating slow motion effects.
    The dual image stabilization system should tame camera shake in images taken in low light, or at high telephoto settings. Still images can also be taken in 3D, which is a fun addition.


    Price: £470/$480
    Specs: 18MP CMOS Sensor, 30x optical zoom, 1080p video at 50fps, GPS


    Not to be outdone by anyone else, Sony's HX200V can take an impressive 10 frames per second in burst mode, and its 30x optical zoom should provide plenty of flexibility for many a shooting scenario. The 18MP CMOS sensor provides an improvement in resolution over its predecessor, too.
    Panoramic images can be taken by sweeping the camera across the scene, with the camera automatically stitching a sequence of shots together for you, and 3D images can also be taken. GPS information can be recorded for adding to popular image sharing websites.

    -->PANASONIC FZ48/FZ47

    Price: £270 (about $435)
    Specs 12.1MP CCD sensor, 24x optical zoom (25-600mm equivalent), Optical Image Stabilization, manual exposure control


    Known as the FZ47 in the US, this mini SLR style camera provides for casual snappers and experienced photographers alike with a wealth of exposure modes - though raw file recording is not possible.
    Autofocus speed is faster than the average superzoom camera's, which makes it a good option for sport and action photography - especially coupled with the 3.7fps burst mode.
    The pixel count may only be 12.1 million, but this benefits the camera because the low sensitivity images have a decent level of detail. This combines with great exposure and good color reproduction to make the FZ48 a well rounded performer.

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