Panasonic DMC TZ30 Review

Mid Zoom Digital Cameras

14 Megapixels    20x Zoom

Dimensions: 104.9 x 58.9 x 28.2mm    Weight: 206g

Good Points: Picture quality, general features, 20x zoom, extra zoom, advanced movie mode, GPS, manual exposure modes

Bad Points: No 360 degree panorama


Panasonic DMC TZ30 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 packs an extensive range of features into a compact sized body. Big attractions include 20x zoom, Full High Definition Movies with stereo sound and manual exposure controls.

This type of digital camera has become one of the most popular around. This is due to the features you get for your money as well as the camera's portable size.

The Lumix DMC TZ30 is part of Panasonic's travel range. The inclusion of the high specification movie mode may mean that you feel you can leave your camcorder at home while travelling and cover all your bases with just this camera. The inclusion of GPS tracking further enhances its travel credentials.

Compared with other similar digital cameras at this price point the Lumix DSC TZ30 has the following:

Plus Points

  • 20x zoom
  • Full High Definition Movies
  • Stereo sound
  • Image Stabilisation for movies as well as still photos
  • GPS
  • 10 frames per second burst mode
  • Manual exposure mode
  • 2 custom modes for saving your favourite settings
  • 3D shooting mode

Negative Points

  • No 360 degree panorama

Why Buy the Panasonic DMC TZ30

If you are looking for a feature packed digital camera with plenty of zoom power that remains a portable size the Lumix DMC TZ30 is a solid choice. Compared to similar cameras the range of features it has is very hard to beat.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

The Lumix DMC TZ30 has 14 megapixels and a 20x zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 24 - 480mm in 35mm format. This gives it great flexibility to cover more or less any typical photo opportunity. In fact flexibility is one of the strengths of this camera. Part of the reason for this is that Panasonic have included a feature they call extra zoom. Extra zoom allows you to increase the amount of zoom available in return for decreasing the number of megapixels you are shooting at. This works on a sliding scale with a maximum of 42x zoom available when the resolution is set to 3 megapixels and below.

Memory Cards

You can use SD, SDHC or SDXC cards to store your images.

Batteries

A lithium ion battery is used to provide power. A battery and a charger are supplied as standard. Panasonic estimates the Lumix DMC TZ30 can take around 260 pictures before the battery needs to be recharged.

Movie Mode

You can shoot Full High Definition Movies with a resolution of 1980 x 1240 pixels at 50p. Sound can be recorded in stereo. Panasonic have equipped the Lumix DMC TZ30 with Image Stabilisation for movies as well as for still shots.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.

Shooting Modes

There are a large number of predefined shooting modes. These are 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 and Underwater.

Macro Mode

For close up shots the Lumix DMC TZ30 is capable of focusing from 3cm away from your subject. This compares well against the macro modes offered by similar cameras.

GPS

GPS tagging helps you to record exactly where in the world you were when a picture was taken. There is also a map feature available to you.

Manual Exposure Modes

For when you would like a little extra control over the way your photos look you have access to manual exposure controls. These are Fully Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. The aperture range is F3.3 - 8.0 (W), F6.4 - 8.0 (T). Shutter speeds can be set between 1/2000 and 15 seconds. There are also two custom modes available. These allow you to save your favourite settings for quick and easy access when you need them.

10 Frames Per Second Burst Mode

If you are photographing fast moving action you are likely to find the 10 frames per second burst mode is very useful. This speed is hard to beat with a compact digital camera.

3D Photos

You can create 3D photos for review on 3D televisions.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

Picture quality produced by the Lumix DMC TZ30 is good without being the best in this class. In the main the photos it produces are sharp, bright and colourful. If you are looking for a snapshot camera or perhaps a little bit more quality this camera should cope well with your requirements.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

Sharpness is good although there is a slight slippage towards the right hand side of the picture. Sun glare is coped with reasonably well and this helps to show a little extra detail on the lightest areas of the boats.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

Zooming out to squeeze in the widest possible scene produces a shot that is about standard for this type of camera. Digital cameras find it hard to generate pin sharp images when the lens is zoomed out and this shot is not as sharp overall as the first shot. That is to be expected and you should still be able to create good quality prints.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Looking at this shot in shows how much picture quality improves when you step up to this level of camera. The definition on show is far superior to that of most entry level digital cameras. This shot also showcases the amount of zoom power you get with this camera. Despite the longer lens purple fringing is kept under control and should not show in any prints you make unless they are exceptionally large.

Outdoor Building

Using only part of the zoom range creates a sharply focused shot. This is another example that shows this type of digital camera is capable of taking pictures that are a clear step up in terms of quality on more basic models.

Outdoor Portrait

In this test the Lumix DMC TZ30 outperforms cameras from other brands. The white balance setting of shady was used and this gives the shot a real boost in terms of brightness and colour. It adds some extra zest to the skin tones and adds extra colour to the hair.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

This shot is about average in terms of quality for this type of camera. Lighting is spread fairly evenly, but the colour in the skin tones does not quite match up to the best in this category. There could also be more detail showing in the hair.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Taking a photo using artificial light has given the Lumix DMC TZ30 a problem. It has produced a shot with a blue tinge. In theory the camera's automatic white balance setting should have resolved this as it does on most cameras, but it has not. Therefore you may need to manually adjust white balance settings when using your camera in artificial light.

Macro

The macro shot taken by the Lumix DMC TZ30 is one of the best out of the group of cameras I was testing at the time. Colours are warm and sharpness is impressive. The camera also managed to isolate the main subject, making it really stand out.

Colours

The test shots have plenty of colour to them. Panasonic include an extra white balance setting of cloudy this can help to bring out further colour if you would like to see a little more power when taking photos in the shade.

Noise

There was no evidence of noise being an issue during the tests. Although noise may show if you are using your camera in lowlight or with higher ISO settings you are unlikely to see a great deal of noise in standard photos taken in good light.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Nikon Coolpix S9300 Rating 86/100

For a camera that is small enough to take anywhere the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a lot of features packed into it. If you are planning to take a holiday GPS tracking will tell you where you were when a picture was taken. The length of the zoom lens also gives you plenty of scope when it comes to picture opportunities. Although there is plenty of completion in this category the picture quality on offer here combined with the features makes this camera very attractive indeed. Recommended.

Read Review: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review

Canon Powershot SX260 HS Rating 86/100

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is one of the very best digital cameras in this category. In fact if you are happy to miss out on features such as 3D photography and 360 degree panoramas it is very hard to beat. It has a great set of features packed into its relatively compact body size and picture quality helps to make it stand out from the competition. Although it is one of the more expensive cameras in this field it still offers good value for money.

Read Review: Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review

Panasonic DMC SZ1 Rating 84/100

If you are looking for a simple, pocket camera that gives you some extra zoom and takes high quality snapshots the Panasonic Lumix DMC SZ1 is a very good choice. Compared to other cameras with similar features available at around the same price this camera has the edge when it comes to picture quality. It takes sharp, colourful photos and offers excellent value for money. Recommended.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC SZ1 Review

Related Pages

Panasonic DMC TZ30 Specification

Panasonic DMC TZ30 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: May 2012

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 compares favourably against other digital cameras in this category, especially when it comes to features. The 20x lens is hard to beat and features such as stereo sound and a 10 frames per second burst mode help to place it at the top end of the group. Panasonic have packed in just about every current feature you can think of. You should find picture quality very good in most circumstances. There is plenty of very strong competition if you are looking to buy this type of camera, but the Lumix DMC TZ30 compares very well against its rivals.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

7
9
9
8
9

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

8
8
8
9
8

83

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

14
20x
3 inches
104.9 x 58.9 x 28.2mm
206g
3cm
Yes
Yes
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD / SDHC / SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.47 seconds
6.88 seconds
0.58 seconds
7.4 seconds
3.03 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

Although the Lumix DMC TZ30 is a compact size it is a fair bit larger than a typical pocket camera. This extra size makes it much easier to handle. Panasonic have found plenty of room on the back for thumb placement. There is also a small grip area on the front to make holding the camera even easier. The camera feels sturdy in the hand, but is a very manageable weight.

Flash Positioning

Unlike some cameras in this category the flash unit does not pop up on the top of the camera. Instead it is placed on the front. It is to the left of centre when looking at the camera from the front. This positioning means it is well out the way of any stray fingers that may block out light.

LCD Screen Quality

LCD screen quality is very good. You can adjust the brightness and also the colours shown by the screen.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

The time taken for a single shot without flash is slightly slow, but all other times are good. Faster times for multiple shots can be achieved by placing the camera in burst mode.

Design and Build Quality

There is not a lot that makes the Lumix DMC TZ30 stand out from the crowd when it comes to design. It looks like a fairly typical digital camera. The lens unit dominates the front of the camera and the top corners have been rounded off. Build quality seems to be good.

Camera Controls

There are a few controls on the top of the camera. These are the on / off switch, movie recording button, main control dial, a zoom ring and the shutter button.

On the back of the camera there is a switch for placing the camera in review mode, a button to access exposure settings or a map, one to change information displayed on the LCD screen and one to access a sub menu of main functions. This last button also deletes photos in review mode. There is also a circular control area giving you access to exposure compensation, setting flash, macro mode, setting the self timer, accessing the menu system and confirming a setting.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC TZ30 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC TZ30 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC TZ30 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Buy the Panasonic DMC TZ30

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GBP 219.90
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