Buzz.ie tests out the Panasonic TZ200 — a premium compact travel zoom camera
I’m a fan of Panasonic cameras. I own a GX80 mirrorless and in the past year this column has reviewed the GH5, GH5S and G9 flagship models.
Those latter three mirrorless machines use the hugely popular micro four thirds system.
The Japanese tech gargantuan recently announced its Lumix S series of full frame mirrorless cameras which I was lucky to get hands-on time with in Barcelona.
I have also tested out the firm’s recent travel camera, the pocket-sized Lumix TZ200.
It is a premium compact camera with a fixed lens, manual controls and a large 15x zoom which makes it perfect for travel.
The 15x optical zoom gives a focal length that’s equivalent to 24-360mm on a 35mm camera.
The TZ200 uses the same 20.1MP BSI-CMOS sensor as its predecessor, the TZ100 (which is still on sale with many similar features, although the optical zoom is only 10x).
It can also record decent quality 4K video.
New features include a larger, higher resolution electronic viewfinder; superior battery life; USB battery charging and Bluetooth connectivity.
And like other recent Panasonic cameras it includes the Sequence Composition feature which uses the 4K Photo function to grab photos taken in a burst and combine them into a single image.
It’s a fun feature to use although you need to be careful not to overlap the action in the shots you choose. And it works best when there is a plain background like a concrete wall.
The LCD touchscreen interface makes operation of the machine straight forward. It’s really easy to use.
If you choose to use intelligent auto mode, you’ll be pleased with the image quality.
Shots are bright, colours are well saturated, and the exposure is spot on. The level of detail is sharp in bright conditions.
Dynamic range is decent, while in low light conditions noise is handled well. Watch out for camera shake at night though.
And as you might expect, the overall image sharpness is reduced when shooting at maximum zoom.
For enthusiasts who prefer manual controls, a full set is built in along with an option for in-camera raw processing.
Autofocus is fast and accurate, except occasionally in lowlight conditions.
There is five-axis Hybrid OIS+ (optical image stabilisation) that helps keep still images steady and 4K video smooth.
Another great feature is the 10fps (frames per second) burst-shooting.
To get shots with nice bokeh (blurred background), use the macro mode.
The TZ200 captures great quality video too, like many Panasonic cameras released in the last few years.
I found the battery life excellent – the company claims 370 shots per charge – and you can recharge using the onboard micro-USB port.
The ergonomics are good. The TZ200 has a handgrip that makes it easy to keep hold of. It feels like a well-crafted piece of kit, as you might expect a device in this price range to feel.
Sharing photos from the camera is easy. It has a well-executed wireless system, while the Bluetooth connection enables instant photo transfer, remote shutter release and location logging.
On the whole, the Lumix TZ200 offers a variety of great features, manual controls and an excellent zoom. And it’s so easy to use.
It would suit someone who is just getting to grips with photography as well as a more experienced enthusiast who is looking for a pocket zoom that’s perfect for their travels.
How much does Panasonic TZ200 cost ?
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ200 costs €789 from Conns Cameras and Camera Centre.
What are the key specs of Panasonic TZ200?
Camera type: Premium compact camera with fixed lens
Sensor: 20.1MP 1in-type BSI CMOS sensor
Lens: F3.3-6.4 24-360mm equivalent zoom lens
Viewfinder: 2.33million-dot equivalent EVF with 0.53x magnification
Max shooting rate: 10 fps burst (focus locked on first shot), 6 fps burst (continuous AF)
Max video resolution: UHD 4K video at 30p and 24p
Stabilisation: 5-axis Hybrid IS for 1080p video
Monitor: 3in touchscreen LCD
Connectivity: Wi-Fi with Bluetooth
Other features: 4K Photo with new Sequence Composition feature/ Depth from Defocus AF