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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 review

Ben Pitt
24 May 2010
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
270
inc VAT

Excellent video quality is the highlight but photo quality is disappointing considering the high price

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Specifications

1/2.33in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (25-300mm equivalent), 218g

Panasonic invented the compact ultra-zoom concept with the TZ1 back in 2006, and the TZ range has picked up a string of glowing reviews since then. There are currently two models to choose from. Both the TZ8 and TZ10 have the same lens and sensor, but the pricier TZ10 also has a GPS radio, a larger, higher-resolution screen and a HDMI output. Plus, it records its 720p videos in AVCHD rather than Motion JPEG format.

The GPS radio is used to tag both photos and videos, but it took 45 minutes to calculate our position and failed to update again for the following 15 minutes. The 3in, 460,000-dot screen is more impressive, although various rival cameras go even further with 921,000-dot screens.

The main benefit of AVCHD over Motion JPEG is smaller file sizes, but we were surprised to find that there was better noise reduction applied to AVCHD clips. The TZ10’s video mode also benefits from silent lens motors, responsive autofocus and a high-quality soundtrack, making this a viable alternative to a dedicated video camera for casual use.

As with the Samsung WB650, the TZ10’s lens focuses light on a 12-megapixel central area of the 14-megapixel sensor, which helps to keep the lens dimensions down. The downside is that this camera has the high noise levels of a 14-megapixel compact, but without the benefit of this huge resolution.

Even so, sharp focus from the lens and expertly judged automatic exposures produced a string of excellent photos. However, aggressive noise reduction was evident throughout our test shots. Even in bright light, subtle textures such as skin and grass lacked definition.

Meanwhile, attempts to extend the 12x zoom to 16x using digital processing fell short of Panasonic’s grand claims, and resulted in blocky artefacts, especially on diagonal lines at higher ISO speeds.

The Panasonic TZ8 is a better choice than the TZ10, but the Samsung WB650 is better still, matching the TZ10 for features, beating it for image quality and costing less in the process.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.33in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution460,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom12.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent25-300mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality25fps
File formatsJPEG; AVCHD Lite, QuickTime (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDXC
Mermory supplied15MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)300 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution1080i, 720p, 576p
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight218g
Size60x103x33mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB
Price£270
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed60 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.3-6.3 (wide), f/4.9-6.3 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controlsIntelligent Exposure, Intelligent Resolution, aspect ratio, contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus3cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer

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