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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £285
inc VAT

A fantastic collection of features, but it's spoiled by serious noise problems from the excessively high-resolution sensor.


1/2.33in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 16.0x zoom (24-384mm equivalent), 219g

The TZ20 is the most feature-packed compact camera we’ve ever seen. There’s a 16x zoom lens with highly effective optical stabilisation. 1080p video is recorded in AVCHD format, while an HDMI port streams it to HDTVs. A GPS radio tags both photos and videos with their capture location. Continuous shooting is at 10fps. There’s the full range of priority and manual exposure modes plus lots of interesting specialist modes, such as 3D photo capture and an 8x slow-motion video mode. The 3in touchscreen enables a powerful touch-for-spot focus function, while most other functions are accessed using good old-fashioned buttons.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 front

It’s an extraordinary list of features, but at this price the TZ20 needs to get the basics spot on too. We’ve no qualms about its performance, taking just over two seconds to power up and shoot, and just one second between shots. The 10fps continuous mode lasted for 12 frames, while another option shot at 5fps with continuous autofocus to keep track of moving subjects.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 top

The 1080p video mode is an unequivocal success, with crisp details and smooth autofocus and zoom without spoiling the stereo soundtrack. The interlaced capture, where each frame is made from two sub-frames 1/50th second apart, is unusual for a stills camera and gives smoother motion that’s more akin to TV footage than film. We’d have liked manual exposure control in video mode, but none of its competitors offer this feature either.

We can forgive a few hiccups to the GPS tagging function, as no camera we’ve seen gets this feature exactly right. The TZ20 was often slow to update its position, sometimes tagging photos with the last known position even though it was miles away. A few other tags were about 50m out but the majority were accurate, with the data correctly interpreted in Google Picasa.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 14.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.33in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 460,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 16.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 24-384mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,320×3,240
Maximum movie resolution 1920×1080
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVCHD, QuickTime (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied 18MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 260 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 219g
Size 58x105x33mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £285

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 60 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.3-6.3 (wide), f/5.9-6.3 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controls i.Exposure
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 3cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer

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