Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 Review

April 3, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |


Panasonic's new travel-zoom compact camera is now stepping on the toes of more modest ultra-zoom bridge models, cramming a 20x zoom lens into a relatively tiny body. In many ways the DMC-TZ30 is also a big improvement on last year's TZ20 model, with a better image sensor, full 1080p HD movies, faster auto-focus system, more refined design and of course that even longer zoom. With the same price tag of £349 / $349, the DMC-TZ30 is both a definite upgrade to the TZ20 and a pocketable camera that can deal with most things that you throw at it.

In addition to its new and improved features, it's easy to forget that the TZ30 retains the same 10fps continuous shooting speed, creative A, S and M shooting modes, hand-holding Intelligent Auto mode, GPS tracking, effective anti-shake system, 3D Photo Mode, high-resolution touch-screen and proven handling of its predecessor. All of this together with the new headline features adds up to a very full-featured camera that's importantly intuitive to use for both beginners and more experienced photographers alike, a particularly difficult trick to pull off.

There is one key area where the Panasonic DMC-TZ30 thankfully improves on its predecessor, namely the image quality at higher ISO speeds. Noise doesn't become apparent on the TZ30 until ISO 800, a 1-stop improvement on the TZ20, and even the fastest setting of ISO 3200 is still worth using in a pinch. The TZ30's new 14.1 megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor really has made a big difference to the TZ30's low-light performance. Only the ongoing lack of a RAW file format will prove disappointing for more experienced photographers.

You might have guessed by now that we really like the new Lumix DMC-TZ30. It puts Panasonic back at the top of the travel-zoom tree, and with its 20x, 24-480mm lens it should also justifiably attract people who are considering a much bigger ultra-zoom camera. The combination of a long zoom, quality image sensor, full 1080p HD movies and a range of modes for every user level in a pocket camera is a compelling one. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 is therefore a very deserving winner of our highest Essential award.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5