Panasonic Lumix TZ10 £299
21st Jun 2010 | 10:06
A 12.1MP superzoom compact with built-in GPS tagging
Panasonic Lumix TZ10: Overview
The long-zoom area in the compact camera market is a keenly contested marketplace. With the the Canon SX20 IS, Fujifilm Finepix F80 EXR, Casio EX-FH100 and Ricoh CX3 among the strong offerings on show, the TZ10 has some tough competition.
Rising to the challenge, Panasonic has gone all out, making sure the TZ10 has enough headline features - 25mm ultra wide angle, 12x optical zoom, built-in GPS, full manual control and Intelligent Resolution Technology to help to keep them champions of the long-zoom camp.
You might notice the TZ10's specs have been mimicked almost exactly by Leica's new V-LUX 20. That's no coincidence - Panasonic also manufacture compact cameras for Leica.
Albeit a few negligible differences (firmware, movie recording format, aesthetics) the camera's are identical. Leica are charging £495 for the V-LUX 20, where as you can buy a TZ10 for around £250.
Panasonic Lumix TZ10: Features
The lens on the TZ10 is commendable: it's a 25mm ultra wideangle LEICA DC VARIO ELMAR with 12x optical zoom.
That's a massive reach of 25 - 300mm, giving you maximum shooting versatility on a lens that doesn't even protrude especially.
A brilliant high quality lens by Leica and the image stabilisation works very well, even at the longest end of the zoom. The 25mm focal length gives a very nice wide angle of view, you won't want to go back to a standard zoom once you've used this.
Second only to the formidable zoom, the other most wanted feature in the TZ10 is the built-in GPS tagging facility. Turned on (and off) easily via the menu system, this feature records the precise geographic coordinates of the location where you took each shot in the Exif data, along with the local time at which you took the shot.
When using the camera abroad it will automatically adjust to the local time for you. Furthermore, the TZ10 shows the name of the town, area and landmarks (its landmark information bank covers 500,000 points of interest in 73 different countries).
It's a great feature, likely to be a big pull for frequent travellers, which will also make organising your image library easier too.
A 3-inch 460,000-dot LCD sits on the back of the TZ10, which is extremely bright and sharp. We did have some difficulty with visibility in very bright sunlight, but this is the case with most compact cameras.
Unlike its brother, the Lumix TZ8, the TZ10 features manual, shutter-priority and aperture-priority modes and therefore is likely to appeal to more serious photographers. The TZ10 also features two scene modes for some customisation of the camera setup and there's also a 'CUST' option, which lets you save up to three different configurations.
Other modes include Panasonic's Intelligent Auto Mode which does everything - optimising everything from ISO and scene setting and turning on face detection (up to 15 faces), image stabilisation and quick auto-focus. This works incredibly well and all of our test pictures taken with IA were well optimised. There are also 32 shooting modes, including soft skin, pin hole and aerial photo.
Panasonic Lumix TZ10: Image and video quality
The TZ10's autofocus and image stabilisation system work very well indeed, providing constantly sharp, accurately focused pictures.
Colours are vivid, in a natural looking way, skin tones are flattering and contrast is handled well too. Noise is almost invisible at ISO 80 and 100.
It's only slightly visible at ISO 200 and becomes more prominent gradually after that as you'd expect. Extremely pleasing results.
HD video is recorded in AVCHD Lite on the TZ10 and quality doesn't disappoint, the stereo sound quality is good too (complete with wind cut function).
There's even a dedicated movie button on the camera's back. Impressively, all of the camera's functions, like 12x zoom, image stabilisation, face recognition and GPS are applied to the movie mode too.
Panasonic Lumix TZ10: Verdict
You can pick a TZ10 up for a street price of around £250 and this represents a fantastic buy.
It's a well-made, incredibly versatile compact camera with a fantastic 12x zoom, GPS tagging, manual controls and HD video.
Using the camera is a pleasant, straightforward experience and the image quality you'll get is impressive.
The superb image quality. We also loved the zoom lens - high quality, sharp and so versatile. The inclusion of GPS tagging - a brilliant, easy-to-use feature - is a great addition. As was the fact that the TZ10 now has manual controls.
The fact that the camera doesn't shoot in RAW, otherwise it would have got 5 stars from us.
A brilliant, feature packed compact camera at a very accessible price.