Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

A luxury 14MP travel compact with a 20x Leica lens and GPS

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  • Massive zoom range
  • Extensive features
  • Decent touchscreen
  • Build quality


  • No raw capture
  • Battery life
  • Noise suppression at mid to high ISOs

Panasonic's flagship TZ camera series has always been about squeezing a big zoom into a small body. And the Panasonic TZ30 pushes the boat out.

Last year's Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 featured a 16x zoom and a four step increase over the 12x zoom in the Panasonic Lumix TZ10.

The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 follows suit, delivering a 20x optical zoom. This gives a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-480mm, a 25 per cent increase at the telephoto end.

Not that you can tell from the camera's comparatively slim proportions, of 104.9 x 58.9 x 28.2mm.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 review

The substantial lens only barrels in and out of the body once the camera's switched on and off, thanks to some fancy folded optics. The rest of the time, you're left with a sleek-looking metal shell, the design of which has remained fairly consistent since the launch of the TZ-1 in 2006.

Over the years, each update to the TZ superzoom has delivered incremental improvements to the big zoom formula. However, the Panasonic TZ20 was a significant upgrade over the TZ10, introducing an exhaustive feature set that included touchscreen controls, 1080i recording and integrated GPS.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 review

In terms of specifications, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is less of an upgrade over its predecessor. It shares many of the same features as the TZ20, including the aforementioned touchscreen LCD display, Full HD video capture and GPS.

Naturally, Panasonic has fine-tuned many of these functions for the new Lumix. HD video can be shot in 1080p at 50 frames per second rather than the TZ20's 1080 interlaced. The GPS has been updated to include an on-board map, too, and the camera now features a 3D shooting mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 review

The sensor size remains unchanged at 1/2.33-inch, as does the resolution of 14 megapixels.

However, the new MOS sensor has been engineered to deliver an improved signal-to-noise ratio, promising cleaner images at all ISOs.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 review

The Panasonic Lumix TZ30's standard sensitivity range is increased by one full stop, peaking at ISO 3200 compared to the TZ20's ISO 1600.

Last of the Panasonic Lumix TZ30's big additions is the overhauled autofocus system, borrowed from the Lumix G series of compact system cameras (CSCs) such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 review

Impressions during the test were good: it made light, precise work throughout the focal length range. To compensate for camera shake with the monster zoom, the image stabilisation system has been upgraded, too.

But these upgrades don't come for free. Priced at £350 in the UK or $350 in the US - where it's called the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 - the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is more expensive than it's older brother. It sits in the same price bracket as the Samsung EX1 (TL500), Nikon Coolpix S1200pj and even the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ30 review