Panasonic TZ57 (ZS45) review

A 20x optical zoom, inbuilt Wi-Fi and full manual control are standard on the TZ70's little brother

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Our Verdict

A well-rounded camera which offers a decent amount for your money. Ideal for travelling with, but if you can stretch your budget, it's worth investigating the TZ70 too.

For

  • Manual control
  • 20x optical zoom
  • Inbuilt Wi-Fi

Against

  • No raw format shooting
  • No touchscreen
  • Can't change autofocus point

Launched at the same time as the TZ70, the TZ57 is intended as the TZ70's more affordable sibling. For the reduction in cost, you inevitably get a reduction in features (there's a shorter zoom, no raw format shooting and no viewfinder), but you are still left with some pretty appealing specs for travel photographers.

The TZ57 features a 16 million pixel high-sensitivity MOS sensor, and a 20x optical zoom which gives you an equivalent focal length of 28-560mm in 35mm terms. There's also a digital zoom which boosts that reach to 40x.

Although not touch sensitive, the three-inch, 1,040k dot LCD screen tilts to face all the way forward, making it ideal for selfies, but also useful when framing other awkward shots.

Other features include full manual control, inbuilt Wi-Fi and full HD video recording.

Build Quality & Handling

By compact camera standards, the TZ57 is fairly chunky and heavy, and although you should still be able to fit it into your jeans pocket, there are slimmer 20x optical zoom cameras on the market (such as the Sony WX350). On the plus side, the heft gives it a feel of quality.

On the front of the camera is a rubberised grip which helps your finger to sit snugly and comfortably. All of the buttons on the TZ57 can be found grouped on the right hand side of the camera body, making it easy to use it one-handed.

Panasonic Lumix TZ57

All the controls are grouped on the right hand side to allow one-handed operation.

Panasonic Lumix TZ57

The main mode dial offers a choice of auto, semi-auto and manual exposure modes.

A mode dial is found on top of the camera, which allows you to quickly switch between the different exposure modes available without having to delve into a menu. On this dial you'll find all the usual modes, such as aperture priority, scene mode, intelligent auto, creative mode, and helpfully, a couple of slots for custom settings.

Near the power button is a dedicated Wi-Fi button. This placement is a little awkward since sometimes you'll accidentally hit this when you're trying to switch the camera on and off and wonder why nothing is happening.

Unlike the TZ70, the TZ57 has no dial around the lens, so if you want to change aperture or shutter speed when shooting in manual or semi-automatic modes, you'll need to first press the Exposure button on the back of the camera, and then the directional keys to make changes. Left and right controls aperture, while up and down controls shutter speed.

Panasonic Lumix TZ57

The buttons on the back of the camera offer quick access to key settings.

To make quick changes to other key settings, there is a quick menu, accessed via a dedicated button on the back of the camera. From here, you can alter things such as sensitivity (ISO), white balance and autofocusing mode. It would be nice to be able to customise the quick menu to add, or remove, settings as you see fit.

Unfortunately there's no way to set a specific autofocus point, which is disappointing on a camera which otherwise affords full manual control. Instead, you can let the camera choose from one of 21 points for you, or you can choose one point in the middle of the frame and focus and recompose if your subject is off-centre.

The tilting screen feels pretty secure on its hinge. If you tilt it to face forward, by default "self-portrait" mode will be entered. You can switch this off if you wish, but it basically means that there will be a three second delay before the shutter fires, giving you the opportunity to perfect your pout. You can also switch on skin smoothing when in selfie mode if you feel so inclined.

Panasonic Lumix TZ57

If you flip the screen up to face the front, the TZ57 goes into self-portrait mode.

Using the camera's inbuilt Wi-Fi is straightforward. The first time you connect, you can scan a QR code from within the Panasonic Image App and all the relevant settings will be added to your phone, ready for every subsequent time you connect. Frustratingly, you can't change too much from the app itself, as you can with other Panasonic cameras, as some of the options (such as white balance) are greyed out. You can zoom the lens in and out, or alter exposure compensation though. You can also send pictures across from the camera to your phone or device for quick sharing on social networks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

News Reporter

Amy (Twitter, Google+, blog) is a freelance journalist and photographer. She worked full-time as the News Reporter / Technical Writer (cameras) across Future Publishing's photography brands and TechRadar between 2009 and 2014 having become obsessed with photography at an early age. Since graduating from Cardiff Journalism School, she's also won awards for her blogging skills and photographic prowess, and once snatched exhibition space from a Magnum photographer.