Panasonic TZ60/ZS40 review

Panasonic's flagship travel compact gets a 30x optical zoom and EVF

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One fear when using very long lenses is that it will be hard to hold the camera sufficiently steady. Thankfully, Panasonic's image stabilization system does a fantastic job and it makes a handheld shot at the 720mm equivalent length possible. What's more, it doesn't just enable you to capture any old image – the picture has good resolution with plenty of detail.

Side front view

This system does exactly what Panasonic claims and images can be shot handheld at up to 3EV slower shutter speeds than normal, marking a 0.5EV improvement over the TZ40. Naturally, a steady hand is still required at the maximum focal length, but the ability to capture wildlife at a distance becomes a reality, especially with the extra support of a lightweight monopod.

Focal fear

Another fear for a lens with such a huge focal length range is that the quality and sharpness will dip across the frame. Our images show that while there is a drop in visual quality at the furthest reach of the telephoto optic, contrast and definition is still retained well. With the help of a little support from a tripod or wall, capturing a good usable image is definitely within grasp.

In fact, our tests show that the new 30x zoom lens of the TZ60 is capable of producing better results at 720mm than the TZ40 at its 480mm maximum focal length.

Side view

In addition, the TZ60's autofocus (AF) speeds are relatively fast across the focal range. At wider focal lengths AF is fast and accurate, and while you can miss a shot or two with fast-moving subjects, the system generally finds and locks onto its target quickly in normal daylight conditions.

Above the mid zoom point and further towards the maximum zoom length AF speeds are slower but still acceptable, and there's a good hit rate. In lower light or low contrast situations, the AF system can search and miss the subject completely in Intelligent Auto mode. Happily, selecting the right AF option for your situation helps, with options for Single Shot, Tracking and Area AF.

The camera's metering is more than capable of evaluating exposure differences in scenes when in semi-automatic modes. We found that just a touch of positive exposure compensation was required when shooting some landscape and urban scenes during this test. On the flip side, the TZ60 has a slight tendency to over-expose people, especially if a fill-in flash is used. Again, dialling in -0.3EV of compensation quickly corrected this in our tests.

Bird s eye view

The colour and tone of images are generally good, with only a slight tendency to over-saturate. Overall the TZ60 produces punchy and attractive pictures with good contrast. However, when photographing people this over-saturation can be a little problematic, but not insurmountable.

Noise is handled well by the TZ60 across its sensitivity range. In our lab tests, noise proved well-controlled from ISO 100 right through to low light sensitivity settings such as ISO 6400. Using the camera's Auto ISO setting between ISO 100 and 800 proved successful in real world shooting, with the camera perfectly balancing shutter and sensitivity values when shooting in aperture priority mode.

As you reach ISO 6400, signs of colour noise are just about apparent and in JPEG images there's a definite sign of smoothing to help combat the signs of noise, although its not excessive. Shooting raw files allows you to adjust noise reduction to suit the subject and to get more detail if it's required.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANYes
Effective Camera Resolution18.1 Megapixel
Product FamilyLumix
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom30x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesContinuous Shooting Mode, Live View, Face Detection, Near Field Communication (NFC), Orientation Sensor
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMP4, AVCHD
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)214 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4896 x 3672
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height64.3 mm
Width110.5 mm
Depth34.3 mm
Focal Length4.30 mm to 129 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, MPO, RAW
External FlashNo
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
Product ModelDMC-TZ60
Product NameLumix DMC-TZ60 Compact Camera
Product LineLumix
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMC-TZ60EB-K
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationFully Manual Operation with 30x LEICA Zoom

The LUMIX DMC-TZ60 boasts a 30x optical zoom, EVF and Wi-Fi® with NFC in an ultra slim body. Save your memories in remarkable quality with the 18.1-megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor.

Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-TZ60 Compact Camera
  • Battery Pack
  • AC Adaptor
  • USB Cable
  • Hand Strap
Limited Warranty1 Year