Panasonic TZ80/SZ60 review

Panasonic's evolution of its superzoom travel compact is now playing second fiddle to the new TZ100

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Our Verdict

The TZ80 goes back to an 18Mp sensor after the 12 megapixel device in the TZ70. This seems to have had a negative impact upon image quality in low light, which is a shame because the featureset it great.

For

  • 30x optical zoom
  • Touch-sensitive screen
  • 4K video/photo modes

Against

  • Image smoothing at high ISOs
  • Loss of detail at 30x zoom
  • Small viewfinder

The TZ80 (unknown as the ZS60 in the US) is a replacement for last year's TZ70 (SZ50). However, Panasonic has a new camera to sit at the top of its travel line-up in the shape of the TZ100.

That means that last year's TZ57 (ZS45) won't be getting an upgrade, and it's the TZ80 which is the more "budget" friendly option when compared to TZ100 and its 1-inch sensor. In fact, the TZ100's sensor is four times larger than the 1/2.3 inch device in the TZ80 and its predecessor the TZ70.

Panasonic TZ80
The Panasonic TZ80 replaces the TZ70, but it's no longer at the top of Panasonic's travel camera line-up.

Features

Interestingly, a year after Panasonic reduced the number of pixels from 18 million on the TZ60's sensor to 12Mp on the TZ70's in the pursuit of better quality, the company has opted to boost the pixel count back up to 18 million for the TZ80.

We're told that although the pixel pitch of the new camera's sensor is a little smaller than that of the TZ70, the photoreceptors have the same sensitivity. In theory, this could mean that noise levels are about the same, perhaps even slightly better than the TZ70 as the processor is new. The sensitivity range remains the same as the TZ70, with a native range of ISO 80-3200, and an ISO 6400 expansion setting.

Panasonic TZ80
The TZ80 has the same 30x zoom as its predecessor but the resolution has gone up from 12 to 18 megapixels.

4K video recording, along with 4K Photo Mode, and Post Focus mode, are more new features, but in many ways the TZ80 remains the same as the TZ70. Crucially, the lens is the same 30x Leica DC Vario-Elmar 4.3-129mm f/3.3-6.4 optic, which has a focal length equivalence of 24-720mm.

Like the TZ70, the TZ80 also has a 0.2 inch, 1,160,000-dot electronic viewfinder and a 3-inch 1,040,000-dot screen – but Panasonic has reprised the touch-control that went AWOL for the TZ70 and the TZ60. Autofocusing is claimed to be improved with the arrival of Panasonic's DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology, the same as found in its latest G-series compact system cameras.

Wi-Fi connectivity is included, but there's no NFC chip to make quick connections to an NFC device.