Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

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

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
The 14MP snapper features 3D, GPS and a touchscreen. The future is here

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As well as sharing similar specs, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is a dead ringer for its predecessor. It's an attractive, solid camera that's fractionally smaller than the TZ20.

Build quality is exemplary. With its far-ranging zoom and GPS, the Panasonic TZ30 is a camera designed with the needs of travel photographers in mind - and it feels like a compact that will shrug off the hustle and bumps of travelling, too.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

Like the Panasonic TZ20, a 3-inch touchscreen gives you access to the camera's controls during shooting and playback.

Panasonic clearly understands that touchscreens aren't for everyone, and the camera comes with the familiar spread of conventional switches and buttons as well.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

The controls on the rear of the camera are identical to the TZ20's, save for a slightly redesigned four-way control pad and an Exposure button that now gives direct access to the GPS map during playback, in addition to enabling exposure adjustments while shooting.

In terms of responsiveness, the touchscreen doesn't quite cut it. Although you can shift the focus point, fire the shutter and adjust the zoom, it frequently requires firm pressure or more than one tap to do so.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

During image review, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30's touchscreen feels more efficient, allowing you to swipe through your photo collection swiftly.

In fact, the camera's pretty swift all round. We clocked the start-up times at around two seconds - not bad when you consider the size of the zoom that needs to extend from the casing.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

Zooming from the widest focal length to the longest took around three seconds, an improvement over the TZ20's performance.

The speed of autofocus acquisition is of particular note. It really impresses at the widest 24mm setting, although lock-on speed does slow as you hit the telephoto extremes of the zoom. It's still brisk when compared to other superzooms, though.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

In terms of continuous shooting, the 5fps burst mode is more useful than the 10fps mode, since it enables continuous focusing between frames. Go to 10fps or higher, and the focus is fixed on the first frame.

However, even with continuous focus, the camera struggled to keep up with moderate action during our test. Using the 5fps mode, we averaged between 15 and 18 JPEGs before shooting speed stuttered, too, although the memory card's speed will play a factor here.