Panasonic TZ20 review

With its 24-384mm focal range, is this the ultimate travel compact?

Panasonic TZ20 review
The Panasonic TZ20's 16x optical zoom is just one of the many new features over the TZ10, which it replaces.

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Panasonic TZ20 Review: Build quality and handling

The Panasonic TZ20 comes in roughly the same package as its predecessor.

Measuring 104.9 x 57.6 x 33.4mm, it's just over 1mm wider and slightly under 1mm deeper than the TZ10, and at 219g with the battery and memory card, it's virtually the same weight.

The main change to the TZ20 body design is that the one-touch video button now sits on top of the camera next to the shutter button, rather than on the back next to the button for changing Exposure settings, as on the TZ10.

This seems a minor change, but in effect it feels more natural pressing the video button on top with my index finger, than using my thumb on the back where I might also inadvertently press the Exposure button.

Panasonic tz20 review

Panasonic tz20 review

As someone who shoots a lot of street photography, the Panasonic TZ20 fit nicely in my hand in every manner of shooting. It's slim enough to cradle, yet substantial enough to balance on knees or rock walls at longer shutter speeds.

A more prominent, textured thumb grip on the back of the camera also proved surprisingly useful for shooting one-handed or from the hip; however, its placement next to the playback mode switch feels slightly inconvenient.

Generally, though, the button placement feels simple and uncluttered. You won't need a manual to ascertain which does what, with the possible exception of the Q.Menu button on the bottom of the back.

This handy little button provides quick access to 9 of the most commonly used controls, such as ISO and White Balance, letting you avoid the menu system altogether.

Like the Panasonic TZ20 external design, ease of use is also the theme internally. Pressing the menu button takes you immediately to four sub-folders of controls: Record, Motion Picture, Setup and GPS. Only two of these (Record and Motion Picture) will you find that you use with any frequency, and they are as quick and clear as could be.

Once you've made a control selection, either hit the cancel button to backtrack out through each menu, or simply press the shutter button to go back to record mode.

It's also worth noting that the TZ20 lens comes with Panasonic's new Nano Surface Coating, which seemed to help reduce ghosting and flare when shooting into direct sunlight.

Overall in design the Panasonic TZ20 seemed like the Matt Damon of cameras: pretty to look at, but tough enough to handle a wide range of jobs – a great everyman's camera.