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Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 review: build and handling
- Rubber grip and thumb rest
- Lens control ring
- Metal used for front plate and control ring
The Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 varies in design from the ZS60 / TZ80 about as much as it does on the spec sheet – in other words, only in small ways.
Panasonic has opted to drop the more defined texture of the ZS60 / TZ80’s grip and swap it for something that’s easier on the eye and nicer to touch. The grip itself, however, doesn't appear to be sculpted in a logical way to support the user’s hand.
Unlike the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS, for example, on which the grip follows the natural curvature of the middle finger when the camera is held conventionally, the grip here does not. A slight indent to its side does make things a little more comfortable, but it’s still far from ideal.
The control ring that encircles the base of the lens only protrudes from the front plate by around a centimeter, which some may find shallow. Nevertheless, this helps to keep the profile down, and its ridged finish means it remains tactile. It turns very smoothly, and can be used to regulate aperture, zoom and other settings, although the menu pad dial on the back of the camera provides an arguably more convenient way to operate some of these functions.
You can also use the dial to scroll through images and zip through menus, among other things. This dial travels well, although its looseness is little less convenient when its up, down, left and right sides are pressed, as it can slip a little. Like the buttons around it it responds with a certain hollowness when pressed, but this is fairly typical on such a camera.
The LCD screen moves easily enough when pulled away from the camera’s body, but it stays in place when adjusted. The fact that you can grab the screen at any point along its base also makes this action far more convenient than on some other cameras, where you may only have a small groove in which to slip your thumb.
Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 review: autofocus
- Light Speed AF with Depth-from-Defocus technology
- Pinpoint, tracking and face-detection options
- Touch AF
While the ZS70 / TZ90 doesn’t appear to offer the same blisteringly fast focusing speeds as its compact system cousins, focusing speeds are speedy enough for most situations, particularly when capturing static subjects.
In good light the 49-area option brings subjects into focus quickly enough, and while these speeds drop a little in moderate lighting they're still perfectly respectable. If you define the focusing point in advance and light levels are good, however, focusing speeds are typically stronger.
As is common to Panasonic models the LCD screen is very responsive to touch, which makes this a convenient way of setting the focusing point with the finger, although on such a small body it’s easy to accidentally brush against it and inadvertently focus elsewhere.
The camera’s AF tracking system generally adheres very well to subjects as they move around the scene, and when you combine this with the camera’s continuous AF system it’s possible to get subjects moving at a moderate pace in focus with little hassle. It can lose the subject at times, but this is true of many similar systems.
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