Panasonic TZ57 (ZS45)

A 20x optical zoom, inbuilt Wi-Fi and full manual control are standard on the TZ70's little brother

Panasonic TZ57 (ZS45)

We continue to be impressed with the performance that Panasonic compacts are capable of putting in, and the TZ57 is no different, I'm pleased to report.

Directly from the camera, images display a nice level of vibrance without displaying so much saturation they have an unnatural appearance.

Panasonic TZ57 sample image

The TZ57's tilting screen means you can easily shoot from right down at ground level.

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Panasonic TZ57 sample image

In good light, images from the TZ57 are bright and vibrant.

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Panasonic TZ57 sample image

This indoor shot was taken at ISO 500, and already some areas of fine texture are being smoothed over.

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If you examine images at 100%, you can see some image smoothing, but it's no worse than other compact cameras of its kind. The overall impression of detail when looking at images at normal printing or web sizes is very good indeed, especially when looking at images taken in good light.

As the light drops and you need to up the sensitivity, a greater loss of detail starts to occur. Examining an image taken at ISO 1600 for instance reveals some areas of the image have a painterly, smudgy look – but again, at normal viewing or printing sizes it's not too problematic. The top sensitivity setting available is ISO 3200, which, while useable at small printing and viewing sizes, is best reserved for those dark situations where it's absolutely necessary.

Panasonic TZ57 sample image

The TZ57 is ideal as a camera for your holidays. At the widest point of the lens, it offers a 28mm equivalent.

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The camera's automatic metering system does a reasonable job, although there is a slight tendency to underexpose by just a touch, meaning you'll need to dial in some exposure compensation now and then. The camera's automatic white balance copes well, even with artificial light.

Focusing is generally quick and accurate, especially when light levels are good. In lower light, the camera will take a little longer to focus, but it's rare to get a false focus confirmation. Activating the macro focusing mode allows you to get very close to the subject, which is useful for frame-filling shots.

Panasonic TZ57 sample image

Shot with the zoom at its widest setting.

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Shot with the zoom at its longest optical focal length.

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A 20x optical zoom gives you plenty of scope, and luckily those images taken at the far end of the optical reach display a good level of detail, while image stabilisation helps to keep image blur to a minimum. You will see a noticeable loss of detail if you use the additional digital zoom, but it's nevertheless useful to have if you really want to get closer to the subject.

Panasonic has one of the best ranges of digital filters on the market, offering creative and fun options. It's worth experimenting with all of those on offer to see which you like – I am a big fan of Retro, Cross Process and Toy Effect. It's a shame that raw format shooting isn't available, though, as you'll be stuck with any filter you apply should you change your mind down the line.

We liked

There's a fair few things to like about the TZ57. It's easy to use and fun to boot, and the digital filters allow you to get really creative with your shots.

We disliked

It's a little bit frustrating that some of the key features from the TZ70 don't make it onto this cheaper version. It would be really nice to see raw format shooting here, so that you could take full control of images in post production should you need it. Not being able to change the autofocus point also seems like an odd omission from a camera which otherwise affords a great deal of flexibility.

Verdict

The TZ57 has a great set of features and should be appealing to travelling and holidaying photographers looking for something which is capable of taking great shots in a no nonsense package.

Both beginners and enthusiasts should enjoy using the camera as it features a great range of automatic and creative modes alongside the ability to take full manual control should you need it.

Panasonic Lumix TZ57

Panasonic Lumix TZ57

The Lumix TZ57 is available in black or white.

The tilting screen is great for selfies, which again should make it appealing to those wanting a holiday camera, but it's a shame it's not touch sensitive. On the plus side, this probably helps to keep the cost of the camera down – the TZ57 does offer good value for the feature set.

Most importantly, however, image quality is good. JPEGs are bright, punchy and detailed and the camera copes pretty well with low light shooting.