Revisited: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20

When we first looked at the DMC-TZ20 in early 2011, image quality was disappointing. We checked back two firmware revisions later to see what, if anything, has changed.

NameDigital compact camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
At a glance:14.1Mpixel with 16X Leica-built zoom and 1080i HD video capabilities, multi-function GPS with landmark database,Very good image stabilisation and big range of shooting modes,Image quality for stills not up to standard
Summary:The TZ looks a little old hat compared to models that are cheaper and better.
Rating:3.5/5
RRP:$699
Contact:panasonic.co.nz

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When PC World first looked at the DMC-TZ20 in early 2011, we got camera that has an insane number of features – some useful, others a bit odd like underwater shooting modes – and top-notch build quality.

The camera also has very good image stabilisation, a smooth and quick 16X super zoom lens made by Leica, and is very responsive to use. Ergonomics are decent too, and while the menu system, burdened as it is by the vast range of features, seems complicated at first, it can be learnt relatively fast.

All wasn’t good with the TZ20 however. Images from the TZ20 were disappointingly noisy and soft however especially when you consider that this is a premium compact.

The good news is that two firmware revisions later, the image processing in the TZ20 has improved. Pictures and video both look considerably better than before, with the usual caveats of image softening and contrast lowering taking place at the long end of the zoom.

Even so, Panasonic is up against some tough competition with cheaper cameras providing image quality as good, or better, than the TZ20, and having ratcheted up the specs of hardware.

Going beyond ISO 400 in the TZ20 makes for noisy images for instance, and the 3in, 460k-dot LCD with limited touch features isn’t as good as the screen on Sony WX-30.

Panasonic’s TZ20 isn’t a bad camera by any means, but the competition does it better, and for less money.

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Tags travel zoomdigital cameracompact cameraoptical zoom

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Juha Saarinen

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