Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ20 digital camera
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ20 review: A camera that packs in stacks of features, including 3D, GPS, a touchscreen and slow-motion video
- Mostly clear and vibrant image quality, good performance at maximum zoom, good video functionality, GPS, touchscreen operation for focusing
- Messy high ISO performance, lens barrelling at wide angles, screen hard to view in bright conditions
There is a lot to like about the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ20. It can produce clear and vibrant images, has a great zoom range, and it's absolutely feature-packed! It can shoot HD video, has geo-tagging, can shoot slow motion video, and it can take 3D photos. It even has some touchscreen functionality. We recommend it to anyone who wants a small and versatile camera.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
We've found Panasonic's LUMIX Travel Zoom range of cameras to be a little hit and miss over the last few years, but with the LUMIX DMC-TZ20, the company definitely has a hit on its hands. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ20's image sensor is capable of capturing wonderfully clear images (even at maximum zoom), its video quality is excellent, and it's packed with features. Even the menu system is easier to use.
The LUMIX DMC-TZ20 is the successor to the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ10, which we thought was a good camera overall, but it was plagued by soft and somewhat noisy images. Compared to the TZ10, the TZ20 has a 14-megapixel sensor instead of 12 megapixels, along with a 16x optical zoom lens (24-384mm) instead of a 12x optical zoom lens (25-300mm). With these improvements, the TZ20's image quality fares much better when scrutinised.
Images are clear and well defined, even when viewed at their original size, and noise at ISO 400 is barely an issue. Furthermore, the quality of images is high when using the camera's maximum zoom; you can obtain clear images at full zoom even without the use of a tripod. There isn't any noticeable feathering around images when they are viewed at their maximum resolution — with the TZ10, this was an issue. However, you still won't want to use too high an ISO speed as anything above ISO 400 will result in images being tarnished by noticeable noise and speckling. This will be noticeable even when viewing the images at a small size. For this reason, it's a good idea to use the ISO limiting feature when shooting in auto mode.
The ISO performance of the LUMIX DMC-TZ20 deteriorates noticeably after ISO 400.
The colour reproduction of the LUMIX DMC-TZ20 is very good, and you can customise it to your liking through the menu system. If you want the colours to have more 'oomph' simply select 'Vivid' rather than 'Standard' or 'Natural'. Additionally, you can select from a wealth of scene modes and art filters — there are 25 regular scene modes and five art modes, including grainy film, which is a little dramatic.
The colour reproduction is natural, but you can set it to vivid if you want more saturation. You can see some lens barrel distortion in this photo.
The camera can capture high-quality images at its maximum zoom point.
New features: High speed recording, touchscreen
A new high-speed recording mode has been added, too, which allows you to capture slow motion video. We're fans of this mode as it can be a lot of fun to capture all sorts of motion at a slowed-down pace, but Panasonic's high speed mode is a little fuzzier than we've seen from other cameras with a similar feature, such as the Casio Exilim EX-FH100 and the Samsung WB2000. You can't select the frame rate; the Panasonic shoots at 240fps, but this isn't a drawback because shooting at higher speeds would degrade the image quality further and creates video sizes that are too small for people to enjoy.
Another new feature in the TZ20 is its touchscreen. It's a weirdly useful implementation: It will only let you select a focus point on the screen with your finger, and 'tap to shoot'. However, you can't access any of the menu features with your finger. To us, this isn't much of a problem as we prefer using buttons to change menu settings, and having the ability to choose a focus point by tapping the screen is a bonus.
GPS feature and video mode
The TZ20 retains the GPS feature that was also found in the TZ10, but it adds the ability to geo-tag videos with latitude and longitude (or country, state and city). And speaking of video mode, the TZ20 definitely does a great job of capturing clear and smooth video at 1920x1080 in AVCHD format; you can zoom slowly in video mode and in turn the camera will autofocus slowly but accurately. Like most digital cameras that record video though, copious amounts of camera movement can cause jittery footage.
You can also use the DMC-TZ20 to shoot 3D images, which are recorded as an MPO file with two stereo JPEG images inside. You'll have to view these images through the supplied image viewer and through a pair of anaglyph glasses if you want to see the results on a 2D monitor; if you have a 3D TV that supports MPO files (such as a Panasonic VIERA 3D TV), you can simply plug the camera in to the TV to view them. To shoot a 3D image, you have to hold down the shutter while panning the camera slightly. It takes a bunch of images and selects the best two to form the 3D image.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ20 is jam-packed with features, many of which are useful. Most importantly, it takes clear and vibrant images and its video mode is very good. We recommend it to anyone who wants a highly versatile compact camera that can be used in just about any photographic situation, be it shooting macros or landscapes, portraits or close-ups of distant details. A couple of downsides are its screen, which can be a pain to view in bright outdoor conditions, and its battery life, which will be diminished quicker than usual if you leave the GPS function enabled (it works even while the camera is off).
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCSecurity Specialist - NV1ACT
- CCVirtualisation / Infrastructure ArchitectACT
- CCSolution Designer with PEGA experience- TelcoVIC
- FTSystem AnalystSA
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- FTSales Lead / Sales Executive - Enterprise IT Healthcare Perm - North RydeNSW
- FTService Delivery AnalystNSW
- TPSenior Business Analyst - GISQLD
- FTBusiness Process AnalystWA
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsWA
- FTOracle Database Administrator (DBA)SA
- CCSolution Architect - Network Operations/Design - TelcoVIC
- FTDigital Business Analyst | Online BookingQLD
- FTFull Stack DeveloperNSW
- FTTest AnalystNSW
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - Qld Health - Short term contractQLD
- FTIT/Digital Project ManagerNSW
- TPBusiness Intelligence DeveloperSA
- TPSolution ArchitectVIC
- CCSenior Linux AdministratorNSW
- FTMidrange Application Developer (.Net)ACT
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW