First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ25 camera review
Lumix DMC-TZ25 review: A compact, all-purpose camera with a big zoom and a high-quality sensor
- Image quality
- Playback switch
- Reflective screen can be hard to see in bright conditions
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TZ25 is a compact camera that can be used for all types of photography. It has a long lens, a good sensor and it can capture very clear, well defined and vibrant images. It could use some improvements in its design, such as a less glossy screen, for example, but overall, it's worth considering if you're after a versatile compact.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 39 stores)
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TZ25 is a versatile compact camera that features a long lens and a high quality sensor. It can capture clear and vibrant images and it can do a good job whether you want to shoot landscapes, macros, portraits or distant objects. The design of the camera is basic, and it doesn't have as many features as the flagship in Panasonic's Travel Zoom range, the DMC-TZ30, but it's also a little cheaper and just as fun to use.
Design and ease of use
The DMC-TZ25 features a 3in screen and it has a standard control layout that makes the camera fairly easy to use. You get a mode dial at the top, along with a zoom rocker, a dedicated video recording button (which means you can start shooting video in any mode that you are currently in, except 3D picture mode), while the rear has the usual five-way thumb controller, plus quick menu and exposure buttons. The one thing about the control system that we don't like is the switch that takes you from shooting mode to playback mode — it's too easy to forget the switch in playback mode.
On the inside, the TZ25 features a 12.1-megapixel MOS sensor, which is a little smaller than the 14.1 MOS sensor found in the TZ30, and it also has a slightly shorter zoom lens: 16x for the TZ25 (24mm to 384mm) as opposed to 20x for the TZ30 (24mm to 480mm). It's worth noting that the wide angle will produce slightly skewed straight lines, but we didn't find it to be too bad overall. The TZ25 also has fewer features than the TZ30, which, as the top model in the Travel Zoom range, also features built-in GPS and a touchscreen. The GPS feature might be missed if you're a fan of geo-tagging images.
Framing images with the 3in LCD screen can be a tad difficult when using the camera outdoors on a bright day, especially if you have no way to shade it while you shoot. That said, it's a screen with good clarity. The camera focuses automatically as you frame your scene and you can see exactly what your exposure will look like when you press the shutter button halfway before taking the picture.
In manual and semi-manual modes, the dedicated exposure button allows you to easily make adjustments to the aperture and shutter values, although there isn't an extensive selection of values to choose from. The aperture can go as big as f/3.3 when the lens is at its widest point, and can go as small as f/6.3. The shutter can go as slow as 15 seconds and as fast as 1/4000 of a second. Exposure bias can be changed directly through the +/- button and the ISO can be changed through the Q.Menu, which is convenient. A meter on the screen will let you know if your shot is evenly exposed.
Focusing was quick and accurate in our tests, although for best results you'll want to focus on a part of your scene that has plenty of contrast. There is no way to manually select a specific point on the screen to focus on, but there is a tracking feature (easily selectable through the Q.Menu) that can be used to lock in on your subject, which then allows you to move it to the part of the frame you desire, all the while keeping it in focus.
We used the TZ25 in a variety of conditions, from challenging, overcast days to very bright days and found it to be a useful tool. The manual features definitely came in handy when we wanted to give the images a little more atmosphere than the iAuto mode could supply. The best part though, is that this camera can take images that look very clear and sharp, (especially in macro mode), and this is something that many compact cameras can't claim in their resumes.
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ25 is a little camera that packs a good sensor, a versatile lens and useful, albeit limited, manual features. We found it fun to use and think that it's great for its intended purpose as a travel camera. It's useful for wide, zoomed, portrait and macro shots — it's also good for Full HD video recording — and its overall image quality is high for a compact camera.
Other camera reviews:
•If you want more manual features and even better image quality in a compact camera, check out the Sony RX100.
•Another compact camera that supplies great image quality, manual controls and even a range finder: Canon's G1X.
•If you're looking for a new digital SLR, the Canon EOS 650D is an entry-level model that's also very fast.
•If you want a funky-looking interchangeable lens camera, it doesn't get much funkier than the Pentax K-01.
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