Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 camera
The Lumix TZ30 is a wonderfully versatile camera that's small, powerful and great for travelling
- Versatile lens
- Good image quality
- Easy to use
- Build could be a little better
- Has to be charged via its USB port
The Lumix DMC-TZ30 is a fine compact camera with a big zoom lens and a good quality sensor. It can be used in almost all manner of situations, even for video recording, and it's perfect for travellers because it's so easy to carry.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
Panasonic's Lumix TZ30 is hard to beat if you're looking for a camera that can do it all, yet still fit in your pocket. It's a 14-megapixel camera with a 20x optical zoom lens and it features both automatic and manual controls; you can let the camera decide on the best exposure settings for your shots, yet easily switch to a semi-manual or manual mode to adjust the aperture, shutter, ISO and exposure compensation. Not only that, it's a camera that does Full HD video with good competency, it has a built-in GPS module and it features a touchscreen that's useful for selecting manual focus points.
We first previewed this camera back in February when Panasonic invited us to give it a whirl around Norfolk Island. We liked what we saw then, and after spending some more time with a full production model this time around, we still like it — perhaps even more. Panasonic almost always does well when it comes to creating compact cameras with versatile lenses for its Travel Zoom range, and the TZ30 is a good example of a model that is indeed perfect for travellers.
It's a camera that's small and easy to fit into a pants pocket, yet its lens can capture images from a wide angle of 24mm, all the way up to a telephoto angle of 480mm. If you're on a tourist beat, this means you can potentially take a photo of a landmark that fits in the entire frame, and you can then zoom in and get very close shots of all its details. And you can do it all without changing lenses.
Pictures can be framed using the camera's 3in LCD screen, which can be a little hard to view outdoors on sunny days, but that's a complaint we have of most cameras on the market. What you see on the screen isn't what your final picture will look like; to see how your photo will be exposed, you'll need to press the shutter button halfway down first. The shutter button has a distinct two-step feel to it, but we think it could stand to be a little firmer.
The controls on the rear of the camera include a typical ring of functions surrounding an OK button, a display button, a Quick Menu button, a dedicated exposure button (which can be used to either adjust exposure compensation or to move between shutter and aperture values, depending on which mode you are in), and a switch for playback and recording mode. There is a dedicated video recording button at the top, right next to the shutter, which is very convenient. The buttons feel a little cheap though, and we think they could stand to be a little better constructed. There is a built-in stereo microphone, a speaker, a built-in flash, and mini HDMI and micro-USB output ports.
We like the Quick Menu settings, which can be brought up so that the ISO, white balance, focus type and shooting mode can be adjusted from a logically laid out interface. We also like the fact that you can just point on the screen to whichever part of the picture you want to focus on, and you can even enable an on-screen shutter so that a picture is taken the moment you touch the screen at your desired focus point.
Performance and image quality
The shot-to-shot performance of the camera was swift. In continuous mode, the camera can take a quick burst of five shots per second for up to three seconds, before slowing down to average around 2.7 frames per second. One thing that can slow you down is the the switch to go from recording mode to playback mode -- you have to switch it back again to continue taking pictures. We'd prefer a button (rather than a switch) to take you to into playback mode, which would then allow you to press the shutter button to get out of it.
We found the quality of the lens to be very good at the wide angle, with barely any noticeable distortion on straight lines. The zooming performance of the camera is smooth, and it also allows you to use every zoom increment by dabbing the zoom rocker. When the lens is fully extended, it sticks out about 50mm from the body; it's retracted when the camera is off, and the camera is only 27mm thick in this state.
At wide angles, the camera lens does a respectable job of keeping straight lines straight.
You can even use the camera capably for macro shots, as the camera allows you to get quite close to your subjects to capture fine details.
The overall picture quality of the DMC-TZ30 is quite clear, especially for a compact camera, but closely cropping images will reveal some blurry results and loss of detail. We'd recommend not taking photos with the intention of cropping them closely to accentuate details, but instead framing images so that your desired subject appears as big as possible in the frame. Colours are captured vividly by the camera, although in our tests it sometimes made the sky look a little too saturated, depending on the lighting situation.
The TZ30 is capable of capturing clear results, with loss of clarity only evident when you heavily crop your images.
A typical landscape shot. In this shot the blue sky looks a little unnatural, but nevertheless very good.
The lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.3 so its ability to blur the background around your subject isn't great, and it also means that you'll probably have to push the ISO speed higher in low-light situations (or when you're zoomed in, as the lens goes from f/3.3 to f/6.4 when it's at full zoom). Noise and loss of definition become noticeable at around ISO 800, but unless you crop your photos closely, you probably won't notice this. The camera can go up to ISO 3200, at which point images start to look quite messy. There are two automatic ISO modes on the TZ30, a normal auto ISO, and an intelligent auto ISO, which can also take movement of your subject into account, in addition to available light. There is no ISO limiter though.
ISO performance. From left to right: ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200.
Dynamic range in shadowed lighting conditions was good, and with easy-to-access exposure control you can manipulate the results if you're not pleased with what the camera has captured automatically.
If you want to get a little arty with your photos, you can choose the Creative Control from the mode dial, which allows you to change the colour tone, from sepia to high or low key, and it also allows you to implement filters such as miniature and pinhole effects. You get the usual slew of scene modes as well — up to 16 of them are available, including Sweeping Panorama mode. If you want to keep track of where you were when you took a particular shot, you can enable the GPS mode, and the camera has built-in maps, albeit primitive-looking ones, that can show you, in addition to telling you via labels, where you took your shots. This worked well during our tests.
As for video mode, the camera can record in Full HD mode to capture clear and vibrant scenes. As is the case with most compact cameras though, you won't want to move the camera around too much when taking video as the picture will blur to an uncomfortable level. When filming, you can zoom in and out and the camera will autofocus quickly, however, your zoom operations might be audible during playback. You'll want to avoid filming in windy environments; there is a wind cut feature that is on by default, but it can't work wonders.
Below are a couple of examples of the TZ30's video quality; note the lack of talent we possess when it comes to motion capture.
If you have a 3D TV, you can also use the TZ30 to take three-dimensional pictures.
We really like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 and think that it really does live up to its purpose as a travel camera. It possesses excellent versatility thanks to its 20x optical zoom lens, has a wealth of features, is easy to use and it performs well, both in terms of speed and image quality. There are a few things about its build quality that we would change, such as making the buttons feel a little more solid, but overall, it's a great compact camera.
Join the newsletter!
cloudandco Smart Cane
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Toys for Boys
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Bose SoundLink Micro
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Xbox One X
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Get set for Amazon Australia Black Friday launch
- Destiny 2 PC review: A port worthy of PC gaming's mightiest rigs
- 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
- CCJunior to mid-level - Business Analyst ? AgileNSW
- CCRecords AnalystNSW
- TPSenior Network EngineerVIC
- FTDigital Marketing Executive - PersonalisationOther
- FTChange Lead, SalesforceOther
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCLSS BPMN Process Improvement AnalystVIC
- FTPayments Solution DesignerNSW
- CCProject AnalystNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer - MULTIPLE ROLESQLD
- CCSecurity/ Penetration Test AnalystQLD
- FTPayments Business AnalystVIC
- FTCloud Architect - AWS, Azure, ADOther
- CCSenior Siebel DeveloperACT
- FTSenior Project Controls Officer / CoordinatorOther
- FTOffice Manager | Start-up | Global Cloud ProviderVIC
- FTJunior Project ManagerACT
- CCSenior AngularJS DeveloperNSW
- FTITIL Service ManagementSA
- FTTechnical Product ArchitectQLD
- TPSolution Architect - Cloud InfrastructureQLD
- CCF5 Operational Support EngineerWA
- CCArchitect ? Office 365 MigrationQLD
- FTEcommerce Technical ManagerNSW