The Panasonic Lumix TZ series has long been regarded as one of the best compact digital cameras on the market. They’re what the professional photographers I know take on holiday with them and I still use the first version, the TZ-1, or travel zoom, which launched in 2006.
Now Panasonic has released the latest generation of cameras with the DMC-TZ30. It does look pretty similar to the previous model, the TZ20, but there’s more going on.
The TZ range has always been about squeezing a big zoom onto a small body so you can still take the photographs you want to without packing a whole host of bulky camera equipment. Last year’s TZ20 had a 16x zoom, a four step increase on the TZ10 and the new TZ30 follows that pattern with a 20x zoom.
Extending from 24-480mm, it’s an incredibly useful focal range, which means you can shoot detailed close up shots or wide-angle landscapes of your holiday destination.
The camera also has 14.1 megapixels and Panasonic promises clearer, sharper pictures thanks to a smaller, re-designed sensor.
The new model retains the 3D picture mode that previous TZs had, which means you can show off your snaps by displaying them on a 3D television when you get home.
It even has a GPS tracker system so there’s no more trying to remember where each photograph was taken. It automatically tracks where you press the shutter so it’s ideal for longer holidays where you’re travelling to several destinations. One particularly nice feature is the mapping system where you can copy a map to a SD memory card, from the bundled map DVD you get with your camera package. Then, your images can be played back along the map so you can exactly follow your journey once you return.
It’s good for both professionals and beginners as there’s a lot of functionality in this camera, with features that let you adjust aperture and shutter speed. But if all you want to do is point and shoot without worrying about anything else, there’s an Intelligent Auto Mode.
Costing around £260, the new model features high-speed auto focus, meaning even low-lit details are captured with astonishing clarity so you should never miss that perfect moment.
It also features an Optimal Image Stabilizer so while you may think it could be difficult keeping your Panasonic steady with its large Lumix lens, the stabilizer is effective with low-frequency vibration, which is what you get when pressing the shutter button or when shooting at night with a slow shutter speed.
As you would expect from Panasonic, the TZ30 also has HD video, with an Active Mode, which suppresses blur in video recording, especially at a wide angle while walking or playing with children.
So, whichever way you choose to record your memories, whether with still or video images, the new TZ30 should prove to be your perfect travelling companion.