Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ10: Geek Gadgetry

 

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ10

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ10

 

Neha Mutreja tests the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ10 to see whether this feature-packed superzoom camera is worth its exorbitant price tag.

The TZ10 is the latest addition toPanasonic’s popular TZ-series of cameras. With interesting new features and a rather expensive price tag, we were keen to see whether this camera does enough to distinguish itself in an extremely crowded market of superzoom cameras.

Features
The DMC-TZ10 is a successor of TZ7 and it incorporates almost all its features with some additional ones to make it different. It is fitted with a Leica 12x zoom lens (25–300mm in 35mm parlance) that is coupled with Power Optical Image Stabiliastion(OIS) to ensure sharp images. What make the TZ10 different from the other cameras in the TZ-series is the fact that the camera has a Manual mode and also has a built-in GPS feature. GPS (Global Positioning System) is a feature that allows you to geotag your photographs with the help of a built-in database of half a million landmarks across the globe. One can also sort and display photographs depending on the location. This is specifically good for people who travel and would like to tag all their photographs. The TZ10 also records HD movie at720p. The video recording function has a number of features, such as stereo sound and the ability to use optical zoom during video capture. The camera also features a Wind Cut function, that minimises any distracting ambient sound that is caused by the wind, and uses AVCHD Lite compression for better quality. The camera includes a software called PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.1 HD, which enablesuser to view, edit, archive and sort pictures. The software also directly compresses and uploads videos shot by the camera toYouTube and burns them on a DVD.

Handling
Considering that the camera fits in a 12xzoom lens, it is rather light and can easily be carried in one’s jeans pocket. The build quality is excellent, except for the battery compartment and SD card slot hatch that seems flimsy. I was specifically impressed with the camera’s zoom function—it is not only smooth while shooting stills, but also works well while shooting video. The camera includes a Q. Menu button that allows easy access to controls like ISO, White Balance, AF Modes and so on. I found this particularly useful to change settings while on the move. The LCD, unfortunately, is not clearly visible in bright daylight.

Performance
I tested the camera in a number of situations and it always helped me capturewhat I wanted to. For instance, whileshooting a Kho-kho match, the iAutomode of the camera automatically chose the Sports scene mode that did an effective job of freezing action. The focusing speed of the camera is great, even in low light. We were specifically impressed with the dynamic range and the quality of the lens. At the base ISO, the images show good detail in the shadow areas and the sharpness and colours are exemplary. However, beyond ISO 400, the camera applies excessive noise reduction, resulting in visible loss of detail. To compensate for the excessive softening, the camera oversharpens the images too, leading to halos and other artifacts. We have seen many recent compact cameras that do a more efficient job at higher ISOs. In fact, considering the price range of the TZ10, itslow-light performance is disappointing.

Conclusion
The TZ10 is an excellent package on paper,with a large zoom range and features like HD video and GPS. However, its image quality while shooting in low light is not on par with other compact cameras. Moreover, its cost of Rs. 24,990 is extremely high—infact, you get a number of cameras that have a good amount of zoom, HD video and better image quality, at significantly lower prices. The TZ10 is a piece of gadgetry that will appeal to tech lovers who do not mind paying for GPS functionality, but photographers will find better options at more reasonable prices.

Final Ratings
Features
Large zoom range, GPS, manual mode,HD video
27/30

Performance
Oversharpening artifacts, excessive noise reduction
21/30

Build Quality
Sturdy, easy to use
12/15

Ergonomics
User-friendly menu
11/15

Warranty & Support
One-year warranty with wide service network
6/10

Overall: 77%
Value for Money: 1.5 /5 stars


Tags: Neha Mutreja, November 2010, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ10, Review