Huge advancements have been made in photography over the years. 150 years after the first color photograph was taken the concept has mostly been the same, however, with the present range of cameras appearing in the market, the trend seems to be changing with photography now going three dimensional.

The zoom is phenomenal

The zoom is phenomenal

Panasonic is one of these companies who have launched a 3D compact ultra zoom camera with the Lumix DMC-TZ20. Having boasting of 3D photo capabilities this camera also features an amazing telephoto zoom, GPS, dual shooting modes and a host of other unique features.   

Design and Build Quality
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 comes in a variety of colours and the one we received was a stylish black camera. On first impression, the TZ20 looks a bit bulky for being a compact camera. But considering the features loaded in this camera, it seems that a load of features were downsized and were able to be fitted in this camera. Besides being black in colour, the camera has gun metal grey sides that make this compact camera look classy.

The TZ20 is fitted with a 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor, which is an advanced version of the regular CMOS sensor. The main feature of this camera is the 16x optical zoom with a focal length equivalent to a wide angle of 24mm and a telephoto of up to 384mm. This is by far the most we have seen on a compact camera. Above the sensor is a LED flash that is quite powerful.

The screen at the back is a TFT 3-inch LCD touchscreen which has approximate resolution of 460,000 dots. Pictures on it appear crisp and the screen can also be used to focus where pictures can be clicked by tapping on the screen itself.

Dedicated video recording button

Dedicated video recording button

Next to the screen are the buttons for various settings, as well as a designated button for exposure. There is also a slider switch for going into shooting mode or for playback of pictures/ videos. On the top of the camera is a dial for adjusting the different shooting modes. On the right of the dial is the camera shutter button and attached to it is the trigger for zooming in or out of pictures or scenes. Next to it is a dedicated button for video recording and videos can be recorded at resolutions up to 1080p. Below the video recording button is a toggle switch for turning the camera on or off. All the buttons on the camera have a chrome finish which adds to the classy look of the TZ20. On the top of the camera is also an antenna for accessing the GPS capabilities which are available on this camera.

On the right side of the camera is a concealed bay which houses a mini HDMI port, as well as a proprietary port for AV digital output.

The overall build quality of this camera is solid and is made of plastic, as well as metal. Panasonic has done a lot to fit plenty of features in this camera and yet retain a compact(ish) shape. Though the camera may be a tad bit bulky it can still fit in a pant or shirt pocket. The camera weighs in at a slightly heavy 219g with the battery and memory card. A strap that comes along with the camera should make it handy to tote around.  With a built in memory of 18 MB, it would be advisable to fit a memory card in the Lumix TZ20.   

Sturdy bay for battery and metallic flap for mini HDMI port

Sturdy bay for battery and metallic flap for mini HDMI port

Features
The Panasonic Lumix TZ20 has a plethora of features which can delight any seasoned photographer. This camera is designed in such a way that first time photographers can also have fun with. The TZ20 is marketed as a travel compact and has a load of scene modes. The camera is fitted with a 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor and an optical zoom of 16x is an interesting addition to the camera. The telephoto has a range of up to 384mm which may be the best we have seen yet on a compact camera. The zoom is the main feature of this camera but it does not mean that this is the only highlighting feature.

The Lumix TZ20 has 3D photo capabilities, something that not many cameras have yet; making it a good addition to a camera that is abundant in features. However these 3D pictures can be played back only on a television with 3D capabilities and cannot be viewed on the camera itself.

By tapping the screen, one can focus on an image and capture it. This feature shows us that the camera has dual photo capture modes. This may be an interesting feature however it can shoot pictures unnecessarily at times when a finger is just placed on the screen. The LCD touchscreen can be used to navigate between images by swiping the screen. Camera settings can also be accessed through the screen itself instead of pressing a bunch of buttons to navigate through it.

3-inch LCD TFT touchscreen

3-inch LCD TFT touchscreen

GPS is another feature that is found on this camera and it can be used to tag pictures according to what location you are in. There are abilities to upload pictures on social sites – Facebook and YouTube. This may seem interesting but one may not use these features a lot.

Video recording at high resolution of 1080p is also possible; making this an all-round camera. The designated video recording button also helps in accessing the video recording option at a much quicker rate. Another feature of this camera includes an optical image stabilizer, thereby reducing the image blur while capturing photos or videos. Other features include iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, Active mode, light detection through the exposure mode, burst mode, face detection, face recognition, scene detection, red eye correction mode and auto focus tracking.

The features of this camera are something we were pretty happy with and the easy user interface made the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 a lot simpler to use. Panasonic has not held back any features while assembling this model.
Performance
The Panasonic Lumix TZ20 really impressed us, as far as the features were concerned; let’s see if it matches up in performance.

Crisp and Clear during the day

Crisp and Clear during the day

Outdoor pictures shot were pretty good and with the maximum ISO setting on the camera at 1600, the pictures shot at higher ISO settings were also crisp. No colour fringing was noticed at pictures shot at higher ISO sensitivities. However, with the camera at full zoom, there was a slight bit of colour fringing seen when the picture was zoomed in on a desktop.

Equally good in the night

Equally good in the night

The Panasonic Lumix TZ20 performed very well with pictures shot indoors and there was next to no graininess in image quality. No colour supplementation was noticed and pictures shot at macro level also had a fine amount of detail.

Video recording quality on the TZ20 is above average and video playback at 1080p works well. Zoom on this camera is something that stands out. Image quality is not compromised a bit and detail is noticed even with full zoom on. The flash on the TZ20 is average with it lighting up an area of around 15 feet.

Clarity is outstanding

Clarity is outstanding

We tried using the GPS service in various locations but for some reasons we were not able to get it to work. This was a slight disappointment to a camera that functions well on all counts thus far.

The battery bundled up with the Lumix TZ20 is an 895 mAh lithium ion battery. The battery performance was average and under heavy usage lasted approximately two days. Panasonic rates the battery at 260 shots.

16x zoom on this compact camera

16x zoom on this compact camera

Verdict
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 is priced at Rs. 27,990 and though it may seem a bit expensive, and a tad bit bulky this is one camera that should not be missed out on. With 3D capabilities, a phenomenal telephoto zoom, ease of usability and GPS functions this camera is loaded and can be a perfect travel companion. The performances of the TZ20 also excels so this should be a sure choice for all your photographic needs whether you are a beginner or an experienced photographer.  

Publish date: May 23, 2011 12:49 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:52 pm

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