Compact cameras are not dead! Certainly, not yet. Clever manufacturers have identified three segments of the compact camera market which cannot be touched yet by smartphones. The first is the super zoom sector where super zoom or bridge cameras have lenses extending from ultra-wideangle to super telephoto(e.g.24- 500mm). The second segment is semi professional cameras where the sensor is bigger, the optics are high quality and the handling is exceptional. The third is the new area of what are known as ‘travel zooms’(or TZ as Panasonic calls them).
The Lumix TZ100 on our test table comes under the third category. Panasonic has the distinction of being present in all three segments of the compact camera market. We had the TZ100 on our test bench and the results are summed up below:
Design & Build Quality
The TZ100 is an attractive design; attractive, because of its small size and also because every control is rightly placed and nothing looks awkward or grotesque. Although small, the camera body is a metal body and looks and feels sturdy. Fitting a 1” sensor into such a small body is indeed an achievement. Panasonic offer the TZ100 both in black and silver red. The finish of the camera is extremely smooth even going to the extent of being terme slippery. The camera weighs 310g with battery and card.
The TZ100 benefits from Panasonic’s progress in designing state of the art auto focus systems in its cameras. Panasonic uses its unique
“Depth from Defocus Technology” which analyses the lens’ optical characteristics and uses this to correct the focus; thereby, the focus point can be placed anywhere in the screen and perfect focus will still be achieved.
The TZ100 uses a 20.1 MP 1” sensor giving an output size of 5472 x 3648. The camera flaunts Leica optics in the form of an 25 to 250mm equivalent DC Vario ElmarIt aspherical lens. The maximum aperture varies from f2.8 to f5.9. The larger 1” sensor naturally offers much improved image quality and greater low light capability. Sensitivity varies from ISO 125 to 12,800 which can be extended upwards to 25,600. Continuous shooting is available from 10 frames per sec. with focus and exposure at 5 frames per second and focus adjustment between frames. Also included is 4K video recording at a frame rate of upto 30 frames per second. In the 4K mode, single frames can be extracted as 8 MP stills. The 4K post focus allows you to refocus the image by tapping on the screen. Wi- Fi is included but there is no GPS or NFC. The TZ100 offers two viewing choices – either the built in 1.14 million dot electronic viewfinder or the 3” 1.04 million dot LCD. The camera can use SD, SDHX and SDHC memory cards. Battery life is estimated at 240 to 300 shots.
Whilst all the controls are correctly placed and are easy to use, the electronic viewfinder of the TZ100 is rather small. Secondly, the smooth finish of the camera makes it a little slippery to hold. Thirdly, the hand grip is very small. Fourthly, Panasonic supply a wrist strap and not a neck strap along with the camera. Finally, we would have liked to see a flexible LCD at the rear.