I have a great amount of affection for the Panasonic TZ cameras. I bought a TZ5 in 2008 and used it for several years as my primary camera. Sure, it’s no DSLR, but I found it incredible that I could own a camera with a 10x zoom lens that fit in my jeans pocket, and that often produced ridiculously good quality photos. Whilst I have had quite a few cameras come and go since then, I still own the TZ5, and indeed the Mrs has just taken it up to London for a weekend.
The latest and greatest TZ yet is about to hit the shelves, with a release date of early March. If you’re not familiar with the TZ designation, by the by, then perhaps you live in one of those countries that call this model the ZS. It’s the same thing of course. The newest incarnation boasts a far more impressive feature set that the TZ5 I purchased all those years ago. Built in GPS, wifi and NFC, it shoots RAW, has a manual control ring and has even been equipped with a half decent EVF.
The lens? It’s still limited to an aperture of f3.3, but the range of that lens is now an astonishing 30x. That’s all the way from a respectably wide 24mm out to 720mm. Another difference between this model and my old TZ5? Despite all the added tech and lens range, it’s slimmer than ever before.I also love the retro look that Panasonic have applied to this model, although you can get it in plain black as well. Although, why would you?
The wave of compact system cameras and smart phones that have been released over the last couple of years have between them, in my opinion, rendered an awful lot of cameras redundant. Or at least have put them into smaller niches than they already occupied. But the travel zoom model, which Panasonic pioneered, remains as relevant as ever. Especially at the price point it occupies, or rather will occupy in a few months once retailers knock a few pounds/dollars off the asking price. It’s the ideal camera for someone who isn’t interested in either spending a fortune or taking photography classes, and just wants to have a flexible camera that fits in a pocket.
There are plenty of reviews out there by lucky photographers/bloggers who’ve managed to get their hands on a model prior to launch. The TZ60 has, as it usually does, gotten some pretty high praise. Photography Blog marks is with a 4.5 out of 5 in each category it scores, rating it Highly Recommended. It’s the same story at ePhotoZine whilst Trusted Reviews and Camera Labs reviews are still work in progress. There’s also a little snippit of video on Youtube to show what sort of quality you might expect when shooting your next movie.
I’ll finish this off by taking you on a little trip down memory lane to have a look at the TZ family tree. Since the first model, unsurprisingly named TZ1, hist the shelves in 2006 there have been new releases every year. The numbering system has jumped about a bit, and these days there are two models per annum – the fully featured camera such as the TZ60 and a less fully featured but more competitively priced model below it.