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Peter ([personal profile] ptc24) wrote2015-07-26 04:18 pm

Pansonic Lumix DMC-TZ60

Time to review my other main camera. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 is the camera that rekindled my love of photography - it's also the camera that caused me to buy a lot more cameras in 2014. Go figure. Anyway, as with my other camera, this review is as much about this sort of camera as it is about the specific model.

Note that the TZ60 is called something else in the USA - the ZS40 if I recall right. Anyway:

The TZ60 seems to get a lot of attention - it seems that if I tag a photo on flickr with the model number, I get lots of search hits. People are interested in this camera, and they are still interested in the TZ60 even now the TZ70 is out. From what I can tell, the TZ70 is a clear improvement over the TZ60, so if you've got the cash, the TZ70 may be a better choice, but a lot of the considerations that apply to that one apply here too.

So, what sort of camera is the TZ60? It's a "travel zoom" camera. You have a nice sealed unit that fits inside a coat pocket, apart from an SD card and a spare battery or two (see if you can find an external charger - it really helps) you won't be buying lots of accessories for this. The sensor is a small little thing, like on many compact cameras, so it's not brilliant in low light - you can sort-of scrape together some indoor shots in pubs, so long as you really don't mind a lot of obvious noise. If you want serious low-light photography, get something with a bigger sensor. The big feature is the zooooooooooomy lens - it has 30x zoom. The wide-angle end is nice and wide - in fact you'll often want to zoom in a little, because although the wide-angle look is great on some sorts of shots, it looks a bit odd in others. The far end of the zoom is good for picking up photos of birds, the moon, and other far-away things. It's not perfect image quality - it's not going to give you prize-winning ornithology photos, not on a dull grey day at any rate - but it's great fun nonetheless. Also, on a bright sunny day you can get some pretty nice full-zoom photos - likewise, full-zoom photos of things like Christmas lights seem to work nicely too.

One nice thing about all that zoom is that you can get some nice depth-of-field effects - just stand back and zoom in, and you can get a nice blurred background. It's not as good - or as convenient - as using a proper prime lens on a proper large-sensor camera, but it's an option that's there, and you can get some nice pictures that way.

Image quality isn't bad, if your lighting is good, and you don't want gigantic prints, or to severely crop the images to get tiny little details. The sensor does 18 megapixels, but that's too many, the lens on the front won't give you a nice image if you "pixel peep". I hear that the TZ70 has dropped the megapixels down to 12, and I think that's a good idea - it gives you a clearer idea of what the camera is actually capable of.

The camera has on-board wifi, which can be very handy if you have a smartphone - it makes it easy to use the smartphone as a remote, or to offload images from the camera.

One fun feature - you can record video in 8x slow motion. The picture quality isn't great - don't expect anything like the sorts of amazing slow-motion videos you can find by searching on YouTube - but it's fun, especially if you have children to amuse.

Anyway, this is a nice camera, if you're like me it's one that'll put a smile on your face. There are some things it won't do well - for example nice portraits in murky light - but still, it's got a lot of flexibility in a small package, and there's a lot of fun to be had with it.