Panasonic Lumix Compact Digital Camera Review

I’ll start by saying a little about the Panasonic Lumix Compact Digital Camera LF1 (the sister camera to the TZ60) that I tested last July. The 2 cameras have very similar design parameters but with one major difference i.e. the decision to give the TZ60 a large optical zoom (30x compared to the 7X for the LF1). That decision accounts for almost all the differences between the 2 cameras.

Panasonic DMC-TZ60EB-K Lumix Compact Digital Camera

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Panasonic Lumix Compact Digital Camera Review

(18.1MP, 30x Optical Zoom, High Sensitivity MOS Sensor) 3 inch LCD

I got the LF1 “off-plan” because it had a bigger sensor, a wide F2 lens and above all a viewfinder all in a body that was almost too small – fitting easily into a shirt pocket but a bit fiddly to use (and I have small hands).

The viewfinder is also rather fiddly but if you accept that its’ only purpose is to allow you to take a sensible picture when the LCD screen is swamped by light then quite invaluable.

I have used the LF1 extensively and have been very pleased with it. It has only 2 weaknesses. The first is a tendency to burn out highlights in really extreme conditions (largely cured by using an EV of -1/3 with the P mode as standard). The second is the movie spec which is only 1080i. I have taken to using the MP4 option which gives full HD at 25p. The results are more than good enough for my purposes.

The laws of physics seem to mean that the 30x zoom of the TZ60 enforces the following differences to the LF1:-

  • The camera is bulkier say around 1 cm bigger in each dimension. This is less fiddly and an Improvement.
  • The sensor has to be smaller but the results are still excellent.
  • The lens has a maximum aperture of F3.3. A pity.

Both cameras share the same viewfinder (good) and the same tendency to burn out highlights in extreme conditions (not so good but you can live with it by adjusting the EV. The TZ60 is actually a bit worse and I have decided to move the standard EV change to -2/3). Both cameras provide a raw option and I did experiment with the TZ60 to see if things were any better with that. No change with the burn out but the raw is noticeably sharper. Presumably the jpeg algorithm is smearing things a bit too much.

Both cameras have various communication options like NFC that don’t interest me so I can’t comment on them. The TZ60 adds GPS but I’m not interested in that either so again can’t comment.

One major advance in the TZ60 is that the movie spec has gone up to 1080p with AVCHD. Not yet used it and I doubt whether the results will be noticeably better than the MP4 results which have been excellent when viewed off a blu-ray on a 40 inch TV. But maybe people with more demanding requirements will like this higher spec.

In the end you pays your money and … The LF1 is more of an enthusiast’s camera and nearly £100 cheaper. But that 30X zoom and the better movie spec are very attractive.

We gave the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60EB-K Compact Digital Camera 4 Star Tech Reward

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