My compact camera of choice has been a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40. It’s a great little camera that has far more power and capability than any phone could provide. When the new TZ60 was released last year, I asked my wife to get it for my birthday.
Although on paper the TZ60 is a better camera in many ways, I have been somewhat disappointed with it during the past year. Here’s the basic differences and what I like or dislike in particular.
- Zoom: 20x
- Has a touch screen.
- Does not shoot raw.
- Does not have a viewfinder.
- Longest exposure 15 seconds
- Shoots movies only in AVCHD.
- Shoots HD video in 60fps only
- Price (Amazon): £264
- Zoom: 30x.
- No touch screen.
- Shoots in raw format.
- Viewfinder (digital).
- Longest exposure 4 seconds.
- Shoots movies in AVCHD and MP4.
- Shoots HD video at 25fps and 50fps
- Price (Amazon): £269
The TZ60 also has a slightly better sensor.
So the TZ60 is a great camera and the 30x zoom is impressive for its size. It feels solid and has the ability to use more advanced controls such as aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual mode (the TZ40 also has these). The photos are good too – which is pretty important for a camera I’d say.
The top features that I like about the TZ60 are:
- The zoom (30x)
- Shooting in RAW – should you want to (I never do)
- Shooting video in MP4 – I hate the AVCHD format. It is such a pain to get your video from the device and so the MP4 option was one of the main reasons I wanted this camera in the first place.
- No touchscreen – I really never used the touchscreen on the TZ40 and also found that sometimes it would be activated automatically. It isn’t really necessary with this sort of device and so I was glad to see that the new camera had dropped the touchscreen feature.
- The lens ring – you can change the aperture, shutter speed, manual focus, etc by twisting the outside of the lens. It provides you with a sensation of using a regular SLR. Gimmicky, but still nice.
What I don’t like about the TZ60:
- The case. I hate the case that they sell for it – and there is nothing decent from any 3rd party suppliers either. There is no belt loop. Your only option is to carry it in your hand.. awkwardly or keep it in a bag.. or, of course, use the shoulder strap so that you can carry it like a small purse. I hate it so much that I often use the TZ40 just so that I can use the better case that comes with it.
My advice is to get the TZ60 even with the poorly designed and complete awful case. The zoom really is excellent and shooting in MP4 instead of AVCHD is also a more user-friendly alternative.
Pansonic released the newer TZ70 this year. It is a very similar model to the TZ60 but it has a better sensor (albeit with less megapixels – but that doesn’t really matter). They’ve also improved the video capability slightly to include faster framerates at lower resolution (100fps at 720p and 200fps at VGA). Nothing that really makes me want to upgrade again and from the looks of their website, they didn’t even try to make a case. Which may be the best feature of them all.