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Panasonic Lumix TZ40/ZS30: First Look


Panasonic Lumix TZ40: First Look

A short while ago, I got to know about this impressive compact superzoom camera by Panasonic, the Lumix DMC-TZ40 (known in some regions as the ZS30), and I thought I’d share whatever I know about this camera with you guys here! Alright then

Panasonic have been doing a lot with compact cameras in the recent past, and some of their previous Lumix models have been game-changers in the market; the Lumix LX3 (released back in 2008) is one that immediately comes to mind when I think of the current state of high-end compacts. Combining high-end features with Leica glass, Lumix compacts have been able to provide photographers (both amateurs and professionals alike) with the ability to get excellent image quality and performance in a tiny camera body without breaking the bank. And seeing that Panasonic keeps delivering the goods in this line – the LX5, LX7 and other models in between have been superb – I’m expecting a lot from the TZ40 as well!

Alright, yes, the TZ40 is a compact, it’s a point-n-shoot, it’s small – but it comes packed with a bunch of pretty awesome goodies, much like most other Lumix cameras – and features a very nice Leica zoom lens, capable of an awesome 20x zoom range (starting from a wide 24mm), 18.1 mega pixels, built-in Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity, built-in GPS, a high-res touchscreen, and more. Read on!

Priced at $399 (and available for less), it’s not aimed to compete with the likes of the large-sensor Fujifilm X20 or the Sony RX100 – or Panasonic’s own Lumix LX7, for that matter – but instead is aimed at the crowd who want good quality images along with the superzoom lens and the wireless connectivity that is on offer; and considering what you get with this product, I’d call it a very good deal indeed

You can get your Lumix TZ40 (or ZS30!) at B&H Photo here:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 Digital Camera (Black)

Specifications You Would Want To Know

  • Body: Compact
  • Resolution: 18.1 mega pixels
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3”
  • Sensor Type: High Sensitivity MOS
  • Lens: Leica 4.3-86mm f3.3-6.4 (24-480mm equivalent)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes, Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization (5-axis)
  • Shutter Speed: Max 1/2000 sec, Min 30 sec
  • ISO Range: 100-6400
  • Video: 1080P @ 50fps (and lower resolutions)
  • Video Format: AVCHD, MP4
  • Metering Modes: Intelligent Multiple, Center Weighted, Spot
  • Exposure Modes: P, A, S, M, Auto, Scene, Custom (2) Panorama, Creative Control
  • Built-in Flash: Yes
  • Flash Modes: Auto, Red-Eye, Forced On, Slow Sync, Off
  • Hot-shoe: No
  • Autofocus: Contrast Detect
  • AF Modes: Single Area, Multiple Area, AF Tracking, Continuous, Touch, Face
  • AF Points: 23
  • Manual Focus: No
  • Macro Range: 3cm
  • Screen: 3.0” LCD (920k dots)
  • Articulated: No
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Optical/Electronic Viewfinder: No
  • Max Drive Speed: 10fps at full resolution
  • File Formats: JPEG only (MPO for 3D images)
  • Connections: USB 2.0, microHDMI, WiFi, NFC
  • Memory Card Type: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Dimensions: 108 x 59 x 28mm
  • Weight: 198g (including SD card/battery)

First Thoughts

That’s quite a remarkable list of features, isn’t it? Especially when you look at the last one – its dimensions – and realize it’s a really compact, pocketable little thing that’s sporting all this stuff

Panasonic Lumix TZ40

Image from Panasonic

The first thing that’s going to strike most of us (myself included) is the lens, the feature that the camera is designed around: a 20x superzoom Leica lens. It’s not a superfast lens, at f3.3-6.4, but considering the zoom range, it’s probably going to be shooting at around f4 in most circumstances – let’s face it, you’re not going to be shooting at 480mm all the time – which is perfectly acceptable for this sort of camera; and when you look at the 5-axis optical image stabilization system, along with what should be decent high ISO performance, I think low-light shooting shouldn’t be a problem with this lens. But yeah, it’s that zoom range that’s going to appeal to most of this product’s potential users – you have no idea how much reach this is until you actually use one. It’s quite incredible

Apart from that, there’s the built-in WiFi and NFC connectivity, which is fantastic. You also have built-in GPS: brilliant. There’s a touchscreen interface, which I’m not a fan of, but knowing how responsive modern touchscreens are, I doubt I’ll complain once I really start using one – and I know how people love touch-focus (the smartphone experience!) so I’m sure that’ll go down great too. And there’s also full HD video recording, at 50fps. Nice

The only thing I wish that was slightly better is the sensor size, which, at 1/2.3”, is a tad small…especially when it squeezes in 18 million pixels in there…but at this price range, you can’t really expect it to have everything you wish for. Right? Yeah. It’s not too bad anyway. I’m sure it’ll do quite fine even at high ISOs and product pretty clean, sharp images. The LX7 was a bit disappointing in sensor size too (it’s just a bit bigger than the one found on this TZ40) but you know how good the LX7’s images are, right? Yeah, I’m expecting very good image quality from this little sensor too

Overall, it’s a great spec sheet, isn’t it? And have a look at camerasize.com or something if you really want to get an idea of the size of this thing – it’s really quite compact. Going for around $349 at most online stores (including my affiliates), it’s definitely a great deal

Have a look at this video and get a feel for the Panasonic TZ40!

Oh, and if you’re into competitions, enter the Panasonic Facebook competition here – I’m not sure what it’s about, but head over there anyway – you could win yourself one of these!

Controls

The Lumix TZ40 is small but it seems to have quite a good control layout. Let’s start with the top: Here you will find the On/off button, a movie record button, the shutter button (with the zoom rocker around it), as well as the mode dial. Very traditional

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 Top Panel

Image from Panasonic

Everything else is on the back panel, on the left side of the large touchscreen. There’s the four-way directional controller, which allows you to set Exposure Compensation, Flash, Macro, and Self Timer, with a Menu/Set button the middle. There’s also a Display button, a Playback button, as well as a Quick Menu (nice!) button, which doubles (and triples) as a Back and Delete button. Above the four-way controller is a dedicated WiFi button, and a button labeled Exposure/Map – but I’m afraid I’m not sure exactly what this is

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 Back Panel

Image from Panasonic

And that’s it. There’s nothing on the front. Quite simple – but the Q menu button and the touchscreen means there should be little fiddling to access most settings you’d regularly need

Performance

I haven’t used this camera, and I haven’t found too much online to help me write this part, but going by previous Lumix models, which performed very well indeed (in their price point, at least), I’d say this one should do well in this regard – however, know that this isn’t based on anything other than speculation at this time

AF speed should be decent – most new contrast-detect AF systems do a good job these days – but don’t expect anything blazing fast. I’d say it’d do the job well without breaking any records

Burst shooting is the only thing that I have on the spec sheet, and that (10fps) sounds great

Overall operation via the touchscreen should be responsive and easy to use. That, I can almost guarantee

Yeah, I know – nothing concrete there – but it’s not my fault! I’ll get back to you with more facts as soon as I have something solid to share with you on the performance of the TZ40. Until then, my (educated?!) assumptions will have to do!

Conclusion

And there you have it: the Panasonic Lumix TZ40/ZS30! I like the look of it. I like the sound of it. And I like the price. What about you?

So what exactly do I like about it, other than the look and the price? Simple: the superzoom lens capable of going from an equivalent of 24mm all the way to 480mm (that’s 20x zoom!), the wireless connectivity options, built-in GPS, the 920k-dot touchscreen, and that compact body – that’s very nice indeed.


However, there are a couple of things I don’t love about it too. On the down side, the biggest flaws for me are the sensor size – larger than your average point-n-shoot, but compared to the high-end compacts in today’s market, it’s sub-par – as well as the rather slow f3.3-6.4 lens. But it’s all about what you want, really. You’re never going to find a superzoom lens on a large-sensor body for this price. Not for a while, at least. The X20, the RX100, and the LX7 have less than a quarter of the zoom range of the TZ40, even though their sensors are much larger, and they go for at least $150 more. Just go with what you need. If you want a really compact superzoom, this is one I can see myself recommending (once I’ve tested it!) – and if you’re willing to go test one yourself, do let me know your thoughts!

Remember, you can get your Lumix TZ40/ZS30 from B&H Photo now:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 Digital Camera (Black)

And that’s all I have for you today. Don’t forget the Panasonic competition on Facebook – and don’t forget to leave a comment if you have anything to say or anything to add to what I’ve written here. Until next time

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By Heshan Jayakody
All content is my own, except images and video, which are from Panasonic
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Discussion

10 Responses to “Panasonic Lumix TZ40/ZS30: First Look”

  1. Ooh this looks quite good! for the price too, nice. A nice all-in-one lens, great for travel work, right? I’d love a full review of this!

    Posted by Retz | June 24, 2013, 07:00
  2. I had seen this camera earlier, I think. Good to read your take on it. I think it looks rather cool too – superzooms are usually rather bulky? This one looks as small as a real compact, huh?

    Posted by Adam Yurst | June 24, 2013, 08:52
  3. Ooohoo, I like the look of this!! Great size price and features. Love superzooms, this one would make a great cam for my wife! What ya think?

    Posted by Ryan | July 1, 2013, 15:54
  4. I found the price almost the same with LX7, which one u would recommend then?

    Posted by pvmpkin | July 29, 2013, 23:57
    • Well it’s really about what you want from your camera. The LX7 has got a faster lens (and if I remember right, a slightly larger sensor) but the TZ40 is a superzoom with much greater reach in terms of focal length. I also think the TZ40 is a bit smaller?

      So yeah, if you need the zoom, get the TZ…if not, the LX7 might be better for you

      Posted by pixelogist | July 30, 2013, 07:14
  5. QI , canon sx280 vs zs30 vs samsung wb800f?
    1a – ?

    Posted by mariadd2007 | December 11, 2013, 05:02

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