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Just under a year ago I reviewed the Lumix DMC-TZ7, then the latest model in Panasonic's successful line of long-zoom compact travel cameras. As you can probably tell from the 65 comments, it has been a popular review, as was the Lumix DMC-FZ38). However, we could have a new contender for the most popular camera review, because today I'm taking a look at the TZ7's successor, the much-anticipated Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10.
The long-zoom compact market is, as I have remarked before, extremely competitive, and there are several very impressive new cameras launching within a few weeks of each other, such as the excellent Ricoh CX3 or the Canon SX210 IS. The TZ7 has been the camera to beat in this field for the past year, so Panasonic has gone all out to make sure that the TZ10 is loaded up with enough features to keep it at the top of its market sector for the rest of this year.
The TZ10 has a 14.5-megapixel multi-aspect CCD sensor with a maximum image size of 12 megapixels, a high quality 12x optical zoom f/3.3-f/4.9 Leica lens equivalent to 25-300mm, an extra-sharp 3in 460k monitor with a wide angle of view, 720p HD video recording with stereo audio, optional manual exposure and a built-in GPS receiver for automatic location recording, with a database of over half a million named locations and landmarks worldwide. An optional kitchen sink accessory is rumoured to be launching at the beginning of April.
Externally at least the Lumix TZ10 is virtually identical to the TZ7. This is no bad thing because Panasonic got the ergonomics pretty much right with the previous model, and the few changes for the TZ10's design are only slight improvements. The strong all-metal body is exactly the same size and nearly the same shape, although the small handgrip is a different and slightly more comfortable shape and the controls on the top panel have been rearranged. The mode dial, which I criticised for being too loose, has been stiffened up and now turns with a firm click. The only outward signs of the changes within are the raised hump on the top panel that presumably houses the GPS satellite antenna, and a few extra notches on the mode dial. The rear panel also now has an extra button that enables adjustment of exposure parameters in the manual exposure modes.
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