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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10

By Cliff Smith



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User Score:

The TZ10's overall performance is slightly improved over the TZ7. It starts up in approximately 1.8 seconds, which is nice and fast, and shuts down again in 2.4 seconds. The shot-to-shot time in single-shot mode at maximum resolution is a brisk 1.6 seconds, but like the TZ7 the TZ10 has no full continuous mode, just a three-shot 1.5fps burst mode.

The TZ10 has what appears to be the same AF system as the TZ7, and it is still very good. It focuses quickly and accurately in all lighting conditions including total darkness thanks to an AF assist lamp with a range of at least three meters. It seems to focus better at full zoom in low light than the TZ7, but that might just be my perception. The flash too is the same as the TZ7, with a wide-angle range of 5.3m.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 top

The TZ10's image quality is, I must admit, slightly disappointing. It's not that it's bad, but I was expecting it to be much better than it is. Exposure metering is excellent and focusing is accurate, but images lack a certain colour depth, and dynamic range is no better than average for a 12MP compact. The lens is very sharp in the centre of the frame with excellent fine detail, but there is slight barrel distortion at wide angle and also slight corner blurring. At the new lower minimum sensitivity of 80 ISO the image quality is very good, but noise reduction blurs out some detail at 400 ISO, and noise is visible at 800. Also there is a distinct colour cast at 800 and 1600 ISO.

I do have one very major concern about the TZ10, and that is battery duration. It is powered by the same 895mAh lithium ion cell as the TZ7, and it was stretched powering the big zoom motor in that camera. Now it has to power a GPS system too, which is also active when the camera is switched off. Wandering around taking pictures with the GPS system active, the battery indicator was down to one bar out of three after just 70 shots, and it ran out of juice completely after 85. This was on a full charge with a brand new battery; lithium ion batteries do improve slightly after a few charge cycles, but not by much. A second full charge with the GPS system off turned in much better results, with the indicator only dropping by one bar after around 80 shots. Panasonic's spec sheet claims 300 shots on a full charge.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 battery

Apart from that one concern, the TZ10 performed well. It's not the perfect camera, but it is an improvement to an already outstanding design, and is one of the most capable and versatile cameras on the market. However if you want to use the GPS feature regularly you might need to invest in a spare battery.


The Panasonic Lumic DMC-TZ10 is a well-designed, solidly built and extremely versatile camera with a lot of useful features. The 12x zoom, optical image stabilisation, HD video and excellent low light performance are the main benefits, and manual exposure is a nice bonus. The GPS feature is a bit of a gimmick, and drains the battery too fast to be much real use.

mick / LUMIX

February 26, 2010, 4:10 pm

Cliff, not sure what you mean by "new" low ISO of 80 when the TZ7 also has ISO 80 ?, anyway, another interesting review.


February 26, 2010, 5:15 pm

A thorough review, well done. But I'm confused by your 'major concern' about battery life: the words major concern seem pretty strong for me, and 80 shots, is this not a massive flaw? Yet this concern, despite its gravity, seems brushed under the carpet in your review. It's almost as if you're secretly hoping that you received a bad battery, or that it's just not true, as I gather this site has normally been very pro-Panasonic. But 80 shots? Surely this is devastatingly poor performance. Could you please shed more light on this, I'm depply puzzled by the lack of gravity you assign to this alleged show stopper!


February 26, 2010, 6:55 pm

"The TZ10's image quality is, I must admit, slightly disappointing."

"I do have one very major concern about the TZ10, and that is battery duration."


Hans Gruber

February 26, 2010, 8:41 pm

The battery life of the TZ6 is also pretty abysmal and there was me hoping for a firmware update to fix this issue. I was also suspicious of the reason why it was never reviewed, with its higher pixel density and smaller sensor size in comparison to every other TZ model released thus far. The TZ10 may also exhibit poor design/manufacturing process? I hope this isn't true.


February 26, 2010, 9:18 pm

Still having a great time using my TZ5. Lasts about 300 shots.


February 26, 2010, 10:08 pm

The battery news is bad for those who want full-time GPS. I think, though, that I'd use it infrequently and have always carried a spare battery on those adventures.

OTOH - a full day of playing tourist would probably run through several batteries if I were using the TZ rather than my DSLR. I'm thinking of a boat trip, Westminster to Hampton Court, that provided wonderful shots of buildings, bridges, etc. that I cannot identify.

I'd be using batteries faster than I could recharge them. And turning the GPS on intermittently is a pain owing to the time it takes to re-acquire the birds. Maybe I'll skip the 10 in favor of the 8 and live with the smaller screen and motion JPEG.

Never mind. I like the LCD a lot. I'd probably get the 10 for the improved stabilization and manual controls and leave the GPS off mostly. That suggests waiting for 6-12 months for the price to drop. OK with me. My ZS-3/TZ-7 works fine, thank you.

Tony Walker

February 26, 2010, 11:35 pm

How on earth have Panny managed to screw up the image quality after getting it so right with the TZ7 (which I own)?

Battery on my TZ7 seems fine and barely drains when the camera is switched off for months.


February 27, 2010, 12:27 am

@johnbaker - Do you have any numbers from other cameras with build in GPS to compare with? Would be quite useful before making such a drastic conclusion.

I agree that 80 shots pretty much makes GPS a bit of a gimmick in this case though. It will at least still do around 300 shots with GPS turned off, but then you could just as well buy a camera without the integrated GPS.


February 27, 2010, 4:50 am

... you ask the question is there anything this camera does not have...? Yes... a viewfinder...


February 27, 2010, 5:47 pm

Quite so, Terry and for me a dealbreaker. I'll stick with my FZ18 for now.

Ray Hopper

February 28, 2010, 6:46 am

..and to repeat my comments on the CX3 review, please get busy Cliff on the other new travel compacts.

mick / LUMIX

February 28, 2010, 2:39 pm

Bertie, the FZ18 is excellent, I had one, but you cannot carry it everywhere in a pocket or in a trouser belt case. I have a TZ7 which I am very pleased with, would not change it for a TZ10.

Kevin Dyas

March 2, 2010, 3:36 am

Any indication as to what the 'optional' kitchen sink accessory launching at the beginning of April will be?


March 3, 2010, 2:55 pm

Dodger - Cliff, I like others were a bit disappointed with the image quality results for the TZ10 in your excellent test. I was planning to upgrade my Fuji S5700 perhaps for the TZ10.Not so sure now!!In your opinion, why is it that the TZ10 appears not to be a significant improvement over the TZ7? Was this a pre - production camera used in the test? Is it because we have reached the best quality available from this compact size sensor. Or are Panasonic simply over complcating things with all the new features.?

Cliff Smith

March 4, 2010, 9:37 pm

Ray Hopper - I'm hoping to get the new Canon SX210 and the Samsung WB1000 in very soon. Are there any others you'd like to see?

Kevin Dyas - The clue is in the date. What else happens at the beginning of April?

Dodger - No, this was a normal production camera.


March 7, 2010, 12:56 am

i am looking to buy a compact with high zoom capicity digital camera with possibility to buy a dedicated uderwater housing (for example i do not think the ricoh has one). is there anything better than the Panasonic tz10?


March 7, 2010, 9:31 am

hoping u get the new samsung WB2000.。。

Sendme More

March 9, 2010, 11:46 am

Cliff, thanks for the review -- any chance you'll be looking at the new Sony DSC-HX5V? It has an equally impressive feature list (if not more).

Gus Ghanem

March 11, 2010, 4:17 am

It just boggles the mind why camera makers are still increasing Pixel Density... I have short-listed a few models with "lower" Pixel Density, that I'd like to see tested: Casio EX-FH100, Sony HX5, Fuji F80, Samsung EX1/TL500... Thanks.

Ray Hopper

March 12, 2010, 5:14 am

Chris - my list of travel compacts is exactly the same as Gus's, plus the Samsung TL350

Eric Landry

March 12, 2010, 7:54 pm

Could you please tell me the time it takes from a totally off camera to a geotagged picture? I'm curious to know approximately how much time it takes to acquire GPS signal. Am I looking at under 10 seconds or over a minute? Thanks for the review!


March 12, 2010, 8:00 pm

@Eric Landry: So long as it's turned on (via a dedicated switch), the GPS is on permanently, even when the camera is otherwise turned off. As such you should get a lock straight away and it's just a case of waiting for the camera to boot up and take the picture. The GPS does drain the battery, though, so you might well want to turn it off. In which case, I don't know how long it might take.


March 12, 2010, 8:26 pm

is it confirmed that the samsung WB2000 will have an underwater housing?


March 15, 2010, 6:15 pm

Cliff, I own a TZ7 and I can use Scenes & optical zoom during vedeo recording. I'm afraid you were wrong about that in the review.


March 18, 2010, 4:36 pm

I don't particularly want a GPS in my camera, nor do I care about 2 extra megapixels... Would I be better off buying a TZ7 instead, since it is £100 cheaper..? Or are there other improvements that makes the TZ10 worth it..?

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