Back in April I reviewed the Lumix DMC-TZ4, Panasonic’s then-new 8.1-megapixel, 10x zoom travel camera, and I stated at the time that I also hoped to get its more powerful sibling the TZ5 in for review soon after. Well it’s taken a little longer than I’d hoped, but I’ve finally got one in, and I have to say, it’s been worth the wait.
At first glance, the TZ5 seems like a bit of an anachronism. In a camera market dominated by ever smaller and more complex ultra-compacts, the TZ5 is quite large and heavy, measuring 103.3 x 59.3 x 36.5mm and weighing a substantial 240g including battery and memory card, close to twice the weight and thickness of a typical ultra-compact. However that weight and bulk translates into robust build quality and excellent handling, both useful features on a camera advertised as the ideal travelling accessory. The body is made from stainless steel and aluminium, and has a comfortable handgrip with a textured plastic pad on the front, and a large secure thumbgrip on the back. Although it's not the most attractive or stylish camera around, it has the rugged charm of a well-made and functional tool.
There aren’t many cameras on the market with which to compare the TZ5. The closest matches are the 8-megapixel Canon PowerShot SX100 IS (£150) or the 10-megapixel Ricoh R8 (£240). Currently selling for anywhere between £180 and £220 the TZ5 falls between these two rivals on both price and specification. In fact the closest competitor is its own stablemate the TZ4, currently selling for around £150, but the TZ5’s larger 3.0-inch monitor and the extra megapixel of resolution are big selling points.