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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 review



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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
  • Lumix DMC-TZ20 14.1 Megapixel Compact Camera - 4.30 mm-68.80 mm - Black (7.6 cm 3" Touchscreen LCD - 16x Optical Zoom - Optical IS - 4320 x 3240 Image - 1920 x 1080 Video - QuickTime Motion JPEG - HDMI - PictBridge)


Our Score:



  • 16x zoom lens (24 - 384mm)
  • inbuilt GPS
  • 3D shooting mode
  • Touch screen
  • Good image quality


  • Expensive
  • Touchscreen can be fiddly
  • Capture/Playback switch can get in the way

Key Features

  • 16x zoom lens (24 - 384mm)
  • 14.2 megapixel sensor
  • Touchscreen and physical controls
  • Inbuilt GPS
  • 3D shooting mode
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £281.31

If you're restricted to just the one lens on a camera yet shoot a multitude of subjects, better make it a jack of all trades with as broad a focal range as possible. Now the question is, how to shoehorn that into a camera that will still fit in your pocket?

Panasonic thinks it has the answer in its Lumix DMC-TZ20 (also known as the DMC-ZS10 outside of Europe), which newly tops its 'TZ' range of so-called 'travel zooms'. Previous models have seen its maker heralded as something of a trailblazer for slim(ish) bodied compacts with big zoom power, though in truth Ricoh has been quietly ploughing a similar furrow for a decade now. Nonetheless all three of this camera's predecessors, the TZ10, TZ8 and TZ7 earned themselves recommended awards.

Coming after the TZ10, and adopting a new 15.1 megapixel 'Mos' sensor said to better suppress noise, the 14.1 effective megapixel TZ20 sits just above the equally new TZ18 with which it shares many features. Optical zoom power has also been boosted to 16x, which is also accessible in movie mode, whilst pocket sized proportions are maintained by virtue of the lens being folded within the body when not in use. The reach can be further extended to 21x equivalent via the digital zoom, and, if you don't mind resolution dropping to three megapixels, boosted to an equivalent 33.8x via Panasonic's Extra Optical Zoom option. The lower resolution is because only the central part of the sensor is being used; in effect the camera is making a crop. So though it's an impressive figure to stick on the box, there is a downside.

Whilst the headline 16x zoom sounds good in isolation, it's worth bearing in mind that Fujifilm has had its 15x optical zoom FinePix F300EXR available since last year - to name just one stand-out competitor. The Fuji is both sleeker in design, being just 22.9mm at its 'thickest' point (to the Panasonic TZ20's 33.4mm), and altogether sexier (thanks to a double gloss finish) if you are purely looking for the best compromise of big zoom in a small camera body.

That said, the Panasonic has a couple of advantages over the Fuji, of which probably the most noteworthy is the TZ20's built-in GPS antenna for storing longitude and latitude coordinates in the image file's Exif data. Like the same feature on the ruggedised Lumix DMC-FT3, location info is provided for 203 countries and more than a million landmarks. The other draw over the Fuji is the TZ20's Full HD video, against the F300EXR's 1280x720 pixels clips. This comes with stereo sound via top-mounted microphones, not unheard of on a pocket compact but still fairly unusual, plus the choice of the highly compressed AVCHD or more widely compatible Motion JPEG video formats. HDMI output is also provided by a port hidden under a side flap for connecting it up directly to a flat panel TV.

As with the rest of the recent Lumix models, we also get a dedicated camcorder-like button for instant video recording. Although because flipping between capture mode and playback is controlled by a slider switch, you can't instantly record unless you happen to have the correct capture option physically selected at the time. The shooting mode wheel, meanwhile, houses program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes, for when you want various degrees of manual control. You also get a user customisable setting, no less than three scene mode options plus, plus, for those who just want to point and shoot and let the camera reliably decide which parameters suit which scene or subject, there's the most prominently marked mode here: intelligent Auto. The new mode on the dial that jumps out at you however is 3D mode; a new feature is shares with the equally new FT3 and FX77 snappers.

Like its two siblings, the TZ20 doesn't actually feature twin lenses nor twin sensors, both featured on the Fujifilm Real 3D W3, to achieve its stereoscopic effect. Rather, in 3D mode the camera composites an image using a sequence of up to 20 individual frames. With 3D mode selected, the user simply presses the shutter release as normal and pans with the camera in the direction of the arrow provided on screen – easy enough for any beginner. This prompts a machine gun-like flurry of shot-taking, the camera automatically generating the end result and saving it as an MPO file. As with the 3D Panorama mode on rival Sony Cyber-shot cameras, this file isn't actually viewable (yet) in all its glory unless you own a 3D TV, as the TZ20's back screen remains resolutely two-dimensional.


March 17, 2011, 2:57 pm

"So perhaps the major nettle to grasp here is the TZ20's cost, with a high-ish street price of around £350 on launch making it just £50 or so cheaper than a starter digital SLR with kit lens. Moreover, you can pick up other very capable super zooms, like Panasonic's TZ20, for under £200 so, which until the price of this model drops it what we'd be inclined to do. "

I assume you mean TZ10 "like Panasonic's TZ10, for under £200 so" ???


March 17, 2011, 5:40 pm

Just wondering how you'd rate the video quality in the HD recording mode?
Can you zoom without losing audio and is the O.I.S effective at keeping a steady video picture?
(My days of lugging a DSLR and seperate video camera around are over. Nowadays I'm in the market for small "do it all" compact device that I'll always have with me. I can accept some trade-offs in image quality and video quality as long as they are not too pronounced.)

Tom MacFarlane

March 17, 2011, 8:13 pm


Also consider the Canon PowerShot SX220 which is about £70 cheaper in the UK.

Tony Walker

March 17, 2011, 9:37 pm


Take a brilliant camera - the TZ7 - change the superb sensor for an inferior one and increase the price to get the TZ10. Then take that one, put what looks like an even worse sensor in it, change the awesome lens for something that looks like it's been recycled from a beer bottle and **then** have the cheek to charge even more.

What are you doing Panasonic !!!!


March 17, 2011, 10:00 pm

Like Maxik, I am left wondering how the camera's video features stack up.

I've always bought separate Video Camera's, but with the increasing convergence of still & video technology, it'd be useful if TR could cover this off in their reviews.

Similarly, with multi-functional/all-in-one printers, there's usually very little coverage of features beyond basic printing (and then only with default driver settings).

Theese are not a criticisms, just suggestions that might bring increased readership through some value-add to the template-like review format TR have adopted. Formats are good - but they do need to evolve over time.


March 18, 2011, 4:20 am

I've had a TZ 3,5,6, and currently 7 so am fairly well equipped to answer the above questions ;)
I think the video is excellent, zoom is active and sound records while zooming, something you don't find on most zoom compacts. The zoom itself is quiet enough that it doesn't detract from video. I bought the TZ7 over the TZ10 and never regretted it, much cheaper, image quality identical, 12x zoom is plenty for most situations, and I have spare batteries :)

An example of the video http://www.youtube.com/watc... which I took at 6-12x zoom, unstabilised, in the barbican theatre in show lighting, at a significant distance. This isn't even at max quality. Considering I was 25m+ from the musicians, I think the sound comes out fantastically! Also there are stereo mics which you again don't get from all that many compacts.

Battery life is excellent, 300 odd photos per charge although the big zoom kills power if you keep zooming in and out. Rapid autofocus, good on moving objects, decent indoors compared to most equivalent cameras. I'm not a pro by any means but most of the time you get sharp, well coloured, balanced photos. There isn't that much by way of tinkering with settings possible but that can be a pro for some people.

All told, TZ7 is a fantastic piece of kit, cheap to boot. Buy one as a pocketable second camera or a main camera for casual users and you will be a happy bunny :)

chris elliott

March 18, 2011, 2:10 pm

I'm dissapointed with the 20. I've owned the 5, 7, and 10(No I don't collect them! The 5 got smashed by Delta airlines, and the 10 got nicked!), and I assumed that the 20 would be a good step forward.
It isn't
The sensor is so noisy, that for the first time ever, not only do I have shots that are unusable, but you can even see the poor quality on the screen at the back!
All the new "Features" aren't anything to write home about. The various hyper zoom options give a truly horrible result-and you might as well just crop the image to give a higher perceived zoom. The low light level options are really horrible, and the new touch screen is really badly implemented.
I could carry on, but the best advice is DON'T ASSUME, as I did, that a new offering from Panasonic would be better than the last-'cos it ain't. Go check it out in a retailer yourself


March 19, 2011, 7:20 pm

After doing all the usual reviews and write ups I have had a TZ20 for three days which was to replace my trusty TZ7. What a mistake!
The sensor is really noisy and the picture quality is not as good. But the worst thing that I have found is the touch sensitive screen. Turn the camera on and just inadvertently place a finger on the display and the camera takes a picture! I have looked through the manual to see if there is a setting to turn off this setting, but have not found anything as yet!
I would be interested to hear of anyone else experiencing this problem, or is it just me, my camera or a software glitch?
Oh, and the GPS has still not managed to find enough satellites for it to work, and yes I was outdoors.
Having had a TZ7 since they first came out, Panasonic seems to have lost their way with the TZ20.

Unhappy bunny


March 31, 2011, 5:36 pm

Power-hungry camera, certainly when using GPS, and TINY battery. Budget for buying a spare. Echo comments here about noisy sensor.

simple simon

April 7, 2011, 1:27 pm

Thanks everyone for your comments - I have a TZ3 and for a still image camera am delighted with it. 99.9% of the time I get excellent results. But its video mode is only 840x480 VGA with 8 bit mono sound so I am now looking for a combined digicam with better video. Having read comments here I can see that newer variants are not neccessarily better. Also, who wants / needs big brother 24/7 tracking with GPS? Simon


May 17, 2011, 6:51 pm

The TZ7 and TZ10 use the same batteries. I have both these models.


May 17, 2011, 7:02 pm

It's been really useful reading all the readers comments here. I have a Lumix TZ7, and a Lumix TZ 10. After reading all about the pros and cons of the TZ 20, the specs are maybe just to stay ahead of the competition. I have tried the camera, the 3D mode is interesting, the touch screen is a nuisance, but the comments about picture quality dropping with max zoom, and lens quality differing from the TZ7/10, maybe i will just stick to the 7 and 10., as the touch screen is enough to put me off. I will never ever part with the TZ7. p.s. My wife has a new Panasonic DMC FS 35. I can't find any comments on this site about it.

singh kami

August 22, 2012, 10:49 pm

Dear All Please note

Panasonic DMC Tz20 is the third class camera d'note buy this camera
picture quality bade pure night mode allways dark picture only
i was sent to panasonic service center two time this camera for
repair within 6 months i sujjest to all of one please do not to go
with panasonic camera very badd camera i have no word for this
camera is my bp is go high after purchased this third class camera
oh my god very horrible camera buy any onether brand camera rather than panasonic DMC TZ20

Neil Harvey

July 23, 2014, 9:29 pm

I have had a DMC TZ20 for almost 2 years and it goes everywhere with me as my second camera. It has taken thousands of images and I have yet to find a fault or annoyance with the camera.
I have read comments from other users about touch screen issues, but I'd had the camera for months before I even bothered to try using it. Having tried it, I felt more comfortable using the menu system as it was the same as the TZ10 I was used to. I still have my TZ10 but just leave it in my car as a spare and it never gets used because the TZ20 has not let me down.
Yes, the GPS is power hungry but I'm aware of it and have it 'off' most of the time. I always carry a spare battery (which is the same as for the TZ10), but on a days shooting of stills, I have never needed to change or replace the battery. No probs with noise, either from the sensor or on my zoomed images so I can't find anything to complain about.
Very happy with the wide-angle which is great for photographing building and the 16x zoom has provided more that adequate pics of aircraft.
If I had to find fault, it would be that it does not take good macro shots in poor light and there you have it! Otherwise it is perfect for my needs.

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