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Panasonic Lumix TZ40 review

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  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Lumix TZ40

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Impressive zoom for such a compact body
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity welcome
  • Great build quality
  • Effective image stabilisation

Cons

  • Small buttons prove fiddly
  • No Raw capture
  • Small touchscreen icons

Key Features

  • 1/2.3in, 18.1MP high sensitivity MOS sensor
  • 20x optical zoom (24-480mm)
  • ISO 100-6400
  • 1080p Full HD video capture
  • 3in, 920k-dot TFT touchscreen
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £329.99

Introduction

Panasonic’s TZ range has long held top position in the ‘travel’ compact area. It’s a field that has proved increasingly popular with those looking for a compact camera with a more advanced feature set than a smartphone. Top of the list is including large optical zoom while maintaining a compact body.

The Panasonic Lumix TZ40 is the latest addition to this series, and it arrives with an improved specification and a host of new features. Wi-Fi functionality and Near Field Communication (NFC) gain top billing. They allow for simple transmission of photos between various devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The question is; has the addition of these features improved on what was already an excellent travel compact?

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 5

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 - Features

Those looking for a compact camera that can provide a step up from their smartphone want a specification that offers a marked improvement. One area that marks the TZ series out in this regard is its large optical zoom, which the Panasonic Lumix TZ40 has.

The TZ40 features a 20x optical zoom that covers an attractive focal range of 24-480mm in 35mm equivalent terms. The lens itself is supported by Panasonic’s proprietary Hybrid O.I.S. stabilisation system, which offers 5-axis image stabilisation in both stills and video capture.

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 1

The Panasonic Lumix TZ40 features a newly developed high-sensitivity MOS sensor with a resolution of 18.1MP, making it the highest resolution sensor found on any TZ model thus far. The physical size of the sensor remains the same, which raises concern over noise control. This is something Panasonic is clearly aware of, as it has introduction a new ‘Wavelet’ noise reduction technology that, in conjunction with Panasonic’s Venus image processor, promises an improved level of image noise reduction. The ISO range itself runs from ISO 100 to 6400 – a whole stop improvement on its predecessor.

Another TZ40 upgrade is found on the rear of the camera. The 3in touchscreen now features a resolution of 920k-dots – as opposed to the 460k dots on the TZ30 – bringing it firmly in line with the competition. The touchscreen also now features tap-to-focus – by simply pressing the LCD screen you can assign the AF point desired, resulting in a tactile shooting experience. Panasonic Lumix TZ40 2

The focus system itself is Panasonic’s ‘Light Speed AF’ set-up, promising focus acquisition in less than 0.1 seconds – a speed so fast that any delay is barely discernable. Speed is also in evidence when burst shooting, as the TZ40 offers a maximum burst shooting speed of 10fps, or 6fps with AF tracking deployed. Unfortunately this burst only lasts for around six frames, however this should be ample to capture most short bursts of action. Completing the impressive specification is full HD video capture at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and videos can be stored in either AVCHD or MP4 format.

One disappointing missing element of the Panasonic TZ40’s specification is Raw capture. Previous models in the TZ series have been broadly criticised for the exclusion of Raw file compatibility, and once again this is the case with the TZ40, which is a disappointment.

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 - Design

Previous generations of the TZ series offered little with regards to development in their design. This approach has been altered with the Panasonic Lumix TZ40, as the latest compact features several noticeable design tweaks. The TZ40’s body has a pronounced rubberised handgrip that offers a much more secure grip of the camera. The introduction of a new On/Off switch and playback button both benefit the ease of operation too.

The Panasonic TZ40’s menu system has also been redesigned, now featuring five intelligently selected sub-categories that offer quick access most of the camera’s functions. That includes wireless connectivity and GPS functionality, which need to be easy to use to be worthwhile.Panasonic Lumix TZ40 6

While it’s generally a positive picture in terms of design, the Panasonic TZ40 isn’t completely without flaw. Unfortunately the buttons found of the rear of the camera are a touch on the small side, and as a result can prove problematic to press while shooting. One benefit of the small buttons is the TZ40 maintains a slim profile an aspect which is also aided by the completely retractable lens.

mode11

April 16, 2013, 9:25 am

With a minuscule 18MP sensor and 20x optics, they probably have to use every trick in the book to process the image - so enabling RAW might not be as worthwhile as it sounds.

It's a bit pointless anyway - if you're that bothered about ultimate quality, a tiny sensored super zoom is probably not your tool of choice, and it's less effort to just 'resort' to dial in -2/3 EV on the day you buy it (as with all compacts). If the auto white balance is good (i.e. improved over older Panasonic compacts), drastic image changes shouldn't be necessary anyway, and minor adjustments can be made to a JPEG just fine.

Tin City

April 20, 2013, 4:21 pm

Really awesome camera.

Foreply Only

May 4, 2013, 7:17 am

I need Pana to include manual or semi manual focus. It is helpful for taking photo via a dirty mirror in some places.

Maybe, the reason for no raw is that the slow processing time to record all data to the memory and memory issue. I see one from Fujifilm having a limit on RAW function to 8 mega pixels. I quite believe that it is possible to produce a small sensor with a better quality. In the past, people said that no way to produce MOS IC with a MOS transistor at a size less than 5 micron. No indirect band gap semiconductor device is able to emit visible light.

Today, 5 micron is too large and the emition of visible light of silicon seems to be possible.

rach

January 2, 2014, 8:53 am

I have a TZ 40 and I don't like the photos it takes they are fuzzy and out of focus. my Tz 20 takes much better photos you just point and shoot and the photos are great .I wouldn't recommend the TZ 40 at all very disappointed with this camera.

Reddy

October 31, 2015, 6:06 pm

Sounds like you don't know how to work your camera, and you've set the ISO too high. I highly doubt the sensor has changed much between those models.

Reddy

October 31, 2015, 6:07 pm

RAW on a compact is absolutely pointless as 99.9% of users will have no use for it whatsoever. Good on Panasonic to not try to cram pro specs into an entry level camera. High qual jpeg is perfectly fine most of the time anyway.

Reddy

October 31, 2015, 6:08 pm

Um, clean the mirror? What are you taking pictures in the mirror for anyway...

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