In general the Panasonic Lumix TZ40 offers a good level of general performance in use. The camera powers up in under two seconds, while the zoom can be extended to the maximum focal length in under four seconds, which is entirely respectable.
The touchscreen is generally prompt, with sensitivity and responsiveness difficult to fault, although it does present a few issues. The buttons on the touchscreen itself aren’t as large as they could be, and this impinges on its usability. For example, the screen features a toggle that allows for control of the zoom, and unfortunately the zoom toggle itself isn’t really large enough to offer a good level of control. All of the touchscreen buttons could do with being larger.
If you own either a smartphone or tablet, you can access a whole host of extra functions, through the Panasonic Image App. Once installed, configuration between the app and the camera is quick and simple.
The app is perfect for showcasing your images on a larger device, or for wirelessly transferring your images before sharing or uploading to social media. The Panasonic TZ40’s Wi-Fi connectivity also offers wireless control over the TZ40 from a smartphone or tablet. Although the control isn’t as instant as we’d have liked, it’s really useful to be able to change exposure and aperture settings on the fly from a remote device.
During testing we found the NFC functionality of the camera to be more disappointing. In fact, we were unable to get the TZ40 to connect to an Android device using the NFC technology at all. We contacted Panasonic regarding the issue and they confirmed that this was a common fault with early review samples of the TZ40 they were looking to address, and by the time that retail units hit the shelves the issue will have been resolved.
As has been the case with previous models in the TZ series, the Panasonic TZ40 delivers quality images with impressive reliability. Colours are generally bright and vibrant, with no signs of this diminishing as the ISO range is increased. The TZ40’s white balance system is also solid, and when set to the Auto setting it generally offers an accurate perception of colour temperature. If you’re unhappy with the colours recorded, or are just looking to experiment with colour, then 14 creative colour modes are on hand.
As the TZ40 features an increased resolution on the TZ30, but maintains the same physical sensor size, you could be forgiven for thinking that noise at high ISO settings would be an issue. The good news is that the TZ40 generally handles noise well, no doubt in some part due to the implementation on Panasonic’s Wavelet noise reduction technology.
Noise-free results are seen between ISO 100 and 800, although colour noise begins to appear at ISO 1600. Above this noise does become more of an issue, and although this is to be expected, it’s worth avoiding the expanded ISO 6400 setting altogether.
The Panasonic TZ40 features the standard range of metering modes, namely Multi, Centre Weighted and Spot. When using the Multi setting, the TZ40 displays a tendency to expose correctly for the shadow areas and as a result detail in highlights can sometimes burn out. As there’s no Raw capture functionality, it’s often the case that you have to resort to utilising exposure compensation to maintain detail in bright lighting conditions.
The Panasonic Lumix TZ40 arrives at the same retail price as the TZ30 at launch. When you consider the added functionality – namely the connectivity features – as well as the all-round improvements to the specification, you have to say that then TZ40 is an attractive proposition.
On the whole the additions to the feature-set are successful and welcome, while the more general improvements are also positive. That’s not to say that the TZ40 isn’t without its flaws – there are a few niggles with design and the lack of Raw functionality is a real bug, meaning that it’s difficult to really consider the TZ40 as a true enthusiast option.
However, the long zoom, great handling and simple menu system, along with the excellent and reliable image quality, all add up to mean that the TZ40 maintains the TZ series’s position at the top of the travel compact tree.