Smartphone camera zooms, whether optical or software simulated, may have improved a lot lately, but they still fall short of the reach available on dedicated cams. That’s why Panasonic has just announced two travel cameras with super-versatile zoom lenses for your next summer holiday – the TZ95 compact camera and FZ1000 II bridge cam.
For most people, the more interesting of the two will be the Panasonic TZ95, which succeeds the popular TZ90. It’s a minor upgrade on that camera, with the addition of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and an improved 2.33-million-dot viewfinder (which is much higher res than its 2017 predecessor).
Otherwise, it’s a very similar TZ (or ‘Travel Zoom’) camera with a 20.3-megapixel sensor and a handy 30x optical zoom. That sensor may only be a 1/2.3-inch CMOS chip, which is smaller than the one-inch sensor on the Panasonic TZ100 and FZ1000 II (below), but it’s still big enough to capture high quality snaps in good light.
It also benefits from some of Panasonic’s software software features, including 4K Photo which lets you rattle off a series of shots at 30fps and extract your favourite frame as an 8-megapixel JPEG. Panasonic is keen to highlight the TZ95’s selfie potential too, with its screen able to flip round 180 degrees. Before you roll your eyes and declare it too ‘dumbed down’, it does also shoot in Raw for your painstaking post-processing tweaks.
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You’ll be able to buy the Panasonic TZ95 for £399.99 from the end of April 2019. But will you be opting for its bigger companion instead? Panasonic’s FZ1000 II is a bridge camera that is also keen to flag itself as a fine travel companion.
Bridge cameras are for those who want the handling and controls of a DSLR in a body that doesn’t need interchangeable lenses. That means the FZ1000 II is significantly bigger than the TZ95, but has room for a larger one-inch sensor, which theoretically means better low light performance and dynamic range than Panasonic’s new compact camera.
Another bonus of its size is that there’s room for five-axis optical image stabilisation and a decent viewfinder with 0.74x magnification and a 2.36-million-dot resolution – that’s almost identical the one on the Canon SX70 HS , one of its closest rivals.
On the downside, the FZ1000 II’s larger sensor means it can only manage 16x optical zoom, though its lens’ f/2.8–f/4.0 aperture range is brighter at the lower end than its Canon rival. That means you should theoretically getter better low light performance and superior bokeh in portrait shots.
You’ll be able to buy the Panasonic FZ1000 II for £769.99 from the end of March. That might sound a lot compared to an entry-level DSLR, but Panasonic is hoping its versatility makes it a simpler (and overall cheaper) option than buying something like the Canon 200D.
We’ll bring you full reviews of both cameras ahead of their launches very soon.
What do you think, is there still a place for compact cameras and bridge cams or do smartphones already do enough? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.