The TM10 is primarily aimed at the point-and-shoot user, and its size precludes the features that make its higher-end siblings such tantalising propositions. Therefore, there’s no lens ring, no accessory shoe, and no minijacks for an external microphone or headphones. Only a smattering of buttons offer discrete functions, including ones for cycling through the OIS modes and toggling Intelligent Auto and the PRE-REC video buffering system. This constantly spools footage to memory, which is tacked onto the beginning of a recording, so if you hit the button too late you won’t miss an important event.
Everything else requires a trip to the touch-sensitive LCD, which contains Panasonic’s usual comprehensive range of manual configuration options. In auto mode, the AFAE system is available for a little more control. Simply touch a spot in the frame to indicate a reference point for focus and exposure. The AFAE reference can even be linked to the TM10’s face detection system, allowing focus and exposure to track a moving human subject. We’ve found this works reasonably well, with only a small amount of lag. You can also access backlight compensation and tele macro mode via the touch screen.
Further assistance for point-and-shoot users is provided by the Intelligent Auto system. This attempts to detect conditions and set scene modes accordingly, such as Low Light mode when illumination drops, and Portrait mode when human faces are detected. In good lighting, the Intelligent Contrast system is invoked to bring out details in shadows and highlights. The Shooting Guide also pops up messages when you perform potentially jarring camera moves such as panning too quickly.
Switch to manual mode and yet more options appear. You can adjust shutter and iris independently, and add up to 18dB of gain on top of a fully open aperture. Manual focusing operates via the touch-screen too, so is rather fiddly to use, although there is an Assist function. This magnifies a central rectangle within the frame for fine-tuning. White balance options include two indoor and two outdoor presets, plus fully manual configuration. You can also enable soft skin mode and colour night view with the camcorder set to manual.
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