Panasonic Lumix ZS30/TZ40 Review - Digital Photography School

Panasonic Lumix ZS30/TZ40 Review

Panasonic Lumix ZS30:TZ40 Review.jpg

For camera makers the bad news is that smart phones and their inbuilt cameras are hurting the sales of compact digicams.

The good news is that it probably means more people are taking more pictures and shooting video — but not with digital cameras.

Not for me. Ergonomics comes into it: I find holding a smart phone far from an ideal way to fire off a shot and even worse when it comes to shooting video.

With the latter in mind, let’s face it, a video camcorder is the ideal shape for shooting video, digicams/DSLRs and CSCs come in second and way down the list is a smart phone or, even worse, a tablet.

Then, when it comes to a camera like the TZ40 (or the ZS30 as it is known in North America), the game changes radically.
Panasonic Lumix ZS30:TZ40 Back.jpg

Panasonic Lumix ZS30:TZ40 top.jpg

Panasonic Lumix TZ40/ZS30 Features

Let’s look at the specs:

The lens is designed by Leica. Its range is 20x, zooming from a 35 SLR equivalent of a wide 24mm to a tele 480mm focal length.
Harbour Bridge full tele 4.JPG

Harbour Bridge full wide 3.JPG

The camera is stabilised and compensates for five types of movement: horizontal, vertical, axis of rotation, vertical rotation and horizontal rotation. So there, smart phones!

The CMOS sensor captures a maximum image size of 4876×3264 leading to a 41x28cm print.

Video is captured at the Full HD resolution of the 1920×1080 pixels in either MPEG4 or AVCHD formats. And note: you can shoot stills mid video recording.

The DMC-TZ40 can easily ‘talk’ to a compatible smart phone easily, allowing still and video shooting to be controlled from the smart phone screen with the help of the supplied Panasonic
Image App for iOS and Android phones. Users can also see what the camera lens is seeing live from their phone at 30 fps, then set zoom, focus, shutter release, shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation, as well as capture video remotely.
$10 note.jpg

Opera House and ferry 4.JPG

Level Shot is a feature new to the TZ Series which detects the horizontal angle of view and keeps the image straight: useful for shooting ‘blind’. The video is cropped to allow the feature to come into play. I managed to make this feature work but found the straightening effect to be relatively minor. Still, it may help many a topsy turvy videographer!

Besides this, there’s also an on screen indicator for camera level.
The TZ40 will shoot at 10 fps in full resolution using the mechanical shutter and 5 fps with continuous AF.

The GPS function shows the name of the country, state, city and key landmarks using an internal data library. The area information covers over 200 countries or regions and more than a million landmarks worldwide.

The 7.6cm LCD screen is a touch screen, which makes it very useful when you’re shooting in a tight corner.

Panasonic Lumix TZ40/ZS30 Controls

The camera is small and light, only gaining depth when the lens protrudes.

Top deck: centre is the mode dial with positions for intelligent auto, PASM, two custom settings, panorama shooting, scene and creative control modes; the zoom lever is centred by the shutter button and flanked by the power and video record buttons.

Rear: WiFi button; map/exposure button; replay; jog dial with positions for exposure correction, self timer, flash options and macro … the menu button is in the dial’s centre; beneath this is a button for display options and another for quick menu access.

The scene and creative control modes are interesting.
Scene modes.jpg

The former offers 19 options: soft skin; scenery; babies or pets; starry sky; handheld night shots etc. Purists may scoff at these, but the options sure help novices to bring home the bacon!
Creative Control.jpg

Creative control: you get a choice of retro, expressive, high key, etc. Creative control lets users apply a filter effect while shooting, while another mode, creative retouch allows effects to be added to shots after capture.

In the creative panorama mode you can add the above filters post-shoot.

In High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode the camera takes an undisclosed number of shots at different exposure levels and then automatically merges them to preserve details in the highlights, mid-tones and shadows.
Menu.jpg

The menu display is clear and obvious.

Startup Time

Startup from cold took just over a second; follow on shots came as fast as the shutter button was hit.

Distortion

A good performance, with no evidence of distortion at either the wide or tele ends of the zoom

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 ISO Tests

Panasonic DMC-TZ40 ISO100.JPG

Panasonic DMC-TZ40 ISO400.JPG

Panasonic DMC-TZ40 ISO800.JPG

Panasonic DMC-TZ40 ISO1600.JPG

Panasonic DMC-TZ40 ISO3200.JPG

Panasonic DMC-TZ40 ISO6400.JPG

Noise began to appear at ISO 1600 and the image became a little murky.

By ISO 6400 noise was well up, the image even murkier and definition far lower.
Swimmers 30_.JPG

Panasonic Lumix ZS30/TZ40 Verdict

Quality: above average

Why you’d buy the Panasonic Lumix TZ40/ZS30: small, pocketable; 20x zoom is a useful range; wide range of features; good stabiliser.

Why you wouldn’t: can’t think of any reason!

There is little to fault with this camera, however I question the placement of the video record button a few mills away from the power on/off button. Too often did I hit the one when aiming for the other!

I may have gone overboard on this little device but I hope my review serves to remind people that there are well-featured digicams out there that are far superior to smart phones that seemingly offer similar capabilities. Go get ‘em!

Available in black or white.

Panasonic Lumix TZ40/ZS30 Specifications

Image Sensor: 18.1 million effective pixels.
Sensor: 11mm CMOS.
Metering: Multi, centre-weighted, spot.
Lens: Leica DC Vario-Elmar f3.3-6.4/4.3-86mm (24-480mm as 35 SLR equivalent)
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: 15-1/1200 second.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC plus 12 MB internal.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4876×3264 to 480×480.
Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240.
Continuous Shooting: 5 and 10fps.
Viewfinder:7.6cm LCD screen (920,000).
File Formats: JPEG, MPO 3D, MPEG4, AVCHD.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Dimensions: 1205x59x28 WHDmm.
Weight: 198 g (with battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Panasonic Lumix TZ40 at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Panasonic Lumix ZS30/TZ40
Author Rating
4

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Matt Kobelt

    Thanks for the review, Panasonic are really kicking goals I think, the cameras not only work well but look the part too. LX7, GX1, the upcoming LF1 and rumoured GX2 all have it

  • Rene Lumawag

    I have my two-year old LX3 as my back-up to my Nikons and it still work very well in spite of the many unexpected hits onto other hard objects and hard falls on concrete floor and solid grounds (with a leatherette third party case on) while on the job as as photojournalist. I am dreaming of upgrading this old reliable which came to my hands as a gift by a camera store, Funtronics, Gaisano Mall, Davao City, Philippines..

  • http://www.enstarz.com/community/blogs/9133/38184/long-look-at-the-screen-with-daz digiphone

    with the exception of several digital
    cameras SONY compare different zoom, up to five times or 14 times, of course, choose this difference is to be with you money for the price, so you decide to purchase a high
    optical zoom digital camera

  • http://www.karmste01@hotmail.com Mark Stewart

    I need buy a new digital camera

  • http://nomadicsamuel.com Samuel Jeffery

    Thanks for this great review! I remember when this TZ series was sporting 10 times optical zoom. It’s incredible the focal length optical zoom improvements along with the increased wide angle capabilities.

  • J Klein

    Love this camera. Have two (misplaced before a trip and bought a second)
    I think I use it more than my 35mm. Stunning pictures and no worries traveling. Went through three Canon point and shoots before picking up the Lumix against the salesmans recommendation.

  • ryan

    I’m not sure how to take macro pics. It was a simple choice on the zs10
    :-(

  • rockinmama

    I just bought this camera, can I take photos in low light with no flash? I cant find anything in the manual…..thanks

Some older comments

  • ryan

    August 9, 2013 04:55 am

    I'm not sure how to take macro pics. It was a simple choice on the zs10
    :-(

  • J Klein

    June 21, 2013 01:31 am

    Love this camera. Have two (misplaced before a trip and bought a second)
    I think I use it more than my 35mm. Stunning pictures and no worries traveling. Went through three Canon point and shoots before picking up the Lumix against the salesmans recommendation.

  • Samuel Jeffery

    June 15, 2013 11:25 pm

    Thanks for this great review! I remember when this TZ series was sporting 10 times optical zoom. It's incredible the focal length optical zoom improvements along with the increased wide angle capabilities.

  • Mark Stewart

    June 15, 2013 12:24 pm

    I need buy a new digital camera

  • digiphone

    June 14, 2013 04:03 pm

    with the exception of several digital
    cameras SONY compare different zoom, up to five times or 14 times, of course, choose this difference is to be with you money for the price, so you decide to purchase a high
    optical zoom digital camera

  • Rene Lumawag

    June 7, 2013 10:53 pm

    I have my two-year old LX3 as my back-up to my Nikons and it still work very well in spite of the many unexpected hits onto other hard objects and hard falls on concrete floor and solid grounds (with a leatherette third party case on) while on the job as as photojournalist. I am dreaming of upgrading this old reliable which came to my hands as a gift by a camera store, Funtronics, Gaisano Mall, Davao City, Philippines..

  • Matt Kobelt

    June 4, 2013 07:48 am

    Thanks for the review, Panasonic are really kicking goals I think, the cameras not only work well but look the part too. LX7, GX1, the upcoming LF1 and rumoured GX2 all have it

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