Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 camera (preview)

We get our hands on Panasonic's latest Travel Zoom compact camera, the LUMIX DMC-TZ30

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 camera (preview)
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 camera (preview)
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 camera (preview)
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 camera (preview)
  • Expert Rating

    Not yet rated


  • -


  • -

Bottom Line


Would you buy this?

We got a chance to use the Lumix DMC-TZ30 around Norfolk Island in a limited hands-on session, courtesy of an all-expenses paid trip by Panasonic. We were blessed with mostly sunny weather on the trip, but we did also experience some rain, heavy cloud cover and mist, allowing us to put the TZ30 to the test in a variety of conditions.

Note: We have also completed a full review of a production model TZ30, which shows more image samples:Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 camera.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 is the successor to the Lumix DMC-TZ20 at the top of the company's Travel Zoom product range and it will go on sale in Australia during April with a retail price of $499. It has a 14-megapixel MOS sensor in it, along with a 20x Leica zoom lens that can shoot from a wide angle of 24mm, and which has a super-zoom range of 480mm. Panasonic says the lens is the slimmest in its class and that the TZ30 is lighter than the TZ20 — all we know for sure is that it wasn't uncomfortable to carry around in a pants pocket for a few hours in a row.

The TZ30 is a versatile camera because of its long range, which allows you to capture very distant images at a big size and with good details. The quality of the images taken at maximum zoom will depend on the available light as the camera won't be able to use its widest aperture. Instead, it will have to compensate with a slower shutter, which could cause some blur, or with a higher ISO speed, which could introduce lots of noise. Furthermore, heat haze could also make objects look poorly defined. We're pleased with the results that we saw when using the camera in bright daylight though. We think the camera will go well when used to capture details in tall buildings, for example.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 sample images

This shot was taken at the wide, 24mm angle. You can barely make out that there is a green car in this shot.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 sample images

At 480mm, the car and the buildings show up relatively clearly with the exception of some heat haze.

Even though the camera has a huge lens, we didn't notice too much distortion in the shots that we took, although we'll have to take a closer look at this once we get to play with the camera for a longer period of time.

As for colour reproduction, the TZ30 looks to be capable of capturing vibrant images that should "pop" off the screen, especially if taken on a sunny day, and the camera handled most exposures very well, but did struggle at times during overcast conditions. There are plenty of scene modes you can choose from to help you get the shot you're after, including an HDR (high dynamic range) mode, which takes multiple exposures and overlays them in a single image to bring out details across the board.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 sample images

This scene was shot using Program mode.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 sample images

We then used HDR for the same scene. You can see that there is a slight change in luminance. This mode won't replace manual, multiple exposure, post-processed HDR techniques if you're into that sort of thing, but it's a nice little feature for those of us who aren't very good at editing photos on a computer.

One of the scene modes that we think everyone will get a kick out of is the sweeping panorama mode. It's simple to use because the camera does most of the hard work (that is, the stitching) on its own; all you have to is pan the camera. We were practically able to get a 360 degree shot when using this mode and the resulting quality was more than pleasing. Because multiple shots are taken at a rapid rate and then overlapped to form one long image, moving objects can sometimes get cut off, which can either be a hilarious result, or a ruinous one.

TZ30 panorama mode

The resolution of this panorama image is 864 pixels high and 7200 pixels wide. We recommend viewing it in full on Flickr. You can make out only some very faint vertical lines where the images were joined, and some "cuts" where objects or people were moving. Vertical panoramas are also possible.

We found the performance of the Lumix DMC-TZ30 to be swift when focusing and taking shots in rapid succession, and we only made the camera crash once when trying to bring up GPS information for a photo. When enabled, the GPS function will record the coordinates of each image and show you where they were taken on the built-in map.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 sample images
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 sample images

The camera appeared to get the coordinates correct, but, unfortunately, Norfolk Island didn't appear on the map when we zoomed in on it.

Physically, the Lumix DMC-TZ30 feels good in the hand and has a logical control structure. Like the DMC-TZ20, it has a touch-enabled screen, which allows you to swipe photos during playback, and to point at the screen to focus and capture images without pressing the shutter button. It can be an annoying feature, especially if you're used to constantly wiping the screen to keep it clean. The 3in, 460000-dot LCD screen itself can be hard to view in bright daylight (like many other camera screens on the market), and it's in a fixed position.

Overall, the Lumix DMC-TZ30 looks to be another four-star travel camera from Panasonic, at least, but we won't know until we spend more time with it. Its image quality at the pixel level is quite clear for a compact camera, it captures vibrant colours, it's very easy to use and its lens is one of the most versatile you will find, whether you want to use it for macros while getting within a few centimetres of your subject, or to bring objects in the distance close to you. However, it can struggle with dynamic range if the lighting conditions are too tough and you're using automatic modes, with chromatic aberration becoming noticeable.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 sample images

This image was taken in program mode. You can see that the scene isn't badly overexposed apart from some blown highlights, but the tree branches are a little unattractive thanks to noticeable chromatic aberration at the high contrast areas.

The author of this hands-on review was a guest of Panasonic's on Norfolk Island, where he got to road test the company's 2012 digital camera and camcorder models.

Image gallery: view more images taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments





TerraCycle Zero Waste Box Pens and Markers Small

Learn more >

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?