The Panasonic TZ10 is the company’s compact superzoom model, a pint-sized snapper that totes a 12x optical zoom. That’s like having a 25mm to 300mm lens in your pocket, meaning you can capture a wide landscape vista one moment and close in on far off detail the next.
And it’s not just for stills – you can zoom the full range while capturing 720p movies to boot.
Temple of zoom
The TZ10 also sports an “Intelligent Zoom”, increasing the range to 16x through the use of clever resolution upscaling tech – but we still prefer the results with the old-fashioned optical zoom.
And it’s worth noting that there are bigger optical zooms available in compacts, such as the 14x monster on the Canon SX210 IS.
Like most Panasonic cameras, the TZ10 is beautifully easy to use. Want to point and shoot? Just flick the mode dial to Intelligent Auto, which uses its electronic brain to work out what you’re trying to capture, tweaking settings accordingly.
But if it’s complex and versatile you want, that’s not a problem: there’s the full range of manual, aperture, shutter and program shooting modes, plus a host of scene modes. You can also simply hit the video button to capture movies at any time – there’s no need to set the dial to do so.
Hit the Q.Menu button and the TZ10’s 3in LCD takes on a supremely simple menu system. Settings like white balance, ISO, autofocus mode can be swiftly altered using just the cursor control and OK button.
Solid image quality
Image quality is good, if not standout excellent. Still shots in good light are detailed and noise-free enough, with nicely accurate colours, but there’s little in the way of magic to distinguish the TZ10 from its peers.
Its low-light, no-flash abilities are pretty average, too, with no rear illuminated sensor tech to boost them beyond acceptable.
Likewise, the 720p HD videos are perfectly fine by the standards of compact cameras, but those expecting rapier-sharp Hollywood grade footage are likely to be disappointed.
You want extra features? As with the Sony HX5V, the TZ10 packs a GPS receiver. This allows you to automatically geotag your photos with ultra-precise coordinates.
Why? Well, it means you can plot your holiday snaps on a map when you get home, so in years to come you’ll never forget exactly where you were.
While it’s every bit as solid and elegant as the Sony HX5V and stuffed with some great features – the autofocus tracking is particularly handy for locking onto an erratically moving subject like a dog, plane or kid and keeping them in focus – we reckon the Sony’s low-light skills and shooting modes like Sweep Panorama give it the slight edge over the TZ10.