Panasonic Lumix TZ57 (£120)
What’s the story?
Huge surprise here, folks: this is a small camera with a big zoom – just like all the others in this test. While not as slinky as the Canon or Nikon snappers, the TZ57 will happily sit in an inner jacket pocket ready to be whipped out at a moment’s notice.
The big differentiator with this camera is its LCD screen, which can be flipped up 180 degrees to face forwards. That means you can point both the TZ57’s lens and screen at your face at the same time and, in theory, take better self portraits. And you don’t even need to press the shutter button to do so: a simple wink of your eye will trigger the camera when the screen is in selfie mode.
So if you’re someone who knows their “good” side from their bad, and has spent far too long perfecting their duckface, Panasonic’s is almost certainly the compact for you.
The TZ57 has a small 16MP sensor and produces stills and videos of similar quality to the other cameras here. You’re not going to be able to achieve totally noise-free images here, even by shooting in bright sunlight. Unless you’re zooming in on your computer screen or making poster-sized prints, the graininess won't prove problematic until you get up to ISO 800.
This Panasonic also has a tendency to underexpose images a touch, but again it’s nothing to cause undue concern: the images can easily be brightened up by upping the exposure compensation or tweaking a little on your computer afterwards.
Low-light shots come out fairly well too, at least if you use the handheld night mode which takes several images and melds them together to create a cleaner picture.