Panasonic Lumix TZ90 image quality: Good enough
If there’s a disappointing aspect of the TZ90, it’s the image quality. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s not up to the same lofty standards as the rest of the camera – but it’s not really Panasonic’s fault.
The 20.3MP 2/3in sensor captures fine images in bright light, packed with realistic colours, clean detail and just enough contrast to deliver a punch. When the sun starts to dip, or you head indoors, however, it’s not quite as impressive; speckle chroma noise begins to destroy detail, contrast fades, and despite the effective image stabilisation tech, slower shutter speeds mean anything moving tends to blur.
A lot of this is unavoidable in a camera of this size and in this price bracket. A slightly larger 1in sensor would make a big difference, but likely mean a body that’s harder to fit in your pocket – or a price tag that’ll leave said pocket empty of cash.
Video footage is similarly acceptable without being outstanding. Perhaps I’ve just got too accustomed to the razor-sharp 4K movies captured by Panasonic and Sony’s compact system cameras, but the clips here just don’t offer the same degree of eye-slicing crispness.
For capturing moments during your holiday or day trip, however, it’s much better than any smartphone camera will manage – and of course you get to use that full 30x optical zoom when recording.
Panasonic Lumix TZ90 verdict
While I didn’t find the Lumix TZ90’s image quality blow-my-socks-off stellar, there’s no doubt that, as an all-round do-most-things-really-well camera that fits in your pocket, it’s hard to beat.
Panasonic set out to make a great travel compact here, and it's definitely succeeded. Personally, I’d rather take a slightly bulkier CSC or DSLR on my weekends away, because I prize quality more highly than I do convenience. But for those travelling light, the TZ90 far excels a phone for quality, control and autofocus speed – and then there’s that big old zoom lens…