Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ2 review

£186
Price when reviewed

With its 6-megapixel CCD, the Lumix DMC-TZ2 has one of the lowest resolutions here, and at 247g it’s also the heaviest. However, it produces great pictures, and its weight comes partly from a robust metal case and a 10x Leica optical zoom lens.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ2 review

In our outdoor test, the TZ2 showed great sensitivity to light levels: detail was retained in dark areas, while lighter elements seemed to positively shine, and an examination in Photoshop revealed only minimal clipping. Colours were bold without being oversaturated, and the TZ2’s images were among the cleanest of any camera on test. Indeed, you’d be hard-pushed to distinguish a print from the TZ2 from any of the 10-megapixel cameras, even when blown up to A4.

In macro mode, the TZ2 showed a tendency to produce subdued colours, but otherwise the picture was spectacular, with outstanding sharpness and dynamic contrast. Predictably, it fared less well in our night shots, but still managed to keep down noise levels to a gentle grain. We were unable to make full use of the immense zoom in the failing light, however. Even with a tripod, images were soft and the anti-shake mode couldn’t compensate for the effects of shaky hands at 10x magnification.

One area in which the TZ2 was a disappointment was its movie mode: the image was blurred by compression, and sound was noisy and distorted. Overall, though, the TZ2 is a desirable piece of kit, almost encroaching on super-zoom territory. It betters the Nikon Coolpix S10, which also has a 10x zoom and a 6-megapixel CCD, since it offers a choice of metering modes and up to ISO 3,200. The zoom itself offers a true wide-angle of 28mm compared to the Nikon’s 38mm.

The TZ2 can also claim a clear, responsive user interface; fast start-up and shot-to-shot times; and a solid battery life of 300 shots between charges. Its chunky design won’t please everybody, and it doesn’t offer advanced controls such as shutter/aperture priority or bracketing. Still, a £186 camera this size with a 10x zoom and great picture quality isn’t to be sniffed at.

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