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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40 - Superzoom Cameras

1/24/2014 11:40:00 AM
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Excels for features and performance but beaten for image and video quality.

A previous favorite, the TZ40 can’t quite grab an award in this test, but there are still plenty of good reasons to choose it. The Wi-Fi implementation is as good as we’ve seen. NFC is built in for automatic configuration with compatible Android devices, although it’s not hard doing it manually with devices lacking NFC. Photos and MPEG4 videos can be transferred across, ready to upload to social media services.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40

The Android and iOS apps also serve as a remote control, with a live view and the ability to move the autofocus point using the phone’s touchscreen.

The GPS function is a step up from the norm, too. GPS radios often take a while to calculate their position when they’re moved to a new location, but cameras are often used for only a couple of minutes at a time. One option is to leave the GPS radio on even when the camera is off, but this drains the battery. The TZ40 takes a more enlightened approach, with clever power-management tools providing the best of both worlds.

The GPS function is a step up from the norm

The GPS function is a step up from the norm

The TZ40 is quick, at 0.8 seconds between shots. It clocked 8.5fps in its full-resolution mode, although it lasted for only six frames before stopping. More useful is the 4.5fps mode, which refocuses between each shot. It lasted for seven frames before continuing at 1.5fps.

1080p videos are recorded at 25fps or 50fps. Otherwise, the video mode has decent picture quality and a clear soundtrack, but is not quite up to the Canon SX280 HS’s lofty standards.

Photo quality is our main area of concern, not because it’s bad but because it falls short of the standards set by the SX280 HS. Brightly lit shots looked fine in isolation, but some fine detail was being lost due to heavy noise reduction. It’s a classic case of an excessive megapixel count resulting in less rather than more detail.

The TZ40 is quick, at 0.8 seconds between shots

The TZ40 is quick, at 0.8 seconds between shots

This was exaggerated when shooting into the shade at the long end of the zoom, where the shutter and ISO speeds were raised to avoid shake. It was an issue in low light, too. Indoor shots taken without the flash looked fine when resized to fit a computer screen, but on close inspection looked scruffy and vague.

This might ordinarily have knocked the TZ40 out of the running, but we must admit that the superb performance and great features make it a little easier to forgive. If you only ever view photos on screens, the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks.

If you only ever view photos on screens, the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks

If you only ever view photos on screens, the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks

Specifications

·         Rating: 5/6

·         Megapixels: 18 megapixels

·         Sensor size: 1/2.3in

·         Viewfinder: None

·         LCD screen: 3in (920,000 dots)

·         Articulated: No

·         Touchscreen: Yes

·         Optical zoom: 20x (24-480mm)

·         Optical stabilization: Optical, lens based

·         Orientation sensor: Yes

·         Maximum resolution: 4,896x3,672

·         File formats: JPEG; AVCHD, MP4 (AVC)

·         Video resolutions: 1080p at 25/50fps, 1080i at 25fps, 720p at 25/50fps, VGA at 25fps

·         Slow motion video modes: 720p at 100fps (1/4x), VGA at 200fps (x)

·         Maximum video clip length: 30m 0s

Controls

·         Exposure modes: Program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual

·         Shutter speed range: 4 to 1/2000 seconds

·         Aperture range: f/3.3-8 (wide), f/6.4-8 (Tele)

·         ISO speed range: 100 to 6400

·         Exposure compensation: +/-2 EV

·         White balance: Auto, 5 presets with fine tuning, manual

·         Additional image controls: Intelligent Exposure

·         Manual focus: No

·         Closest macro focus (wide): 3cm

·         Closest macro focus (Tele): 1m

·         Auto-focus modes: Multi, flexible spot, face detect, tracking

·         Metering modes: Multi, center-weighted, center, face detect

·         Flash modes: Auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction

·         Drive modes: Single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, panorama, HDR

Physical

·         Card slot: SDXC

·         Memory supplied: 12MB internal

·         Battery type: Li-ion

·         Battery life (CIPA): 300 shots

·         Connectivity: USB, A/V, Micro HDMI

·         Wireless: Wi-Fi, NFC

·         GPS: Yes

·         Hotshoe: No

·         Body material: Aluminum

·         Accessories: USB cable

·         Weight: 198g

·         Size (H x W x D): 61x109x30mm

Buying information

·         Price: $370

·         Supplier: www.panasonic.com

 

 
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