Panasonic Lumix TZ200 Full Review

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Pros
  • 15x optical zoom lens
  • 20 megapixel 1inch CMOS sensor
  • Excellent 5-axis image stabilisation for FullHD video
  • Improved noise performance (over smaller sensor cameras)
  • Excellent white balance performance
  • MicroUSB charging
  • 4K Photo mode(s)
  • Great black & white filters
Cons
  • Screen isn’t articulated
  • Small EVF

1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 320

Panasonic has expanded its line-up of serious compact cameras with the addition of the flagship Lumix TZ200, the highly anticipated TZ100 upgrade.

The Panasonic Lumix TZ200 is a fixed lens, serious compact camera with manual controls that’s designed to fit easily in your pocket while still offering a large zoom which makes it perfect for travel. It’s also joining the TZ100 in the TZ line-up rather than replacing it which could mean we see reductions in the TZ100’s price but those looking for improved specs and performance will be able to pick up the TZ200 in March for around £729 (Graphite silver or Black models will be available).

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) Feature

1/60 sec | f/3.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 2500

The TZ200 features a 20.1Mp 1inch Back-lit CMOS Sensor which makes it a perfect travel zoom as the large sensor will help those who use it capture excellent images while the impressive 15x optical zoom, 24-360mm (35mm equivalent), which is 5x more zoom than what’s built into the TZ100 (10x Optical Zoom, 25-250mm 35mm equivalent), makes it easy to focus on detail in the distance. As for digital zoom, this reaches 30x, 10 times more than the TZ100 has, and close-focusing is also improved with the camera being able to focus down to 3cm which gets you 2cm closer to the subject than the TZ100 can.

Full manual controls are built-in along with the option for in-camera raw processing. The dedicated linear motor found in the focus system means autofocus speeds are quick and Depth From Defocus technology is now built in which should further shorten focus times. 5-axis Hybrid OIS+ also keeps shots steady and 4K video footage smooth. All-in-all, its specs make the TZ200 an interesting and high-quality alternative, when you don’t want to take a mirrorless CSC or DSLR camera with you.

Here’s how the Panasonic Lumix TZ200 lines-up against some of Panasonic’s other cameras that offer high-image quality, a decent zoom and 4K video:

TZ80 TZ100 TZ200 FZ1000 (Bridge) LX100
18mp (1/2.3inch) 20mp (1inch) 20mp (1inch) 20mp (1inch) 12.8mp (Micro Four Thirds)
30x optical zoom lens 10x optical zoom lens 15x optical zoom lens 16x optical zoom lens 3.1x
3inch touch-screen 3inch touch-screen 3inch touch-screen 3inch tilting (not touch) 3inch screen (not touch)
EVF (1160K) EVF (1166k dot) EVF (2330K dot) EVF (2,359k dot) EVF (2.7m dot)
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
4K video (and photo) 4K video (and photo) 4K video (and photo) 4K video (and photo) 4K video (and photo)
320 shot battery life 300 shots 370 shots 360 shots 300 shots
£320 £549 £729 £569 £499

There are numerous shooting modes, including intelligent auto modes, creative effects, numerous scene modes, as well as manual movie recording, which records up to 4K (UHD) video at 30fps with stereo sound. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for remote control and transfer of images, and the back of the camera features a 1240K dot 3” touch-screen as well as a 2330K dot equivalent live viewfinder with a magnification ratio of approximately 1.45x/0.53x (35mm equivalent).

Focus Peaking shows you the peak of focus when in manual focus mode and you can set the point of focus easily, as well as enlarge images, via the responsive touchscreen.

As well as capturing 4K video (30p/25p/24p in MP4), the TZ200 gives you the option to save 4K photos (30fps). Plus, the camera can auto mark images from 4K photo sequences as well as create sequences in one frame. Auto Marking works by the camera detecting motion or a face which it then sets a marker by and allows you to jump directly to the frame as soon as a situation changes (minimising time spent choosing the best shot).

High-Speed Video enables the recording of fast-moving subjects in Full HD at 120 fps (50Hz Area – PAL), while Time Lapse / Stop Motion Animation are also available.

Another creative function worth a mention is the new L Monochrome digital filter which gives images a black & white film feel to them.

1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200

Key Features
  • 20.1Mp 1inch Back-lit CMOS Sensor
  • 15x optical zoom, f/3.3-6.4
  • 3inch touch-screen
  • EVF (2330K dot equivalent)
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • 4K video (and Photo)
  • 370 shot battery life when using the LCD

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) Handling

The Panasonic Lumix TZ200 has had a slight re-design, with the red stripe indicating the ‘premium’ level of the compact, which is more noticeable when you sit it side-by-side with the TZ100. In fact, the overall design of the TZ200 just makes it a better-looking camera and it’s also more ergonomic thanks to the addition of a handgrip which makes the camera easier to keep hold of. It also feels well-built – exactly the way a premium compact camera should feel.

Panasonic has stuck with the mechanical on/off switch which can still be found on top of the camera along with a command dial, mode dial, zoom rocker with a shutter-release button in the middle and a dedicated video button. There’s also a built-in flash hidden away under a cover top-centre and as you’d expect, there are a good number of customisable function buttons on the camera, and you can also customise on-screen function buttons.

As mentioned, there’s an improved grip on the front which is now rubberised and textured and Panasonic has also added a recess on the back for your thumb, which is also rubberised, so the camera is definitely more grippy than the TZ100 and feels very comfortable to hold (even when carrying the camera around just in one hand). The added grips actually make a huge difference as when we reviewed the TZ100 we said the lack of rubber or textured areas was disappointing and we also found that we accidentally set the focus point to the top right of the screen as we had no-where for our thumb to sit.

1/80 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200

There is a control ring surrounding the lens on the front of the camera, and the lens protrudes quite noticeably from the front of the camera, making it quite bulky for a “pocket zoom” camera, but we found that it was still possible to fit the camera into regular jean pockets (just), although if you’re a fan of skinny jeans you will struggle. Having said that, it doesn’t take up too much room in a handbag or indeed a camera bag and on occasion, it didn’t actually feel like a camera was being carried which goes to show how light it is.

The screen is bright, clear and easy to use in bright outdoor conditions, however, we did find that the screen sometimes showed a much brighter image than what was captured but this can be corrected by adjusting the screen’s brightness, contrast and saturation via the menu options. As it’s a touch-screen, you can easily set the focus point to any area of the screen and also capture an image by pressing the screen. One thing that would have made this camera even better would have been the introduction of an articulated screen as they just make it easier to capture photos from awkward angles.

1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is still quite small but it does have an eye-detection sensor so that it will automatically switch to the EVF when you hold it up to your eye. The resolution is good and it also features a dioptre adjustment. When using the EVF you can use the touch-screen to move the focus position but you can turn this feature off should you find you accidentally do this with your nose or cheek. You can, also, accidentally turn the screen off when using it instead of the EVF by covering the EVF with your thumb or fingers when framing your shot so just be careful how you hold the camera if you prefer to frame-up with the help of the LCD.

1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 400

Menus – The menus are clearly laid out, with different sections for the different options and the camera has built-in help to explain each option. You can also use the touch-screen to navigate the menus. There is also the Q.Menu button, which brings up some of the most common options on screen making it quicker to change settings without having to go into the menus. The 4-way controller also gives quick access to a number of settings.

A common feature on modern cameras now is Wi-Fi but something new to the TZ200 which wasn’t available on the TZ100 is Bluetooth so you can connect the camera to smart devices and share photos quickly. By using the Panasonic Image App (available for Android and iOS) you can remotely control and shoot with the camera, transfer images, add geotag GPS location data to shots and get creative with your images. When shooting using the app, you can also use the touch-screen of your smartphone to set the focus point, and you can change a wide number of options and settings without having to touch the camera.

1/15 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 800

1/80 sec | f/4.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200

Battery life – According to Panasonic / CIPA test results, battery life is rated at 370 shots when using the LCD and you can top the power level up via USB. Burst mode, which will eat your battery that little bit quicker, sits at 10fps (AFS) and 6fps (AFC). These results are pretty average for a compact camera but they do improve on the TZ100’s battery life by 70 shots. You can charge the camera using a MicroUSB cable, which nearly all Android smartphones use, making it easy to find somewhere to charge the camera.

1/80 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Speed – We took a number of shots to test the camera’s responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05s
Wide – Focus / Shutter Response 0.1s
Full zoom – Focus / Shutter Response  0.1s
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.5s
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.4s
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.0s
Continuous Shooting – JPEG
(shots before slow down)
9fps (110 shots before slowdown)
Continuous Shooting – Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting – RAW 9fps (33 shots)

Focus is extremely rapid, as is shutter response. Continuous shooting has been improved, compared to the TZ100, with more shots possible before shooting slows down.

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) Sample Photos

Ring Frame

Weight Rack

Kettle Bells

Wallballs

Sample Photos – When using default settings, photos are bright, colours are well saturated and exposure is reliable. The images show a good level of detail, particularly when shooting in bright sunny conditions, and noise is well handled in low light. Dynamic range is good and there are a number of options available to improve this if needed. Low light performance is excellent, however, a tripod is recommended when working in low light to reduce the chances of shake spoiling your shots.

When using the macro mode, it’s possible to get pleasing background blur (Bokeh) and portraits have good skin tones with no red-eye appearing when using the built-in flash. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can also play around with stop motion animation which is rather fun.

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) Lens test images

Captured with a Pre-Production Panasonic TZ200

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Lens Performance – As the camera corrects for lens distortion, there were hardly any issues but there was a little purple fringing when shooting against a bright sky in one of the images captured. However, there were no issues with vignetting. The 15x optical zoom built in is impressive offering a 24-360mm range when talking in 35mm equivalent terms and at both wide and telephoto ends, the lens performs well, although, images can be a little softer when using the full reach of the camera. The close-focusing skills of the TZ200 are also very good with subjects sitting just 3cm of away easily coming into focus for a sharp macro shot.

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) ISO test images

0.3 sec | f/8.0 | 35.8 mm | ISO 80

1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 35.8 mm | ISO 400

1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 35.8 mm | ISO 3200

1/1000 sec | f/8.0 | 35.8 mm | ISO 25600

ISO Noise Performance – Noise performance and detail are both good up to around ISO1600 and ISO3200. Results may still be usable at ISO6400, but above this is best avoided, depending on your planned use of the images.There is slightly less dynamic range when shooting at the lowest ISO speed of ISO80, and there is no significant improvement in ISO performance compared to the TZ100. The camera does not quite match the noise performance of the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mark IV and newer, which feature Sony’s latest 1inch sensor.

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) White-balance test images

AWB Tungsten Light | 1/6 sec | f/5.6 | 14.7 mm | ISO 125

AWB Cool Tungsten Light | 1/6 sec | f/5.6 | 14.7 mm | ISO 125

WB Tungsten Light | 1/8 sec | f/5.6 | 14.7 mm | ISO 125

AWB Mixed Light | 1/15 sec | f/5.6 | 14.7 mm | ISO 125

AWB Fluorescent Light | 1/8 sec | f/5.6 | 14.7 mm | ISO 125

White Balance Performance – Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten and mixed lighting, with the AWB “Cool” setting giving more accurate whites – this will be particularly useful if you shoot a lot of product shots. The Tungsten preset also gives a slightly warm result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, and there are no fluorescent presets available.

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) Digital filters

Miniature

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Digital Filters – There are a vast array of creative effects available which are fun to use and a number of them have additional options, for example, you can change the position of the sun when using the sunshine effect. The new L Monochrome digital filter deserves a particular mention as images captured with it have plenty of contrast and rich gradation. It’s perfect for street photography and it also has images captured in a CrossFit gym a gritty edge to them.

The panoramic mode is automatic and will stitch the photo as you pan from left to right. Results are good with a reasonably high-resolution image produced but the shutter is very loud when panning and can draw attention to yourself.

PanoramicPanoramic - Low Light

Video – The TZ200 records 4K 3840×2160 video (30p/25p/24p in MP4) and high-speed video enables the recording of fast-moving subjects in Full HD at 120 fps (50Hz Area – PAL). The 5-axis Hybrid OIS+ stabilisation can be used to steady footage and sound is recorded in stereo. Detail is very good when recording 4K video, however, the microphones are quite good at picking up wind noise, as shown in the video below. There is a ‘high’ wind noise canceller option available should you need it, our video was captured with ‘standard’. WInd noise aside, the stabilisation does an excellent job at keeping footage steady, even when walking.

When you’ve captured a 4K video, you can now choose the best shot out of hundreds of frames recorded with the 4K PHOTO’s Auto Marking function. It detects motion or a face, sets a marker and allows you to jump directly to the frame as soon as a situation changes, saving you time as a result.

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 (ZS200) Specifications

Manufacturer Panasonic
Lens
Max Aperture f/3.3 – f/6.4
35mm equivalent 24mm – 360mm
Optical Zoom 15x
Image Sensor
Pixels 20.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 5472
Pixels (H) 3648
Sensor Type Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size 1inch
Sensor Size (width) No Data
Sensor Size (height) No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 3in
Screen resolution 1240K dots
Touch Screen Yes
Focusing
Min Focus 3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
  • Infinity
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 60sec
Shutter speeds longest 1/1600sec
Bulb mode No
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted – Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity 80 – 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp +/-5
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 10fps
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1920×1080 FullHD
  • 4K
Video FPS 60, 30, 24
Stereo Sound Yes
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi Yes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1025mAh, 7.4 Wh)
Battery Life (CIPA rating) 370shots
Box Contents
Box Contents Battery Pack, AC Adaptor, USB Cable, Hand Strap, Strap Adaptor
Dimensions
Weight 340g
Width 111.2mm
Height 66.4mm
Depth 45.2mm

1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 250

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix TZ200 offers a 20-megapixel 1inch sensor, plus a large optical zoom with a Leica 15x optical zoom lens while still being reasonably compact and lightweight. It’s much smaller in size than bridge cameras such as the FZ1000 which offers a similar zoom length which makes the TZ200 a camera well-worth considering as a travel zoom if you’re heading off on holiday this year.

Image quality is excellent and you can have a lot of fun with some of the digital filters built in, such as the monochrome filters which are great for street photography. The longer reach on the zoom also means you can capture expression and emotion on people’s faces without them spotting you and as a result, posing for your camera. As you can quickly switch from wide to telezoom, too, you can capture various angles when stood in front of impressive structures without having to change lenses which not only makes taking photos easier, it means you’re not carrying extra bulk and weight around with you.

The camera is packed full of features including high-speed shooting, raw mode, creative effects, a 3inch touch screen, electronic viewfinder, plus 4K photo and video recording.

For the price, the Panasonic Lumix TZ200 offers a whole host of features, manual controls, an excellent zoom and it’s a doddle to use. The TZ200 can be easily used by someone who’s just getting to grips with photography as well as a more seasoned pro who’s looking for a pocket zoom that’s perfect for their travels. The camera also delivers excellent images, with good colour, good detail, and good noise performance. Plus, it’s size means you won’t notice its weight or be annoyed by its size when you’re out-and-about.

(ephotozine.com, https://goo.gl/TKN1cW)

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