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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 Gordon Laing, March 2011
 

Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 results : Real-life resolution / Noise
/ Noise vs SX230 HS / Noise vs TZ18/ZS8 / Handheld Night Shot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 vs Canon IXUS 1000 HS / PowerShot SD4500 IS Real-life resolution

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To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 and Canon IXUS 1000 HS / PowerShot SD4500 IS within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings and lowest sensitivities.

The lenses were adjusted to deliver as close a field-of-view as possible. Each camera was set to Program mode without intervention to see how they performed with default settings.

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 at 100 ISO with an exposure of 1/800 and the lens set to 6mm f3.7; the original file measured 5.48MB. As stated above, we allowed each camera to automatically select its own exposure in Program mode, in order to compare how they performed under default settings. Coincidentally both selected similar large apertures, which gratifyingly avoided diffraction.

The Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 sports 14 Megapixels to the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS's 10 Megapixels, hence the tighter cropped areas for the former seen below. But does it record any more real-life detail? At first glance, the answer would appear to be not.

The TZ20 / ZS10's crops suffer from a softness when viewed at 100% that's lacking on the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS, with a particular lack of detail in areas of similar tonal value, such as the foliage. In contrast, the Canon crops look noticeably punchier.

At first this doesn't look good for the Panasonic super-zoom, but to be fair, we are viewing the crops at 100% here. If you were to print images from both cameras at the same size, the artefacts from the TZ20 / ZS10 would appear slightly smaller than those from the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS due to its higher resolution, and they'd become closer in perceived quality.

But that's not to take away from the fact that despite sporting 40% more Megapixels in total, the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 is not capturing any more real-life detail than the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS. And while you may make normal-sized prints in practice, it's hard for many of us not to zoom-into 100% for close examination on-screen, and it's at this magnification that the TZ20 / ZS10 suffers.

It's a fuzziness we've seen before on the earlier Lumix FZ100 which shares the same MOS sensor, although on the consumer-focused TZ20 / ZS10 there's no way to adjust the noise reduction or sharpness, or save in RAW for tweaking later.

As such you have to study the images from the TZ20 / ZS10 and decide if you're happy with the way they look, as there's not a great deal you can do to improve them. Those who are happy to view at reduced sizes or make normal-sized prints almost certainly won't be bothered, but anyone who expects to view crisp details at 100% on-screen will become frustrated.

Scroll down to see how the new 16x zoom lens performs at its widest and longest focal lengths, or head over to our Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 High ISO Noise results page to see how the camera performs across its sensitivity range, or if you've seen enough already, head straight to our Verdict.

PS - a quick note on the GPS accuracy: we tested the TZ20 / ZS10 in exactly the same position as the earlier TZ10 / ZS7, so we decided to compare their recorded GPS details. Both cameras reported virtually identical Longitudinal positions (differing by just over two tenths of a second). Strangely though, the reported Latitudes were actually 1.3 seconds apart - see screengrabs from their respective EXIF headers below). If you enter the co-ordinates into Google Earth, the older TZ10 / ZS7 is a few meters off, while the new TZ20 / ZS10 is almost bang-on.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 GPS reading
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 / ZS7 GPS reading

Reading taken from far right corner of Skyline Gondola balcony
Reading taken from far right corner of Skyline Gondola balcony

We also took a reading using a Garmin GPSmap 60CSx handheld unit, which after locking onto nine satellites and reporting an accuracy of +/-8 feet, reported a position of 45; 01; 35.7 South by 168; 38; 59.28 East. Entered into Google Earth, this again landed almost on top of our exact shooting location.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10
 
Canon IXUS 1000 HS / PowerShot SD4500 IS
f3.7, 100 ISO
f3.4, 125 ISO
     
f3.7, 100 ISO
f3.4, 125 ISO
     
f3.7, 100 ISO
f3.4, 125 ISO
     
f3.7, 100 ISO
f3.4, 125 ISO

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 / ZS7 Real-life sharpness when zoomed-out (Aperture Priority)

 
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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, we shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 in Aperture Priority mode at all f-numbers.

As before, the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 was set to its lowest sensitivity and best-quality JPEG settings. The crops below are taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles and presented here at 100%.

At first glance the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 delivers pretty respectable optical results when fully zoomed-out. Even in the far corners, there's few if any artefacts to mention. Look closely and you'll see the image become a little softer due to diffraction at f5.6 and smaller, as you'd expect, but luckily the camera understands this and tends to select its largest apertures in the automatic modes. Now scroll down to see how it performs when fully zoomed-in. Alternatively skip straight to our High ISO Noise results, or our Verdict.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10
Corner sharpness at 24mm equivalent
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10
Centre sharpness at 24mm equivalent
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
     
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
     
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f6.3, 100 ISO
f6.3, 100 ISO

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 Real-life sharpness when zoomed-in (Aperture Priority)


 
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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-in, we shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 in Aperture Priority mode at all f-numbers.

As before, the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 was set to its lowest sensitivity and best-quality JPEG settings. The crops below are taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles and presented here at 100%.

Like all super-zoom cameras, the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 loses contrast at its longest focal length - that's the compromise of having such a long zoom range from a single lens. But the good news here is there are again few if any other optical artefacts to worry about. There may be some correction going on behind the scenes, but the end result are JPEGs which don't suffer from obvious fringing, distortion or vignetting.

As for the aperture, there's only two settings when fully zoomed-in. Conventional wisdom would suggest avoiding the smallest f6.3 setting to minimise softness due to diffraction, but looking closely at the crops, we'd say the f6.3 setting is slightly sharper than the one at f5.9.

Now let's check out how the camera performs across its sensitivity range in our Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 High ISO Noise results. Alternatively if you've already seen enough, head straight to our Verdict!


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10
Corner sharpness at 384mm equivalent
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10
Centre sharpness at 384mm equivalent
f5.9, 100 ISO
f5.9, 100 ISO
     
f6.3, 100 ISO
f6.3, 100 ISO


Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 results : Real-life resolution / Noise
/ Noise vs SX230 HS / Noise vs TZ18/ZS8 / Handheld Night Shot


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