Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 Gordon Laing, Apr 2013

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 quality

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To compare real-life quality I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 using its best quality JPEG settings and lowest sensitivity - in this case, 100 ISO.

As the first of the 2013 pocket super-zooms, I have decided to share results here from the TZ40 / ZS30 alone and to discuss how it compares against previous results for the TZ30 / ZS20.

As I review the TZ40 / ZS30's main rivals, I'll update these pages with more comparisons.

In the meantime, I shot this scene in Aperture Priority at all settings and found the sharpest results were with the aperture wide open at its lowest f-number.
  Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 results
1 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Quality
2 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Noise
3 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Handheld Night Shot
4 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 with the lens zoomed-in a little to 7.4mm for a 47mm equivalent field of view. I shot this in Aperture Priority with all settings and found the sharpest result was with the aperture wide open at its smallest f-number, which at this focal length was f3.9. Stopping the aperture down to f4.5 also delivered a good result, although any smaller and diffraction began to kick-in with a softer overall result. There's certainly little need in everyday photos to stop-down to achieve a larger depth of field, as in this photo the entire range of subjects is sharp even at the largest aperture.

The crops below are as always taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles and presented at 100%. Like earlier Panasonic TZ / ZS models, there's visible noise and indistinct edges when images are viewed at 100% even at their lowest sensitivities - it's a fact of life on high resolution compacts with tiny sensors. But I'd say compared to the previous TZ30 / ZS20, the quality when viewed at 100% is no worse despite the fairly significant hike in resolution from 14 to 18 Megapixels.

This means when images from both models are reproduced at the same size, any undesirable artefacts will appear a little smaller on the new camera. I should also note that when viewed at 50% or smaller on-screen, or printed at 10x8in or smaller, the image quality from the TZ40 / ZS30 looks absolutely fine. So if you're viewing the whole image on-screen, reducing it for email or sharing, or printing at normal sizes I'd say you'd be satisfied by the quality. But like other compacts with small sensors, the TZ40 / ZS30's quality suffers when viewed at 100% - it's not a camera for pixel-peepers.

So it would appear Panasonic has got away with a boost in resolution without increased artefacts at its lowest sensitivity, but what happens as you increase the ISO? Find out in my Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 noise results.

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9

Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 results : TZ40 / ZS30 quality / TZ40 / ZS30 Noise
/ TZ40 / ZS30 Handheld Night Shot

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