Summary

Highly Recommended awardWith a 30x stabilised zoom, 3 inch LCD screen, 2.3 million dot viewfinder, 4k video, Wifi and Bluetooth, the Panasonic Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 is the pocket travel zoom others seek to emulate. Nikon has come within a whisker with the COOLPIX A1000 which, aside from a less detailed viewfinder, closely matches the TZ95 / ZS80's hardware spec and manages to squeeze-in a slightly longer 35x zoom. Despite that, the TZ95 / ZS80 feels like a more sophisticated camera all round. But with only the upgraded viewfinder and Bluetooth separating it from the older TZ90 / ZS70, that's now looking to be a real bargain, so keep a close-eye on prices. If you're after the best of the current crop of pocket super-zooms though, the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 is the one to beat.

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Panasonic Lumix TZ95 ZS80 review

Intro

The Panasonic Lumix TZ95, or ZS80 as it’s called in North America, is pocket travel zoom with a 30x (24-720mm f3.3-6.4) lens. Launched in April 2019, It replaces the earlier TZ90 / ZS70, updating the viewfinder for a more detailed view and adding Bluetooth connectivity alongside the existing Wifi for image transfer in the background while you shoot.

So it’s not a massive update, but while there may not be a lot that’s new, the TZ95 / ZS80 inherits the multitude of features that made its predecessor, and indeed all the TZ / ZS models before it, such a big hit with consumers. These include a 3 inch 1040k dot tilting touch screen, separate mode dial for exposure settings, a programmable lens ring, 10fps continuous shooting plus 8 Megapixel 4K modes at 30fps, 4K video, and RAW shooting.

In my review I’ve compared the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 with Nikon’s COOLPIX A1000. In many respects, the COOLPIX A1000 is a very similar model to the TZ95 / ZS80. It actually boasts a slightly longer 35x zoom, also has a built-in viewfinder and a tilting touch screen, PASM exposure modes, 4K video, RAW shooting and of course Wifi and Bluetooth. So read-on to discover how these two pocket super-zooms measure up.

 

 

It’s no surprise the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 looks identical to the model it replaces. Not much has changed aside from the upgraded viewfinder and the addition of Bluetooth. It’s available in black, shown here, or black and silver.

 

Alongside the COOLPIX A1000 there doesn’t look to be a great difference in size and in fact there’s no more than a millimetre or two between them in any dimension, they’re also almost identical in weight. As we’re looking at them from the front, I’ll mention that the COOLPIX A1000 has a second zoom control on the lens barrel, whereas the TZ95 / ZS80 has a programmable ring.

 

Round the back, once again, it all looks very similar, but the big difference is the electronic viewfinder, which has been upgraded to 2.3 million dots from the earlier model’s 1066k dots. It’s the same viewfinder as on the flagship Lumix TZ200 / ZS200 and also higher resolution than the Nikon COOLPIX A1000’s viewfinder. It’s undoubtedly an improvement on the earlier model and really useful for sports and wildlife photography and sunny conditions, that said, despite the increased resolution I found it quite tiring to use for extended periods.

 

Lumix-TZ95-top

On the top panel little, if anything has changed since the earlier TZ90/ZS70, so let’s talk a little bit about the screen. That’s the same as before too – a 3 inch 1040k dot touch sensitive panel that flips up and over for selfies. As on the COOLPIX A1000 there’s a sensor for auto toggling between the screen and the EVF or you can turn that off and do it manually. The COOLPIX A1000 screen flips down, as well as up, so is more useful for overhead shots. Both models allow you to tap to set the AF area an to focus, but only the TZ95 / ZS80 lets you pull focus during movie shooting by tapping the screen.

Lumix TZ95 wide

 

Here’s the field of view captured by the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 when set to its maximum 24mm equivalent wide angle setting. It’s the same as the COOLPIX A1000 and the maximum aperture of f3.3 is so close to the f3.4 of the COOLPIX A1000 as to make little difference.

 

Lumix TZ95 telephoto

At the other end of the zoom range you get to 720mm equivalent with a maximum aperture of f6.4 – compared with 840mm and f6.9 on the COOLPIX A1000. You’d expect the A1000’s longer lens to be less bright when fully zoomed in, but it’s dimmer at comparable focal lengths. For example if you look at my quality tests you’ll see that at 300mm the lumix TZ95 / ZS80 manages f5.8 where the A1000 at 275mm can only manage f6.3.

 

Lumix TZ95 Portrait sample

The Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 is as at home shooting street scenes as it is with sports or wildlife. The viewfinder makes it easy to frame subjects when zoomed in (though there’s no snap back feature like on the A1000) and the AF is quick and accurate. One thing it’s not very good at, as you can see here, is blurring backgrounds, but then neither is the A1000.

 

Lumix TZ95 macro

Like the COOLPIX A1000 the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 can focus as close as 1cm in macro AF mode. With the subject that close to the lens and the aperture wide open you can achieve a satisfactorily blurred background, but watch out for casting shadows. It’s also worth pointing out that if you want a broader depth of field in your macros you have the option of focus stacking, using one of the TZ95 / ZS80’s 4K shooting modes.

 

Lumix TZ95 wildlife

The TZ95 / ZS80’s viewfinder is more detailed than on its predecessor, as well as the Nikon COOLPIX A1000, but if I’m honest I didn’t find it made shooting these flamingos any easier. For sports and wildlife, one of the biggest problems when zoomed in is keeping the subject in the frame, the COOLPIX A1000 has the snapback button on the lens barrel, which temporarily zooms you out so you can reframe before zooming back in. The TZ95 / ZS80 doesn’t have that, but you can set the the lens ring to zoom, or even better step zoom, which does the job just as well.

 

Lumix TZ95 folter

Moving the TZ95 / ZS0’s mode dial to the Creative Control position provides access to 22 effects including Expressive, Retro (shown here), Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome (above), Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Colour and Sunshine.

 

lunix-tz95-wifi

As on the earlier Lumix TZ90 / ZS70, the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 has wifi for image transfer and remote control with smartphones.The new model adds Bluetooth for seamless location tagging, a more responsive remote shutter, and easy Wifi negotiation. Once paired over Bluetooth using the free Lumix Image App for iOS or Android handsets, the app remains in low-power contact with the camera, allowing it to pass location details and embed them on images. Like the COOLPIX A1000 the TZ95 / ZS80 can transfer images to your phone in the background while you shoot, but the it needs a Wifi connection to do it – the Bluetooth just handles the connection. It works as smoothly and seamlessly as Nikon’s SnapBridge on the COOLPIX 1000, (and is quicker) but the Wifi connection will drain the battery more rapidly than SnapBridge.

 

The Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 offers a wealth of video modes including 1080/50/60p and 4k/25/30p. I shot this clip in the 1080/50p mode and you can also see it in 4k/25p mode.. I can’t fault the quality of this clip shot on an overcast London day, though the AF has a couple of little wobbles. The stabilsation does an excellent job of keeping things steady when the lens is zoomed all the way in.

 

This second clip was also shot handheld with the Lumix TZ90 / ZS80’s stabilisation enabled. Again, the quality of this clip looks good, with no noise textures, and good exposure and white balance.You can also this clip in 4k/25p mode.. If you watch the 4K clip, you’ll notice that the field of view is narrower, that’s because the TZ95 / ZS90 uses a 4k sized (3840×2160) area from the centre of the sensor. That effectively changes the zoom range to 35mm to 1050mm when you’re shooting 4k movies.

 

For this vlog test I flipped the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80’s screen into the forward facing position and hit the record button. As I mention in the clip, the TZ95 /ZS95’s 24mm wide angle is wide enough to comfortably fit you in with the camera held at arms length, but if you’re filming in 4K the field of view narrows to 35mm.

 

Check prices on the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!
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