Photography Is this the ideal travel camera?

Photo of Mogens Johansen

Panasonic's Lumix TZ90GN is aimed at travellers wanting a pocket-sized camera that's versatile and easy to use. But what's the verdict from our photography expert?

Panasonic describes its new pocket zoom camera, the Lumix TZ90GN, as the ideal travel camera, clearly aimed at those who want an easy-to-use, versatile camera.

It has a Leica 30x optical zoom lens (24-720mm 35mm camera equivalent), 20.3MP 1/2.3-inch sensor, 4K video/photo modes and an LCD touch screen plus a separate viewfinder. It also has the full range of controls from intelligent auto, program, aperture and shutter priority and manual, to creative modes and a panorama setting.

I like that the camera has an LCD touch screen and an electronic viewfinder — I prefer to use a viewfinder, especially in bright outdoor conditions. The LCD screen tilts 180 degrees to activate the selfie mode, which lets you take hands-free selfies. Face Shutter mode is activated by briefly covering your face with a hand and Buddy Shutter mode works when two people bring their faces close together. Or you can use the 4K Photo mode for the perfect selfie.

Panasonic has pioneered the clever 4K Video/Photo modes that make it easy to capture action shots. With the 4K Photo mode activated, the camera captures a burst of 4K footage at 30 frames per second and allows you to extract an 8MP-still image direct from the camera.

The Lumix TZ90GN’s dials and controls are clear and the extra grip at the front makes it comfortable to hold for such a compact camera. But be careful if you’re using flash: it’s easy to accidentally cover part or all of the flash with your fingers.

So, is it a perfect travel camera? It depends on your expectations. It’s a powerful little package and, given its price point, I’d say “almost”. It is certainly great value. It is packed with useful features and a lens with a huge zoom range that will give you excellent pictures in most circumstances.

 I do have some reservations about the large zoom range. It has some limitations with sharpness at full zoom and the aperture boundaries minimise the actual impact you can achieve when taking control of the aperture and shutter speeds.

 My test shots were slightly soft at full zoom but that’s the price you pay for having such a huge zoom range in such a compact camera.

Which leads me to the question: who really needs that sort of zoom range? I would be happy with much less if the aperture range, sharpness and resolution were better. I think the TZ90GN’s big brother, the Lumix TZ110, is closer to being the perfect travel camera: it has a better 10x optical zoom, a bigger one-inch sensor and all the same features. 

It’ll cost you a bit extra but, if you can stretch your budget, it is well worth it.

Fact File

Disclaimer

The Lumix TZ90GN was lent to Mogens Johansen by Panasonic.

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