In The Box
Panasonic Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
Panasonic Hand Strap
16GB Memory Card
Panasonic Lumix TZ110, 12mp, LCD 3.0", 12x Optical Zoom
Announced at CES 2016 in early January, the Lumix DMC-TZ110 is the new flagship for Panasonic's pocketable Travel Zoom (TZ) series of cameras, which originated roughly a decade ago. The new model brings the series up-to-date with a larger, 1-inch (12.8 x 9.6 mm) MOS sensor, and a powerful 10x zoom lens. Released concurrently with the TZ110 is the TZ80, which has similar features but a smaller 6.17 x 4.55 mm sensor, a longer 30x zoom range plus a smaller, lighter body. It's also roughly 30% cheaper.
Angled view of the Lumix DMC-TZ110 in black with the pop-up flash raised. (Source: Panasonic.)
The TZ110's Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens has a maximum aperture range of f/2.8-5.9 and its 9.1-91mm zoom covers focal lengths equivalent to 25-250mm in 35mm format, a highly versatile range. The lens consists of 12 elements in 10 groups and includes five aspherical elements, four of them double-sided.
The new camera is jacket-pocketable rather than shirt-pocketable, although it can be slipped into a decent-sized pants pocket. It is being offered in black or silver plus black and is supplied with a DMW-BLG10E battery pack, an AC Adaptor, USB Cable, Hand Strap and Strap Adaptor for attaching an optional neck strap.
A basic printed manual is provided but the main manual must be downloaded from the Panasonic Lumix Customer Support Site. No software disk is included so any software needed must also be downloaded from Panasonic's website.
Who's it For?
Like previous TZ models, the TZ110 is designed primarily for travellers but also serves as a versatile 'go-anywhere' camera. The latest model provides a number of features that make it even more attractive than its predecessors.
For starters, the larger, 1-inch type sensor should deliver better image quality in dim lighting and the built-in flash can fill in for close subjects at low light levels as well as backlit subjects in brighter situations. The stabilised,10x optical zoom lens is suitable for subjects as diverse as landscapes, family and group portraits, sports and wildlife.
Unfortunately, the lens has some limitations. It takes a second or two to extend when the camera is switched on and the maximum aperture falls from f/2.8 at wide angle to f/5.9 by the telephoto position, a reduction in light levels of just over two f-stops. The greatest reduction occurs in the first third of the focal length range, where the maximum aperture contracts by one and two thirds stops between f/2.8 at 9.1mm to f/5.0 at 32mm.
Built into the camera are all the latest Panasonic technologies, including the Light Speed Autofocus system which uses Panasonic's Depth from Defocus technology to minimise autofocusing times. Button and dial controls provide ready access to frequently used settings like shooting mode selection, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance adjustments as well as focus and drive modes and zooming. Most buttons are customisable.
Other essentials are also provided, including a built-in 0.20-inch LVF (Live View Finder) has a resolution of 1,166,000 dots and displays the full image frame. It's a field-sequential display, which updates the red, green and blue data sequentially instead of using separate colour elements at each pixel position. The result is a sharper image overall but with potential for lag.
An eye sensor near the eyepiece triggers autofocusing when the camera is raised to the photographer's eye. Using the LVF reduces the battery life from approximately 300 shots/charge to around 240 shots/charge.
The latest five-axis hybrid O.I.S. image stabilisation system provides further advantages for photo travellers. The TZ110 also includes a level shot function that makes it easy to avoid tilted horizons. In common with other recent Panasonic cameras, the TZ110 includes Panasonic's 4K movie recording and 4K Photo (covered in our review of the Panasonic G7) and Post-Focus functions.
Build and Ergonomics
The body of the TZ110 has the familiar travel zoom design and control layout. It's made from metal and composite plastic and solidly constructed. The addition of a small grip moulding on the front panel enables the camera to be used one-handed.
Front view of the TZ110, silver version. (Source: Panasonic.)
Like previous TZ models, the new camera's front panel is dominated by the retracting lens, which has an integrated automatic lens cover. There's a control ring around the lens, which can be programmed to adjust one of 16 functions (including zoom, drive mode, focus mode, EV compensation, ISO, aspect ratio, to name a few). The only other item on the front panel is an embedded LED that doubles as a self-timer/AF-assist lamp.
Top view of the TZ110, black version. (Source: Panasonic.)
The top panel control layout is pretty standard for a TZ camera, with the shutter button positioned well forward and surrounded by the zoom lever. A red movie button is located just to its right. The mode dial sits above the on/off lever switch and is positioned further back, adjacent to the pop-up flash, while a control dial occupies the rear right hand corner of the panel.
The rear panel of the TZ110, silver version. (Source: Panasonic.)
The rear panel is dominated by the monitor screen, which is not adjustable. It's a 3-inch TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots and supports Touch Control, including touch AF, touch AE and touch shutter.
Above it in the top left hand corner is the Live View Finder (LVF), which has a resolution of 1,166,000 dots and covers the full field of view of the sensor. It's fairly small, but usable, and features a dioptre adjustment dial plus an eye sensor.
To the right of the monitor is the usual cluster of buttons, which includes an arrow pad with central MENU/SET button, three programmable Function buttons (one of which is pre-set as the 4K Photo button and another as the Post Focus button), display and playback buttons and a Quick Menu button, which doubles as a delete and cancel button as well as Fn button 3.
Above the monitor are three additional buttons, covering the LDC/LVF switch, flash-up lever and AF/AE lock. Small strap eyelets are provided on the side panels for the hand strap (adapters are supplied for an optional neck strap).
Embedded in the right hand side panel is a compartment containing the HDMI and USB ports. The latter is used for charging the battery, although an optional charger is available.
Like other TZ-series cameras, the TZ110's battery and memory card slot share a compartment in the base of the camera, next to the metal-lined tripod socket. A tiny speaker grille is also located on this panel.
Sensor and Image Processing
The 1-inch (12.8 x 9.6 mm) MOS sensor has 20.9 million photosites and offers an effective resolution of 20.1 megapixels. It's essentially the same chip as used in the FZ1000 and CM1 cameras and is covered in our review of the FZ1000.
Coupled with the sensor is the Venus Engine processor, which enables the TZ110 to support a native sensitivity range of ISO 125 to 12800 with extensions to ISO 80, ISO 100 and ISO 25600 available. Continuous shooting is supported at up to 10 frames/second (fps) with full resolution and focus and exposure locked on the first frame, as well as up to 5 fps with autofocusing or up to 50 fps in the Super high-speed mode which uses the electronic shutter and reduces resolution to S size (a maximum of 2432 x 1824 pixels).
Video recording is the same as in the FZ1000 and the TZ110 offers the same 4K movie and still recording capabilities. 4K movies are recorded in the readily editable MP4 format, which also covers Full HD, HD and VGA resolutions. The AVCHD format only records Full HD clips but offers 50p, 50i, 25p and 24p options.
Other functions carried over from previous camera include integrated Wi-Fi, although it comes without NFC. Users can connect the camera to a smart device by starting the Image App on the device, pressing the camera's Wi-Fi button and selecting the SSID displayed on the screen. Password protection is available. Wi-Fi Direct and WPS connections are also supported.
The TZ110 also includes Panasonic's iDynamic and iResolution correction functions as well as long-exposure noise reduction. The latter uses dark frame subtraction, which doubles the time required to complete an exposure. Diffraction Compensation is also available to maintain resolution at smaller aperture settings. The default setting is off.
The TZ110 also comes with Panasonic's standard range of scene pre-sets and in-camera digital filters, both of which only apply to JPEG files. Scene pre-sets include Clear Portrait, Silky Skin, Backlit Softness, Clear in Backlight, Relaxing Tone, Sweet Child's Face, Distinct Scenery, Bright Blue Sky, Romantic Sunset Glow, Vivid Sunset Glow, Glistening Water, Clear Nightscape, Cool Night Sky, Warm Glowing Nightscape, Artistic Nightscape, Glittering Illuminations, Handheld Night Shot, Clear Night Portrait, Soft Image of a Flower, Appetising Food, Cute Dessert, Freeze Animal Motion, Clear Sports Shot, Monochrome and Panorama.
The Creative Control settings are Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Colour and Sunshine. The menu also provides highlight and shadow adjustments, based on a gamma curve, along with adjustments for contrast, sharpness, saturation and colour tone.
Playback and Software
All the regular playback functions are available, including single-and multiple displays (12 or 30 thumbnails), calendar playback and display of individual frames shot with the Burst, Time Lapse or Stop Motion Animation modes. Slideshow playback is available using still frames, movie clips or a combination of both and you can add background music from 'canned' tunes in the camera. Category play and Favourite play are also supported.
Playback zoom provides four levels of magnification: 2x, 4x ,8x and 16x. You can also move to the next image and keep the same magnification by rotating the rear dial while in playback zoom mode. Group pictures recorded in the SH, Time-Lapse or Stop Motion modes can be viewed by touching the group picture icon or pressing the Up button on the arrow pad.
Raw files can be converted into JPEGs and saved separately; still frames can be grabbed from movie clips, text stamps can be applied to shots and images can be cropped or resized. Location data can be imported via Wi-Fi and added to image files.
The downloadable raw file converter is based upon Silkypix software, which we don't recommend. So until third-party software (such as Adobe Camera Raw) becomes available, we recommend owners of the camera delay processing raw files from the camera or convert them with the freeware application RawTherapee (http://rawtherapee.com/downloads). It's not ideal but will be better than Silkypix until the third-party developers catch up.
We expected a lot from the review camera, based on our experiences when reviewing previous models in the series. Surely, we thought, the larger sensor would deliver outstanding resolution, particularly at high ISO settings. Perhaps these expectations were unrealistic; subjective assessments of test shots suggested the sensor and lens combination was a little below par (and we're not sure which is to blame).
For our Imatest tests we left the Diffraction Compensation and noise reduction functions switched off to provide a more realistic view of the camera's capabilities. Since the latest Panasonic cameras aren't yet supported by our preferred raw file processor, Adobe Camera Raw, when we conducted our tests, we chose to process RW2.RAW files with the free file converter, Raw Therapee, rather than the supplied Silkypix Developer Studio. The resulting TIFF files were close to colour-neutral but with very low saturation, a common feature of raw files processed with some third-party converters.
Imatest showed both JPEG and converted raw files were just able to meet expectations for a 20-megapixel camera with optimal lens and ISO settings. JPEG files turned in results that were marginally better than the equivalent files from Canon's PowerShot G5X and Sony's Cyber-shot RX100 Mark III (INSERT LINKS), which each have conventional 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensors. (We haven't yet reviewed Canon's PowerShot G7X Mark II.) A table comparing these cameras can be found in the Conclusion to this review.
The overall performance of the lens was much as you would expect for an extended-range zoom lens. The highest resolution was recorded at around 29mm. Edge and corner softening was significant in the middle of the zoom range, although less obvious at either end, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results for JPEG files below.
Lateral chromatic aberration was mainly within the negligible band but extended into the low range at a few apertures in the first third of the zoom range. In the graph of our Imatest results below, the red line marks the border between negligible and low CA.
Converted RW2.RAW files delivered higher resolution across more focal length and aperture settings but failed to meet expectations for the sensor's resolution. Fortunately, resolution held up quite well with both file types across the camera's sensitivity range, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below.
Long exposures taken in dim lighting showed little visible noise up to ISO 1600, but a progressive increase in noise thereafter. By ISO 12800 granularity was quite obvious in test shots and at ISO 25600 colour noise was very noticeable and images were visibly softened.
Flash exposures were roughly three stops under-exposed at ISO 125 at a mid-range focal length of 51mm, but correctly exposed from ISO 800 to ISO 25600. Colour reproduction was faithful at settings up to ISO 1600 but the influence of ambient lighting could be seen from then on. Images became soft-looking at ISO 6400 and softening increased progressively to ISO 25600.
The auto white balance setting delivered similar results to other Panasonic cameras we've tested. An obvious warm cast remained in shots taken under incandescent lighting, although shots taken under fluorescent lights and flash shots were relatively free of colour casts. The incandescent pre-set introduced a faint purple cast, while the flash preset remained colour neutral. No preset is provided for fluorescent lighting. Manual measurement produced neutral colours with all three lighting types and there's plenty of scope for fine-tuning colour rendition via the touch screen.
Autofocusing was quite fast and accurate in most situations, provided light levels were high enough for the system to find an edge to focus upon. We noticed a slight slowing when shooting stills in low light levels and even more with low-contrast subjects.
Metering was usually accurate as long as the appropriate mode was selected. Touch metering provided accurate exposures for backlit subjects and where there was a wide brightness range. The default Auto setting in the iDynamic mode delivered well-balanced highlight and shadow detail, even in quite contrasty situations, although only for still shots.
Video clips were similar to those from the FZ300 we reviewed recently, although not quite as sharp and detailed looking. Both cameras provide the same range of resolution and quality settings and include 4K movie recording. Not unexpectedly, 4K movie clips were visibly clearer than Full HD clips and covered scenes with a wide brightness range more effectively.
Contrast and saturation were slightly boosted in movie mode, particularly with lower resolutions (FH, HD and VGA), leading to clipping at either end of the brightness range. The quality of the soundtracks was similar to those from the FZ300 movies.
Our timing tests were carried out with a 32GB Panasonic SDHC Class 10 UHS-3 card, which claims read/write speeds of 95MB/second and 90MB/second, respectively, and was provided for this review. With this card, it took roughly 1.5 seconds to power up the review camera and extend its lens.
We measured an average capture lag of 0.15 seconds, which was reduced to a consistent 0.1 seconds when shots were pre-focused. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.6 seconds without flash and 3.4 seconds with. The camera provided no indicators showing how long it takes to process single files. However, it took approximately 2.2 seconds after each shot for the monitor screen to return to displaying the scene, regardless of the file format (JPEG or RAW).
The continuous shooting modes were similar to other Panasonic cameras, with the JPEG-only Super high-speed mode able to record 60 frames in one second with each frame at 2432 x 1824 pixels. In the High-speed mode, the review camera recorded 58 frames in 7 seconds before pausing, which equates to approximately 8.3 frames/second. Processing of the final frame was completed within 7.3 seconds of its capture.
With RW2.RAW files, the camera slowed after 15 frames, which were captured in 1.9 seconds. It took 8.5 seconds to process this burst. Changing to RAW+JPEG capture, we found the buffer memory filled by 13 frames which were recorded in 1.6 seconds. However, it took 14.4 seconds to process this burst.
The middle and low speed settings record at six and two frames/second respectively with live view supported during capture. Both settings are available for bursts containing RW2.RAW files, where the buffer limit is 12 frames. Frames are processed on-the-fly and processing was completed within one to two seconds of the last frame captured.
There's plenty to like about the TZ110 and it brings new competition to the fixed-lens, large-sensor, 'travel zoom' market, which is one of the few 'growth areas' for compact digicams. Travellers looking for a pocketable, all-in-one camera will welcome the addition of touch screen controls to Panasonic's consistently popular TZ line-up.
Adding 4K video and the new 4K Photo modes is another significant advantage for both cameras and the Post Focus function is sure to be useful in many situations, both to travellers and stay-at-home photographers. Integrated Wi-Fi is also attractive, despite coming with easy NFC connectivity. The TZ110 also has plenty of programmable buttons.
One area of concern (particularly for serious photographers) is the rapid contraction of the maximum aperture as the lens is zoomed in. Users who mainly set the camera to the Auto or P shooting modes won't find this a problem as these modes tend to select the maximum aperture by default.
The review camera was an early production unit and the slight unsharpness we found in some of our test shots in dim lighting may be related to this situation, which means it will probably be corrected during the production run. The asking price for this camera is high enough for most potential buyers to expect premium performance.
Panasonic Lumix TZ10, 12mp, LCD 3.0", 12x Optical Zoom
|Sensor Resolution||12.1 MP|
|Light Sensitivity||ISO 100, ISO 1600, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 80, ISO 800, ISO auto, ISO auto (1600-6400)|
|Light Sensitivity Max||6400|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash|
|Red Eye Reduction||Yes|
|Memory / Storage|
|Supported Flash Memory||SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card|
|Microphone Operation Mode||Stereo|
|Battery Form Factor||Manufacturer specific|
|Digital Video Format||AVCHD Lite, MJPEG|
|Still Image Format||JPEG|
|Shooting Programs||Aerial photo, Baby1, Baby2, Beach, Candle, Clipboard, Film grain, Fireworks, Flash-burst, Food, Hi-speed burst, High sensitivity, Night portrait, Night scene, PET, Panorama assist, Party/indoor, Pin hole, Portrait mode, Scenery, Self-portrait, Snow, Soft skin, Sports mode, Starry sky, Sunset, Transform, Underwater|