What is the Panasonic TZ200?
Panasonic’s popular travel zoom compact has been updated – the main new feature is a longer focal length lens – it now offers a 15x zoom (roughly 24-360mm in 35mm format).
There’s also been a few other improvements, including a higher resolution viewfinder, the addition of USB battery charging and bluetooth connectivity.
Like the Panasonic TZ100, it has a one-inch sensor, and is currently the only one-inch sensor compact on the market to offer a 15x zoom.
Build Quality and Handling
With a high asking price (for a compact camera), the TZ200 is a premium offering, but the good news is that it has a premium build quality to match.
The TZ200 sees some improvements to its design when compared with its predecessor (the TZ100). The most noticeable improvement, from the outside at least, is the addition of a new handgrip.
Panasonic says that it received feedback that the lack of a handgrip on the TZ100 was problematic, so it has corrected the issue for this generation by adding a rubberised strip to the front of the camera. With it, the TZ200 feels much more secure in the hand, while the addition of a red strip is a classy touch.
As the TZ200’s lens is longer, it is naturally bigger in size than the TZ100’s, but the overall size of the camera is still very pocket friendly, making it a good choice for travel and holiday photography.
Another big improvement has been made to the viewfinder, which now boasts almost double the resolution (2330k vs 1170k), a higher magnification, and a slightly larger size – overall this makes for a much more comfortable viewing experience, and during our brief time with it so far, it felt like a very natural viewfinder to use.
If you prefer to use the screen to compose your images, there has been a slight improvement there too – it is now 1240k-dots, compared with 1,040k-dots. It remains touch-sensitive, being very responsive and quick to use during our initial hands-on session. The TZ200’s screen doesn’t tilt or articulate, which is a shame, but it helps in keeping the overall size of the product down.
The top of the TZ200 is actually very similar to the TZ100, featuring a mode dial, a dial which can be used for a variety of functions (dependent on shooting mode, or whether you’re looking at the menu), and the zoom mechanism and shutter release button. The dedicated video record button is also found in the same place.
Just like the TZ100, there’s a ring around the base of the TZ200’s lens, which you can use for a number of different functions – you have the option to choose a custom function in the camera’s main menu.
We haven’t yet had a chance to test out the TZ200’s capabilities – we’ll be adding sample images as soon as we get the chance to – but early indications are promising.
The TZ100 was an impressive performer, and it seems likely that the TZ200 will also do well in a number of different areas. Having the extra flexibility of a longer zoom means that the lens is now slower (maximum aperture of f/3.5, rather than f/2.8), but it’s unlikely to be too much of an issue for those who are mainly using this camera in bright light to take holiday pictures.
A new feature which could prove handy is the new 3cm macro focusing distance – an improvement on the 5cm of the TZ100. We’ll be keen to see just how well the TZ200 can focus very closely on a subject.
Note: the images below were shot with a pre-production version of the Panasonic TZ200.
Most manufacturers claim that the premium compact camera segment of the market is a growing one – and when you think about it, it makes sense that cameras which offer something your mobile phone doesn’t, do well.
In this case, the benefit you get is a much larger sensor than your mobile phone, coupled with a 15x optical zoom. Yes, it’s an expensive camera, but you do have a lot of flexibility and high-tech functions to work with.
It’s interesting that Panasonic has chosen to keep the TZ100 in the range, giving consumers two entry points into its travel compact genre – we’re looking forward to giving the TZ200 a proper test as soon as possible – stay tuned!