Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 Review: Packs everything in!

[REVIEW] Panasonic TZ series have always been kept as the “Super-zoom Compact Series”, offering more than 10x Optical zoom is each variant. In 2011, the latest TZ model, TZ20 is no exceptional and added to the mix, is a series of latest trend in compact cameras.

Specification Highlights:

  • 14.1 Megapixels 24-384mm lens
  • 16x Optical Zoom LEICA DC Lens from 24mm Ultra Wide-angle
  • 1920 x 1080 (50i) Full HD Movie in AVCHD Format
  • Built-in GPS Function for Expanding Fun of Both Photography and Travel
  • Intuitive Touch-screen Operation with 3.0-inch LCD
  • 3D Photo Shooting Capability
  • iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode Featuring Intelligent Handheld Night Shot Mode

TZ20 is not the most attractive compact camera but it’s a conventional LUMIX design. Not the thinnest nor the heaviest but it’s not bulky either.  But what about the image quality?

Image Quality:

Having own Panasonic FZ28 before, I am familiar with the image quality that the Lumix series and Leica lens can deliver. TZ20 keeps up with the standard and produces very vibrant colours with outdoor shots. I love the object’s depth and sharpness of the images. 

Night shots else there is really nothing much to shout about given the small sensor but the same can be said for most compact cameras. And check out the comparison between the TZ20 and iPhone 4, which many uses today instead on a conventional compact.

Link – iPhone 4 camera
Link - TZ20

But as a wise man I know says, pictures speak a thousand words. I had brought the TZ20 out for a ride. Also look out for the photo with the foreign worker, I max out the zoom at 16x, and it is done without tripod. Pictures are taken with Panasonic’s intelligent Auto (iA) mode, since with a compact camera, Auto mode is probably THE mode most of the time.

3D mode and GPS:

It’s easy to take a 3D photo; take press the shutter and move the camera to left or right and it’s done. But you will a need a 3D compatible device such as 3D-enabled laptop or TV to view the 3D pictures.

Also in TZ20 is the GPS function where each individual photo is captured with coordinates of geographical location.

Touchscreen and LCD Display

TZ20 features a touchscreen display which appears to be a gimmick but do offers a little extra over buttons operated cameras. Most notably, you can lock in your focus area on-screen via a touch instead of using the 4 way direction pad. After locking in, the camera will focus on that particular area even if you sway the camera. Neat.

In terms of operations, inside the preview mode, you can flip photos with a touch on screen. Besides that, not all menu are accessible via touchscreen. As a result there could be some inconsistency when relying solely on touchscreen. It could be more ideal for users to use the buttons for operations as to be more consistent and natural.

Finally, like other compact cameras, TZ20’s generic LCD is not sharpest especially when high-end mobile phones these days are equipped with better display. Pixels are still visible and brightness level are not too disappointing.

Other things you might want to know:

TZ20 is equipped with a dedicated video recording button. TZ20 offers AVCHD; recording of 1080i videos. And direct HDMI connection to TV. 

Wrapping Up…

Clearly, Panasonic tries to pack as much in as possible, leaving out the looks. Yet, 3D photo is probably not going to happen for people without 3D TVs and geo tagging (via GPS) is not essential to many as I would have guessed.

But at the end of the day, a compact camera still needs to produce great images and I think TZ20 does just that. Then it’s a matter of whether you prefers the whole suite of features to justify the price tag.


[Full Specifications]


Dimensions (W x H x D)
104.9 x 57.6 x 33.4 mm / (4.13 x 2.27 x 1.31 in)

Approx. 197g without Battery and SD Memory Card (0.434 lb) / Approx. 219g with Battery and SD Memory Card (0.482 lb)


Camera Effective Pixels
14.1 Megapixels

Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter
1/2.33-type MOS sensor / 15.1 Total Megapixels / Primary Color Filter

F3.3 - 5.9/ Multistage Iris Diagram (F3.3 - 6.3 (W) / F5.9 - 6.3 (T))

Optical Zoom

Focal Length
f=4.3-68.8mm (24-384mm in 35mm equiv.) / (29-464mm in 35mm equiv. in movie recording)

Extra Optical Zoom (EZ)
18.9x (4:3 / 10M), 22.5x (4:3 / 7M), 27.0x (4:3 / 5M), 33.8x (4:3 / under 3M)

Intelligent Zoom

LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR / 12 elements in 10 groups / (3 Aspherical Lenses / 6 Aspherical surfaces)

2-Speed Zoom

Optical Image Stabilizer
Power O.I.S. (On / Off / Active mode(only for motion picture) )

Digital Zoom
4x / ( Max. 64.0 x combined with Optical Zoom without Extra Optical Zoom ) / (Max. 135 x combined with Extra Optical Zoom)

Focusing Area
Normal: Wide 50 cm - infinity / Tele 200 cm - infinity / Macro / Intelligent AUTO/ movie recording: Wide 3 cm - infinity / Tele 100cm - infinity

Focus Range Display

AF Assist Lamp

Normal / AF Macro, Zoom Macro, Quick AF, AF Tracking, Touch AF/AE / Continuous AF (only for motion picture)

AF Metering
Face / AF Tracking / 23pt / 1pt / Spot / Touch Area

Shutter Speed
Still: 60 - 1/4000 sec / Starry Sky Mode : 15, 30, 60sec

Shutter Interval
approx. 0.3 sec



Motion Picture Recording (*2)
[4:3] VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 30fps (Motion JPEG) / QVGA: 320 x 240 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG) / [HD Movie] 1920x1080 pixels, 50i (GFS: 17Mbps, FSH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 50p) / 1280x 720 pixels, 50p(GS: 17Mbps, SH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) / 1280x 720 pixels, 30fps (Quicktime Motion JPEG)

AVCHD with picture quality (Continuous recordable time[motion pictures])
approx. 70 min (GFS, FSH), 85 min (GS, SH)

AVCHD with picture quality (Actual recordable time[motion pictures])
approx. 35 min (GFS, FSH), 40 min (GS, SH)

Motion Deblur

Face Recognition

Optical Image Stabilizer
Photo / Movie

Intelligent ISO Control

Face Detection
Photo / Movie

Intelligent Scene Selector
Photo (Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Sunset, Macro) / Movie (Portrait, Scenery, Low Light, Macro)

Intelligent Exposure
Photo / Movie

AF Tracking

Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal)

Intelligent Resolution Technology
Photo / Movie

File Format
Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3) / 3D Image: MPO / Motion picture: AVCHD, QuickTime Motion JPEG


Mode Switch
[Recording] / [Playback]

One-Touch Movie Button

Mode Dial / Mode Button
Intelligent Auto, P, A, S, M, Custom, 3D Photo, SCN, My SCN 2, My SCN 1

Still Image Scene Mode
Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, / Pet, Sunset, High sensitivity, Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial, Pinhole, Film Grain, High Dynamic (standard/ art/ B&W), Photoframe, Under Water, High Speed Movie

Movie Scene Mode
Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Low Light, Food, Party, Candle Light, Sunset, Beach, Snow, Aerial, Pinhole, Film Grain, Underwater, High Sensitivity, High Dynamic(Standard, Art, B&W) / (Activated by selecting Still Picture Scene Mode then pressing movie button. Still Picture Scene Modes without corresponding Movie Scene Mode is recorded in Normal Mode)

Continuous Shooting Mode
Full-Resolution Image, 10 frames/sec Max. 15images

MOTION JPEG with picture quality set to [HD] (Continuous recordable time[motion pictures])
approx. 85 min

MOTION JPEG with picture quality set to [HD] (Actual recordable time[motion pictures])
approx. 40 min

Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual

Exposure Compensation
1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV

Backlight Compensation
Yes (only in Intelligent AUTO mode)

Auto (AE) Bracketing
1/3 ~1EV step, Max +/-1, 3 frames

Light Metering
Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot

ISO Sensitivity
Auto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)

Aspect Ratio
1:1 / 4:3 / 3:2 / 16:9

Still Picture Recording
[1:1] 3232x3232(10.5M) / 2736x2736(7.5M EZ) / 2304x2304(5.5M EZ)/ 1920x1920(3.5M EZ) / 1536x1536(2.5M EZ) / 480x480(0.2M EZ) / [4:3] 4320x3240(14M) / 3648x2736(10M EZ) / 3072x2304(7M EZ)/ 2560X1920(5M EZ) / 2048X1536(3M EZ) / 640x480(0.3M EZ) / [3:2] 4320x2880 (12.5M) / 3648x2432 (9M EZ) / 3072x2048 (6M EZ)/ 2560x1712 (4.5M EZ) / 2048x1360 (2.5M EZ) / 640x424 (0.3M EZ) / [16:9] 4320x2432 (10.5M) / 3648x2056 (7.5M EZ) / 3072x1728 (5.5M EZ)2560x1440(3.5M EZ) / 1920x1080 (2M EZ) / 640x360 (0.2M EZ) /

Image Quality
Fine / Standard (3D mode: MPO Fine / MPO Standard )

White Balance
Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set / (Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Panorama Assist, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Pinhole, Photo Frame, High Dynamic, High Speed Movie)

Quick Menu

Color Mode / Color Effect
Standard, Natural, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, Cool, Warm, Happy


Real-time histogram

Composition Guide line
Yes (2 pattern)

Auto Review
off, 1sec, 2sec, Hold

Easy Zoom / Zoom Resume
- / Yes

Optical Zoom in Motion Picture

Macro Zoom

Orientation Detector

Scene Mode Help Screen

Self Timer
2sec / 10sec

Focus Icon Select
Yes (in Face Recognition only)


Playback Mode
Normal Playback, Slideshow, Filtering Playback(Picture Only, Video Only, 3D, GPS, Travel, Category, Favorites), Calendar Playback

Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback
12,30-thumbnails / Yes

Calendar Display / Dual-Image Playback
Yes / No

Set Favorites / Rotate Image
Yes / No

Playback Still Images with Audio

Playback Motion Picture

Slideshow Mode
All / Picture Only / Video Only / 3D / GPS / Travel / Category / Favorites / BGM Effect (Natural / Slow / Swing / Urban / OFF)

Show Histogram

Delete Image
Single / Multi / All / All except Favorites

DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection
Yes / Yes

Resize / Trim / Aspect Conv. / Leveling
Yes / Yes / No / No

Copy / Title Edit / Text Stamp
Yes / Yes / Yes

Video Divide

PictBridge Support
Single / Multi / All / Favorites / DPOF


OSD language
Japanese, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish

Movie REC Guide

Wind-Cut in Motion Picture

Travel Date / World Time
Yes / Yes


LUMIX Image Uploader

LCD Monitor
7.5cm (3.0") TFT Touch Screen LCD Display (460K dots), AR coat / Field of View : approx. 100% Wide View Angle / AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode

Touch Panel

Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off / 0.6 - 5.0m (Wide/ISO Auto), 1.0 - 2.8m (Tele/ISO Auto)

Recording Media
Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card

Approx. 18MB

Microphone / Speaker
Stereo / Yes

mini HDMI, AV Output (NTSC/PAL), USB2.0 High speed

Viera Link

HDMI output
Auto Only (Unselectable)

ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 895mAh) (Included) / AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC) (Optional)

Battery life (approx.)
260 pictures (CIPA Standard)*1

Included Software
PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.1 HD Lite Edition / QuickTime / Adobe Reader / Super LoiLoScope ( trial version)

Standard Accessories
Battery Charger, Battery Pack, AC Cable, AV Cable, Stylus Pen, USB Cable, AC Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM

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