As ubiquitous as the smartphone may be for everyday photography, there is still one area that the regular compact camera has it beat: zoom. Sure, there's the Nokia Lumia 1020 which gives you 41 megapixels (38 effective megapixels in the real world) of resolution to crop into, but sometimes that won't be enough.
Enter the travel zoom camera. Panasonic was one of the first companies to truly define this category of compact cameras, dubbed the TZ range locally and the ZS range elsewhere. In an even more confusing twist, the TZ60 is actually called the ZS40 in Europe and the US market. Can we please have some consistent naming, Panasonic?
Though the camera was announced overseas at the beginning of this year, it's only now just making its way down under. Inside the svelte body is a 30x (not particularly fast) f/3.3-6.4 Leica-branded lens. An 18.1-megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor is also able to deliver 1080/50p video in AVCHD, while continuous shooting is 10 frames per second.
Par for the course with new compact cameras these days, Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS technology is inside. Finally, the TZ series gets RAW capabilities: 16-bit, no less.
But the most interesting part about the TZ60 is the resurgence of the electronic viewfinder (EVF). It's not the highest resolution out there — only 200,000 dots — but it's a step in the right direction for photographers who want to shoot in bright outdoor conditions. If it followed in the footsteps of other Panasonic EVFs like the one found on the excellent GX7, then the TZ60 would definitely be the camera to beat in this category.
The TZ60 arrives in Australia from April for AU$549.