Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10

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The Good Manual exposure modes; excellent design and build quality; 12x super-wide-angle lens.

The Bad Confusing and dubious zoom modes; some unexpected purple fringing.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 is a great camera, but its new 'intelligent' image processing isn't especially convincing, and the 'intelligent zoom' and 'extra optical zoom' are an insult to the intelligence. The GPS and manual exposure modes are important steps forward, but, while the TZ10 is better than the Lumix DMC-TZ7, it looks like the rate of progress is slowing down

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8.8 Overall

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Panasonic's TZ-series compact superzooms have long been CNET UK favourites. The latest version, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10, boasts a higher-resolution sensor, GPS, manual exposure modes and 'intelligent' image processing. It looks like the ultimate travel camera, and, at around £270, it seems like pretty spectacular value for money too.

Feature explosion
We thought Panasonic couldn't improve on the features of the Lumix DMC-TZ7, the TZ10's predecessor, but we were wrong. The TZ10 has a built-in GPS receiver that does much more than simply record the co-ordinates where a shot was taken. It also has an internal database of town and area names, together with the names of over 500,000 landmarks in 73 countries.

In this test shot, the TZ10 delivers zero distortion, excellent colours and exposure, and good definition too. The quality does nosedive at ISO 800, though (click image to enlarge)

Serious photo nuts will love the control offered by the new aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes. On other compact cameras, these are often buried in menus and options screens that make them too tiresome to bother with, but Panasonic's given them their own positions on the mode dial. An exposure button on the back also converts the four-way direction buttons into aperture (left/right) and shutter-speed (up/down) controls. It's a simple and brilliant system.

Shooting 720p movies is as easy as taking stills -- you just press the red button on the back to start filming. You can use Panasonic's efficient AVCHD Lite mode if you're going to play back movies on a TV, or switch to conventional Motion JPEG recording for QuickTime movies that you can play directly on a computer. You can zoom -- at a leisurely pace, admittedly -- while filming, the autofocus continues to work and you get stereo sound.