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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4: Top zooming

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 is a pocket-sized superzoom, with a wide angle lens, 10x zoom, and the sort of looks only a mother could love. But it packs plenty in

The first thing we thought about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 was that it's huge. It's palm-sized, sure, but nearly 35mm at the thickest point. In today's size zero compact camera world, that's the sort of girth that could earn the TZ4 a trip to fat camp. But don't be put off: instead of thinking of this 8-megapixel snapper as an overfed point-and-shoot, think of it as a superslim superzoom.

The TZ4 sports a 10x optical zoom. The Leica lens dominates the front of the camera, the way things should be, in our book. Not only is it a long lens, but Leica and Pana haven't skimped at the wide end. It boasts a 28mm focal length, equivalent to a 35mm film camera. That's the sort of wide-angle performance bested only by cameras such as the TZ4's cousin, the FX35.

All Panasonic's whistles and bells are here: mega OIS for keeping blur at bay, intelligent auto mode for camera cruise control, and the easy zoom button. While it's easier to push a button once rather than pull on that pesky zoom rocker, it certainly isn't faster -- but like the man said, good things come to those who wait.

Speaking of which, turn the page for more on the TZ4. It's available now for £170. -Rich Trenholm

Update: Read our full Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 review here.

For such a chunky camera, the screen is a letdown. Those black bezels don't do screens any favours, making this one look smaller than its 64mm (2.5-inch) dimensions. On the plus side, the backlighting function makes live view accessible even when holding the TZ4 at odd angles.

The TZ3 was a popular camera round at Crave Towers: our MP3 man Nate Lanxon swore by it. The TZ4 -- and its bigger brother, the TZ5 -- don't seem to be a radical departure from the TZ formula, with 'only' 8 megapixels and an average-sized screen. Look out for our forthcoming in-depth review to see whether this is a case of 'if it ain't broke...'

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