I’ve dabbled with various Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras, including the Lumix G6 and the ultimate video camera – the GH4 – which shoots in 4K. This time Panasonic asked me to test out the Panasonic TZ100, which is billed as the ultimate travel companion. The big selling point is that it shoots 4K Photo, meaning you can capture video in 4 times the quality of HD and export specific frames as photos. Panasonic really are the leaders when it comes to 4K at the moment, and 4K is definitely the future of photography.
This camera doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, which means I can’t switch lenses according to the type of subject I’m shooting. But what it does have is a Leica lens, and as we all know, Leica are the bees knees when it comes to making lenses.
The TZ100 is incredibly compact in size, just like the compact cameras I used to carry around before I got into DSLR photography, making it perfect for travel. It’s proved really useful for when I want something small to carry around in my handbag that doesn’t take up too much room, so I’ve taken it on evenings out and festivals quite a bit.
Some of the features the camera is packed with:
Leica 9.1-91mm f/2.8-5.9 lens, which has a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 25-250mm
The 1-inch sensor sets it a part from other cameras in its category, since larger sensors help to reduce noise problems and improve image quality. There’s an electronic viewfinder built in to help you compose photos in bright light, but it’s rather small, so I found myself using the screen to focus on my subject.
With this camera you’re able to have full manual control, using Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual modes, which you can select with the dial on the top. Another dial allows you to select shutter speed or aperture, depending on what mode you are using.
For a tiny camera like this, it almost feels like you’re using a DSLR, and one of the other plus points is you can also shoot in RAW as well as Jpeg.
What’s most exciting about this camera is its 4K photo setting, so let’s take a look at it in more detail:
The above is a 4K photo I took of the fountain in Trafalgar Square, and as you can see, it captures every little droplet. 4K photo is definitely ideal for capturing things like flying birds, water, jumping photos and anything else with movement in it.
There’s a dedicated 4K photo button, which lets you choose from three modes, including 4K Burst, 4K Burst S/S and 4K Pre-Burst. I found myself using 4K S/S the most, because it allows you to press the shutter release button once, then it will keep recording until you press it again to stop.
The camera shoots 4K video clips, and from these you can select the exact frame you want to export as a photo. You don’t have to have any video editing equipment to pull stills from the video, as it’s all inbuilt in the camera. Simply hop into playback mode and select the exact frame you want using the touch screen, then save it as a jpg onto your SD card. It really is that simple.
Best of all, the camera has Wi-Fi capabilities so you can send the pictures to your smartphone for uploading to Instagram. The camera doesn’t have NFC capability, but since I’m an iPhone user, I can’t use NFC anyway.
This is a travel size camera, so it doesn’t have dedicated buttons for things like ISO and Wi-Fi. But it does have plenty of functionality for its size. As mentioned previously, it lacks interchangeable lenses, or NFC capability. When I connected to my phone using Wi-Fi and the Panasonic app, the camera lens extends outwards, which could be a bit hazardous and cause damage to the camera. A warning message that appears on the screen saying “be careful with the lens, as it may extend suddenly when starting in recording mode.” I’ve only had it a few weeks and there do seem to be a few knocks to the metal exterior, but I do put cameras through their paces when I’m travelling, so if you keep it in a protective case and use it lightly, it should be OK.
For me, the Panasonic TZ100 makes a great second camera to travel about with. While I would still want to use a camera with interchangeable lenses for more professional shoots, I am really starting to love the things that 4K Photo can achieve. I was able to capture the exact moment the crowd roared at a Bruce Springsteen concert in LA; every single snow droplet on my trip to Switzerland; and a street performer blowing fire out of a tuba in Leicester square. The pocket-size TZ100 is packed with features and its small build makes it a perfect companion on the road.
For more 4K Photo pictures from my travels visit my Instagram channel.