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Panasonic TZ100 review: Big sensor, big zoom, small camera for less

Panasonic TZ100 front
Our Rating :
£449.99 from
Price when reviewed : £549
inc VAT

A little short on wow factor, but the Panasonic TZ100 ticks a lot of boxes for such a small camera


Image quality

My image quality tests didn’t throw up any surprises, but it’s important to remember that Panasonic has rewritten the rulebook by fitting a 10x zoom and 1in sensor into a camera that’s just 48mm thick. Focus was generally excellent, and while it deteriorated towards the edges of the frame at certain focal lengths, it was rarely significant. Automatic settings used conservative ISO speeds, seldom going beyond ISO 1600. When I manually increased it to ISO 6400, image quality was still good enough to share online at modest sizes.

^ Lens sharpness is hard to fault for wide-angle shots. (1/800s, f/3.5, ISO 125, 28mm equivalent)

^ Focus deteriorates towards the edges towards the long end of the zoom. (1/800s, f/5.9, ISO 125, 191mm equivalent)

^ However, by the full 250mm zoom extension it has recovered to give sharp details throughout the frame. (1/640s, f/5.9, ISO 125, 250mm equivalent)

^ The 250mm (equivalent) maximum focal length is on the short side for wildlife photography. Other compact cameras with bigger zooms but smaller sensors would have made this chaffinch fill the frame but they’d have struggled with noise at ISO 1600. (1/40s, f/5.9, ISO 1600, 250mm equivalent)

^ Image quality isn’t perfect at ISO 1600 — the dense undergrowth in this shot looks mushy — but it’s far from a bad result. (1/100s, f/5.9, ISO 1600, 250mm equivalent)

^ The 5cm macro mode is a fine achievement, and the big sensor helps to deliver a narrow depth of field to make the subject stand out. (1/1000s, f/3.2, ISO 125, 25mm equivalent)

^ Skin and hair textures really benefit from the 1in sensor, giving natural-looking fine details that would be masked by noise on cameras with smaller sensors. (1/125s, f/4.1, ISO 125, 50mm equivalent)

^ I raised the ISO speed to 6400 for this shot to avoid motion blur. There’s quite a lot of noise on close inspection but it’s fine for sharing online. (1/80s, f/4.1, ISO 6400, 51mm equivalent)

^ This 8-megapixel photo was captured in 4K Photo mode, allowing me to choose which frame from a 30fps burst to keep. (1/320s, f/5.9, ISO 1600, 379mm equivalent)


I’m really impressed with the technical achievement of this camera, but I must admit I wasn’t bowled over by it in use. It manages to deliver on three key fronts — a decent zoom range, high image quality and a pocket-sized design — but it doesn’t exactly excel in any of these areas.

Panasonic TZ100 in the hand

The 10x zoom is a great asset for video and sightseeing trips but it’s probably not enough for sports and wildlife. Image quality is consistently up to scratch but it doesn’t have the wow factor of a camera with a significantly bigger sensor or wider aperture. It fits into jeans pockets, but only just.

For me, this isn’t a camera for enthusiasts. It does everything competently but keen photographers will appreciate the extra zoom range of the Panasonic FZ1000 or the luscious image quality of the Fujifilm X70. However, it’s just the thing for casual users who want a pocket-sized camera that can take dependable photos and excellent videos in a wide range of conditions. It might be a tad too expensive for that market, but if the concept appeals, so too will the camera.

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Sensor resolution20 megapixels
Sensor size1in
Focal length multiplier2.75x
ViewfinderElectronic (1,166,000 dots)
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage0.46x, 100%
LCD screen3in (1,040,000 dots)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (RW2)
Maximum photo resolution5,472×3,648
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9 1:1
Video compression formatMP4 (AVC) at up to 95Mbit/s
Video resolutions3840×2160 (4K) at 24/25fps, 1080p at 24/25/50fps, 1080i at 25fps, 720p at 25fps, VGa at 25fps
Slow motion video modes1080p at 100fps (1/4x)
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)7m 26s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range60 to 1/16,000 seconds
ISO speed range100 to 25600
Exposure compensationEV +/-5
White balanceAuto, 5 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, custom multi, face detect, tracking, pinpoint
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, HDR, panorama, multiple exposure
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)10x (25-250mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/2.8-5.9
35mm-equivalent aperturef/7.7-16
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)5cm
Closest macro focus (tele)70cm
Card slotSDXC
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI
GPSVia smartphone app
Body materialPlastic
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Dimensions (HxWxD)65x114x48mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£549
Part codeDMC-TZ100EBK

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