We were impressed with the all-round quality of the Panasonic TZ-40 , with the ultra-zoom compact camera proving adept in pretty much any situation. This year, Panasonic is back to better the experience with the TZ-60.
Externally its similar to its predecessor, but the TZ-60 has a slightly more refined pleasingly-retro look to it. We like the slim hand grip on the front, which makes the TZ-60 comfortable to hold. It's surprisingly light, although it's still extremely well made with a tough-feeling case.
The TZ-60 has a pleasingly retro look to it
While the TZ-40 had 'just' a 20x optical zoom, the TZ-60 has a 30x zoom. That's 24mm at the wide end and to an impressive 720mm at the telephoto end. It should mean that this camera is ideal for any situation.
Of course, fitting this kind of lens into the camera has taken a fair bit of work, while maintaining the slimness of the body. It should not be over-estimated just how much engineering goes into this. The lens is Leica manufactured and goes from f3.3-6.4.
The sensor has the same 18.9-megapixel 1/2.3in CMOS model, as used in the TZ-40. There's little point in upping the resolution on a sensor this size and we're pleased that Panasonic hasn't done that here. The company is promising that a newer image processing engine will mean lower noise across the board, which should help improve image quality.
New this year is RAW support, which is something that the TZ range has been crying out for. Its controls and zoom range mean it's the ideal all-round camera for enthusiasts and RAW was always a key missing feature. We're pleased to see it make its appearance here.
Round the back is a 3in 920k-dot screen, which you can use for composing shots. It's not a touchscreen, so you'll need to use the mode-dial and dedicated buttons on the rear and top to control the camera. We don’t see this as a particular problem, as the menu system is more than adequate.
As well as the screen the TZ-60 also has a 200K-dot EVF. It's a little low-res, but it gives the flexibility to compose shots in places and times where using the rear screen alone would be a little tricky.
With general all-round improvements over the TZ-40, the TZ-60 could well be the all-round camera that a lot of people want. With RAW mode and the EVF it's also feels like more of a serious camera for enthusiasts.