THE LOW-DOWN: The TZ25 and its sibling, the TZ30 (with GPS, $450) is the latest small upgrade of Panasonic’s “travel” camera. It has a 12 megapixel sensor and a Leica-branded 24–384mm (film equivalent) zoom. There is a conventional PASM control knob for those who like to think for themselves and iAuto for those who prefer to leave it to the camera. There are the usual scene modes and some art filters. The body is well made with an attractive metal skin. Controls are well laid out, except for the need to slide a selector for image review and return to shooting mode. With most cameras a light press on the shutter release returns from review to shooting – the Panasonic arrangement is clumsy.
LIKE: Picture quality is good, up to ISO200. By ISO800 noise and noise reduction become unacceptable. The camera is responsive, except for the review/shoot selector. The lens is good enough to use at its maximum focal length, with excellent image stabilisation.
DISLIKE: The absence of a proper viewfinder was extremely aggravating when we took our “tourist test” around town on a bright autumn day. Some of the time we were shooting blind. The LCD was totally black. For a so-called travel camera that will be used in all light conditions this is intolerable.
VERDICT: This is generally speaking an impressive camera. We are not enamoured of the long zooms, but this is one of the best. It is only a small improvement on the model it replaces — which was good enough in itself — but for anyone looking for a small, light, versatile and competent camera to take on holidays the TZ25 (and TZ30 if you have trouble remembering where you have been) is a fine camera. The very good HD video quality is a bonus — truly two cameras in one.
Cop the socks!