Panasonic has revealed the latest version of its superzoom compact cameras the TZ90 (UK) or ZS70 (US). This will be added to the existing TZ60/70/80 or ZS40/50/60 lineup that has been popular for travel and general point-and-shoot photography with the advantage of a 30x zoom lens and small electronic viewfinder.
One thing that does irk older people especially about modern cameras is the lack of a viewfinder. So this series of cameras is right up their street. Younger people who have mainly used a smartphone for photography tend not to worry about such things. However, a tilting screen does appeal to most people as a great advantage. The new TZ90 / ZS70 has both just for good measure so should appeal to all. The tilting screen rotates to face forward for all you selfie lovers. Talking of selfies, there is a new Panoramic Selfie mode to put you at the heart of the panorama, and if you are roughing it, a mode to help you look your best.
Perhaps the most important upgrade is to the cameras image sensor. The camera has a new 20.3-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor whilst the TZ80 /ZS60 has just 18.1-megapixels. This will help a little in lower light conditions and give a little better resolution but this is still a 1/2.3” sensor. This is the sensor size used in most point-and-shoot or superzoom cameras. For significantly better image quality and lower light capability, you need to step up to the 1” sensor of the Premium Compact cameras.
Autofocus continues to improve as technology and processing power increases with 49-points and a touch-sensitive screen for touch focus selection. For manual focusing, the camera has focus-peaking that indicates with a color outline just what currently is in focus.
Much of the rest of the camera is the same as the TZ80 / ZS60 with the same 24-720mm (35mm equivalent) lens. The 0.2” 1,166k-dot EVF with an eye sensor to switch between screen and viewfinder and yet retain the touch-screen operation for focus selection. Size-wise, the new camera is just slightly bigger and that means 40g heavier. Claimed battery life has improved from 320 shots to 380 shots.
Anyone interested in video? This camera has 4K at 25/30p and high-speed video up to 100/120p that can give quarter speed slo-mo. 5-axis stabilization will help smooth out the action and 4K still photo modes for 8M pixel stills at 30 frames per second. A new rear button dedicated to the 4K stills modes.
So what's not to love? The price tag for this camera will start at just short of £400 / $450. That is significantly above the mass market for a point-and-shoot and more in line with a Premium Compact, which this isn’t. Therefore like it’s predecessor it will have a limited appeal until this price starts to fall.