Panasonic Lumix TZ90 Camera Review: More pixels and better battery life

PROS:

  • Video and photo 4K / UHD.
  • Adjustable and multitouch screen.
  • Wide personalization possibilities.
  • Programmable lens ring.
  • Electronic viewfinder.
  • Excellent autonomy (between 380 and 400 views).
  • Possibility of photographing in RAW.

CONS:

  • Start time greater than 2 seconds.
  • Image quality is still and perfectible.

BOTTOM LINE :

The Panasonic Lumix TZ90 is one of the best compact cameras with a 30x zoom and is generous in its endowment: swiveling touchscreen, electronic viewfinder, configurable lens ring, excellent autonomy, 4K video, Wi-Fi. it is necessary to be happy! But it evolves relatively little compared to its predecessor (the Lumix TZ80) and opposite the direct competitor, the Sony HX90, the 4K video input is counterbalanced by a large footprint.


Since some editions already, Panasonic advance in small touches for its compact Lumix TZ with big zoom. The latest addition to the 30x family, the TZ90 differs from the TZ80 essentially by two points: the addition of a screen now orientable vertically – a first on a TZ -, and the transition to a definition of 20.3 Mpx .

PRESENTATION

Configurable lens ring, screen 180 ° vertical, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder … We could believe ourselves on a Sony HX90 / HX90V , but it is nothing. Compared to its rival the Panasonic Lumix TZ90 adds 4K / UHD video and Photo 4K, two functions expensive to the brand and, above all, a touch screen. The external match is beautiful but, internally, is the TZ90 really better than its predecessor the Lumix TZ80  ?

GETTING STARTED

This is obvious to the eyes when the box comes out: the Lumix TZ90 is big. Really very big. Compared to the TZ80, it took 40 grams on the balance (322 g versus 282 g) and, most importantly, 3.3 mm in height and 3.1 mm in thickness – the width remains unchanged. This seems nothing on paper but enough to make it look like a giant compared to other compact 30x of the market, including Lumix TZ80, and especially the Sony HX90V / HX90 / HX80 / WX500. If it becomes more difficult to slip into a trouser pocket, you must at least see the good side of this overweight: the grip is improved, the device is well in hand and you minimize the risks of pressing inadvertently on several small buttons simultaneously.

Apart from the swiveling touchscreen, which automatically activates the selfie mode when it is tilted 180 ° vertically, the handling remains classic for a Panasonic. Technically, it differs little from the Lumix TZ80: the slab still counts 1,040,000 points for a diagonal of 7.5 cm and the integrated electronic viewfinder must always deal with a definition of 1,166,000 points. We still prefer Sony’s retractable viewfinder: at Panasonic, the viewfinder is a bit too narrow and gives the impression of being far behind at the end of a tunnel. He nevertheless has the merit of being present. Fortunately, the Lumix catches up with its perfect mastery of the tactile multitouch : without bad play on words,

The customization options are numerous, perhaps a little too much for a case that wants to be general public. All buttons are adjustable, including lens ring and rear wheel. For our part, we have combined step-by-step zoom with the lens ring and the sensitivity to the dial, the two being respectively, by default, used for continuous zoom and aperture or speed adjustment. But you have the possibility to associate them with any other function: manual focus (with focus peaking), white balance, choice of format, etc.

Connectivity, if there is always Wi-Fi, Panasonic has definitely given up the NFC. Minimum service on the socket side: a micro-HDMI and a standard USB 2.0, which makes it possible to recharge the device – in itself nothing extraordinary, but Panasonic has taken so much time to come that it is always worth remembering it . The 1025 mAh battery has not changed compared to the Lumix TZ80, but it seems that the engineers have slightly optimized the management of the consumption of the electronics of their beast since it is now possible to flirt with the 400 views by charge, making this level almost as good as the Sony HX90V / HX90.

REACTIVITY

Unusual for a Panasonic in recent years: the Lumix TZ90 will not have 5 stars in reactivity! The fault at a nearly one second slower start than the TZ80, the TZ90 requiring more than 2 seconds in total to get started. Other regression: the focus is generally less intense. Despite the rise in definition of the sensor, the wait between two shots is shortened and the Lumix TZ90 even takes advantage of the opportunity to offer a more spirited burst.

QUALITY OF IMAGES  

What doubts, what doubts! In four generations the Lumix TZ will have pixels waltzed: 18 Mpx on the TZ40 and TZ60, attempt to drop to 12 Mpx on the TZ70, return to 18 Mpx on the TZ80, now the TZ90 completely returns his jacket and climbs to 20.3 Mpx. Finished, then, the speech that in substance praised the merits of the bigger photosites of the TZ70 allowing better shots in low light.
However, is the TZ90 better than before? Good news: it is not worse. However, Panasonic still can not completely get rid of its very artificial JPEG processing on its compact, with a sensitivity rise that hardly 800 ISO and a very aggressive default smoothing. We will note however a colorimetry globally a little warmer, so more pleasant.

VIDEO

In addition to a perfect mastery of the touch interface, the second secret weapon is Panasonic video. The Lumix TZ90 have nothing to be desired although hybrid DSLR and more upscale: Video 4K / UHD 30p, Full HD 60p, modes Photo 4K, zebras, focus peaking in manual focus, smooth and precise continuous AF , management of the development zone is a simple touch on the screen … the Lumix TZ90 retains the beautiful ahead of the TZ80, so much so, indeed, that it will not bring “more than that.” One criticism though: either Full HD or 4K / UHD, a light crop is applied when shooting, making you lose the maximum wide-angle 24 mm, but lengthening the stroke, artificially, the maximum focal length.

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