31 May Panasonic Cabinet Number One – The Small Traveller
I’m not laughing at your plight in not being able to fly away for an overseas holiday. I’m stuck here as well. We’ll all get to go as soon as things get better…and we can most of us go for a Western Australian trip somewhere anyway. So we need a travel camera.
Does that sound too grand – a travel camera? As opposed to one that stays here at home and takes family pictures? Well, if you’ve got a big old DSLR or a slightly less-big mirrorless, they may still be more of a burden than you want to bear on a trip. Hence the continued success for the compact camera. The Panasonic Lumix TZ 95. At least I think it’s the TZ95. Remember what I said previously about the business of too many models with too many names?
Name or no, this type of camera is one that shares design philosophy and shape with some of the Leica range – indeed there are lenses made at Yamagata with ” Leica ” on the bezel. Look at the 30X zoom on the TZ 95. That is an enormous zoom range for a pocket camera, and one that is fully exploited by the electronic viewfinder. I was particularly impressed with the view inside the shop – the finder provides artificial horizon levels in two planes so the wide-angle shots should be near perfect.
Note from the front view that there is a flash tube but it is very small indeed – so small that you forefinger may obscure the output if you’re not careful. So get in a good camera-holding habit early on.
The back viewshows a pretty comprehensive layout of physical control buttons and wheels – not that exposure compensation revolves around the D-pad ring – and some of these are duplicated on the touch screen. The screen itself – 3.0II size – is bright and clear. In the Western Australian sunshine it won’t be, so the EVF viewfinder comes into play. It’s a small aperture to see through, so you may fond yourself using the LCD screen much as you’d use a phone screen…but with a far better grip on the camera.
Note as well that the LCD screen rises to selfie-mode over the top of the camera. The self-timer that you’ll need is on the bottom of the d-pad. If you wish to juggle between EVF and LCD there is an eye sensor switch.
The mode switch, zoom control, and video start button are no surprise – users of most systems will find similar commands to those they may already use. There is a control ring, however, around the lens itself that can be programmed to take over some of the control – my favourite would be to use it as a zoom ring – leading to a good two-handed camera grip.
Output? 20.3 megapixels and the good saturated colours that Panasonic favour. I’d select the RAW+jpeg option myself if travelling to give me the option of correcting errors I make when I get home. I know some people decry the use of Photoshop, but I am not as good as they are at getting it right in camera – I take all the help I can get.
Video? 4K, of course. Inbuilt mic and selfie screen mean that you can vlog with this – it’ll pump out WiFi and Bluetooth signals. If you do this, pair it with a Leofoto tabletop tripod from CE’s support section and take advantage of the superb results.
Note: you may wonder at the absence of a hot shoe. This is primarily a pocket camera – a bit bigger than a phone but much more capable. Panasonic mean you to take it as a one-piece affair – tele, landscape, and macro and look to other of their products for flash connectivity. It’s a fair point – in my use of a small travel camera from my favourite maker I got a hot shoe but never used it in earnest. Any time I clapped on a speed light it made the whole apparatus ungainly.
Note for the Panasonic – I should put some thought into what case would suit it – given the fact that it should be into and out of a coat pocket or purse a hundred times on a vacation day. If you’ve ever turned the pockets of your coat out and looked at what accumulates there you’ll know what I mean. I’d favour a nylon or suede pouch myself. Of course you can go a neck strap if that’s your style.
Battery capacity? They say over 300 shots. Take two batteries with you. But you knew that anyway…