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Panasonic's Lumix TZ200 (1 Viewer)

MiddleRiver

Well-known member
United States
I occasionally wish for a camera record of hard-to-ID birds. I also do not see myself carrying anything even remotely resembling an SLR. I have a little Sony RX100 travel camera which is quite good (1" sensor) but my gen III only goes to 70mm. The latest version does 200mm which still seems inadequate for wildlife. So... the search begins...

I'm tempted to try the Lumix TZ200: 1" sensor and 24-360mm lens. Reviews say soft at high zooms, and lens speed so-so. It's not a huge investment but I also wonder how I would use it - if I am using binos will I have time to whip it out and try to get a pic? Will 360mm be enough?

Would love to hear from anyone else attempting to introduce absolute minimalist camera into their field observation routine!
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I do not know the camera you ask about. A look at DPreview shows that it was an EVF, which to me is a must for a camera used for bird photos.

Most people considering bird photo would want a longer reach than this camera has. But given that it was 20 mpix, you might be able to crop the photos some and get reasonable results with birds a little further away - my lack of experience with this camera means I cannot know how far away.

This camera has the advantage of a larger sensor with the potential of showing less noise on lower light images. Only you can decide which of those two (reach vs noise) is more important.

Niels
 

MiddleRiver

Well-known member
United States
Yes, thanks Neils. Those are my reasons for arriving at that particular camera rather than some of the 1/2.3" sensor cameras.

But really, what I was hoping to find is others that might have first-hand experience with such compact and relatively 'limited' class of cameras. I'm really not concerned with 'beautiful' pics of birds (tho that does appeal), but want the absolute most compact camera that provides real utility in getting positive bird ID when there is a question or the bird is not expected. E.g. I recently saw what I was pretty sure was a black-billed cuckoo near where we live, and it's fairly much out of season and would be considered quite unusual/unlikely. If nothing else I'd like to be able to convince others that I'm not crazy! LOL.

A larger non-pocketable camera just isn't something I want to carry around - it's just not how or why I walkabout looking for birds/wildlife.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I occasionally wish for a camera record of hard-to-ID birds. I also do not see myself carrying anything even remotely resembling an SLR. I have a little Sony RX100 travel camera which is quite good (1" sensor) but my gen III only goes to 70mm. The latest version does 200mm which still seems inadequate for wildlife. So... the search begins...

I'm tempted to try the Lumix TZ200: 1" sensor and 24-360mm lens. Reviews say soft at high zooms, and lens speed so-so. It's not a huge investment but I also wonder how I would use it - if I am using binos will I have time to whip it out and try to get a pic? Will 360mm be enough?

Would love to hear from anyone else attempting to introduce absolute minimalist camera into their field observation routine!
This may only be pretty much my first post, but I have had the TZ100 for over a couple of years, which is pretty similar to the TZ200. Looking at the specs of the two, unless i'm mistaken, I think the only big difference is that the TZ200 has a 15x 330mm zoom vs 10x 250mm for the TZ100.

That and the TZ200 actually has some decent rubberised grips rather than the stupid decision by Panasonic to have a slippy metal surface with no grip pads at all! I bought a sticky back grip to add to my TZ100 and it has helped a lot.

I did feel the TZ200 in store before i bought the TZ100. Both have rather slow zoom, but focus incredibly quickly.

A bridge cameras like the FZ82 which i had for about 6 months is more bulky than the TZ series, but actually very lightweight considering. This has a 60x zoom and while it isn't outstanding in any way at high zooms, it is great for identity of birds. But unless it is perfect, bright, cold weather (without heat rising from hot surfaces), the pictures just look a noisy mess. I found that despite this being 1200mm, my tz100 was better for most things.


I now am actually wanting a better camera than my TZ100 again for zoom as this, similar to the TZ200 does become a bit soft when zoomed in. It also loses the depth of field, probably related to the aperture increasing to 5.9 when fully zoomed in when it was 2.8 to begin with.


Although this is no longer a compact camera, I am thinking about maybe getting the FZ300 as that has a fixed range aperture no matter what the zoom and that goes on to 600mm. This camera does only have a 1/2.3" sensor and even the resolution is only 12.1 megapixels. But reading about it, there are some advantages to this.


If you must stick with a 1 inch sensor in a compact body, then either the DMC-TZ100 or 200 will probably be good enough. But I do agree with njlarsen that the TZ80 (zs in the USA I think) may be a better option due to the larger zoom range.

I've sold it, but my old 30x zoom DMC-TZ70 was actually better than my TZ100 for identity of birds simply because of the zoom, but the quality of pictures with the subject within reasonable reach of a 10x zoom just wasn't comparable to my TZ100.


I have a great deal of pictures from the past 2 years from this camera, and i could share some if you wanted. The TZ200 will be a small step above mine, but it costs considerably more.
 

MiddleRiver

Well-known member
United States
Thanks so much for taking time to
Reply.
I found the 200 to be as you described. Unless relatively close, generally soft and less than spectacular images but ok for ID verification. Focusing and ergonomics actually quite good and camera is almost pocketable so no excuse not to take it everywhere.

That said, since my previous post, I also got an a6600 and the Sony 70-350 lens. It’s a lot more weight and hassle, but of course between the lens and the aps-C sensor, it’s another class altogether. I still lust for longer lens but overall it’s a great package and amazingly compact for the specs. I posted a couple of my first pics in gallery if anyone is curious…
 

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