Panasonic has been pushing boundaries lately, by fitting a lot of high-end technology into its compact line-up. The TZ90 is no exception, bearing the weight of some of the Lumix range’s best features on its extremely slimline shoulders...
The most noticeable inclusion is that of Panasonic’s popular 4K features, such as Post Focus, Focus Stacking and 4K Burst, allowing you to select your focus after taking the shot, or pull a still from a video clip. These are realised well, though not as smoothly as in its more advanced siblings, with Post Focus and Focus Stacking having noticeably less focus points to choose from. However, the resulting 8MP files are still very useable.
The TZ90 also shoots 4K video, an area in which Panasonic is making quite a name for itself. Don’t forget though, you will need a computer capable of running 4K video to take advantage of this feature. The 180° tiltable 3in 1040k-dot touch LCD means you even have the ability to use the 4K mode for selfies, which is perfect for those who want to be in their own holiday pics.
Fancy features aside, the TZ90 offers some excellent spec, such as a 30x optical zoom. This gives the lens a whopping 35mm equivalent of 25-750mm (35-1050mm when using the 4K features). The sensor has been upgraded from the 18.1MP sensor found on the TZ80 to a respectable 20.3MP. The Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens delivers good quality, with 12 elements in 9 groups, and has 10 aspherical surfaces to reduce distortion, which it does very well considering the massive zoom range.
Panasonic’s 5-axis Hybrid O.I.S image stabilisation works brilliantly, delivering sharp results at the maximum zoom. The DFD (Depth-from-Defocus) technology provides a very responsive autofocusing system too, offering settings such as face detection, 49-area, or pinpoint (which shows a zoomed-in section to ensure you have the right focus). These systems all performed well in our testing and impressed us. The tracking was hit-or-miss with fast-moving objects, but it was still very acceptable. Paired with the 10fps burst speed you can capture some great action snaps.
The touchscreen is a perfect example of tech done well, being responsive, offering good clarity and allowing you to focus or control menu settings by touch. While we love the tilting screen, we’re not the selfie types and would have liked to see more screen movement, such as tilting down for assisting with low-level compositions.
The native ISO is 80-3200, which is fairly limited, mostly due to the 1/2.3in sensor. Noise is noticeable at ISO 800 and very visible at ISO 3200.
The TZ90 is a great travel compact for anyone who wants a selection of Panasonic’s best features in a pocketable body. The rapid DFD autofocus, 4K Photo modes and 4K video are all brilliant additions. While the ISO limitations (videos especially appear grainy) and tiny EVF both prevent a five-star conclusion, RAW shooting and a long zoom range make it ideal for anybody in need of a lightweight travel camera.
Find out more on the Panasonic website