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Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61): 30x zoom, viewfinder, WLAN and new design –  A mini super zoom bridge camera

The Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (named TZ60 in the European Union and Britain and named TZ61 in Germany) breaks new ground in Panasonic’s ZS series (TZ series in the rest of the world), as the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) becomes a compact super-zoom bridge camera thanks to 30x zoom, wireless, electronic viewfinder, new design and more manual functions including raw format. Despite the 24-720mm zoom (KB), the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) remains relatively flat at 35mm, but with the new electronic viewfinder the photographer has to be content with 200,000 pixels, according to the motto “better a pixelated viewfinder than no viewfinder at all”.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • All settings such as aperture, time, focus, white balance, etc. can be controlled manually
  • Control ring around the lens speeds up camera operation
  • Advanced equipment with GPS, WLAN, HDR, panorama function, etc.
  • Electronic viewfinder to complement the LC display
  • 30x optical zoom for a focal length range between 24 and 720 mm

Cons

  • Relatively small control knobs and housing with little grip
  • No touch operation possible
  • The resolution leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the border area

 

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

The Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) not only has a new housing design, but also numerous other innovations: Such as the multifunction lens ring and the 30x optical zoom from 24-720 mm (KB). [Photo: Panasonic]

With the Lumix ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61), Panasonic has added a real powerhouse to the Travelzoom TZ series (ZS in the United States). This becomes apparent as soon as the optical 30x zoom is extended, which can cover an enormous focal length range between 24 and 720 millimetres. But even when you dive into the menu, the setting options flood your mind. In addition, there is GPS, WLAN, an electronic viewfinder and a great video function.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

In addition, the Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) can be extensively controlled manually, including recording in raw format. The WLAN module allows image transmission and extensive control of the camera. [Photo: Panasonic]

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

In addition to the 7.5 cm screen with a resolution of 920,000 pixels, the Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) also has an electronic viewfinder with only 200,000 pixels, but still with dioptre correction. [Photo: Panasonic]

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

The Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) is available in either black or silver-black. [Photo: Panasonic]

One could think that Panasonic has developed the ZS27 (TZ40 and TZ41 in the rest of the world) to the ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) with the best bonds at the LZ1. In any case, the many innovations justify the great leap in the counting of names. The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61), for example, has a 30x optical zoom with image stabiliser in a housing that is only 35 millimetres thick, covering a focal length range of 24 to 720 millimetres equivalent to a small image. The elaborate lens design consists of twelve lens elements in ten groups, including five aspherical elements with ten aspherical surfaces, three ED lenses and one UHR element. An ultra-thin lens is also used. Another trick enables the compact design: When the lens is retracted, an element of the movable image stabilizer group swivels laterally out of the beam path. Also new: The image stabilizer construction now relies on a 3-point ball system instead of the usual rods, which should make the image stabilizer even more effective, especially at the long tele end.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

The more angular design radiates a slight retro look, especially in the silver-black version. A new feature is the multifunctional lens ring, which allows the control of various functions as well as optional manual focusing, which should be easy thanks to focus peaking. The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) also allows numerous other manual settings up to the exposure, even saving in raw format is possible. But the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) is just as suitable as a simple camera with the intelligent automatic system that takes care of all the photographer’s settings.

The high-sensitivity MOS sensor with its 18 megapixel resolution together with the even better Venus Engine ensures short response times. As in the Lumix-G system, the sensor is read out at 240 Hz. This should improve the autofocus speed by 20 percent compared to the Panasonic ZS27 (TZ40 – TZ41). For example, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) takes continuous shooting including AF tracking at five frames per second. Without AF tracking, the continuous shooting rate increases to ten frames per second, but the high speed ends after only six shots. In addition, the sensor allows a maximum sensitivity of ISO 6,400, thanks to the improved noise reduction.

The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) records videos in full HD resolution at a maximum of 50 frames per second including stereo sound. The latter is made possible by the stereo zoom microphone with particularly good sound quality. The hybrid image stabilizer combines optical and digital image stabilization and even allows automatic horizon alignment when the camera is slightly tilted. There is also a high-speed video function with up to 120 frames per second in HD quality.

Thanks to WLAN and NFC, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) can be connected particularly easily to a smartphone or tablet. Even without NFC, a QR code superimposed on the camera screen and scanned by the mobile device’s camera allows easy connection without the hassle of network searches and password entry. The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61)1 not only transmits photos and videos via WLAN, but can also be excellently controlled remotely with the “Panasonic Image App”, with numerous camera settings and of course the live image available. In addition, the Instant Transfer function allows photos to be transferred automatically immediately after shooting. To locate the photos, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) has a Glonass module. The database integrated on the camera not only assigns the position to the photos, but also information such as location and points of interest.

As an option to the rear screen, which has a diagonal of 7.5 centimetres and a resolution of 920,000 pixels, the photographer can also use the electronic viewfinder. Although it only has a resolution of 200,000 pixels, it displays a fluid image at 60 frames per second. A dioptric correction allows the use for people with defective vision even without glasses. The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) also features creative filters, an HDR recording function and captures 3D photos with a simple camera panning shot. The 1,250 mAh lithium battery of the Lumix is conveniently charged via USB in the camera. Since 2014, the Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) is available in either black or silver-black.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) not only stands out from its predecessor ZS27 (TZ40 – TZ41) in terms of equipment. Panasonic has also improved the external appearance and focuses on understatement in a retro look with the ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61). The thick handle on the front of the camera has given way to a discreet bridge, which looks less clumsy, but doesn’t give much grip either. Instead, the thumb gets a really nice grip on the back. The WiFi button still has room, it just slides under the bulge. This makes it a little fiddly to press, but it responds well. The buttons of the ZS series (TZ series) have always been small, and nothing changes with the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61). However, the fact that the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61)’s control buttons are made for delicate hands is not as important as before, thanks to the control ring around the lens. Depending on the program, functions such as manual focusing, step-by-step zooming, etc. can be set directly via the ring. But the ring also plays an important role in further operation and makes the setting of the camera settings altogether quicker. The quick menu provides quick access to the most important settings and the main menu is clearly structured and leads you quickly to the right result. With its 236 grams, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) sits well in the hand and can be easily stowed in the jacket pocket. Because despite the gigantic zoom construction of twelve lenses in ten groups, the housing measures only 35 millimetres in depth. Panasonic has achieved this by using ultra-thin lenses and swinging out an element of the movable image stabilizer group when the lens is retracted.

The electronic viewfinder disappears and Panasonic introduces it to the Travelzoom series with the ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61). The picture is a little bit tunnelled and with a resolution of 200,000 pixels, it is not as clear and detailed as on the 3-inch monitor with 920,000 pixels. But it offers diopter correction and 60 frames per second. The image is delayed but still fluid. Thanks to a switch above the monitor, you can easily and quickly switch between viewfinder and LCD display. The flaps for battery, memory card and HDMI close well and open quickly and easily thanks to spring hinges. All in all, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) appears high-quality and solidly manufactured.

Equipment

Panasonic has very ambitiously packed just about all the functions into the ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) that are common in the compact class. Intelligent automatic, subject programs and program automatic invite you to take pictures, you can rely on the camera. Experienced photographers have all setting options in the semi-automatic and manual modes, from aperture and time to focus and ISO to white balance. In two freely assignable custom modes on the mode dial, frequently used settings can be individually saved. But you can also be creative in other ways, for example with the creative effects. They are “mandatory”, every camera must have them now. The fact that the effects can also be applied in panorama mode is rather unusual, but provides a good example for the overall impression of the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61). Where others stop, she puts a shovel on top of it in terms of equipment. The intelligent automatic system already offers two modes. iA+ also corrects brightness and colour. In both, functions such as sharp motion, HDR, handheld night vision or face detection can be switched on or off. It is also possible to defocus the background and to correct exposure or color. Among the many equipment details it is almost more useful to search for missing features than to list them all. Thus, there are indeed exposure brackets, but one searches in vain for focus or white balance brackets. Also the flash is rather simple knitted and offers long time synchronization only in combination with an automatic against red eyes.

Because Panasonic has improved the processor and thus the speed of the camera, the serial function also does a lot of things. There is a wide range of speeds. At two and five frames per second, the camera can carry the focus. This works quite well with rather slow movements. The intelligent continuous shooting controls the speed between two and ten frames per second depending on the movement itself. With fixed focus after the first frame, even ten, 40 and 60 frames per second are possible, the latter with a reduced number of pixels. Flash series are also offered. Although it ends after five shots, there is still this rather rare function.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

Continuous shooting and single still images are even possible during movie recording, albeit in reduced resolution. It is almost needless to mention that the video function is also very well equipped, although without any manual control options. This includes the zoom microphone, for example. The sound that is recorded in stereo adapts according to the position of the optical zoom. There is also a wind noise reduction. The sound is relatively good for such a small camera, the zoom noise can only be heard in very quiet environments. The zoom speed is pleasantly slow. The high-speed mode is suitable for fast motion sequences. Here even 100 frames per second can be filmed in HD resolution and played back in slow motion.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

The GPS and WLAN functions of the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) are also equipped with a wide range of features. Many camera manufacturers omit the GPS function once the camera has WLAN and use the GPS signal from connected smart devices. The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) does the geo-tagging itself and is therefore independent of smartphones and co. Geodata can be added to photo and video recordings. The possibilities for making contact with other devices such as smartphones, tablets, printers, PCs, etc. via the camera’s WLAN function are manifold and at first glance also overwhelming. For this case, Panasonic has come up with the so-called convenient connection. If you can’t get anywhere over a network, simply press and hold the camera’s WiFi button and the Panasonic Image App will scan a QR code on the camera screen and establish a direct connection. The Image App is very sophisticated and offers a quick menu with settings for image size and quality, focusing method or measuring method as well as optical zoom control. Even the display indicators can be switched on and off. Functions such as the simple exchange of images seem almost banal. The only thing the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) is missing here is a touch display. This would make it much easier to enter passwords. Compared to competitor models, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) is nevertheless clearly ahead.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

Image quality

The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61)’s basic technical features alone offer a number of innovations that justify a thorough examination with the test software, most notably the 30x optical zoom with hybrid image stabilisation system. This is to work even more effectively thanks to a new 3-point ball system. The high-sensitivity MOS sensor with a resolution of 18 megapixels has not changed – it is still very small at 1/2.33 inches – but the processor has been improved. As in the Lumix G system, the sensor is read by the Venus Engine at 240 Hz. This should improve the autofocus speed by 20 percent compared to the ZS27 (TZ40 – TZ41).

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

Starting with the lens, it is to be feared that the enormous zoom range could have negative effects on the image quality. A look at the color fringes confirms this. In comparison to the 20x zooming ZS27 (TZ40 – TZ41), the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) always has very high values here – not averaged, but in extreme areas like contrast edges. A darkening of the edges is at no time noticeable as disturbing, but there is a drop in sharpness towards the edges, which is particularly noticeable with the closed apertures F8 and F6.3. Since the distortion is kept within reasonable limits, it is suspected that the distortion correction adjusts the pixels towards the edge accordingly, thus reducing the resolution.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

This is confirmed when looking at the MTF resolution values at 50 percent edge contrast. Here the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) still shows quite good values with the open apertures in the center of the image – at F3.3 even 48.4 line pairs per millimeter (converted to 35mm) – but at the edge of the image the result looks quite different. At F3,3 only one third of the value can be displayed at the border. Although this is the glaring exception, the resolution falls by almost 50 percent in most cases. The fact that detail and Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) are not particularly close friends is also evident when looking at the texture sharpness, which already dips into the visibly blurred area at ISO 200. This is due to the low level that is noticeable when measuring the signal-to-noise ratio. Already at ISO 400, the measured value is below the 35 decibel limit. The noise reduction works so well that colour noise is not a visible problem and luminance noise is only visible from ISO 800. The texture sharpness, however, suffers from the beginning from the strong interventions of the internal image processing. Panasonic, however, holds back with the re-sharpening, sharpness artifacts aren’t disturbing at any time.

Panasonic Lumix ZS40 (TZ60)

In terms of input dynamics, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) up to and including ISO 800 maintains very good values over ten aperture stops and even at ISO 1,600 still manages 9.4 stops. The curve of the tonal value reproduction is divided, i.e. the camera reproduces the tonal values crisply and with high contrast. The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) offers the raw format for fans of the own processing. Here everyone can conjure up the pictures the way they want to. Looking at the output tonal range, the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) up to ISO 800 can still output a good half of the 256 gray scales. The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) is not so precise when it comes to colour fidelity. Red and green tones in particular are often shifted into the yellow range. The super zoom camera has no problems with white balance. The autofocus speed of 0.35 seconds at wide angle and 0.58 seconds at telephoto is appropriate for a super zoom camera.

Conclusion

The Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) convinces with its equipment all along the line. A real highlight is of course the 30x optical zoom, with which you can get everything in front of the lens that is hardly visible to the naked eye. Such a compact lens design of this range cannot do without aberrations. This is where the internal image processing of the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) comes into its own, which has a negative effect on the resolution and detail accuracy. Nevertheless, the overall package of the Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) is more than convincing. It is suitable for photographers of all skill levels and in many ways always offers a little bit more than the competition.

Profile

Profile
Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61)
Price approx. EUR 400 at market launch
Sensor Resolution 18.1 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 4.896 x 3.672
(aspect ratio) (4:3)
Lens F3.3-6.4/24-720mm
Filter thread
Viewfinder yes
Dioptre compensation yes
Resolution 200.000
Enlargement approx. 2.56x / 0.46x (35 mm equivalent)
Image field coverage 100 %
LCD monitor 3″
Resolution 920.000
rotatable
swiveling
as Viewfinder yes
Video output AV and HDMI (each PAL/NTSC)
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure
Motif programmes
Portrait yes
Children/baby yes
Landscape yes
Macro yes
Sports/action yes
further 13
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection
Remote release
Interval recording
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Format MP4 or AVCHD
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 50 frames/s
Sensitivity
automatically ISO 100-3,200
extended ISO 100-6.400
manually ISO 100-6.400
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous Shadows
Manually yes
Autofocus
Number of measurement fields 23
AF auxiliary light red-orange
Speed approx. 0.4-0.6 s
Languages English
More 15 additional languages available
Weight
(ready for operation)
240 g
Zoom
Zoom adjustment motorized via ring rocker
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
yes
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life about 300 according to CIPA
– = “not applicable” or “not available

Brief assessment

Pros

  • All settings such as aperture, time, focus, white balance, etc. can be controlled manually
  • Control ring around the lens speeds up camera operation
  • Advanced equipment with GPS, WLAN, HDR, panorama function, etc.
  • Electronic viewfinder to complement the LC display
  • 30x optical zoom for a focal length range between 24 and 720 mm

Cons

  • Relatively small control knobs and housing with little grip
  • No touch operation possible
  • The resolution leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the border area

Panasonic ZS40 (TZ60 – TZ61) data sheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6
)18.9 megapixels (physical), 18.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.3 µm
Photo resolution
4.896 x 3.672 pixels (4:3)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3; mpo (3d)), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 50 p
Video format
MPG4 [codec MPEG-4]

Lens

Focal length 24 to 720 mm (35mm equivalent
)30x
zoom4x
digital zoom
Sharpness range 50 cm to infinity (wide angle
)200 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro area 3 cm (wide angle
)200 cm (telephoto)
Aperture F3.3 (wide angle
)F6.4 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AF Assist Light (LED)

Viewfinder and monitor

Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 920,000 pixels, touch screen
Video finder Video viewfinder available

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/2,000 to 4 s (automatic)
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function HDR function
Exposure Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 3,200 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 3,200 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Scene modes Baby, and various scene mode programs, HDR, landscape, food, night landscape, night portrait, sunset, sports/action, animals, underwater, 3 more scene mode programs
Picture effects Miniature effect, toy camera, soft focus, colorkey, dynamic monochrome, expressive, high- and low-key, high dynamic, retro, star filter
White balance Clouds, sun, shadow, incandescent light, manual
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 10 fps at highest resolution and max. 10 stored photos, 5B/s with AF tracking, 2B/s, max. 100 images, i-Cont, High Speed Cont. max 50 fps (= 5 megapixels)
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Recording functions Live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash
Flash range 0.6 to 6.4 m at wide angle2
.0 to 3.3 m at teleflash range
at ISO auto
Flash functions Auto, fill-in flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, red-eye reduction

Equipment

Image stabilizer optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD
Internal memory yes (12 MByte)
GPS function internal
Microphone Stereo
Power supply 1 x lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery (3.6 V, 985 mAh
)260 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Red-eye retouching, cropping images, image index, slide show function
Face recognition Face recognition
Image parameters Contrast
Grille can be faded in during recording yes
Connections Data interfaces: USB audio output
: yes (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
Video output: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous optical image stabilizer (five-axis
)Touch AF functionFace recognitionHigh-ISO mode(1600 – 6400)
Long time exposure (starry sky) 4, 15 or 30 secondsHighspeed video function
with 100B/s at 720p and 200B/s with stereo microphoneAuto retouchingCreative retouching contrast functioni resolutionAnalogue scaleswhen adjusted via the lens ring

Size and weight

Weight 236 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 111 x 64 x 33 mm

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Lithium-ion rechargeable batteryPower supplyUSB Power supplyUSB connection cableCarrying strapImage editing software

PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.2 Premium for Windows and for MacintoshImage editing software
Silkypix Developer Studio for Windows or higher or higher and for Macintosh System or higher or higher

USB