What's being said...
This TZ40 has achieved prominence in the sales league table while having a fairly big price tag relative to other popular choices and indeed other compacts. This has been done thanks to the cameras excellent specs and effective software giving an all round solid performance.
To start with this Lumix has the features we have come to expect; a strong zoom range at 20x, a sensor packed with around 18 million pixels, a reasonable battery life (though 300 shots isn't massive and see below regarding GPS) and good suite of on board software. But added to this are the new generation technologies such as WiFi, GPS and the LCD touchscreen that through these the camera comes into its own.
A strong zoom has for some time been a crucial feature for a travel camera, but with WiFi there is the reduced reliance on clunky wires allowing for a tidier backpack or suitcase. In addition the WiFi allows for the remote operation of the camera from other devices including your smartphone, a magical innovation that will surely revolutionise the market.
Returning to travel though, the inclusion of GPS is unfortunate as it drains precious battery life thereby increasing a mundane dependance power sockets and limiting freedom to explore, while actually adding very little to user experience (if you can't remember where Big Ben, the Valley of the Kings or Aires Rock is even after you've visited them we don't imagine a map with photos will help much).
The camera's touchscreen enables easy use and is integrated with the cameras software so you can quickly tell the camera what to focus during image composition. More generally the advanced controls over exposure times will attract the more experienced user, but simpler shooting modes common to most cameras makes this Lumix camera equally attractive to those less familiar with photography, according to Photography Blog.
Its easy to be distracted by the above and forget the key indicator of any camera's performance - the quality of the images it actually captures. However, rest assured this camera has that issue covered. Ephotozine notes images captured are colourful and well exposed, and also reports that noise levels are low even at ISO 1600 (which is not common particularly with compacts). Added to this blurring is limited well by Panasonic's OIS image stabilisation which works well event when the cameras zoom is fully extended (and most sensitive to the tiny tremor in you hand as you take the shot).
Overal then this is a thoroughly decent camera. It does the basics well and builds on them with the newer technologies. The elephant in the room though is of course price. If you'd rather not go North of £200 (price at time of writing is £238) then this camera's price might be too steep and there are cheaper supper zooms that perform well, but without the bells and whistles. The choice is yours, but if you do opt for this camera then you will not be disappointed.
What you say...
What Panasonic says...
The DMC-TZ40 incorporates 24mm ultra wide-angle 20x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens (35mm camera equivalent: 24-480mm), which is outstanding in class for its quality and versatility. Thanks to the Intelligent Resolution technology, the Intelligent 40x Zoom is available with minimum deterioration of picture quality even combining the digital zoom. The Panasonic’s black box technology Nano Surface Coating is applied for stunning clarity with minimum flare and ghost. The zoom functions are also available in the video recording.
The 18.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor is newly integrated in the DMC-TZ40 to realize both high quality image recording and high speed signal processing. Newly adopted Wavelet NR (Noise Reduction) in the Venus Engine and Edge Smoothing NR enable capturing high sensitivity image with reduced noise and smooth edges even at high ISO settings. The high speed digital signal output technology realizes high speed consecutive shooting at 10 fps in full resolution with mechanical shutter and the Light Speed AF.
The DMC-TZ40 integrates Wi-Fi® connectivity and NFC technology. NFC lets users connect the camera with a smartphone/tablet by just placing them nearby and follow the simple guidance. With "Panasonic Image App", users can enjoy remote shooting easy SNS upload, and Instant Transfer, which allows the camera to automatically transfer data to the designated electronic devices. Transferring data to PC is available via wireless access point (router) at home. The Wi-Fi Direct™ allows direct playback of images on some of the DLNA-compliant VIERA HDTV.
The DMC-TZ40 can record full HD 1,920 x 1,080 videos with stunning smoothness at 50p in AVCHD Progressive and 25p in MP4 format. The POWER O.I.S. is upgraded with an inclusion of HYBRID O.I.S.+ for video recording with 5-axis correction that detects and effectively compensates for the camera's 5 types of movement. Newly added Level Shot detects the horizontal line and keep it even if the camera is tilted. In addition, the high speed video at 100fps in HD quality is available.
The GPS in the DMC-TZ40 complies with GLONASS to further enhance its accuracy. It shows the name of the Country/Region, State/Prov./County, County/Township, City/Town/Village, and worldwide landmark information. The photos and videos with the location names are automatically sorted for quick reach and logging function allows memorizing travelling distance which can be displayed on the Google Earth application. With the 3.0-inch large Multi-Touch Screen, the map is scalable by pinching in/out it on the touch screen.