Panasonic TZ202: Close-Up Introduction and First Samples

Introduction | Investigations | Sample Photos | Comparisons with Sony RX100 M1 and Sony RX100 M4

This page and its companion pages discuss the macro, or better, close-up, abilities of the Panasonic TZ202. Although the camera has a macro mode (allowing shots from 3 cm), I would not call these photos "macros" and therefore use the term "close-up."

This page investigates the minimum object width for the Panasonic TZ202 under various conditions (in my opinion this tells you more than the maximum magnification) and presents sample photos that demonstrate the camera's close-up abilities.

 

Introduction

Ricoh's small sensor cameras, including the "old" GRs, are extremely good macro shooters. The Ricoh R and CX series as well as the Ricoh GXR S10 and particularly, P10 camera units demonstrate what is possible (see elsewhere on this site). Having a 1" sensor (size: 13.2 x 8.8 mm), the Panasonic TZ202 cannot really compete with these small-sensor cameras. On this page, I test the minimum object width for the camera, calculate its magnification, and provide some sample close-up photos.

 

Investigations

Panasonic does not disclose the maximum possible magnification for the TZ202 in macro AF mode. I took a few test shots (see some examples below) with autofocus and found for selected focal lengths a minimum object width of:

That is, at the telephoto end you get about 11 cm, that is, a little more than the width of a postcard, whereas at the wide end you get less than a credit card.

Note that at a focal length of 160 mm you get nearly the result of the telephoto end at 50 cm distance and with less danger of motion blur...

Test Shots

The following informal photos measure the minimum object width (using manual focus) at the extreme ends of the zoom range using a folding rule:

         

24 mm: 56 mm

 

24 mm: 56 mm

 

360 mm: 109 mm

   

160 mm: 114 mm

 

160 mm: 114 mm

 

200 mm: 125 mm

Calculating Maximum Magnification

The above data allows me to calculate the maximum magnification for the Panasonic TZ202 (adopted from dkpeterborough, L-Camera-Forum):

This result does not look impressive, but for close-up shots of flowers the close-up abilities of the Panasonic TZ202 are still useful, as the samples below (will) demonstrate. And compared with a full-frame camera, this is better than 1:2.

Da Capo

I did a second round for measuring the minimum object size. This time I did so for all zoom steps to find out whether there are any "interesting" focal lengths for close-up shots. The following table shows the results:

Focal Length (mm)
24
28
35
50
70
90
135
160
200
250
300
360
Min. Distance normal (m)*
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.7
1.0
1.0
1.0
Min. Distance macro (m)*
0.03
0.03
0.05
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.5
0.5
0.7
1.0
1.0
1.0
Min. Object Size macro (mm)
55-56
49-50
59-60
76-77
96-97
112-113
123-124
110-114
123-125
140
123
110
Largest Aperture (... f/8)
3.3
3.5
3.7
4.2
4.7
5.0
5.7
5.8
6.1
6.3
6.4
6.4

*) As given by the camera, not measured

The results are similar to the previous ones, which is no surprise, of course. Also note that these are not "precision" measurements anyway. There seems indeed to be an interesting "spot" at a focal length of 160 mm if you go for maximum magnification and want or need a lower object distance (50 cm). A focal length of 90 mm might be also fine if an object distance of 30 cm is OK. This increases the f-stop range of the camera to more than one f-stop and thus, provides a little more flexibility.

28 mm seems to be another interesting "spot," which, contrary to what the manual states, delivers the maximum magnification with a minimum object size of 50 mm (2 inches) at a distance of 3 cm. 35 mm to 70 mm still deliver a maximum object size below 10 cm at distances between 5 and 20 cm. They might be an option if you cannot or do not want to get as close as 3 cm to the object.

Finally, a focal length of 360 mm delivers a minimum object width of about 11 cm at a distance of 1 m. This might be useful for butterflies and other animals that might be scared off by taking photos at shorter distances, and for objects that you cannot get closer to.

BTW: I checked the results for 24, 28 and 35 mm once again and arrives at similar results.

 

Sample Photos

Very First Samples

    
     
 
     
 

All photos taken with a focal length of 360 mm and a distance of about 1 m.

A Walk (the Next Day)...

    
     
 
     
 

Photos taken at different focal lengths, May beetle taken at 24 mm

A Few More (the Day After)...

    
     
 
     
 

And on the Afternoon of the Same Day...

    
     
 
     
 
     
 

 

Comparisons with Sony RX100 M1 and Sony RX100 M4

I compared the close-up capabilities of the Panasonic TZ202 at the wide end with those of the Sony RX100 M1 and M4 and got the following results in my first test:

         

Sony RX100 M4 at 5 cm (24 mm)

 

Sony RX100 M1 at 5 cm (28 mm)

 

Panasonic TZ202 at 3 cm (24 mm)

Overall, the Panasonic TZ202 seems to deliver the largest magnification of our small cameras at the wide end (this was not an exact test...).

Here is a second test after I had discovered that the Panasonic TZ202 achieves even more magnification at a focal length of 28 mm. At 35 mm it seems to be a little less than at 24 mm, but the distance to the object increases to 5 cm, which may be welcome. Here, however, the flower looks a little bit larger for 35 mm than for 24 mm...

         

Sony RX100 M4 at 5 cm (24 mm)

 

Sony RX100 M1 at 5 cm (28 mm)

 

Panasonic TZ202 at 3 cm (24 mm)

         

Panasonic TZ202 at 3 cm (24 mm)

 

Panasonic TZ202 at 3 cm (28 mm)

 

Panasonic TZ202 at 5 cm (35 mm)

I also tested a second motif on the same day:

         

Sony RX100 M4 at 5 cm (24 mm)

 

Sony RX100 M1 at 5 cm (28 mm)

 

Panasonic TZ202 at 3 cm (24 mm)

         

Panasonic TZ202 at 3 cm (24 mm)

 

Panasonic TZ202 at 3 cm (28 mm)

 

Panasonic TZ202 at 5 cm (35 mm)

Here again, the magnification seems to be a little higher for 35 mm than for 24 mm, despite the fact that my "exact" ruler tests told a different story...

 

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14.05.2018