Panasonic TZ202: Lens

Lens Characteristics in Short | A Few Technical Data | Some Quotations from Lens Reviews | My Own Two Cents... | References

On this page, I would like to discuss one the specific characteristics that lead me to buy the Panasonic TZ202, namely the lens. I investigate what the available test results and the reviewers say, and I also offer links to camera reviews.

 

Lens Characteristics in Short

The Panasonic TZ202 features a fixed Leica DC Vario-Elmar 8.8-132 mm (24-360 mm equiv.) f/3.3-f/6.4 lens with a zoom range of 15 x. Thus, it offers the equivalence of about a dozen "classic" prime lenses between 24 mm and 360 mm. Zoom is set using the zoom lever or using the control ring around the lens. Manual distance is set using the control ring. There are no marks on the lens, and the camera regrettably lacks distance and depth of field indicators on the LCD screen (only a coarse distance scale is shown when focusing manually).

    

Front view

 

Top view, off

 

Front view, on, wide angle

 

Front view, on, telephoto

 

Top view, on, wide angle

 

Top view, on, telephoto

 

Top view, on, wide angle

 

Top view, on, telephoto

Photo: The Panasonic TZ202 and its lens

The lens does not have a filter thread for attaching filters or close-up lenses.

Find more technical information about the lens below.

In-Camera Correction of Lens Deficits

All lens designs are a compromise between different requirements and therefore have certain deficits - the PanasonicTZ202's lens is no exception to this rule. Therefore, the lens's deficits are corrected in software for JPG images, but not for RAW images.

 

A Few Technical Data

Data Panasonic TZ202 Comment
Lens Leica DC Vario-Elmar 8.8-132 mm (24-360 mm equiv.) f/3.3-f/6.4
13 elements in 11 groups
 
Zoom Optical Zoom:15 x
Intelligent Zoom: up to 2 x (= 30 x)
Digital Zoom: up to 4x (= 60 x)
There are two types of digital zoom: Intelligent Zoom (higher quality, lower range), and Digital Zoom (lower quality, wider range) - to be refined
Filter diameter None No possibility for attaching adapters...
Aperture range From f/3.3 to f/8 (wide angle) / f/6.4 to f/8 (telephoto) Maximum aperture depends on focal length.
Distance setting range AF (W: 50 cm to Infinity, T: 1 m to Infinity)
AF Macro (W: 3 cm to Infinity, T: 1 m to Infinity)
 
Smallest object field 56 x 37 / 50 x 33 mm at maximum wide angle (24/28 mm) => 0.236 = 1:4.24; 109 x 73 mm at the telephoto end (360 mm) My own measurements

Maximum Aperture Versus Focal Length

This is what I found out:

 
Focal Length (mm)
Equivalent
24
28
35
50
70
90
135
160
200
250
300
360
Actual
8.8
33
132
Maximum f-stop*
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 indicated by the camera

Smallest Object Field (Minimum object Width)

These are my own coarse measurements on this topic:

 
Focal Length (mm, equiv.)
 
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, min distances not measured

The TZ202 lens has its "sweet spots" at 28 mm, 160 mm, and 360 mm (with nearly the same magnification as at 160 mm). The minimum width filling a frame that the TZ202 can achieve are about 5 cm at 28 mm; at 160 and 360 mm, minimum object width decreases to 11 cm.

Close-Up Samples - "Sweet Spots"

The following close-up sample demonstrate the "sweet spots" of the lens for taking optimal close-ups (the maximum width of the butterfly Hamadryas belladonna is about 6.8 cm):

    

24 mm* (5.5-5.6 cm)

 

28 mm (4.9-5.0 cm)

 

160 mm (11.0-11.4 cm; approx.50 cm)

 

360 mm (11.0 cm; approx. 100 cm)

 

720 mm, i.Zoom (digital zoom; 5.5 cm; approx. 100 cm)

 

Ditto, for comparison purposes

Sharpness Data

See the Lens Reviews below.

 

Some Quotations from Lens Reviews

In the following, I cite a few sections about the lens of the Panasonic TZ200/202 from reviews that I found on the Internet. This selection is, of course arbitrary, but may help readers gain a certain "feeling" for the lens. Many reviewers that are not cited here bemoan that the lens is rather slow. At the long end, the lens starts at f/6.4 and already ends at f/8 which leaves little choice and is already affected by diffraction. Some reviewers are thus, not sure whether the additional zoom range (and slower speed), compared with the predecessor TZ100/101, is worth it.

dpreview.com

In the review of the Panasonic TZ200/202 on dpreview.com, the authors wrote the following as "key takeaways" about the lens:

They summarized their results as follows:

For details of the lens' performance at various ISO values and in comparison to other cameras, you can have a look at the studio scene on the same page.

All in all, this review probably did not give the TZ200/202 sales a boost. In discussion forums, the camera was more or less "out" afterwards. It must, however, be noted that there were and still are users who are quite content with the lens' performance*, and I would add myself to this list. At Christmas 2018, the price had dropped from 800 EUR to about 650 EUR in Germany...

*) My gripes refer more to the camera's processing (which is regarded as good in this review)...

digitalkamera.de (Free and Pay Content)

The German photography Website digitalkamera.de published a test of the Panasonic TZ202 (in German, performed with DxOMark software). Here is an excerpt of the result for the lens (too long for translation...):

The lp/mm values have been scaled to 35 mm values, but I do not quite understand what this means.

They also published a thorough technical lab test of the Panasonic TZ202 (in German), which can be downloaded for a fee from this page. Since this is pay content, I cannot report on this test here.

Trusted Reviews

Andy Westlake from Trusted Reviews wrote the following about the TZ200/202's lens:

Resolution

Photography Blog

Tim Coleman from Photography Blog wrote the following about the TZ200/202's lens:

And in the lens section itself, he writes:

In the summary, he writes about the lens:

Richard Wong

In his review of the TZ200, Richard Wong writes about image Sharpness (with many sample and comparison photos on his site):

 

My Own Two Cents...

Actually, the Panasonic TZ202 was the first camera, where I did not check the corners and the overall lens quality. So, my opinion is not really grounded in data... First of all, I wanted a compact 1" camera with a long zoom range for shooting bugs and flowers from a distance, and this was and still is the one with the longest range for a compact 1" camera that you can get. I considered the Panasonic TZ100/101 a year ago or so, but its lens quality was not at all praised, and the viewfinder was regarded as poor. So I bought a Sony RX100 M4 instead... When the first reviews of the TZ202 appeared, the lens was also not really "praised", particularly its performance at the long end (it was often called "soft"), but most reviewers found a minor improvement in lens quality. In addition, the for me important EVF was improved. So, after I had read the reviews on digitalkamera.de and Chasseur d'Image, I decided that I switch to the Panasonic TZ202 - and to a whole new universe with respect to camera handling. And then the devastating review on dpreview.com was published! Would I have bought the TZ202 after that review? I think, probably not. In the end, I was not shocked to death by this review, because it looked to me as if I had received one of the rare(?) better samples. And there were and still are people in discussion forums who maintain that their TZ200/202 delivers satisfying results. I would second that.

All in all, it is not so much the lens, but the JPG image processing that I find the weak point of the camera, particularly if I compare the TZ202 with our Sony 1" cameras. I was experimenting with image settings for quite a while and, like many others, changed the default values and reduced the noise reduction in particular. But I am still not there, where the Sony cameras are... But I should also mention that after I had got accustomed to the "working" of the TZ202 (which took quite a while and involved buying a book about the camera), I was quite pleased with using it - and my wife as well when she used it for a day on vacation.

At the end of 2018, however, I decided with a heavy heart to part with the Panasonic TZ202 and to buy a "monster" called Sony RX10 M3. Read more on the decision process this on page Introduction.

 

References

The following online reviews of the Panasonic TZ202 typically include a review of the lens:

 

An den Anfang   Homepage  

gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de

About me
made by walodesign on a mac!
12.01.2019