The best travel zoom camera comes from Panasonic and is called Lumix TZ81 . With approximately 18 megapixels, the TZ81 dissolves in a contemporary manner. A clear advantage over its predecessor TZ71 . In addition, the TZ81 is the first camera in its class to film videos in 4K resolution. Not only when traveling impresses the small camera with an incredible 30x zoom.
Short overview: Our recommendations
Panasonic Lumix TZ81
As much useful features as the Panasonic Lumix TZ81currently no other travel zoom camera. In addition, there is a decent picture quality and 4K video – and all at a really acceptable price.
The fact that the 30x zoom on the long end of the telephoto weakens a bit, forgive her, because the Panasonic Lumix TZ81 is in the sum of its properties clearly the best travel zoom camera that you can buy at the moment.
The Sony HX90V is equipped with a GPS receiver. This feature is missing our test winner, but can be very convenient, because so you know after a long vacation with many snapshots right back where you have picked up the subject.
There is one disadvantage, however: In low light conditions, the pictures are unfortunately a little worse than those of our test winner.
Nikon Coolpix A900
The Nikon Coolpix A900 has the same as the TZ81 4K and Wifi. The biggest difference is likely to be the particularly far-reaching tele zoom, which zooms up to 840 millimeters.
Also, the resolution is a bit higher than our favorite, unfortunately relativized in bad light immediately. It also lacks a touch screen and the electronic viewfinder.
Panasonic Lumix TZ101
If you want good picture quality even in poor lighting conditions, then you should take a closer look at the Panasonic Lumix TZ101 . Your big picture sensor puts all other cameras in the shade. Unfortunately, this extra is also very expensive – just under 580 euros you have to invest in the TZ101.
Why use a travel zoom camera?
Who would like to carry a kilo-heavy DSLR camera with them on their travels or during a family outing? A camera that disappears quickly in your pocket is much more practical! In a conventional compact camera, however, a small zoom range often limits the possibilities of use, but that’s exactly what you often need if you want to bring as much as possible to the picture or if you want to snap the offspring from further away while playing.
Even for semi-professional photographers who like to take great photos while traveling, a travel zoom camera is recommended. It is handy and you do not have to walk around with a suitcase full of equipment. Above all, a good model must cover a large focal length range and ideally bring additional equipment.
Our favorite: Panasonic Lumix TZ81
Not so with a travel zoom camera like the Lumix TZ81 from Panasonic. When you stand with her on the shores of Lake Constance, you bring effortlessly the whole lake on the photo. Or you pick out the excursion steamer with the immense telephoto, which just drops off on the opposite bank.
The zoom range of the TZ81 starts at 24 millimeters focal length. This will capture about twice the scenery as your eyes. This is ideal for getting a complete view of wide landscapes or tall buildings.
On the long telephoto end with a focal length of 720 millimeters, the TZ81 looks like a telescope with a magnification of 17x, which brings a tiny section close up.
All this Panasonic has packed in the TZ81 in a very handy housing. The camera weighs no more than 250 grams and is barely larger than a pack of speed cloths. So the TZ81 really fits into any trouser pocket, even the breast pocket of the Hawaiian shirt if necessary.
Panasonic Lumix TZ81 in practice
The TZ81 comes up with a smart detail that greatly simplifies operation: an electronic viewfinder. In it you can see the viewfinder image bright and clear even in bright sunshine, even if the rear display only reflects the bright T-shirt. However, the viewfinder is relatively small, so it is not so well suited for eyeglass wearers.
But there is also the large display on the back for image control. Unfortunately, this is not mobile, but shows a pin sharp picture and offers another advantage: The display of the TZ81 is touch-sensitive, it receives commands per fingertips and wipers, much like a smartphone. And even more: The point on which the TZ81 should focus, set also with a fingertip, even when filming!
The touch screen is also practical because there is little room for controls on the compact housing. But defying the handy format of the TZ81, Panasonic has managed to equip the camera with a neat program dial. This will please all the photographers who frequently switch to the main mode and do not want to rely solely on the full automatic.
In order to keep the Lumix TZ81 safe, Panasonic has mounted a non-slip grip on the otherwise smooth front. This may not look quite as chic, but it works well in photography. Incidentally, most of the case of the camera is made of metal and looks solid throughout.
Of course, the small handle does not help much to keep the camera quiet enough with 17x magnification telephoto shots. Therefore, Panasonic has equipped the TZ81 with a powerful image stabilizer. He makes sure that you do not shuffle your shots too easily.
For such a small camera, the TZ81 is amazingly fast. This makes it ideal for fast snapshots – also because it takes up to 9 frames per second in series.
Outstanding is the Panasonic Lumix TZ81 when it comes to video recordings. She records the sound in stereo, her slow motion freezes fast movements. Also great: During the video recording, you can continue shooting photos.
But above all, the Lumix TZ81 also films in 4K resolution on request. Even if you do not yet own a 4K TV, the high video resolution offers a number of advantages.
For example, you can extract a photo from your video at a resolution of around 8.5 megapixels at any time, or you can subsequently create zoom rides in video editing or adjust the image section. With the post-focus function you can even determine only after the recording, which parts in the picture should be sharp and which not.
Incidentally , compared to the previous model TZ71 , our previous recommendation , Panasonic has slightly improved the battery life. A charge of the Lumix TZ81 is enough for around 320 shots – just enough for a long day of vacation with many exciting motifs.
Equipment and functions
This equipment list should come from a compact travel zoom camera? It is hard to believe, because the Lumix TZ81 is almost as well equipped as a system camera. No matter if you just want to take a carefree picture or prefer to set the camera yourself as an experienced photographer – the TZ81 has something for everyone.
For example, smart automatic functions that make everyday life easier. For example, a panoramic automatic: While you are panning the camera over a landscape, it takes several pictures and then combines them into a widescreen. Or an exposure control that recognizes movement in the image: Then it automatically adjusts the exposure time so that the flitting dog does not blur into motion blur.
Class also that can be adjusted in the full automatic settings such as brightness or color mood.
A small flash has the TZ81 also on board. Although it does not illuminate any naves, it certainly suffices to lighten a portrait in the foreground.
Experienced photographers can adjust a lot of things on the TZ81. For example, the aperture or shutter speed, but also the white balance. In addition, the TZ81 stores on request in the raw data format, so that the recordings later on the computer can be developed according to taste.
What the TZ81 lacks is a GPS receiver. This is a pity – especially when traveling you would like to know where the photos were taken. After all, thanks to its Wi-Fi function, the TZ81 can connect to a smartphone and obtain the location coordinates from it. With the appropriate app, the camera can also remotely control the smartphone, also transfers the TZ81 images directly to the tablet or smartphone.
Convincing picture quality
In the previous model TZ71 Panasonic had waived a high resolution, so that the camera even in bad light could still take low-noise photos.
The current TZ81 dissolves now with 18 megapixels contemporary high, but that hardly hurts the image quality. On the contrary: at low ISO values, most of the camera’s testers certify excellent performance.
Only at very high ISO values, such as when only a few candles illuminate a table, the noise suppression of the TZ81 comes through. Unfortunately, ironing them with the annoying glitches also fine image details away. For night shots or photos from the beach disco, the TZ81 is therefore not so good.
Like the predecessor, the TZ81 also has to deal with a small problem: the zoom lens softens with increasing focal length.
But that is a typical weakness of small cameras with a superzoom. If possible, you should not zoom in on the maximum focal length for exceptionally good photos.
Lumix TZ81 in the test mirror
Most testers agree that the Lumix TZ81 is an ideal camera for traveling and traveling. Computer picture praises:
“Great: The autofocus is fast, the camera has Wi-Fi, a viewfinder and a large zoom.”
The picture quality of the TZ81 is also convincing for the testers of Computer Bild, but the flash is considered too weak.
In the British online magazine Camera Labs Ken McMahon comes to the conclusion:
“All in all, the TZ81 is an irresistible alternative with a very powerful zoom and great features at a reasonable price.”
In particular, the tester praises the 4K video resolution and the new opportunities that result from taking pictures. All in all, Camera Labs awards the TZ81 the rare “highly recommended” award.
The same award was also given for the Lumix TZ81 by the British ePhotoZine , whose tester Joshua Waller praises:
»The TZ81 is capable of taking great photos, with great colors and many details. […] The Lumix TZ81 is a very attractive camera and should be at the top of your wish list. «
Moritz Wanke of CHIP Online is not quite as enthusiastic . The test editor complains that the image quality of the TZ81 can not quite keep up with the very good features and high speed. Nevertheless, he concludes:
»The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ81 convinces in the test as a strong travel zoom camera with 30x zoom.«
Another alternative could be the Sony HX90V . It is equipped with a GPS receiver, a feature that the TZ81 unfortunately lacks. The HX90V records the position data for each photo. So you will always know exactly where you have taken which picture.
Another plus point of the Sony: Your electronic viewfinder can be cleverly recessed in the camera body – this makes the camera very compact. Like the TZ81, the HX90V also features a 30x zoom that ranges from 25 to 750 millimeters of focal length.
However, the image sensor of the Sony with about 20 megapixels dissolves very high. This only brings great benefits in very good light, in bad weather or indoors shoots against the TZ81 lower noise images.
If you’re looking for a particularly long-range telephoto zoom, take a look at the Nikon Coolpix A900 , which zooms to 840 millimeters. It also resolves a bit higher with 20 megapixels than our favorite, the TZ81 from Panasonic. In bad light you have nothing, especially since the lens of the Coolpix A900 is also slightly weaker than that of the TZ81.
Like the TZ81, the Coolpix A900 in 4K also films Wifi. The fact that even Nikon waived a GPS receiver is not tragic. Because as soon as you pair the Coolpix A900 with a smartphone via WiFi, it will use the current location coordinates for each shot.
The biggest drawback of the Nikon alternative to our alternative from Panasonic is however: The Coolpix A900 lacks the additional electronic viewfinder. It also dispenses with the practical touchscreen that the TZ81 offers.
If you enjoy good picture quality when traveling, the brand new Panasonic Lumix TZ101 is a hot tip for you.
The TZ101 is equipped with a much larger image sensor than all other travel zoom cameras. That’s why she also takes on razor-sharp photos at dusk and in dark interiors.
However, you have to get along with the TZ101 with a 10x zoom, but with 25 to 250 millimeters focal length goes down deep into the wide-angle range important for travel.
Otherwise, the TZ101 has everything to offer, which also has our favorite on the box: High continuous shooting speed, fast autofocus and of course 4K video and the practical 4K photo mode.
That the TZ101 for us is still not the best travel zoom camera, is due to its high price – the TZ81 simply offers better value for money.