Panasonic have offered a 14.5 megapixel sensor and an impressive 12x optical zoom lens. Images are displayed on a 3 inch screen on the back. The TZ10 also allows for 720p HD video recording, and an internal GPS receiver allows the user to tag photos with the location from which they were taken.
While the TZ10 does improve upon the TZ7, the question is does it improve enough in order to maintain the class lead after the introduction of new models from Ricoh and Canon. From Ricoh we have the CX4, which while almost identical to its predecessor the CX3, still offers a similar specification of a 10.7x optical zoom lens and a 10 megapixel sensor.
The CX4 is very well built and includes a continuous shooting mode that cannot be matched by Panasonic. Having said that, the Panasonic still has the upper hand when it comes to low lighting conditions.
There is a third contender in the shape of the Canon IXUS 1000 HS. This new product from Canon includes a 10x optical zoom lens and a 10 megapixel sensor. Unfortunately for Panasonic it is has recieved rave reviews as the perfect all rounder. It is small and easy to transport but provides image quality on a par with much bulier cameras.
While it may be said that the Panasonic has a better specification on paper, the past couple of years have seen a stagnation of the rush for megapixels. Manufacturers have seemingly decided that around 10 is enough, and that the real ground for differentiation is through shooting modes, low light performance, speed and ease of use. So how do the three contenders compare on these factors?
It is a dead heat when it comes to shooting modes, with all three cameras offering HD video capture, a series of different setting presets and multiple face recognition.
For low light performance I believe that the Canon and Panasonic are a good match with the Ricoh struggling a little. The Canon is particularly worth noting on this measure as it is the best of the three with regards to ISO with the camera still producing printable quality photos at 1600ISO.
Where the Ricoh excells is with the next factor, speed. It does this with the inclusion of a continuous shooting mode capable of a shot taken every 0.6 seconds until the memory card is full. The others offer continuous and burst shooting modes but not on a par with the Ricoh.
Finally, ease of use, and the Ricoh may well just shade it again. However, all three cameras are built for ease of use and you can tell. Any of these three cameras would be very easy to use.
In summary, all three cameras are a good choice, with perhaps the Ricoh just falling behind the other two. Whether you pick the Canon or the Panasonic however, you are sure to end up with an extremely good camera.