Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Panasonic TZ200 to be the new Leica C-Lux

Panasonic TZ200 to be the new Leica C-Lux

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 Image: Panasonic
Image: Panasonic

Several sites, including Leica Rumours, have confirmed that a new Leica compact will be announced this month. I believe this is correct and I think it will be based on an existing Panasonic model.

The addition to the Leica compact range will resurrect the venerable C-Lux brand and will be announced at the Leitz Park opening later this week. It will be a 20MP one-inch sensor camera with a 24-360mm medium-fast zoom and will be based on the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200 which has been around for a few months now (see the link to the DPReview test below).

  Wowee... from 24 to 380mm and all in your little pocket. Despite sacrificing some speed, the TZ200 is a remarkable all-round travel camera (Image Panasonic
Wowee… from 24 to 380mm and all in your little pocket. Despite sacrificing some speed, the TZ200 is a remarkable all-round travel camera (Image Panasonic

The TZ200 is an advanced design which out-zooms the new Sony RX100 VI. But just as the RX100 has to take a speed hit in order to extend the zoom from the earlier 70mm maximum to the new 200mm, the Lumix has to sacrifice even more light. 

The TZ200 features an aperture range of f/3.3-6.4 compared with the f/2.8-4.5 Sony offering. However, many photographers will overlook the slower aperture in order to gain that extra reach. To run from a wide angle of 24mm right through to a genuine optical 360mm is no mean feat and puts this little camera almost into the territory of the RX10 and V-Lux in terms of versatility (and at a fraction of the size of these cameras).

The return of the C-Lux will be welcomed by Leica enthusiasts who are happy to pay a premium over Panasonic prices for the badge — but also, more sensibly, for the better resale value (resulting in lower whole-life cost) and better after-sales service that they perceive is offered by Leica. 

  And here it is, the Leica C-Lux and pretty conclusive. It
And here it is, the Leica C-Lux and pretty conclusive. It’s the TZ200 without a doubt.  Image Nokishita.com via Leica Rumor s

The Leica compact range, which is entirely based on Panasonic models, will now comprise the C-Lux, V-Lux and D-Lux. The latter two are due for an upgrade within the next twelve months, I believe. Panasonic already has a suitable template for the V-Lux in the FZ2500 (the current V-Lux is based on the FZ1000) but Panasonic’s successor to the LX100 (D-Lux) has not yet been announced. September at Photokina is tipped for the launch and, if so, the new D-Lux will follow shortly afterwards. It is possible that it will be announced simultaneously as was the case with the current D-Lux/LX100.

Enthusiasts tempted by the revised Sony RX100 VI will be waiting to see what the C-Lux has to offer and whether its long reach is worth the slower lens. 

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 at DPReview

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Mike,

    I returned my Lumix ZS200 (US designation for TZ200) within the 30 day grace period allowed by B&H, the great NYC merchant (thank heavens for their policy). Here is the review I wrote for their site–AKA Artichoke–giving 3 stars out of possible 5.

    5/26/2018 Disappointing By Artichoke VERIFIED BUYER The image quality is just not good enough…especially at the longest focal lengths…which is supposedly what this camera is about. AND…although it performs pretty well, with decent sharpness in bright light, it gets fuzzy as light wanes and ISO increases.

    Over the years I’ve had three small cameras before this one. A Leica D-Lux 3 and D-Lux 5, and a Sony RX-100, the first version. All were far superior in image to this camera. The two little Leicas had 1/1.7 sensors and the Sony’s was 1" same as this. I exhibited 17"x22" prints from all, and a couple of remarkably good 30" prints from the first Leica. It would be impossible to obtain that quality from this camera.

    So I sent it back to B&H…and once again I bless them for their 30 day return policy. Maybe I just got a bad one but judging from the professional reviews I’ve read that are similarly critical of the image quality, I doubt it, and I won’t get another.

    Caveat Emptor!

    Shortly after writing that the Sony RX100VI was announced and I have pre-ordered it…and will hope that it’s image quality is significantly better than the Lumix.

    Alan Chimacoff (AKA Artichoke)
    Princeton, New Jersey

    • Interesting stuff, Alan, and it will be interesting to see if the C-Lux does better. It is an interesting point, that the longer zoom brings image problems, and it’s something I will have to look at. I’m in the market for a "pocket" camera with 1" sensor and I have to admit that the Panasonic/Leica with its 360mm zoom sounds attractive, despite the extra size and weight over the Sony. However, I could well be following you down the road to Sonyville. Mike

  2. Mike,
    My Sony RX100 is the very first version and its IQ is really good…even with its 5 year old sensor. Anticipating the VI, Steve Huff has an interesting rundown of the IQ developments of all Sony versions thro’ V and there do seem to be many improvements along the way…and a hopeful new leap with the 200mm of the VI. I’ll be interested to see serious professional reviews comparing the Lumix 200 (360mm max) and the Sony VI (200mm max), allowing for the difference, when they begin to appear.

    Alan

  3. I am just so satisfied with the current Leica C, that this new version will have to have superb image quality to beat it. I even deal with the occasional cropping of 200mm for extra reach, and that works well, too. I am equally impressed by the original Sony RX100, but it lacks the C’s marvellous "through window" scene mode, that keeps the C as my favourite camera for bus and train tours! And the C with its wrap around "twist" case gives all the extra stability a tiny camera needs as well as superb protection.

  4. "..Enthusiasts tempted by the revised Sony RX100 VI will be waiting to see what the C-Lux has to offer and whether its long reach is worth the slower lens.."

    Not this Enthusiast. I have a (disappointing) TZ100 ..its lens isn’t all that sharp or contrasty, compared with any of the Sony RX100 series, so I tried a TZ200 or two, to see if they give a crisper image. Nope. The TZ-series lenses seem to have some kind of weak internal flare or light dissipation amidst all those lens elements ..perhaps they just don’t have the perfection of that Zeiss T* anti-reflection coating.

    The Sony RX100 series, by comparison, with T* coated lenses, are not just sharp, but have a ..what should I say?.. ‘clarity’ and crispness which the TZ100/200 just don’t have ..in my opinion.

    I’ve used all the RX100 series, presently a version V, and – having used the Panasonic-branded version – I won’t "..be waiting to see what the C-Lux has to offer". Sorry.

    • David, interesting and useful input. Your comment and Alan’s make me cautious about the C-Lux even before I’ve handled one. I had a brief play with the TZ200 at the Photography Show but didn’t have time to reach any conclusions. The Sony seems to be the better choice from what you say.

      • I find that I get better (or more satisfying for me) results from cropping an RX100 (whatever version) photo (..for "extended reach"..) rather than shooting at a greater focal length with the TZ100/200. This applies to printed photos (in Blurb books), as well, not just to viewing on a computer screen.

        There’s better "crispness" and clarity, for me, in the RX100 results ..but perhaps other people want something else; "softness" or "whimsicality", or "unsharpness". Perhaps it’s the firmware in the cameras (the de-mosaicing) which does it, although it looks to me like superior lens sharpness on the Sonys.

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