The Lumix TZ30 / ZS20 was the flagship model in 2012, superseded by the new TZ40 / ZS30. But the older model remains on sale while stocks last, and if you shop around you may find it for a similar price to the TZ35 / ZS25. Both cameras share the same 20x optical zoom range, similar bodies and much the same exposure modes, but the TZ30 / ZS20 offers a number of key benefits.
The Lumix TZ30 / ZS20 may share the same sized screen as the TZ35 / ZS25 with the same 460k resolution, but on the former it's touch sensitive which lets you tap wherever you'd like the camera to focus. This is invaluable, especially when it comes to positioning the single AF area modes.
Both cameras film Full HD video, but on the TZ30 / ZS20 it's progressive rather than interlaced, and recorded with stereo, not mono sound. Both cameras can shoot at 10fps, but on the TZ30 / ZS30 it's at the full resolution rather than 3 Megapixels on the TZ35 / ZS25; the TZ30 / ZS20 also offers faster 40 and 60fps modes at reduced resolutions, along with a High Speed Video mode which shoots QVGA at 220fps.
In addition the TZ30 / ZS20 features a built-in GPS with a landmark database and on-screen mapping. The sensor resolution is slightly lower on the TZ30 / ZS20, with 14 Megapixels versus 16 on the newer model, but to be honest you'll hardly notice any difference, and if you do, it may well be in the favour of the older model.
So by now it should be clear the TZ30 / ZS20 is a far better featured camera than the TZ35 / ZS25, while sharing the same core capabilities. Indeed there's nothing the TZ35 / ZS25 can do that the older model can't, other than squeeze an extra 2 Megapixel into the tiny sensor.
So at this point it boils down to price. If the TZ30 / ZS20 is sold for more than the TZ35 / ZS25 where you live, then you'll need to decide if it's worth spending the extra for the additional features, or indeed going all the way to the latest TZ40 / ZS30. If however they're closely priced, then I would definitely say it's worth going for the TZ30 / ZS20 over the TZ35 / ZS25. Once again they share the same 20x range, body and shooting modes, but as a flagship model - even from a year earlier - the TZ30 / ZS20 is simply better-featured.
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