Design and Build Quality
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ18 is very similar in design to the TZ20 and one would be hard pressed to find any physical difference between the two. The only real difference is the removal of the GPS feature and the quick access video recording button, both of which are located at the top of the TZ20. Apart from this, the shape and layout, including the design of both the cameras are pretty much the same.
This camera is a bit larger than most compact cameras available in the market, but the size keeps in line with other travel compact cameras. The front and the back have a matte black finish, while the lens and the sides of the camera are finished in silver. The buttons, too have a silver finish giving it a stylish look. Apart from the lens in the front, which occupies most of this area, the other noticeable features found on this area are the LED flash and the AF assist.
The rear of the camera features the large 3-inch display, along with the controls. The buttons at the back, include a toggle switch for navigating between playback and shooting modes, an exposure button, a four way navigational pad that is located around a menu/ set button, the display option as well as a Quick Menu button. The top of the camera features control options, such as a shutter release button housed next to the zoom rocker, the E.Zoom button, on/ off switch and the mode dial.
The connectivity option for this camera is located on a bay at the side, which is the USB port. The flap for the bay in which the USB port is housed feels sturdy and features a spring loaded mechanism, which if slightly open, closes. The battery is located in a bay underneath the camera and this area also houses the memory card. The battery bay has a locking mechanism, which helps in securing the battery from accidentally popping out. This is a good design implementation, especially if the camera is used a bit roughly. Sturdiness is a big plus point of this camera, as it feels as though it can withstand more than a few accidental drops. The buttons are well built as well making the overall build quality good. Rounding up the design and build quality, this is a stylish point and shoot camera that is well built and feels like it can battle the wear and tear of daily use.