The TZ6 is one of the biggest and most expensive Panasonic models we've seen. Top of the feature list is the Leica-branded zoom lens with a range that dwarfs every other camera here.
It goes from an ultra-wide 25mm equivalent all the way into 300mm super-zoom territory. In practice, the 25mm end doesn't give a huge benefit over 28mm models, but the 300mm setting lets you take shots you simply couldn't get otherwise.
Quality of shots in everyday outdoor conditions was impressive and showed good, punchy contrast and lots of vibrancy. Detail reproduction, particularly at the long end of the zoom range, was notable too.
Combine that with a 12x zoom - and the fact that the lens stays sharp over the whole range - and the TZ6 is our favourite camera this month for image quality and flexibility.
The only downside is that, while low-light performance is improved over the cheaper Lumix models, we still wouldn't want to use the ISO 1600 setting in anger.
It's also a shame it doesn't retain the HD video-recording feature of the camera it replaces, the TZ5 (web ID: 215061). For that you have to trade up to its bigger brother, the TZ7, at nearly $600.
In use, the TZ6 is an acquired taste. We found it sluggish, with a distinct lag and a tendency to overshoot when using the zoom control, plus a shot-to-shot time of a pedestrian five seconds in single-shot mode.
It makes up for that with fast and accurate autofocus, though, and a focus-assist lamp gives it a boost in low light.
The price you pay for the photographic abilities of the TZ6, aside from the cost, is its size. Not only is it the biggest camera here, the lens housing sits proud of the body - meaning that even if you do manage to cram it in your pocket, it will do its best to get stuck once there.
But if you're after quality, choose the DMC-TZ6.