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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 Concise Review

April 2008 | By Lars Rehm

Panasonic launched the original 'Travel Zoom' TZ1 back in February 2006. In 2007 came the TZ3 and now, almost exactly one year later, Panasonic brings us the third generation of this popular series in the shape of the TZ5 (The TZ2 and TZ4 are the smaller sister models of the TZ3 and TZ5 respectively). Like its predecessors it offers a stabilized big zoom lens in a very compact package.

With the new model Panasonic has stuck to the tried and tested TZ formula and only implemented a relatively small number of modifications. As one would expect sensor resolution was increased (from 7.2 to 9.1MP on a marginally larger sensor) and so was the resolution of the 3.0" screen (from 230K to 460K pixels). Additionally the in-camera computing is now powered by Panasonic's latest generation imaging engine - the Venus IV. However, the most interesting new feature is the HD video capability. The TZ5 can now capture video in a resolution of 1280x720 at 30fps in a 16:9 format.

In the digital age a product cycle of 12 months almost seems like an eternity. Has Panasonic made good use of the time and managed to iron out some some of the image quality issues that let the otherwise superb previous TZ generations down? Let's find out, starting as usual with the headline specification:

  • 9.1 million effective pixel / 10.7 million pixels total 1/2.33" CCD
  • 10x (28-280mm equiv.) Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom
  • MEGA OIS image stabilization
  • 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios
  • Venus IV Engine processor
  • High Resolution (460,000 pixel) 3.0-inch LCD
  • Movies up to 1280 x 720 pixels (HD) @ 30 fps
  • 22 scene modes plus a 'clipboard' mode for travelers

Note: While we working on this review Panasonic has launched the Lumix TZ50 which is essentially a TZ5 with Wi-Fi capability which allows users to upload images directly to their Picasa Web Albums. The TZ50 comes with a year's free use of T-Mobile's Hotspot service in the US. There is no word yet on a similar package for European customers.

DMC-TZ5 specifications

Street price • US: $300
• UK: £245
Body Material Metal
Sensor

• 1/2.33" Type CCD
• 10.7 million pixels total
• 9.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 3456 x 2592, 3072 x 2304, 2560 x 1920, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 640x480
• 3:2 Aspect Ratio: 3552 x 2368, 3072 x 2048, 2560 x 1712, 2048 x 1360 pixels
• 16:9 Aspect Ratio: 3712 x 2088, 3072 x 1728, 2560 x 1440, 1920 x 1080

Movie clips

• 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 640 x 480 pixels, 320 x 240 pixels 30 fps, 10 fps
• 16:9 Aspect Ratio: 848 x 480 pixels 30 fps, 10 fps
• HD (16:9 Aspect Ratio): 1280x720 30fps, 15fps

File formats • JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
• QuickTime (Motion JPEG)
Lens

• 10x optical zoom
• 28 - 280mm (35mm equiv.)
• 4.7 - 47mm
• F3.3 - 4.9
• LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR
• 11 elements in 9 groups (3 Aspherical Lenses / 4 Aspherical surfaces / 1 ED lens)

Image stabilization MEGA O.I.S lens-shift stabilization
Conversion lenses None
Digital zoom Yes, up to 4x
Focus • Normal
• Macro
• Continuous AF
AF area modes • Face
• 9-point
• 3-point high speed
• 1-point high speed
• 1-point
• Spot
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: Wide 50cm/ Tele 200cm - infinity
• Macro / Intelligent AUTO / Clipboard : Wide 5cm / Max 200cm / Tele 100cm - infinity
Metering • Intelligent Multiple
• Center-Weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• 100
• 200
• 400
• 800
• 1600
• High Sensitivity Mode : Auto (1600 - 6400)
Exposure compensation • +/- 2EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing • +/- 1/3EV -1EV
• 3 frames
Shutter speed

• 8-1/2000 sec
• Starry Sky Mode : 15, 30, 60sec

Aperture • Wide: F3.3 / F8.0 (2 steps) Tele: F4.9 / F11 (2 steps)
Modes

• Intelligent AUTO
• Normal Picture
• Motion Picture
• Clipboard
• Scene 1
• Scene 2

Scene modes • Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Scenery
• Sports
• Night Portrait
• Night Scenery
• Self-Portrait
• Food
• Party
• Candle Light
• Baby1
• Baby2
• Pet
• Sunset
• High sensitivity
• Hi-Speed Burst
• Starry Sky
• Fireworks
• Beach
• Snow
• Aerial photo
• Underwater
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Shade
• Halogen
• White Set
• Fine tune: ± 10steps, except for auto set

Self timer • 10 or 2 secs
Continuous shooting • Full-Resolution Image: 2.5 fps Max. 5 images (Standard mode), Max 3 images (Fine Mode)
• High-speed Burst Mode: Approx. 6 fps (recorded in 2M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9)
Image parameters • Standard
• Natural
• Vivid
• Black & White
• Sepia
• Cool
• Warm
Flash • Auto
• Auto/Red-eye Reduction
• Forced On
• Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction
• Forced Off
• Range: 0.6 - 5.3m (Wide/ISO Auto), 1.0 - 3.6m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Viewfinder None
LCD monitor • 3.0 " TFT LCD Display
• 460K dots
• Field of View : approx. 100%
• AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High angle mode
Connectivity • USB2.0 High speed
• AV Output (NTSC/PAL)
• HD AV Output (component)
• DC Input
Print compliance • PictBridge
• DPOF
Storage • SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard (Still image only)
• approx. 27MB internal memory
Power • Li-ion battery
• Charger included
• AC adaptor (optional)
• Battery life up to 300 pictures (CIPA Standard)
Weight (excl batt) 214 g (7.5 oz)
Dimensions 103.3 x 59.3 x 36.5 mm (4.07 x 2.33 x 1.44 in)


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2008 dpreview.com and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

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