Timing & Performance
The TZ5 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor and is generally a snappy performer. If we wanted to criticize something it would be the comparatively long startup time which is largely due to the long lens 'getting ready'. In low light and especially at the long end the focus can slow down quite a bit although under normal conditions it is pretty quick.
Usually you would expect a new generation of any electronic device to be quicker than the previous one. In the area of digital cameras this is not always the case because every new generation comes with higher resolution sensors which produce larger image files. Saving a large file onto a memory card and processing it takes longer than the same operation on a smaller file. This is exactly what happened in the TZ5's case. In some areas such as shot to shot times or continuous mode it is very slightly slower than the TZ3. On the TZ5 you can also only take three frames in one burst, the predecessor managed five. These differences won't make much difference to anyone in real life but they are measurable.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3456 x 2592 Fine JPEG image (approx. 4,200 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.5|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||2.5|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.1|
|Power: Play to Off||Lens extended||2.1|
|Power: Play to Off||Lens already retracted||1.1|
|Record Review||Image displayed||0.9|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||0.8|
|Mode: Record to Play||Lens already extended||1.1|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||~1.1|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.4|
|Play: Thumbnail view||4 x 3 thumbnails||1.8*1|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||28 to 280 mm (10x)||2.8|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle, High Speed (3 point) Autofocus||~0.3 *2|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle, High Speed (1 point) Autofocus||~0.2 *2|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle, 9-point Autofocus||~0.4 *2|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto, High Speed (3 point) Autofocus||~0.4-0.7 *3|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto, High Speed (1 point) Autofocus||~0.3-0.6 *3|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto, 9-point Autofocus||~0.8 *3|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||LCD live view (OIS mode 1 or off)||~0.09|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||LCD live view (OIS mode 2)||~0.15 *3|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle, High Speed AF||~0.5|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~2.4|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~1.5|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction on / off)||4.9 / 2.9|
|*1||6x5 thumbs takes another 4.2 secs|
|*2||Average figures. In some cases the focus is down as low as 0.15 seconds (high speed modes), if there is any hunting (low light, macro mode) it can stretch to 0.6 seconds (non high speed mode)|
|*3||Telephoto focus speed is generally excellent, with the high speed modes usually working in less than 0.4 seconds. If the focus struggles to find something to lock onto the hunting can stretch to well over 1.5 seconds, though this is rare.|
|*4||As we've seen with previous Lumix models the use of mode 2 image stabilization increases shutter lag - in this case by around 0.06 secs.|
Continuous drive mode
The TZ5 comes with two continuous drive modes; 'Burst' and 'Burst unlimited'. In our tests the Burst mode averaged 2.5 frames per second. Unfortunately you can only capture three frames in one burst, irrespective of the file size. There is a two second or so delay after each burst as the files are written from the buffer onto the card.
The No Limit option - as its name implies - lets you shoot indefinitely at around 1.8 frames per second.
File writing / playback performance
The TZ5 is neither particularly quick nor slow when it comes to reading or writing to the card; a full 9.1MP / Fine image (4.1 MB) takes around 1.8 seconds to write to the card (~2.3 MB/s), and about 0.9 seconds to display in playback mode. As mentioned above this is slightly slower than the TZ3 due to the the TZ5's larger image files.
Battery life is about average and has been slightly improved over the TZ3. The small 3.7v, 1000mAh rechargeable battery is now good for about 300 shots per charge (CIPA standard) which is hardly exceptional but should be enough for a long day of shooting. Just be aware that this number can go down quite a bit if you use the flash a lot and/or leave the image stabilization in continuous mode all the time.