Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 review
I bought the TZ4 as an upgrade to my Canon A570is because I wanted the wide angle coverage of the 28 mm lens (compared to the 35mm of the a570). As a bonus I got the 280 mm 10x range. three shot bracketing (3 shots in 0.5 seconds) and zoom in movie mode, all in a pocketable camera for $195 + tax. After more than 1000 shots on various outings the TZ4 has lived up to my expectations.
I do miss the optical viewfinder under bright outdoors conditions, but less often than expected, since the LCD brightens under bright outdoor conditions. I seldom miss the manual mode of the a570is, since the ability to control the exposure time from 1/250 sec to 1/2 sec makes up for most of this. The housing is all metal (the paint on my all plastic a570 is starting to show wear after 2000 shots). Much better lens performance in the corners than the a570 lens. The 280 mm quick zoom button zoom really works well.
I considered the SX110 (all plastic, very noticeably bigger, no bracketing mode, unless CHDK software is installed, more noise at iso1600, noisy zoom motor, zoom starts at only at 35 mm), and the TZ5 ( noticeably slower response in bracketing mode, slower than the expected 9/8 pixel ratio, and 10% more battery drain).
I was a bit worries about switching from the NiMH batteries of the a570 to TZ4 LiIon, but on the first three battery charges I got consistently a little more than 400 pictures per charge. Very good battery meter. When the meter shows red, there are another 20 shots before the TZ4 shuts down.
Comment added: The TZ4 works fine with a battery from DigiPower. No proprietary battery chip!
Would like to be able to force the focus to infinity to decrease the focus hunting at night (in spite of the upgrade to the 1.2 firmware).
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