Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 review
Recently I have upgraded my TZ1 to the TZ4 (Great value at the time of purchase). I was extremely pleased with the TZ1 once I got to know the camera limitations. However, I decided to upgrade the camera mainly for the wide angle lens of the TZ4 and reported better high ISO quality.
Like the TZ1 this camera has it's own limitations largely due to noise in low light situations. However, there is a noticeable quality improvement between the photographs of the TZ4 and the TZ1. I love the 28-280mm lens, it's every thing and more than I expected. One thing that I missed before buying this camera is that the camera lens is less bright then the TZ1 f3.3 versus f2.8.
Photographs in bright light are excellent. I was not pleased with my first few attempts in low light and high ISO. Noise was very noticeable. However this was an area that the TZ1 also failed to impress (awful smugging of detail by the TZ1). I have limited ISO to 400. Also the Imagine stabilization in the lens gives approximately a 3 stop advantage in low light. Therefore while noise can be an issue you should still be able to get some good shots in indoor conditions.
iA seems to work very well and give good results in most situations. Focus, metering etc are well managed. Correct focus lock is an area that has improved since the TZ1. In the TZ1 I ended up using center focus lock constantly. White Balance auto sets are poor under artificial light conditions but it can be adjusted by the user. Personally I like the e-zoom button. It is seldom that I require any more than the 10x optical zoom but in the few cases the 3MPixel 15.9x option is sufficient for good quality small prints. The construction quality of the camera is excellent. The microphone for movie mode is badly positioned though. I have covered it with my fingers several times already.
Movie mode is of a similar quality to the TZ1 (One of the best of it time) after the firmware was upgraded to v1.2. I burn videos onto DVD so the HD of the TZ5 or the TZ7 would be wasted on me. While I like having short movie clips, still photography is the main propose of having this camera.
Now for what I really think of it. This is an amazing camera for the size, optical zoom range, price. It is ideal as a travel camera or an all round family camera. You should look else where if low light photography is your thing.
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