Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Review
Panasonic - the company that is more than any other responsible for the renaissance and continuing success of the 'big zoom' bridge camera - launched the original 'Travel Zoom' TZ1 back in February 2006. The formula - a big zoom on a small camera - isn't exactly new, but the combination of Leica's lens design expertise and Panasonic's technology (image stabilization, fast performance) made the TZ1 the first serious alternative to bigger 'SLR-style' super zooms. And now the TZ1 has been superceded by two models with a new 28-280mm equiv. lens, the TZ2 (6MP, slightly lower spec) and the camera on test here, the TZ3. As well as the new wide lens the TZ3 also ups the sensor resolution to 7 megapixels, increases the screen size and throws in a few new features. The big question is, has Panasonic managed to improve some of the image quality issues that dogged the otherwise superbly capable TZ1? Let's find out, starting as usual with the headline specification:
- 7.2 million effective pixel / 8.5 million pixels total 1/2.35" CCD
- 10x (28-280mm equiv.) Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom
- MEGA OIS image stabilization
- Larger sensor for 28mm equiv. angle of view at 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios
- Venus III Engine processor
- Fast Linear autofocus system
- High Resolution (230,000 pixel) 3.0-inch LCD
- Movies up to 840 x 480 pixels (WVGA) @ 30 fps
- 20 scene modes plus Intelligent ISO mode
TZ3 (and TZ2) vs TZ1: Key changes
As is the case with most of Panasonic's Lumix models the TZ1 is available in either silver or black (though this may not be the case for every country and / or every retailer).
- Wider (and shorter) 28-280mm (equiv.) lens range (TZ1 was 35-350mm)
- Built in lens cover (TZ1 had a lens cap)
- Smaller and lighter camera
- Increased sensor resolution (TZ3: 7MP, TZ2: 6MP, TZ1: 5MP)
- Larger 3.0-inch screen (TZ3 only)
- Intelligent ISO mode
- Clipboard function
- ISO 1250 at full size (TZ1 was 'only' ISO 800), High Sensitivity mode now to ISO 3200
- White balance adjustment and extra 'Shade' WB preset
- Slightly improved burst mode (TZ3 only)
- Slightly better battery life
The TZ3 is available in three colors; blue, silver and black (though this may not be the case for every country and / or every retailer).
|Street price|| US: $330
• 1/2.35 " Type CCD
• 3072 x 2304
• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 10fps
|File formats||• JPEG (Exif 2.21)
• QuickTime Motion JPEG
• 28-280mm (35mm equiv)
|Image stabilization||MEGA OIS: mode 1 / 2|
|Digital zoom||Extra optical zoom (4:3: 12x for 5MP, 15x for 3, 2, 1, 0.3MP, 3:2: 12.6x for 4.5MP, 15x for 2.5MP, 16:9: 13x for 3.5MP, 15x for 2MP)|
|Focus||• Auto Focus system
• Normal / Macro (dial)
• Continuous AF on / off
|AF area modes||• 1 / 9 point
• 1 / 3 point high speed
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Focus distance||• Normal: 50cm - infinity (wide) / 200cm - infinity (tele)
• Macro / Simple mode / Intelligent ISO / Motion picture / Clipboard : 5cm - infinity (wide) / 200cm - infinity Tele (except tele end)
• 100cm - infinity (Tele Macro at tele end)
|Metering||• Intelligent Multiple
• Center weighted
|ISO sensitivity||• Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1250
• High Sensitivity mode ISO 3200
|Exposure compensation||• +/- 2EV
• 1/3 EV steps
|Exposure bracketing|| • +/- 1/3EV -1EV
• 3 frames
• 8-1/2000 sec
|Aperture||F3.3 / 8.0 (Wide: 2 steps) F4.9 / 11 (Tele: 2 steps)|
• Program AE
|Scene modes||• Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Night Portrait
• Night Scenery
• Self Portrait
• Starry Sky
• Aerial photo
• High Sensitivity
• Baby 1 & 2
|Self timer||• 10 or 2 secs|
|Continuous shooting||• Full-Resolution Image, 3 frames/sec or 2 frames/sec|
|Image parameters||Standard, Vivid, Cool, Warm, Natural, Black & White, Sepia|
• Auto/Red-eye reduction
• Forced On
• Slow Sync/Red-eye reduction
• Forced Off
• Range: 0.6 - 4.2m (wide) 1.0 - 2.8m (tele)
|LCD monitor||• 3.0-inch Polycrystalline TFT
• 230,000 pixels
• Field of view 100%
• DC in
• AV out
|Storage||• 12.7MB built-in memory
• SD / SDHC / MMC card compatible
|Power||• Li-ion battery pack
• Optional AC adapter
|Weight (excl batt)||232 g (0.51lb)|
|Dimensions||105 x 59.2 x 36.7 mm (4.20 x 2.37 x 1.47 in)|
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more