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 And now the TZ1 has been superceded by two models with a new 28-280mm equiv.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)|
|Devil Rock (Stuttgart, Germany) by cornissimo|
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