Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 Concise Review
11 Conclusion & samples
Conclusion - Pros
- Very versatile 28-280mm equiv. zoom range
- Excellent lens, good edge-to-edge sharpness and little distortion
- High quality build, full metal body
- Little (if any) color fringing
- Good flash performance
- White balance fine tune option
- Feels fast and responsive in most situations
- Quick and reliable focus
- Excellent, bright, high-resolution 3.0-inch screen
- Superb High Definition movie mode with 1280 x 720 pixel 30fps wide screen option
- Optical zoom usable in movie mode
- Effective image stabilization system
- Ergonomic layout of external controls and buttons
- Excellent on-screen menus and control system
- Good resolution, generally clean output
- Easy - and fun - to use
Conclusion - Cons
- Heavy noise reduction at all ISO settings (although less than predecessor)
- Smearing of fine detail (caused by NR) even at base ISO
- Macro mode less effective than competitors'
- Unreliable Auto WB performance under artificial light
- Inconvenient location of the flash right next to hand grip
- Occasional highlight clipping in high contrast scenes
- Continuous shooting slower than predecessor
- Focus slow down and occasional hunting in low light
- Battery life not brilliant
- Sound quality in movie mode not great
While the step from the TZ1 to the TZ3 was quite a big one the upgrade from TZ3 to TZ5 is more evolutionary. The main changes are an increased megapixel count, a higher resolution screen, and an improved movie mode, now offering HD quality output. The newest member of the TZ family, like its predecessor, is a fast and extremely versatile camera that is also compact enough to carry it anywhere you go, and it's now even more fun to use.
The 28-280mm 10x zoom makes the TZ5 an ideal travel companion covering an enormous array of photographic assignments, from wide angle landscape shots to wildlife photography (well, as long as the wildlife remains fairly stationary). But the Leica badged lens has not only an impressive zoom range, it also offers admirable edge-to-edge sharpness across the zoom range. Combine that with very little distortion even at wide angle and you've got a truly excellent lens.
Unfortunately, as before, what's behind the lens does not entirely match the glass. Although image quality has again been slightly improved with the new model (noise reduction at higher ISOs is a lot less intrusive) all is still not rosy in Panasonic's garden. The tiny sensor means that noise and a general softness caused by noise reduction is visible in the TZ5's output even at base ISO. Of course things don't exactly get better at higher sensitivities and anything higher than ISO 400 should be avoided if you plan to print your images at a decent size or publish them online at a high resolution.
Other than that though we could not identify any major issues. The TZ5's output is well balanced with neutral colors but if you like it a little more punchy you can set the color mode to vivid or add a tad of contrast and saturation in post processing. There is also some leeway for extra sharpening. As a user the TZ5 gives you plenty of options.
On the plus side the TZ5 is very well built with a full metal body that should withstand the occasional knock and comes with with a very intuitive user interface. There are external buttons for access to a range of important features and the excellent quick menu lets you change all essential shooting settings in an instant. The entire interface is very user friendly and even if you're new to Panasonic you should find your way around it in little time.
In conclusion the TZ5 is a versatile, user friendly photographic tool that can produce good results outdoors in decent light but struggles when it comes to taking pictures indoors and in low light (the flash performs quite well though). If you are looking for a travel or walkaround camera that is quick enough for the occasional spontaneous street shot and can also produce great quality HD video you should definitely have a closer look at the TZ5. If low light photography or indoor social snapping is more your thing or if you're into 'pixel-peeping' you might want to look out for alternatives.
In any case, if you want a similarly versatile zoom range in an equally compact body currently your only other option is the Ricoh R8 which is not quite perfect itself. The TZ5 is easy to use, versatile with great ergonomics and most of all fun to work with and that's enough, despite the minor image quality issues, to earn itself our Highly Recommended rating, by a whisker.
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Ergonomics & handling||8.5|
Highly Recommended (just)
There are 36 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution (with a couple at different aspect ratios too). A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.
Panasonic DMC-TZ5 Review Samples
Apr 22, 2008
Jan 29, 2008
Apr 14, 2011
Apr 14, 2011
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.