Compared to... Panasonic TZ3

The TZ5's predecessor, the TZ3, comes with an identical lens and is still available through many retailers at an attractive price point. Let's have a look if in terms of image quality you get good value for money by spending a premium on the new model or if the old model can rival the newcomer despite of the TZ5's couple of extra megapixels. In this section you'll find studio comparisons at ISO 100, ISO 400 and ISO 1600.

Studio scene comparison (TZ5 @ ISO 100, TZ3 @ ISO 100)

  • Panasonic DMC-TZ5: Program AE mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation

  • Panasonic DMC-TZ3: Program AE mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Panasonic DMC-TZ5
Panasonic DMC-TZ3
ISO 100, 1/80 sec, F4.4
ISO 100, 1/80 sec, F4.4
4,228 KB JPEG
3,396 KB JPEG

As one would expect there is not a massive amount of difference between the two cameras at base ISO. Both models feature the same Leica designed lens which does a great job on the TZ5 and its predecessor alike offering excellent edge-to-edge sharpness with hardly any distortion. This is especially admirable considering the lens' massive zoom range. Kudos to the Leica/Panasonic engineers.

The TZ5 unsurprisingly has a slight advantage in terms of resolution. The output of both cameras is a little soft though. This is caused by Panasonic's very heavy-handed noise reduction. On the TZ5 the engineers have relaxed their approach a little which results in marginally more detailed output but also some visible noise even at the lowest sensitivity setting. It's an improvement, but not a great leap forward.

Colors are fairly neutral but if you prefer your images to have a little more punch you can easily increase saturation and contrast by switching the color mode in the record menu from 'standard' to 'vivid'.

TZ5 (and TZ3) output could benefit from a bit of unsharpening mask although you should not overdo it, otherwise you'll start to see noise reduction artifacts.