Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Review

March 30, 2007 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 127 Comments |

Panasonic DMC-TZ3The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 is a 10x ultra-zoom, 28-280mm compact digital camera that can fit inside a pocket. Other standout features of the TZ3 include a large 3 inch LCD screen, 7.2 megapixel sensor, new Intelligent ISO shooting mode to help prevent motion blur and Extra Optical Zoom to extend the zoom up to 15x. Find out now if the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 is worth considering by reading the world’s first online review.

Website: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Review



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#1 John Smith

What about the DMC-TZ3’s movie capability and performance? There was no mention of this feature in the review

2:41 pm - Monday, March 26, 2007

#2 Mark Goldstein

Hi John.

There's a sample movie at the bottom of Page 4 - Sample Images

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews_panasonic_lumix_dmc_tz3_3.php

2:53 pm - Monday, March 26, 2007

#3 Nick Wright

Thanks for useful TZ3 review, but a bit confused by conclusion commment that says 'using hi ISO with lo shutter', shouldn't that read 'using LOW ISO with lo shutter'? Perhaps it is me just back from India a little spaced out!

Nick

3:38 pm - Monday, March 26, 2007

#4 Mark Goldstein

You're right Nick, I've amended the conclusion so that it makes sense!

4:02 pm - Monday, March 26, 2007

#5 snedger

Thanks for the excellent review.
Looks like the reasons I didn't get the TZ1 have just about been eliminated.
I so wanted to get one of these for my girlfriend for her trip to Jordan at the end of March - she's going to have to slum it with a Fuji F11 :)
Well done Panasonic for going wide angle!
I can see myself having a lot of fun with a TZ3 in Rome this summer.

9:34 pm - Monday, March 26, 2007

#6 AA

It's got everything except for the manual control. Oh how I wish this had manual control.

6:14 am - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#7 Björn

Excellent review. Unfortunately the TZ3 doesn't seem to zoom in movie mode unlike the TZ1.
First Canon says that the TX1 won't come to Europe, and now Panasonic removes zooming in movie mode. Will I never get a decent semi-compact that can replace my cheap DV-camera?

7:21 am - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#8 Mark Goldstein

I'm not quite sure why they removed the zooming movie feature either Björn.

AA, Panasonic have strongly hinted that they don't want the TZ series to step on the toes of the FZ cameras, hence the lack of any manual controls and its positioning as a travel/holiday point and shoot.

8:57 am - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#9 Cool 'n' Casual

Hello! :)
Thanks a lot for the review! I was searching for a review of this camera and saw an advertisement on eBay. Lucky me! :)

I am in no doubt now that this is the camera I am going to buy. It would have been lovely though if you would have done a more detailed review. As John Smith said, I wanted to know what the recording capability is like.
Even the sample movie isn't taken at the highest resolution.

Anyway, thank you for the review! :)

3:10 pm - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#10 Cool 'n' Casual

Oops! I have a question.

Is the LCD a touchscreen?

... Please say yes!

3:14 pm - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#11 Mark Goldstein

Just for the record, the movie was shot at the highest resolution for the standard 4:3 Aspect Ratio. That's 640 x 480 pixels at 30fps. You can get a slightly larger movie by choosing the 16:9 aspect, but there won't be any difference in quality.

No, I'm afraid the LCD is not touchscreen.

3:21 pm - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#12 GARY POGODA

Any thoughts on whether it would be worth giving up the TZ3's 3.0"
LCD (plus a couple other minor features) for the TZ2's 2.5" LCD, so
as to gain the noise improvement of the TZ2's larger pixels?

5:27 pm - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#13 Mark Goldstein

Gary, I can't comment on whether the TZ2 offers better noise performance than the TZ3, but I probably would give up the 3 inch screen if it did significantly :)

5:34 pm - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#14 Joshua

Thank you very much for the terrific review. I have been waiting quite a while to read one and yours is clear, honest, and informative. I would like to see a picture of the camera in the palm of someone's hand though to get a good idea of it's size. This is going to be my first camera. Thank you again.

2:42 am - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

#15 Cool 'n' Casual

Aw, hell! I guess you cannot have everything. Nothing I own has a touchscreen. :p

Anyway, that is not going to deter me from buying this absolutely fantastic camera. Thanks again! :)

9:21 am - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

#16 Dale

Excellent review. Was the sample movie taken hand-held or on a tripod?

8:25 pm - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

#17 Mark Goldstein

Dale, the movie was shot hand-held.

4:41 pm - Thursday, March 29, 2007

#18 Joshua

Because of your review, I purchased the DMC-TZ3A (blue). I just recieved it. It's a great camera and my first one. I still have to learn how to use it well. I have trouble with it not focusing on things when I zoom in on them a little. I have to play with the settings. I am sure it's me and not the camera. One thing that I really do not like is if you have been taking pictures, then move the dial to PLAY mode, the lense still stays extended. Other cameras I have seen retract the lense after about 10 seconds when in PLAYBACK mode. This protects the lense while showing friends photos and passing the camera around. I wonder why they didn't do that. Thank you again for your review. They should update the firmware to add this feature. I am thrilled with my camera.

7:11 am - Saturday, March 31, 2007

#19 athiel

I would like to know what the differences between TZ2 and TZ3 are? There are 2.0 vs. 3.0 LCD and 2816 x 2112 vs 3072 x 2304 Resolution.
Ok what else (except the price :)?

5:42 pm - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

#20 Tony

Thanks for the early review.
I think been waiting a long time for a compact 10x zoom camera. kep up the good work.

4:18 am - Friday, April 6, 2007

#21 russ

thanks for the great review. I have been awaiting this model for 6 weeks to replace my stolen Fuji E900. Obviously the 28mm x10 zoom have been the main reason why i've been happy to wait. But I was hoping to read of a range of colour modes, especially an equivalent of Fuji's awesome fujichrome (vivid) mode - but looks like the TZ3 has nothing!!! - Not even B&W or sepia - please tell me this isn't the case!!!!

I know, I know, almost every editing software available can do colours. BUT for me, the whole idea of an amazing point & shoot camera is that i can set it exactly as i want (including vibrant colours) and know that i won't need to spend hours that i just don't have sat at a PC.

can you shed any colourful light??

10:22 pm - Saturday, April 7, 2007

#22 Joshua

You are in luck. The DMC-TZ3 does have color modes. It has Standard, Natural (soft), Vivid (sharp), Cool (more blue), Warm, (more red), Black and White, Sepia.

I recently purchased this camera and I love it. As I have said in a previous post, I wish the lens would retract when in preview mode.

8:40 am - Sunday, April 8, 2007

#23 James Pickett

"I would like to know what the differences between TZ2 and TZ3 are?"

Same here. What I know so far is that the TZ2 has 1Mp less resolution and 1/2" smaller screen. I'd happily live with that if the upside is a bit more speed, battery life and noise reduction, which should be the case, but I've not seen it confirmed. Indeed, the only review of the TZ2 I've seen suggested that the AF time wasn't anything special, whereas the TZ3 seems to rate highly, so maybe it has a different CPU. Same lens though, which is the important thing!

BTW, the reason it doesn't zoom in movie mode, while the TZ1 did, is that lens movement of the TZ1 was all internal and easier to silence.

10:54 am - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

#24 Dale Thorn

Totally wrong about the zoom. This camera was made for long zoom, so the longer the better. 280mm was a bad decision. The reviewer should take a pic with the 350mm TZ1 and the same pic at same distance with the TZ3, then crop the TZ3 pic to compare at the same perspective. Then you would see what you're losing. 28mm mode is for landscapes, but the quality of this camera doesn't make good landscape pics.

10:22 pm - Friday, April 13, 2007

#25 James Pickett

"28mm mode is for landscapes"

And anywhere else where you need the coverage: indoors, street scenes, groups, etc. Much more useful, IMHO, but if you don't like it, then don't buy it. There is no Best Camera...

4:47 pm - Saturday, April 14, 2007

#26 Dale Thorn

Been using TZ3 for several weeks. If you really believe the 280mm zoom is better than the previous 350mm zoom, just compare this to the FZ50 420mm zoom and 10mp size. The TZ3 looks *awful* by comparison. The *least* Panasonic needs to do is go back to 350mm, and 10mp would help a lot also. Third, it would help a *lot* to allow users to turn *down* the so-called noise reduction.

7:40 pm - Thursday, April 19, 2007

#27 James Pickett

"If you really believe the 280mm zoom is better than the previous 350mm zoom"

I don't, as I don't have the camera - I was just commenting on the wide-angle ability, which IMHO is a Good Thing. Mind you, I have a Kodak P880, so I may be biased!

I'm not sure that a 10Mp sensor would encourage Panasonic to turn down the noise reduction, as it would presumably have more noise to reduce. I think the TZ3 looks a nice package, but if you say the results are poor, I'll take it off my wishlist... :-)

8:27 pm - Thursday, April 19, 2007

#28 James Pickett

I meant to add, in answer to the query about TZ2/3 differences, that the TZ2 lacks a continuous mode and bracketing, which would rule it out for me, anyway.

8:30 pm - Thursday, April 19, 2007

#29 harry12

Nice review but a bit short, lack of space I guess. I don't like large LCD's - they consume more power and are more-easily damaged.
Movie-mode without zoom is fairly common - not much worse than a camera-phone.
I'm not impressed by wide-angle feature "not much distortion" - I suspect most wide-angle shots are static "landscapes" and to get a full effect it is better to stitch two panned shots. I believe Nikon had this with a stitching effect, so you could check the join before leaving! This is nearly 35/2=17mm but without the distortion.
My own Panasonic has poor close-focus it's all a bit hit and miss. The stabaliser is excellent and taking SD memory is a real cost-bonus.
Pity cameras don't have a standard batteries instead of every manufacturer making their own "special" - really is nonsense.
Any chance of weighing the camera+Memory+Battery "all-in" - have an application where weight is a problem.
Also- can you say if it's possible to switch-off the LCD and to stop the "auto-shutdown" I want to preset the zoom and take a picture some time later and most digicams have a mind of their own! Normally this is good, but not always.
Finally what is the self-timer - too many are just 10 seconds, whereas the option of 15 would be much more useful - it's a cost-free alternative, so why do they force us to rush?
[The 10sec came from Compur-days (ah, yes!) when it was necessary to operate a shutter release reliably.].
Thanks!

12:28 pm - Saturday, April 21, 2007

#30 harry12

Just read the bit about the zoon (comments), I guess it's Panasonic's choice of WA that cut the upper end ...and most snappers will be satified. The snag comes when they use the WA as standard (ignoring the zoom) and get tiny people in the snaps.
In the days of film WA zooms always distorted so it was better to use a dedicated WA lens, unfortunately you have to buy an expensive DSLR camera to do this...
The comment "..an optical zoom that uses the centre of the ccd.." - This is so-called digital zoom and doesn't exist - all you are doing is throwing away pixels...that's why you end up with fewer!
(It's a con and should be seen as such.)IMHO.
However, I note that some commentators seem to want it all ways - Less noise and More pixels - the fact is that noise and pixels are linked - as you make the pixels smaller there is less light falling on them hence the noise increases. The number of pixels determines the print-size, so my suggestion for WA is - pan two shots (or three!) and stitch - you get maybe 12Mp from a 5M camera - simply because you have three shots and less noise. Thus the print-size increases. Of course some applications just need a wide lens and ignore the distortion; although I read that some software can correct for individual makes of zoom....ho-ho.

12:46 pm - Saturday, April 21, 2007

#31 James Pickett

>I'm not impressed by wide-angle feature "not much distortion"

That seems a bit harsh - it's a Holy Grail for lens designers, who usually charge a lot of money for the result! If you shoot architecture or equipment, it can be very useful.
Stitching together shots works up to a point, but is a bit hit-and-miss without a tripod (if you don't want to see the join), and taking two shots to get the coverage does slow you down and take away the spontaneity. The 24mm lens was the prime reason I bought the Kodak - I still do panoramas when I've got the time, but for interiors and street scenes, the WA lens is more versatile, IMHO.

1:39 pm - Saturday, April 21, 2007

#32 athiel

I agree stitching is a great solution for landscapes. BUT stitching is NO solution for indoor pictures and spontaneous take pictures.

That's why I like and need WA!

7:41 am - Sunday, April 22, 2007

#33 C.Olesen

This review contributed to me buying this excellent camara which meet and exceed all my expectations.

10x Zoom is fab and with a 4GB SDHC card you have 45 min. video at good TV quality.

6:28 pm - Sunday, April 22, 2007

#34 Michael

WOW! What a great, detailed and objective review. Now I know exactly what I'll get for my money, it frees me from the advertising hype.
I couldn't find whether there is a max size for the SD Memory Card. Some change size as they get bigger and won't fit. Anyone know?

12:57 pm - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

#35 Larry

Question: How do you access the wide-angle capability on the Lumix TZ3? If you want to shoot a wide scene, or a group of people from relatively close

12:26 pm - Friday, April 27, 2007

#36 peter from malham

Been looking for an idiot proof sensible
camera for my assistant for a long time,
this one fills the bill

9:12 pm - Saturday, April 28, 2007

#37 catherina

Hiya
Just found out about your website and I am really impressed.
I was wondering between the Panasonic DMC-TZ3 and the SONY DSC-W100 which one would you recommend?
I am interested in taking shots at night and taking shots of moving objects and atmospheric phenomena (fog, cloud formations etc) even at low light.
Any ideas would be most welcome

Kindest regards

Catherina

5:57 pm - Friday, May 4, 2007

#38 Mark Goldstein

Hi Catherina,

I haven't reviewed the Sony W100, so can't really comment on which would be the best choice. I'm sure the TZ3 could achieve what you wanted if you used a tripod to keep it steady and be able to use a slowish ISO speed in low light conditions.

12:01 pm - Saturday, May 5, 2007

#39 AA

I do not recommend the TZ3 for low-light photography, even with a tripod.

A friend of mine bought one of these as a backup for his SLR and figured he would try to use it in all conditions - and, not surprisingly, he found that the low-light quality of the photos is very poor and even with the tripod, the noise suppression/ long exposure just simply reduces the details and are not worth much in the end.

If you really want to shoot night-time long exposures, don't waste your time with these little compacts with all sorts of programming for noise and light control. They'll just leave you frustrated. Moving objects? Forget about it - the lens is not fast enough for such things. You'll lose detail and sharpness and if you try to push the sharpness you'll just get noise.

6:46 am - Sunday, May 6, 2007

#40 James Pickett

"he would try to use it in all conditions"

But if one of the conditions was carrying it in your pocket, then the SLR would have failed miserably!

The point is that no one camera does everything - it's easy for SLR users to be sniffy about compacts, but a compact user with a camera can take much better pictures than an SLR user without one.

Expecting a little camera like the TZ3 to perform like an SLR is a recipe for disappointment - let it play to its strengths and you might be pleasantly surprised...

2:10 pm - Sunday, May 6, 2007

#41 Krpy

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...............

10:57 pm - Sunday, May 6, 2007

#42 James Pickett

Nice to get constructive criticism.
FWIW, I also have a Mamiya C330 - I just don't use it so much...

12:12 pm - Monday, May 7, 2007

#43 anthony stephenson

when i bought a sony lap top i ask the guy in d..... to give me a cheap digi camera i got a kodak cx6330 3.1 mp, i thoufgt i was getting a cheap camrea, but in fact it was great many feasures i thought would be on a much dearer camera,but unlike some others here i do not like the aa batts it takes,being in spain, it's not as easy to obtain the correct rechargables i bought with the camera now 3 years on ..us..i looked at many new cameras ,needed opticaly as large as poss in a compact camera and could only come up with the tz3,had an slr of panasonic before...great so i now hoping for great things.guys you can not expect any maker to give you slr in a compact ,they would never sell them..hourses for courses...

7:53 pm - Saturday, June 2, 2007

#44 Jef

Excellent review, though I am loathe to ever recommend Panasonic as they do not honor their warranty promises. (service personal seem to look for vacuous excuses not to provide warranty/repair/service)..... At least here in the US...... A few friends have had this problem with several different products.
"Buyer Beware'!.

4:21 am - Tuesday, June 12, 2007

#45 Bruce Hayes

Regarding the barrel being extended during playback: If you put the dial on the top of the camera to the playback position before you power it on the barrel will not extend. You can pass the camera around for others to view the photos and you won't have to worry about barrel damage. I've had this camera for only a week so far and I love it. It's not an SLR and doesn't do everything but what it does it does very well. Really has the feel of an $800 camera. Anyone who owns this camera will agree that the attention Panasonic has given to build quality is second to none.

5:36 pm - Tuesday, June 19, 2007

#46 Zoran Cirovic

It seems that TZ3 does not accept 4Gb SD cards. Tried one, Transcend 4Gb SD 150x speed, works with other cameras, not with TZ3. Is there an updated firmware to correct this? On the other side, SDHC card 4Gb is supported.

3:46 pm - Thursday, June 21, 2007

#47 N

I'm using a Trascend 8GB SDHC Class 6 without any problems!

I'm not a professional photografer by any means, I replaced a broken 6.2MP Fuji with 3x zoom with this beauty (black) and I'm in absolute love with it! I take it everywhere with me and just love the zoom! And to my normal person eyes, the pictures come out awesome!

7:41 pm - Wednesday, June 27, 2007

#48 Shashank Saxena

Great guy's, Lots of information in one page.
Well I would like to know more about this camera.
1. It has LCD or TFT Screen?
2. What about batteries. is it AA or in built rechargeable
3. Will ebay is the good option to buy, as they are giving lowest cost in package deal.
4. how much one have to spend to own it if not from ebay.
5. what about Night dance party photography quality?

2:31 pm - Thursday, July 12, 2007

#49 colja

Have not TZ3 but TZ2 should be almost the same, but my movies at 640x480 30fps looks awfull compared to the sample movie. It looks if my movies are highly compressed. is somthing wrong on my camera ?

3:06 pm - Saturday, July 21, 2007

#50 pallavi

hi recently we bought panasonic tz3,im not able to set the adjustments,my face colour is coming in brown ,plz can any one help how to set the white background.and clear face with shine

1:18 pm - Monday, July 23, 2007

#51 K

No word on LX3 yet, huh?

5:41 am - Tuesday, July 24, 2007

#52 JR

Hi colja, i bought also TZ2 and it have very very poor video quality at 848x480/30fps or 640x480/30fps, it remainds me those first mobile phone cams...im dissapointed and feel that Panasonic really fooled me here to believe that TZ2 offers same good video quality that TZ3 is offering, they even share same manual and everywere is mentioned how good video quality is with both of these...

7:12 pm - Thursday, August 2, 2007

#53 colja

Hi, i brought my TZ2 back to the shop and got my money back. I'm shure that there is some software problem with the comression of 30fps movies, as the 10fps have a good picture quality. It is strange that panasonic don't react.

4:26 pm - Saturday, August 4, 2007

#54 K

" .......Panasonic really fooled me here to believe that TZ2 offers same good video quality that TZ3 is offering......"

How does the TZ-2 movie compare to TZ-1's???

One has 6MP and the other has 7.2MP, do they not?

How can you expect one to be the same as the other when the MPs are clearly not the same?

9:29 pm - Saturday, August 4, 2007

#55 Pavan

Excellent review which prompted me to buy one. And now i am a proud owner of TZ-3. Wonderful quality of the pictures, mainly the ones taken in the night. I am yet to explore the full options of TZ-3 and i am sure they will be wonderful.

12:58 pm - Monday, August 6, 2007

#56 JR

Hi K, TZ-1 video is by far better then TZ-2. TZ-2 video is unusable and Panasonic are really marketting that these both(TZ-2 and TZ-3) have good video recording.

9:21 pm - Tuesday, August 21, 2007

#57 Michael Skubiak

I left my manual at home; I am on vacation. How do I use my self timer on my Panasonic Lumix 10X Zoom camera?

11:03 pm - Tuesday, August 21, 2007

#58 anthony stephenson

michael. set on scn1 or scn2 press left select button and its there??

5:18 am - Wednesday, August 29, 2007

#59 James

Hi, I have been looking into buying the TZ3 and an 8GB SDHC card (Kingston 8GB SDHC Class 6) but I found a review online where someone stated that the card didn't work on the TZ3 and shown a memory card read error. I emailed Kingston who told me that their 8GB SDHC cards will work with the camera. Does anyone here know if any 8GB cards work with the TZ3 or if it only supports 4GB SDHC cards as the manual for the camera only mentions 4GB SDHC cards (Page 15).

Regards,
James

9:06 pm - Tuesday, September 4, 2007

#60 christian Johnsen

I have been trying to ascertain if the tz3 can pause video during recording. I am very happy with my TZ1 recording but I don't think it can pause video while recording and I find this quite frustrating.

Second I understand the TZ3 can't zoom during video recording that is a shame as it was one of the major selling points of the tz1, is there some way to allow zoom even if the lense movement does make noise.

third has the mediocre flas of the TZ1 been improved? ~12ft

Fourth as you may have guessed I do a lot of video recording with my TZ1. I was excited to hear about the TZ3. Would you reccomend that I upgrade camera's?

5:54 am - Monday, September 10, 2007

#61 James Pickett

"I am very happy with my TZ1 recording"

In which case, the TZ3 is not going to represent much improvement, unless you want the wider angle. As a still camera, it has advantages, but for video resolution, they won't be noticeable - the folded optics of the TZ1 may even work in your favour.

8:29 am - Monday, September 10, 2007

#62 Ffion

hi
i do a lot with black and white photos, and have been told that the TZ3 does not have this setting (only when you are using the movie mode) i was hoping to upgrade as the TZ3 has many good reviews, and was hoping that you can take black and white/sepia photographs with it.
Does anyone know whether this is true?

1:48 pm - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

#63 Cam

This camera looks great but I'm having trouble deciding between the DMC-TZ3 and the DMC-LX2. Can anyone explain the key differences? I'm confused.

11:51 pm - Sunday, September 16, 2007

#64 Me

This is to answer Ffion's question on black & white and sepia options with the TZ3. Yes it does have those options and a few more. I just bought the camera a few days ago and am still testing it out. Quality of pics seem good indoors at night and day.

I have a shakey hand and it seems the more I zoom, the more blurry the pics get even with the IS. I'll probably keep it.

8:32 pm - Monday, October 15, 2007

#65 DJ

I just bought this TZ3 a couple of days ago after being very impressed with the quality and feel of the camera. The 10x optical zoom can be switched to digital zoom taking it further up to 48x. Great for wildlife shots! I am new to digital cameras and so far have not been too impressed with the amount of time delay from the pressing the shutter release to capturing the image. If you are trying to capture that perfect brief smile from your precious little one forget it, it is long gone by the time the camera does its thing. The other disappointment is the blurry image of moving objects in the LCD. It is really slow. Someone walking across a stage or simply panning the camera left to right is really choppy and blurry making it hard to take a picture. I don't know if this is just how all LCD cameras are but it is really noticeable and annoying. I may be returning this camera because of this and look for something else.

4:19 pm - Monday, October 22, 2007

#66 Freddy

I just bought a TZ3 but the pictures I've taken don't look nice, I set it up to 3MP and high quality but after taken them they look kind of dizzie. Which is the best configuration I can use to get excelent pictures?

5:29 pm - Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#67 Freddy

I just bought a TZ3 but my pictures look dizzie, which is the configuration I can use to get excelent pictures? I set it up to 3MP and high quality, I'm also ussing ISO mode.

5:31 pm - Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#68 James

Not quite sure what you mean by 'dizzie' but why set the camera to 3Mp? I know they take up less space but if that's not an issue, try full resolution and see how they look...

6:14 pm - Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#69 ian gale

Hi,

To be honest I don't really understand a lot of the details on the site. My current digital is an old fuji finepix 1.3 MP thing. I couldn't make it work and ended up using a film based 35 mm again. However this year I am having 2 good holidays. 1 in Tromso, Norway, wher I will be wanting pics of the northern lights, snowy mountains, dog sledding etc, mainly in poor light I imagine.Later in disneyland, pics of mickey etc. Basically is the TZ3 the right camera for this or can someone reccomend a different option. Don't want to spend silly money really.

Many Thanks

2:06 pm - Thursday, December 20, 2007

#70 James

That's a big question, but it's certainly worth having on your list. However, if you're going to be away from base for long periods, you might want a camera that can run on AA's. Also, if you're used to 35mm, you might well want one with a viewfinder!

I'd consider a Canon A720IS (or the slightly older, and now cheaper A710IS) which have a bit less zoom, but are more pocketable and probably work a bit better in low light. Get one of those 'gorillapod' things that lets you clamp your camera to odd shapes for longer exposures.

HTH

10:06 pm - Thursday, December 20, 2007

#71 James

That's a big question, but it's certainly worth having on your list. However, if you're going to be away from base for long periods, you might want a camera that can run on AA's. Also, if you're used to 35mm, you might well want one with a viewfinder!

I'd consider a Canon A720IS (or the slightly older, and now cheaper A710IS) which have a bit less zoom than the TZ3, but are more pocketable and probably work a bit better in low light. Get one of those 'gorillapod' things that lets you clamp your camera to odd shapes for longer exposures.

HTH

10:08 pm - Thursday, December 20, 2007

#72 ian gale

Hi James,

Thanks for the info, I've had a look at the a720 and can't really justify spending an extra £50 on the panasonic. I don't think the slight differences will matter that much to me. For some reason the A710 is still more expensive in the uk than the a720 and is actually about the same price as the TZ3? Think I'll go with the A720.

Many thanks again for your help.

Ian

10:45 am - Friday, December 21, 2007

#73 James

My pleasure. Although personal preferences may differ, I rarely read a bad word about the Canon A-series, and if you want reasonable zoom and a viewfinder, there's not much else to choose! I have an A620, which is a bit chunkier than the A720 and doesn't have IS. I use an A710IS at work and I would say it's almost the ideal compact camera - I can't think of anything that will take substantially better photos and still fit in your pocket, at any price. Strange that it is dearer than the later version here in the UK, but you seem to be right. FWIW, I found the A720 for £134 at buyacamera.co.uk

Don't forget to buy a decent sized SD card - the movie mode especially guzzles it up!

9:50 pm - Friday, December 21, 2007

#74 Lawrence

"I have not been impressed with the amount of time delay from the pressing the shutter release to capturing the image. If you are trying to capture that perfect brief smile from your precious little one forget it, it is long gone by the time the camera does its thing."

Is the delay really that bad? I want to use the DMC-TZ3 for snappy moments but I'm a little worried if the delay is long. I wonder if you were just using the camera in low light?

And also, how is the sound quality in movie mode?

Please reply.

12:07 pm - Thursday, January 3, 2008

#75 James

"Is the delay really that bad?"

Probably not. People who have just come to digital after 'analogue' are often surprised that there is any delay at all. After all, with a conventional fixed or manual focus camera, the shot is taken the instant you press the shutter, so why should that not be the case with digital? :-)

Panasonic cameras are generally regarded as reasonably quick (better than average) although all long zoom cameras have to work a bit harder to focus at high zoom settings or in low light.

1:11 pm - Saturday, January 12, 2008

#76 Francesco

I've been using this camera for 6 months, just 780 shots up to now.
It's a very good camera, but I'm quite disappointed for 2 features missing:

1- No possibility to get RAW output, also in hi res it's a fight with jpeg artifacts

2- No possibility to work in aperture priority and shutter priority. Ok, most compact camera users don't use, but is just software, add a submenu!!!

2:37 pm - Saturday, January 12, 2008

#77 Mike

looking for an economical wide angle, this seems to be it. Good review. It appears to use an SD memory card, is this correct. Saw nothing on that.

2:47 am - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#78 Mark Goldstein

Mike, you can use SD, SDHC or MultiMediaCard memory cards with the TZ3.

9:03 am - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#79 James

"economical wide angle"

Don't forget the Nikon P50...

10:05 am - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#80 Mike

Re: "economical wide angle"

Don't forget the Nikon P50...thanks James I will review it before deciding. I have an old Nikon FM (35mm film format) that I still hold dear. The Las Vegas show did reveal that the TZ3 can download wirelessly when memory full (say on vacation)...impressive for around $400 Cdn.

3:46 pm - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#81 James

I didn't realise the TZ3 had wireless comms, but that won't improve battery life! A spare memory card might be simpler...

I like the P50 because it has a viewfinder and uses AA batteries, which you can always get.

4:29 pm - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#82 Mark Goldstein

Just to clarify, the TZ3 doesn't have wireess functionality. The camera that Mike is referring to at the CES show in Las Vegas earlier this month was a prototype that just happened to be based on a TZ3. I'd expect Panasonic to reveal more details about their plans for a wireless camera at the PMA show in 2 weeks time.

4:35 pm - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#83 Mark Goldstein

Just to clarify, the TZ3 doesn't have wireess functionality. The camera that Mike is referring to at the CES show in Las Vegas earlier this month was a prototype that just happened to be based on a TZ3. I'd expect Panasonic to reveal more details about their plans for a wireless camera at the PMA show in 2 weeks time.

4:37 pm - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#84 Mike

Re:Just to clarify,...
Sorry about that, I guess that is why the camera store guy did not mention it. But yes, they did use the TZ3 example this am on the tv story.

4:56 pm - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#85 Richard Morris

I just upgraded a 2MP fuji 2600z to the TZ3.

After a week of ownership, I am not that impressed with its pictures. Quite fuzzy, and loss of detail, unless lighting is 'very' good. Maybe mine is not a good example.

Flash is quite harsh, and can leed to bright indoor shots

The 6X4 prints from my Fuji are better.

Features, and lens are very good though.

5:31 pm - Monday, January 28, 2008

#86 Mike

RE: I just upgraded a 2MP fuji 2600z to the TZ3.
Thanks for your input.Your comments are valid. I read an article on the Fuji Finepix S8000fd and apparently the unsubstantiated word is that Fuji (at least at this price range) is superior in low light. Was looking at the P50 (Nikon) for price point but does not meet needs. TZ3 still top of my list even though something else is coming from Panasonic. Price, 28mm - 10X optical and small. I like it.No thru-the lens view, but none do in that price range.

7:06 pm - Monday, January 28, 2008

#87 Richard Morris

I had considered the FujiS8000fd, but went for the TZ3 after reading about a few image quality issues on the Fuji.

I am considering swapping my TZ3 already. The spec is great. In anything but good light the performance does not live up to expectations. The reviews on image quality are generous in my opinion.

The TZ3 is easy to use, and I have not missed the optical viewfinder yet (300 pictures taken). I find it plenty fast enough, and it is certainly well made. Plenty of good features/shooting modes too.

I have sent some sample to Panasonic who agreed to look at them in case there is an issue with my particular camera. If they find nothing wrong, then it will be going anyway.

If you chose one, I hope it meets your expoectations, or is at least better than mine.

I nearly went for a Richo Caplio R7 which gets some good write ups. Maybe an alternative to consider.

Rich

9:36 am - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

#88 Mike

I'll check it out before buying Panasonic this w/e
thanks

1:54 pm - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

#89 Will Barber

I am also disappointed by fuzzy pictures. Compared to my old Finepix S304 (not as compact though) the pictures look washed out and poorly focussed. (using tripod)
They can be improved using s/w but still disappointing. Any ideas if this is normal? Considering

4:56 pm - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

#90 Jeff

I've had a TZ3 for a couple of days and I am extremely impressed with the way it handles most things. I've fot a Fuji s9500 and it's just too complex for me - not to mention bulky.
My only concern is with the audio - when taking movies or recording memos the sound is really muffled and over compressed. I know you can't have everything in one camera but I'm wondering if TZ3 mic is poor quality or do I have a duff one?(the camera is refurbished) the sample movies I've found online focus on picture quality (quite rightly) and I can't judge sound quality.

4:14 pm - Saturday, February 2, 2008

#91 Mike

TZ3 is magnificent for the money apparently biggest seller for Panasonic ever when I read about the new TZ4 & 5 in this very blog. Believe it or not a rare find, a silver brand new TZ2, so I bought it for less than $250. with a 2yr warranty.Few pix and smaller screen but all I need. Bravo Panasonic for wide angle and 10X optical in a small but tough little camera.

4:47 pm - Saturday, February 2, 2008

#92 Richard Morris

I sent some samples to Panasonic, who said there was nothing wrong with he camera. The problem was that with it set to Auto, it pumps up the ISO. They said fix the ISO at 100. Which is great, until the light drops. My wife, who will aslo want to use the camera does not want to mess around with manual settings, so if it doesn't work in auto, it is no good to us.

Sent it back to the store for refund, now just need to find something similar, that will take decent pictures indoors, with flash, and no noise/fuzziness. Shame as the TZ3 was excellent except for the noise images when used in auto mode.

9:42 pm - Saturday, February 2, 2008

#93 James

Really disappointing sound quality on videos to the point where I'd say it's useless - about as good as you'd get through a landline telephone. Came from a 4 year old Casio Exilim and it is many times better. Audio is saved at 8000Hz 8-bit PCM mono and mic is on the top of the camera body. No options to select a better CODEC or audio sampling rate.

4:27 pm - Sunday, February 17, 2008

#94 LL

It's NOT a video camera.

5:58 pm - Monday, February 18, 2008

#95 Jeff

It's a shame because in every other respect it's a great camera and video picture quality is excellent.
It's great to keep in your pocket, it starts up really quickly and it's got plenty of scene modes to cope with most situations.
Also, I've taken perfectly fine pictures indoors with flash.

7:08 pm - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

#96 Mike

Just got back from holiday with TZ Panasonic. Found it grt. for the money. Battery lasts well.took over 250 pics. Have not tried video.

7:30 pm - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

#97 LL

Just wait for the TZ5, which is coming in a couple of months. No big deal.
If you really want to do video, why not just buy a camcorder with some still capability instead?

8:16 am - Thursday, February 21, 2008

#98 Ted Vandenbroek

Great and professional review, helps a lot!

12:51 pm - Tuesday, March 4, 2008

#99 Chris K

Hello. I got a TZ3 at Christmas time and have been generally happy with is at a replacement for an old Nikon 2mp camera. I had good luck with it taking outdoor low light photos (sunset, contrasting light colors and darkness).

I have had a bit less luck with indoor movement (something like a basketball game), BUT the results taking pictures at reception in a hotel were pretty terrible -- all of my indoor low light pics show noise and strange color balance. I will play with the ISO settings as advised above, but was wondering if there is either a secret I should know about or a firmware update. Cheers, --chris

6:31 pm - Thursday, March 13, 2008

#100 James

"wondering if there is ... a secret"

I suspect not. Compacts in general, and Panasonic in particular, are not good at low-light photography (sunsets don't really count, as the main subject is usually still fairly bright!

The honourable exception seems to be Fuji, whose F-series have some advantage. Small sensors are the problem, but without them, that 10x lens would be huge!

9:54 pm - Thursday, March 13, 2008