Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 Review

May 12, 2008 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 27 Comments | |

Panasonic DMC-TZ5The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 has a very hard act to follow - its predecessor, the TZ3, was one of the most popular digital cameras of 2007. The DMC-TZ5 retains the same core features - 28-280mm lens in a pocket-sized package - and adds more megapixels, 720p HD video, a higher-res LCD screen and Venus IV Engine processing engine into the mix. Can the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 improve on a winning formula, or does it just deliver more of the same? Read our 240th product review to find out…

Website: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 Review

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#1 Craig

Nice review on this camera. I've had my TZ5 for over a month now and I can't disagree with your comments. It's the best compact I've owned and a keeper. People have been moaning that it doesn't fit in a jeans pocket but it fits in mine OK. What jeans are they all wearing?

Features I like most are: AI mode, reliable face-detection and plentiful scene modes.

6:49 pm - Monday, May 12, 2008

#2 mark23

My cousin got this Camera, we take pics all the time and it take some really good quality pics.

1:54 am - Tuesday, May 13, 2008

#3 snedger

spot on review!
I couldn't wait any longer and bought one 2 days before the review. Glad the review didn't find any bad faults.
It's a little bit of a mindless camera - but with the superb snaps it takes it will more than do as my belt/pocket camera.

10:34 pm - Tuesday, May 13, 2008

#4 David

Super simple to use, even easier than the tz3.

Only one problem, I get purple vertical lines on the view finder displayed when I take pictures into sunlight. This does not disturb the actual picture which comes out crystal clear and clean but is disturbing when composing the picture. Any ideas?

5:12 pm - Wednesday, May 28, 2008

#5 snedger

Took it to a wedding in Yorkshire (England) last week and got some fantastic outdoor shots in less than brilliant light.
I tried being unobtrusive at the end of the hotel gardens and got some great full zoomed in natural unsuspecting group close ups. Sun came out at about 8pm for about 15 minutes and I was just about sober enough to get some nice contrasty snaps of the stone built Jacobean ex-mansion hotel.

6:49 pm - Tuesday, June 3, 2008

#6 Tony Berry

i am looking to up-grade from my olympus C-310 ZOOM & have found your reviews very straightforward & enlightening. You have made it clear to me which camera to choose, having considered olympus sp-570uz, fujifilm s8100fd,nikon p5100, canon s5is & last but not least the panasonic dmc tz5. Keep up these great reviews

4:51 am - Saturday, July 5, 2008

#7 TZ5

In France, the price is about 290 euros. Is it better to order it from States?

12:04 pm - Tuesday, July 8, 2008

#8 alan prestidge

Great review, have now bought the camera, only not to sure if I can use a 4gb SD card with it or do I have to use 4gb SDHC. Thanks Alan

7:38 pm - Monday, July 14, 2008

#9 Mark Goldstein

Alan, you should be able to use either card.

1:40 pm - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

#10 Mike Paterson

Just to add to Mark's comment...
I have both a standard 4GB SD and a 16GB SDHC.
The TZ5 uses both happily.


5:36 pm - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

#11 Alan

Hi. Thanks for your help with the 4GB card. I now have another problem with this camera. I cannot get me Empsom PHOTO R340 printer to print DPOF or TEXT STAMP on the photos.Do I need a new printer?. Alan

7:46 pm - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

#12 David Langridge

I have just purchased A TZ5 to replace my old FX3 I value your review and look forward to trying out my new purchase.
Many thanks.

9:26 pm - Sunday, July 20, 2008

#13 Alan

Great camera! easy to use, great pictures, great wide angle, great zoom, simple, and well built. I read some reviews about the noise but that is very over rated, unless you are a camera nut and blowing pictures over 8x10 most users will not even see the noise.

Beware of online bait and switch companies advertising ultra cheap prices then trying to say it is a grey market non English camera or selling you batteries for over $100 bucks when you can buy factory online batteries for $20-30 and China batteries for 5-10 dollars. Also I got sdhc 8gig san disk extreme at Amazon for $70 for two with a CF converter.

10:22 pm - Monday, July 28, 2008

#14 lucigrapher

On page 6 of the TZ5 review, you state:

ISO 100-400 isn't a particularly versatile range, but the usual excellent optical image stabilisation system means that the DMC-TZ5 is still an adaptable camera, as you can take a photo at a <u>faster</u> ISO speed and therefore a <u>slower</u> shutter speed, and still get sharp results, without adversely affecting the battery life too much. The High Sensitivity mode provides a fastest ISO speed of 6400, but the image resolution is automatically reduced to 3 megapixels and there's far too much noise and blurring of detail at that speed.

This piece of boilerplate (I have no objection with boilerplate per se--I'm glad you can get more reviews done faster) also appears on the last page of the LX3 review. Unfortunately, low ISO = slow and high ISO = fast. Your point is about the effectiveness of the OIS at lower ISO settings. Hence, the shutter is open longer and blurring becomes a problem without OIS (and sometimes even with OIS). The other non-tripod solution to avoid blurring is to use higher ISO settings (= faster) so the shutter speed can be increased to reduce the risk of excessive blur.

I don't mean to be a nitpicker. I greatly appreciate the time and effort put into your reviews, and look forward to reading and learning from many more.

6:28 pm - Wednesday, August 13, 2008

#15 kelsci

my brother just bought this camera. he took some sample photos and videos. the photos reminded he and I of his Leica rangefinder film camera. to say the least, they were stunning with great color, sharpness and contrast. he ran into a problem transferring the video onto a dvd-rw with roxio and had to convert the codec that panasonic uses from a raw to an avi. the file would not burn on his desktop but did on his laptop and seemed to burn in high-def and seemed to read that way on his 5054 samsung tv on a upconversion player. the video was as stunning as the stills. the audio seemed ok too. imho you get alot for your money with this camera if you get it for a good price.

2:18 pm - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

#16 Mario

Thanks very much for the great review.i have been reading about this camera for a couple weeks now.this is the cam i want to buy but the only drawback is the many negative remarks ive read about the camera struggling in low do u comment on this?i also saw some pics that some1 displayed in the net.the day pics were perfect but the night 1s were terrible,being very faded with messed up detail,

11:18 pm - Sunday, December 14, 2008

#17 kelsci

I cannot comment on what this camera can do on low light since it is my brother who owns the camera. He has not to my knowledge have had the opportunity to experience that kind of opportunity to shoot in those kind of conditions. He has mentioned that he thinks that his Canon G6 has "quicker" focusing than the TZ5. I do not know if my last commentary took you to my blog, but you can see some of his pics at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

12:06 pm - Monday, December 15, 2008

#18 Mike Vassiliou

hi again.thanks for ur answer.i spoke to my photographer for some pro advice and he said that its better for small sized cams to not have so much mpxels anyway simply cause they cant its a pitty that the tz5 is said that it cant cope with alot of ISO.i saw pics with full ISO of a fuji finepix f30 cam and the pics were great even at full size and ISO.its simply a pitty that the tz5 cant cope when in full MP size and ISO.i still think i should get it and simply have it on lets say 7 or 8 MP max and keep the ISO least then i can have a small camera with a great zoom.what do u think? but what ever the case with this cam,its like putting a massive engine into a small car,it wont cope.and its optical lense for example,its smaller than most compact sized cams,not letting in much light when indoors etc.. cheers.

1:55 pm - Monday, December 15, 2008

#19 Shirl

Why can't I vew some of my photos on my sd card on my camera. I have 50 photos, can only view about 18. Some of these photos were taken with this camera, some not. They were offloaded to a computer and reloaded back to the camera disk. Even some of the ones that were taken with this camera cannot be viewed on the camera now. This is the dmc-tz5.

1:20 am - Saturday, March 28, 2009

#20 David

#13 Alan's comment - ' great wide angle'.
Having recently purchased the DCM-TZ5 on a recommendation and because I wanted a camera with a wide angle facility. I now find that as a novice I cannot find from the manual, how to use that facility. I need to take photos of our holiday accommodation ( go on our website and the wide angle feature will hopefully take in all the internal room features etc. Can anyone enlighten me please.
Regards, David.

9:27 am - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

#21 techguru

It's an good camera because it's presence is stabilized super zoom on a compact digital camera so it went easily into a pocket. With a 10x zoom, ranging from 28 mm to 280 mm equivalent 35 mm format there are few shooting situations that bring fear. You are ready to take pictures of everything with the added advantage of being able deal with a discrete machine which does not give the eye as a reflex and is easily transportable skills particularly useful in metropolitan reportage like Street Photography and travel. For more detail

5:20 am - Thursday, October 8, 2009

#22 Chris D'Andrea

I am a former professional photographer with lots of big cameras, but I was looking for a small carry-about camera for family shots and casual travel. The Lumix DMC-TZ5 is very good-even excellent- in good light, and responds to a variety of situations outdoors with great exposures, vibrant color, and excellent sharpness.
But indoors with the built-in flash the camera is a total dog. The built-in flash is very weak: only good up to about 6 feet. The camera defaults to 1/30 sec or slower in every flash mode, (even with higher ISO or at wider zoom settings) which is only good if the subject is perfectly still. The result is orangey, blurred pictures with poor focus and movement blur. At ISO 800 the camera still chose a shutter speed of 1/40 sec but selected a smaller aperture. At ISO 1600 the image is not really usable except for anything but surveillance, due to high noise and blurring.
The "white balance" problems referred to in the posts above are caused by a long exposure of the room lighting (usually incandescent i.e. very orange) while the camera sets color balanced for the flash (daylight). The only usable indoor shots I have been able to take were made on a tripod (to reduce camera movement) and with a stationary subject. This pretty much eliminates any normal use of a small camera for indoors. Remember that the Image Stabilization can't do anything about a moving subject. You would imagine it might be better to use the "Party" mode, but that uses even slower shutter speeds.
To be fair, this is not the only small camera that gives poor results with its built-in flash, but with most other cameras I have been able to find some mode that uses a shutter speed fast enough to eliminate subject motion.

7:33 am - Thursday, January 7, 2010

#23 Jha

Yes..The performance of this cam inside a room is not so impressive..It performs good outdoors..

9:16 pm - Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#24 Cathy

Hi, I am planning a trip on January 12th and I don't know what I should use as a camera for the trip: my good old Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 or my new iPhone 6 plus. Even though the iPhone 6 plus is much newer, it seems to me that the good old Lumix is still a better camera.
What would you use as your camera for better pictures if you were me: the iPhone 6 plus or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5?
I really have no clue about cameras and I have no idea what all the specs mean :(
I'd appreciate some opinions (please).

4:24 pm - Thursday, January 1, 2015

#25 Mike Paterson

Hi Cathy,
Well, the TZ5 may well be 7 years old but when compared with a smartphone it will indeed still be able to hold its own and some.
For starters it has proper optical zoom against digital zoom on the iPhone 6+ which will enable you to frame the shot much better.
Then there is low light shooting where the 6+ can achieve good low lighting helped with its optical image stabilisation, however it still can not compare with the TZ5 sensor and its ability to alter its controls greater and much better.
Indeed for many tasks the TZ5 will deliver more.

The downside of using the TZ5 over the iPhone 6+ is you would be carrying both the phone and the camera as opposed to just the phone if shooting from the 6+.
Also once you have taken all those shots you would then have to manually transfer them to wherever you store your photos.
As you know, with the 6+ or any smartphone, once you take the shot it is so much easier to upload to your chosen storage (Dropbox, iCloud, a computer, etc. etc.).

As such, no one can tell you which is the best..... One would say to use just your iPhone whereas another will say use the dedicated camera, that's what it was built for.
Me, I always have at hand both my iPhone 6+ and a small sized camera albeit no longer the TZ5 :)


5:02 pm - Thursday, January 1, 2015

#26 Cathy

Thank you so much, Mike!!

I know the TZ5 is old, but since I rarely take pictures I'm not planning on buying another one now, so I guess I'll stick with it until it keeps working :)

Really, thank you very much for taking your time to answer my question.

I wish you a wonderful 2015!!


5:10 pm - Thursday, January 1, 2015

#27 Mike Paterson

No problem Cathy.
The simple answer really is enjoy using whatever you have to hand.
I must have well over a dozen dedicated cameras laying about but they all get some use at one time or another.
One day I will use my iPhone 6+ as the shot is simple, quick to take or would be used for social purposes only.
However on another day I may walk across a view that simply states "come back and take a photo of me". With that I would change to a camera more suited.
The camera will always give the better shot but it's the person holding the camera that will create the shot.

Have a good year :)

5:20 pm - Thursday, January 1, 2015