Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 Review
Review Date: April 21st 2006
The Panasonic DMC-TZ1 is currently the smallest digital camera in the world with a 10x zoom lens. Thanks to some very clever folded optics technology, the Panasonic TZ1 allows you to carry a camera with the focal length of 35-350mm in your pocket. In addition to this defining feature, the Panasonic TZ1 also offers a 5 megapixel sensor, 2.5 inch LCD screen, and as with all Panasonic cameras, the company's MEGA O.I.S optical image stabilisation system for shake-free photos. The Panasonic DMC TZ1 has a new High Sensitivity mode with a fastest ISO speed of ISO 1600, High Angle mode that brightens the LCD when held overhead, faster 1-point auto-focus system, enhanced scene modes and more advanced Venus Engine III processing. Panasonic are promoting it as the perfect camera for traveling, so should you take it on your holidays? Read my review to discover the answer.
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 has a 6.37 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD that delivers 5.0 effective megapixels. There are three aspect ratios on offer (4:3, 3:2, 16:9) with a range of image sizes (4:3 Aspect Ratio: 2560 x 1920 pixels, 2048 x 1536 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels, 1280 x 960 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels, 3:2 Aspect Ratio: 2560 x 1712 pixels, 2048 x 1360 pixels, 16:9 Aspect Ratio: 2560 x 1440 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels). Images can be recorded as either Fine or Standard quality JPEGs. The camera's 10x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 35-350mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is also a 4x digital zoom should you feel the need to use it. MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) is available with 2 different modes. The camera has 14Mb of built-in memory - it is not supplied with either a SD Memory Card or MultiMedia Card.
The Panasonic DMC-TZ1 offers Auto, Simple and Macro exposure modes plus 19 different scene modes (Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Self-portrait, Food, Party, Candle, Fireworks, Starry Sky, Beach, Aerial photo, Snow, High Sensitivity, Baby1, Baby2, Underwater). The maximum aperture is f2.8 (wide) – f4.2 (tele), and the shutter speed range is 60 secs. – 1/2000th sec. There are 5 ISO speeds ranging from 80 to 800, an Auto option and a new High Sensitivity Mode that allows ISO 800-1600 at a reduced image resolution. There are 4 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Cloudy, Halogen, White Set), plus an Auto setting and White Balance Adjustment (150K step, -1500K - +1500K). The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps and auto-bracketing is available.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (2 secs. or 10 secs.) and 2 different Continuous modes - High (3 fps) or Low (2 fps), with a maximum of 5 images in Standard JPEG Mode and 3 images in Fine JPEG Mode for both modes. There are 4 different colour effects available (Cool, Warm, Black and White and Sepia) and 3 picture adjustments (Natural, Standard, Vivid). The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 5cms at the wide-angle lens setting. The camera offers 5 auto-focus systems - 1-point, 1-point high speed, 3-point high speed, 9-point and Spot - and you can choose from Normal, Continuous or Macro focus. 3 exposure metering systems are available - Intelligent Multiple, Center Weighted and Spot. There is an AF assist lamp to help achieve focus in low-light situations. The built-in flash offers 4 different modes (Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced On/Off).
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical or electronic viewfinder. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 has a 2.5 inch TFT LCD Display which has 207,000 pixels and offers 100% scene coverage. There is a High Angle mode which allows you to hold the camera above your head and still see the LCD screen clearly, and a Power LCD mode which increases the screen's brightness. The Panasonic DMC-TZ1 can record movies at 848 x 480 (16:9 aspect ratio), 640x480 or 320 x 240 pixels, at either 30 fps or 10 fps with sound. Video is recorded in the Quicktime with audio format. The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. A 10 second soundclip can be attached t an image. A histogram is available in both shooting and playback modes. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1's dimensions are 112 (W) × 58.1 (H) × 40.2 mm (D) mm, and it weighs 262g with the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack (3.7V, 1000mAh), which has an approximate CIPA battery life of 250 shots. There is a plastic tripod mount in the left corner of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a Battery Charger, Battery Pack, Lens Cap, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, AC Cable, Strap and Software CD-ROM (LUMIX Simple Viewer, PhotofunStudio -viewer-, ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, USB Driver). Note that you can only store 4 images at the highest quality JPEG setting on the 14Mb built-in memory card. You will therefore need to invest in some memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.