Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 Review

5.0
March 26, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

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#1 kelsci

Cameralabs.com just did a review on this camera as well. Of importance here is that focusing problem you mention during video recording. He posted a sample video showing that problem and personally I think it is signficant and a little too “busy”. Panasonic should have addressed this problem before releasing this camera.

Cameralabs mentioned that the stereo microphones were very close but did elalaborate on just how much it effected the stereo imaging this camera gave on the videos. The only way one knows that is if they have there own audio/video system;have made stereo videos in the past such as I have on vhs stero video systems, transferred them onto a dvd and played those videos back through my audio/video system both in stereo, a dolby pro-pro-logic 2 movie mode,a virtual mode, or some form of passive surround sound matrix mode.

11:58 am - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#2 Henri

I love the image quality of the video but man, why is the motion so choppy, it’s almost unbearable to watch!

12:11 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#3 Yianni

@ Henri. Probably because your computer specs are not high enough to play HD video.

What are your computer specs?

I have no problem playing the file smoothly on my new desktop computer but it’s choppy on my older laptop.

Cheers

1:04 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#4 Patrick

I understand that cut-and-paste makes your reviews easier to write and post (hence the similar language and format of each), but it’s really inappropriate at times. For example, this statement is simply not true for this camera:

“The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7’s maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds in the Starry Sky Mode scene mode (there are also 15 and 30 second options) and 8 seconds in the Night Scenery mode, which is great news if you’re seriously interested in night photography.”

The long exposure options for the Lumix are NOT well-suited to night photography because your options are limited to 0 - 8 seconds and then 15, 30, or 60 second exposures. If you want a 9 second exposure, you can’t have it. Which means the effective range is only up to 8 seconds. You can pick 15 seconds, but unless that’s actually the right exposure (which it almost never will be), then it’s useless.

This site has potential. Please be a little more careful and less quick—the template/cut-and-paste writing style can only go so far.

4:39 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#5 Henri

I have the fastest MacBook Pro, 2.8 Ghz and edit FullHD on it. check the examples in HD and the motion is horrible, panning the camera gives a horrible choppy image-update, HD is apparantly to much for these small camera’s I guess.

4:41 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#6 Mark Goldstein

Patrick, we’d rather have the option of the “fixed” 15, 30, or 60 second exposures, rather than being limited to 8 seconds or less, as on many other compacts. And the 8 second limit is still quite commendable for what is a purely point-and-shoot model.

4:54 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#7 Patrick

Understood, but most of the high end point and shoots you review have a range up to 8 seconds. A few are up to 15, which is much better. Once you get in to fixed exposures though, you aren’t getting much at all. Particularly if you are “seriously interested in night photography.” That’s the part of the review—which is copied from and appears in many other of your reviews—that I take issue with.

Thanks for the reply.

4:58 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#8 Mike

I’m in the market for a good point-and-shoot camera with a few manual options, but nothing like a DSLR. HD video is nice to have too, and the Panasonic’s quality I think is decent. I don’t see the “choppy” issue as above in the playback. It could be (very likely) the video codecs you have installed. Also, with the zooming and refocus; this isn’t a camcorder and that’s a small price to pay for HD video in my opinion.


I really wish I knew how this would stack up to (or the other way around) the Samsung HZ15W or TL320 that are due out. Any opinions?

I don’t know much (hardly anything) about cameras but it’s down to these three for me. Also, I found a DMW-MCT27 Marine Case for this camera online, and that’s an added bonus (I snorkel and wouldn’t mind shooting some pictures/video.)

6:12 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#9 Jimmy

I have a HD video camera that is flash based.
Yes….your computer hardware and appropriate software can make a major difference in how smooth the video plays…not the camera!!!!

ALL HD videos no matter what the camera has those requirements.
Nothing to do with the Panasonic TZ7 in particular…

6:16 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#10 Mark Goldstein

Mike, you might also want to consider the Canon PowerShot SX200 IS and Olympus mju 9000, both of which we’ll be reviewing soon…

6:17 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#11 scrambler

Henri, If your computer is fast enough but you have choppy playback, then you have a codec problem (some codecs are beter than other for these AVCHD files)
The files are fine.

6:23 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#12 Jimmy

The Canon SX 200 review should be interesting…however you cannot zoom while taking a video using the Canon SX200. A major oversight IMHO…plus the zoom range is not as useful as Panasonic’s.
Canon would have been a rival of the last generation Panasonic TZ5, not the TZ7. Canon seems to be playing catch up to Panasonic lately

6:24 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#13 Mike

Thanks for the suggestions Mark!

I don’t think I’m interested in the Olympus, but the Canon has some promise. I’m looking forward to your review of it.

I think the Panasonic is at the top of my list after reading your review though.

I’m the type of person who usually leaves the camera in “auto” mode for most pictures out of ignorance. Any suggestions on a good read to understand/appreciate a point-and-shoots manual features?

I’m like many shoppers out there, I don’t know enough about cameras to make a decision on my own. I rely on reviews from the experts and hobbyists to help me make as educated a decision as possible. Thanks for all the work you guys put into your reviews and comments!

6:56 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#14 AA

Please please please do a comparison of the Frame/Aspect Ratios at 25mm, as well as at 300mm, so that we can see the angle of view comparisons. Otherwise I can’t tell what the big deal is with the 25mm. And if you can, please do the same comparison with other cameras of the same type, so we can see how these cameras actually capture the images at those various frame ratios.

It’s not that I don’t understand - there are people out there who still don’t quite understand what frame/aspect ratios mean.

Otherwise your review is only 90% complete.

Thank you.

7:36 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#15 Jimmy

25 mm is significantly wider than 28 mm.

As is always the case 3mm is totally meaningless at the tele end, but very meaningful at the wide end.

9:42 pm - Thursday, March 26, 2009

#16 Craig

Hello there.

I’ve just recently began looking into getting a camera again after the last search ended unsuccesfully. Your site is a GREAT help and I thank you very much for all the information you provide.

I am after some quite specific information which seems to be somewhat overlooked in your reviews.

I want to know how the camera performs when recording video in low light. After reading your review of the ‘Fujifilm f200EXR’, with everything you said about how it specialises in low light, I was ready to go out and buy one. What a damn fine shame it is that there is no HD video recording feature.

Would you recommend this model for my needs? I want to take pictures and videos in clubs and get a good amount of colour and as little noise as is possible when recording video.

2:00 pm - Friday, March 27, 2009

#17 Arthur

I am in the market for a new digital, and am waiting for the TZ6 & TZ7 before I make my decision. The price of the TZ7 is very close to the Canaon G10.
I would be very interested in seeing a review of the TZ6 (ZS1).
It seems that most sites seem to ignore the smaller brother; try to find a review of the TZ4. The TZ4 seems to be more preferred by users, that is why I would very much like to see the review of the TZ6

3:41 pm - Friday, March 27, 2009

#18 peter valk

High Angle function: (just)reading the user manual it is only present in TZ6, not in the TZ7.
Who/what is right? Hope you are.

12:51 am - Saturday, March 28, 2009

#19 AA

Hey er your link to the PriceGrabber price list for this camera actually links to the TZ4, not the TZ7.

5:53 am - Saturday, March 28, 2009

#20 AA

Hey Mark -

While you were holding this camera with just one hand and trying to take a photo with the flash - was your finger getting in the way of the flash?

Just wandering…..........

6:12 am - Saturday, March 28, 2009

#21 Mark Goldstein

AA, I had no problems with accidentally securing the flash.

peter valk, I believe that both models have the High Angle function, but I’ll double-check for you with Panasonic (our test sample has been returned now).

Arthur, we will be reviewing the TZ6 model too. If you’re not bothered about the advanced movie functions, then this is possibly the one to go for.

10:03 am - Saturday, March 28, 2009

#22 AA

Thanks Mark -

but hey your price comparison still points to the TZ4, not the TZ7.  They haven’t started selling the TZ7 in the US (its called the ZS3 over here), so I guess you don’t have a price comparison?

5:41 pm - Saturday, March 28, 2009

#23 alansky

Anyone know if movies shot with the TZ7 can be edited in iMovie on a Mac?

2:59 am - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#24 Panda10

I’m thinking of getting this- or the Sanyo CA-9.  Both are hybrid cams- but the Sanyo is more video centered (and waterproof) but I think the Panasonic would get more use.

Any opinions?  I’m also considering selling everything and getting a new Rebel- I heard the video is great on that.

Too many choices.

4:54 am - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#25 Bas

@Mark High Angle is TZ6 only unfortunally (I think it has to do with the video)

@Alansky As long as you don’t capture the movie in AVCHD Lite, but in Motion JPEG you can edit it in iMovie right now (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3481) I couldn’t do anything with the AVCHD Lite files on the Mac without converting it to Quicktime

12:37 pm - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#26 Michael

Based on your review and samples I bought the TZ7 three days ago. I´d like to confirm your findings as being 100% accurate. This is an excellent camera that delivers very nice photos and stunning videos with a minimum of fuss. Now that the biking season starts this seems to become a serious rival for my DSLR. Best regards from Germany, Michael

6:13 pm - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#27 Lucas

What about movies un low light ?
Are good ?

12:09 am - Friday, April 3, 2009

#28 Lars

@Panda10: The Sanyo CA-9 only has a 38mm photo angle while the Panasonic has 25mm wideangle. Furthermore do the Sanyos have less photo functions.

But yes, they are more handy and waterproof up to 1.5m has its benefits.

10:15 am - Friday, April 3, 2009

#29 Alex

I have got my TZ7 today. The Cam is really good. Great Video quality and a very good automatic mode. There is only one issue which is not best. iA mode for 16:9 only work with 2Mpix! I don’t know why but that’s it. The Cam is handy and pictures are very good.

9:16 pm - Friday, April 3, 2009

#30 George

Is it available in the US yet??

I wanna buy this camera, but i couldnt find any dealer selling this hidden gem!

Where did u get it Alex???

I tried bhphotovideo.com it says “available on April” but it is already April and still the same!

One last question to any tz7 owner… ” how much HD video can u store on a 8Gb Sdhc card? using max settings, and how abaout the battery… does it last long enough? or you have to recharge very often.

1:44 am - Saturday, April 4, 2009

#31 Peter

Hi,
I consider buying the TZ7, but how well does it
perform in low-light conditions (photo)?
(The TZ5 performed not so good according to some
reviews and comments of users; did panasonic improve?).
Thanks! Peter

11:56 am - Saturday, April 4, 2009

#32 Alex

Gi,

I am from Germany. I have got the cam from redcoon.com. Here in Germany you can get it in many shops since this week. I am very happy with video quality (also sound and zoom functionality). 8GB should be ok for 1h video (says the manual) but keep in mind that each “scene” is allowed to be max. 15mins long (could be an european issue due to customs law) - not a problem for me.

The TZ7 is my cam for every day. Best picture quality needs a bigger CCD like the one in my Canon EOS DSLR. Keep in mind this is a compact camera. From my point of view the quality is good (as shown in the tests above). Even 400 and 800 (with some minor issues) is ok.

kr
Alex

11:46 pm - Saturday, April 4, 2009

#33 Heather

i have the tz1 at the mo and the best thing i love about it is there is no time limit while video recording - i use it mainly at concerts/gigs.

Does this version work in the same way, or does it have a max time it will record for, before stopping?

4:40 pm - Thursday, April 9, 2009

#34 Alex

in Germany it is limited to 15mins. For me this is ok. I do not have a problem in making a break and starting again ... (hits is allowed).

9:08 pm - Friday, April 10, 2009

#35 Anna

How does the image quality of the TZ7 compare to the TZ6? In your reviews the pics are different for in-studio comparison, so its hard to compare. Also, the TZ6 has Venus Engine IV as opposed to Venus Engine HD for noise reduction - does this make a difference in still image quality, or only for videos?

12:40 am - Tuesday, April 28, 2009

#36 zxcasd

just to clear up some information in the comments:

TZ3 = 2007 revision
TZ4 + TZ5 = 2008 revision (TZ4 = inferior version of TZ5)
TZ7/SZ3 = 2009 revision
TZ6/SZ2 = 2009 revision, inferior version of TZ7 (no unique sensor, meaning it cannot shoot 16:9 without cropping while TZ7’s sensor is special and can somewhat do it… no stereo sound, no AVCHD, no HD recording… i’d spend the extra $100 for these features)

in America, it is named SZ3…. in Europe, it is named TZ7 (EU has a restriction for cameras: 15 minute time limit and it’ll automatically stop. you can restart manually… the America’s SZ3 version does not have this limit i believe)

low-light isn’t that good on a P&S unfortunately… it’s noise-removal algorithm is somewhat better than the TZ5, but this camera shines outdoors (with bright light)... for indoors and lowlight, i guess you have to boost the ISO/use flash

8:55 pm - Saturday, May 2, 2009

#37 Paul Dempsey

I now have my TZ7, not used it in earnest yet but initial “testing” is great. Just one question so far that I cant find an answer to,,,,,
Why do you only get half the amount of pics when set to iAuto as opposed to normal or scene modes ?  Oh yeah,, and if at my settings I can take 330 pics and 15 mins of video,, does this mean 330 pics AND the video or does the number of pics go down if I use the vid ?
Someone help ??

8:26 am - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

#38 Craig

Why don’t you try using the video and see if your number of available pictures goes down.

Why would you post this question online when you have the camera in your very hands?

9:20 am - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

#39 Paul Dempsey

Craig,

Youve not read my question correctly. The second part I suppose I will try, but the first and main part of the question is why do I only get half the amount of pics available to take when in iAuto as opposed to other modes.
Paul.

10:43 am - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

#40 Craig

I did read the question correctly.

I made no attempt to answer all of your questions.

9:15 am - Thursday, May 7, 2009

#41 Donald Duck

Lets hope theres not too many people like you in the world or were all done for !  T*sser !

9:23 am - Thursday, May 7, 2009

#42 Craig

Not really.

I’m mostly helpful, most of the time.

Honest.

I bought this camera after reading this review and I have to say I’m very pleased with it. The daylight performance is fantastic, and I am very impressed with both the pictures and the video in low light club situations.

It has taken many a picture my old cannon couldn’t even dream of.

9:30 am - Thursday, May 7, 2009

#43 Brad

I see that one of the colour options is blue, yeat I haven’t seen it available in the UK in that colour. Does anyone know if this colour will be available in the UK, or just the silver, black and brown, as I would like to get one in the subtle blue if it does come out over here?

1:26 pm - Thursday, May 7, 2009

#44 Craig

When it comes to SDHC cards, does brand really matter, or is class more important?

I was looking at getting a 16GB Class 4 card by SandDisk, but 7dayshop.com have ran out and I’ve been waiting weeks.

Since this time, I’ve been told to get a Class 6 card as this camera will probably need a fast card.

I ask because Sandisk are more expensive. I’ve always bought SanDisk as back when I first looked into it they were very reliable and other brands had reports of cards locking, not being able to reach capacity and losing photographs.

I haven’t heard anything like this for a few years so could someone recommend both a class of card and a brand.

12:39 pm - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

#45 DennisWong

Hi,

I just bought myself the Lumix TZ7 today!
... after reading all the tons of reviews and comparisons between TZ7 and SX200 IS.
I went to 2 different shops and both gave me their opinions and proved to me the difference and why one is better than the other.

Both shops recommended the TZ7.

Frankly, I was very doubtful of the TZ7, because compared to Canon, Panasonic has never been a maker of cameras. Canon’s one of the few photography giants for decades, so it “should” be better, right?...

That’s why I tested again and again, to convince myself that the Canon is better.

But I was wrong…. HA!

I truly happy with the TZ7.

1. the 3” sceen is the best and clearest I’ve ever seen!
2. The recovery after taking a shot is extremely fast!
3. The ability to quickly focus on a subject is impressive.
4. The ability to zoom during video mode (not that I’m going to use this as a video camera…)
5. Night shots are great too! The noise is kept to a minimum.

... And all these while, I’m using the iA mode. The pictures turned out more than just reasonable.

I played with the SX200IS in both shops. And its not impressive.
The LCD screen is not as clear (lower res.), and the pictures taken are slightly blurry, compared to the TZ7. I suspect the cam is over-compensating the noise by blurring out…

I truly recommend this to anyone that’s needing a point and shoot cam.

:)

7:47 pm - Saturday, May 16, 2009

#46 Cesare

I own the TZ7 (really expensive here in Italy- 410 Euro). Frankly I was satisfied of my old TZ3 but ...we have to react to the bad economical moments !! (stupid excuse to convince my wife !!)
I draw the attention about some points:  when we choose the ratio 16/9 the 25mm is a real 22/23mm , that is fantastic but when we are in iA the 16/9 is possible only at 2 Mp , why ?
Always in iA we have only standard colour , sepia and BW , no Natural no Vivid : why ?
Finally I would like to see , as in the new Samsung W5OO, the remote control and as in the Fuji F100fd the possibility to press 2 seconds the display button and the camera cancel all the sounds, flash and lights (when in museums, churchs or simply to shot in hidden way)
My opinion about the quality of the shots ? For sure better of my TZ3 but not as good as my Fuji F100fd. So why I haven’t bought the new Fuji F200EXR 24/200 ? Because I love the wide angles !

2:27 pm - Tuesday, May 19, 2009

#47 Cesare

I was wrong in typing: the FujiEXR200 is 28/140 (like my old FujF100fd) NOT 24/200 . SORRY

2:11 pm - Thursday, May 21, 2009

#48 Craig

Does nobody have a clue what class card this camera actually needs?

I have a class 2 card so what would a class 6 give me?

3:33 pm - Thursday, May 21, 2009

#49 kelsci

Craig, My brother has the TZ5. He had used a class 6 SD card and found that at least when recording video it would write too slow. He bought a sdhc card that was a class 4 or 2. The lower the number, the faster the write speed which took care of his problem. Therefore I would say you own the right card for your camera.

5:55 pm - Thursday, May 21, 2009

#50 Craig

Everybody on the internet thinks the exact opposite of what you said Kelsci.

Can somebody who knows please explain this to me?

9:19 am - Friday, May 22, 2009

#51 Markus

Sorry kelsci but you are wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital_card#SD_Speed_Class_Ratings

Class 4 should be ok (I get about 1.8 to 2.3 MB/S in AVCHD-Lite Mode), but I prefer Class 6 Cards because there really isn’t that much of a price difference.

10:32 am - Friday, May 22, 2009

#52 kelsci

http://www.kingston.com/flash/pdf_files/MKF_1127_SDHC_Topic_Paper.pdf

I seem to agree with you about my post. So I did some research. This data from Kingston seems to clear up the matter. Hope this helps

10:49 am - Friday, May 22, 2009

#53 105Zoo

Ciao Cesare,
pensi davvero che la qualità delle immagini sia migliore nella Fuji F200EXR 24/200? Se sì, quali sono le differenze principali che hai notato?
Grazie mille

11:52 am - Friday, May 22, 2009

#54 Cesare

SORRY BUT I REPLY IN ITALIAN TO 105Zoo -

105Zoo- Non se se è buona educazione rispondere in italiano , spero che non ci sgridino.
Tanto per cominciare mi sono corretto subito   la Fuji ha un 28/140 non un 24/200, se fosse stato così non avrei esitato a comperare la nuova EXR200. Io non ho scritto che la Fuji200EXR è migliore perchè non ce l’ho, mi riferivo alla mia FujiF100fd. Detto questo la mia è un’impressione. Mi sembra che le foto della Fuji siano più “piene” di colore, più lavorabili in post produzione e mi sembra anche che i colori siano più reali. D’altra parte con la Fuji sono stato 10 giorni in Eritrea e due settimane in Toscana mentre con la Panasonic non avendo ancora fatto
viaggi (che sono l’occasione per me di fare foto) non posso fare un confronto reale ma il 25/300 è certamente più interessante che un 28/140.

2:21 pm - Friday, May 22, 2009

#55 Craig

Okay.. well I have a class 2 card because the website I ordered from ripped me off and sold me something I didn’t order.

What ACTUAL affect will this have on my picture taking and movie making? I’ve already recorded a few movies on this camera and it looks fine. Would I get better quality movies with a class 6 card? I don’t want to spend another load of money on something which will make no difference.

9:50 am - Saturday, May 23, 2009

#56 Jac

Hi everyone. First and foremost I’d like to apologize for sounding ignorant, but I have a question to ask.

I really don’t know much about cameras at all, but am thinking of purchasing a new one as I may be going for a holiday shortly. My current camera is a Canon Ixus 5mp one that I purchased years ago.

I’m wondering what the core differences are between the Panasonic TZ7 and the Canon Ixus 990 IS? These seem to be the two I’m down to choosing between.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

3:36 am - Friday, May 29, 2009

#57 105Zoo

OK. Grazie mille per le informazioni, Cesare.

11:26 pm - Monday, June 1, 2009

#58 Brad

Had my TZ7 for a couple of weeks now and very impressed with it. One thing I would like to know is how to upload the HD video that I have shot to YouTube? I thought YouTube would automatically recognize it and offer the HD playback option but doesn’t seem to be the case. I uploaded using the YouTube link with the software that came with the camera.

8:09 am - Tuesday, June 2, 2009

#59 Dave

How pocketable is the TZ7?

12:34 am - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#60 Declan

It’s very pocketable. Say 25% more bulky than a pack of smokes. Has a nice weight to it but not so heavy to be bothersome.

I have mine now for two days (Eur315 incl delivery) and I love it. The most impressive photos for me so far are the Zoom ones.

I tried 6MP shots at 57x zoom and while it’s grainy at that distance on the LCD - one the photo is taken it’s astonishing how clear it then becomes.

I also took a photo out the window last night into a pitch dark street of my neighbours trash cans and I nearly fainted at the resulting photo. It was as if I was outside with a flash.

I then pointed it up at an empty apartment balcony on max optical zoom and the resulting photo here was also as if I had a masssive flash lighting the blacked out balcony.

Both photos were shot with the ‘high sensitvity’ option.

Few people complaining that you can only have 16:9 at 2MP in iA—while that is the case youstill have the option of MS1 mode and MS2 mode which can be any settings you like (within reason. iA mode is just a preset like ROCK, JAZZ or POP on a Stereo but you can always have you own settings.

So, unless I’m missing something you can have MS1 with all the same settings as iA mode and then just have 9MP with your 16:9. Apologies if I have this wrong but that’s how it appears to me.

I haven’t used the video as of yet but will post back when I do.

To sum up I just have to say how impressed I am with the quality of Optical zoom & Digital zoom. Up to 85x Zoom in some modes. Took some zoom AF shots of birds flying at speed and the came out crisp.

The camera also remembers zoom settings if you wish and will auto-zoom when switched on.

Also, the photos taken in very low light with ‘High Sensitivity’ scene mode settings were excellent.

My only gripe so far is that the dial for choosing iA, scene modes, clipboard, MS1 & 2 etc is not lockable. That was a major error. It would have been so easy to make this a pull-up and twist dial / release & lock one. That would have made popping it in and out of your pocket something you wouln’t have to think about but sadly not the case.

10:14 am - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#61 Dave

Cheers Declan. Is the mode dial a major annoyance?

11:21 am - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#62 Cesare

Great Declan ! thank you for your analysis , You are right you can change the ratio from 4/3 to 16/9 also in Scenes mode and this changement do not change also when the camera is off.

11:37 am - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#63 olga

Hmm..hi,all.. Will anyone please help to suggest which is better from cybershot w290 and canon A2100, canon EOS 300D and canon SX110?
and then which is better, powershot Sx200 IS and cybershot H50?
i am so sorry.. I plan to buy a new camera that at least can last long and can give a better quality with a short budget. hehehe..
Thank you

1:13 pm - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#64 Malex

Hi all,
I found this american review of the TZ7 (ZS3 in USA) the best and seems to answer most questions on this comments page….
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_zs3-review/
with comparisons to earlier DMC-TZs and other brands of camera.

9:10 am - Thursday, June 4, 2009

#65 Declan

Hi again,

Have used the video quite a bit now. Brought it to a Beyonce concert here in Dublin and it was quite amazing how the footage turned out.

I didn’t have great seats but was still able to zoom in and fill the screen with her face from 200 feet back.

I still haven’t quite got the hang of which ‘metering mode’ to use at concerts as the spotlight can really throw the camera off if using a large area to meter.

I tried spot metering but then if Beyonce went to the crowd and I had her in the bottom of the shot with the crowd in the rest - the metering was thrown as it will meter for part of the crowd and then she looked like just a bright light.

The sound is very good on it. Not amazing bit the quality is quite high.

The speaker on the TZ7 is useless. Waste of space - they should have put a 3.5 jack on it. Maybe there is some gadget that can turn the TV out to a headphone connection, I hope so.

As far as choppy video - as far as I can see the AVCHD lite seems to be very very smooth on playback on my laptop. The HD Motion Jpeg is also smooth on playback so I’m assuming that all the YouTube clips are just a conversion issue or something.

I haven’t tried to upload yet as no broadband conncetion for the next week or so but I’ll post a YouTube link when I uplaod a vid or two.

The wind function is not good on my camera at least. I shot a few vids on a pier with the wind blowing and on both vids the wind was very evident - like someone blowing in your ear.

With the windcut feature it just sounds a little different that’s all. Maybe there is something you can place on top of the mic instead? I’m going to Springsteen outdoor concer on July 11th here in Ireland and it will be windy at that so if someone suggests an altenative for the wind I’ll try it :)

Windows Media Player played my AVCHD files no problem by the way. Used Quicktime for the HD.

The battery sucks! I got a half hour of recording at Beyonce on a full charge. I put the battery consmption down to the zooming and focusing etc.

I read also that third party batteries are not an option as this batteries have a micro-chip in them that the camera needs to remember settings and stuff? Anyway, you’ll need a few batteries if you get it.

Got talking to a professional photographer at the concert and he had the full kitt. He was astonished at the wide angle photos I took and when I showed him the zoom his eyes nearly came out of his head :)

The 3MP shots at 21.4 Optical are impressive but then when you go to 85x Digital Zoom it’s crazy. Pro photographers are used to carrying massive zooms around for that kind of range.

Now I know 3MP isn’t much good but with a camera this good the quality of that 3MP is 1000 times better than any 3MP camera on a camera-phone so the shot is still great.

I took a 3MP shot of a seagull on top of a flagpole about 200 feet from me at 85x zoom at then looked at it on my laptop and it was very good, lots of detail and quite sharp. The best I’ve seen from any digital shot let alone a tiny pocket sized camera.

Makes you wonder where we’ll be in ten years from now if they can make a camera this small have these amount of features.

The camera is also very very sturdy. I had an IXUS 100 IS which was excellent but I dropped it and the lense bent and the zoom wouldn’t work - obviousily it wasn’t warrantied for such an event,

With this camera you get the impression that it would take a few knocks and not be effected by it. It’s quite a solid little camera and I love it.

Declan

10:51 am - Sunday, June 7, 2009

#66 Declan

Just to add. I tend to keep the camera on 7MP as you really can’t tell any difference between that and 10MP.

            (ALL AT 4:3)
@ 10MP you have: 12x Optical & 48x Digital Zoom

@ 7MP you have: 14.3x Optical & 57.2x Digital Zoom

@ 5MP you have 17.1x Optical & 68.4x Digital Zoom

@ 3MP you have 21.4x Optical & 85.5x Digital Zoom


            (ALL AT 16:9)
@ 9MP you have 12x Optical & 48x Digital Zoom

@ 6MP you have: 14.3x Optical & 57.2x Digital Zoom

@ 4.5MP you have: 17.1x Optical & 68.4x Digital Zoom

@ 2.5MP you have 21.4x Optical & 85.5x Digital Zoom

Declan

11:10 am - Sunday, June 7, 2009

#67 Robert

Hello everyone,

I have read many positive comments about the TZ7/ZS3 and am now considering to buy one.

Before going ahead, could you please assist me and answer the following:

1/ Dial mode too loose: most reviews mention this as a ‘minus’.  Is this a real problem / annoyance ?

2/ Dial mode too loose: can one expect Lumix to release a ‘fixed’ TZ7 with a better dial mode in the coming months ?

3/ SDHC card: what will be the difference (except for the price) using a Class 4 or 6 on the TZ7/ZS3 ?

Thank you,
Robert

6:26 pm - Sunday, June 7, 2009

#68 Declan

The dial mode is not loose just easily turned. If you put it in your pocket then 5 times out of ten it will not stay in position.

9:42 pm - Sunday, June 7, 2009

#69 TZ7 'Life Support Beeping' Link

Hi again,

Been a busy day online for me. After all the good things I posted I was just messing around and for the first time I recorded some videos in a quiet room and when I played it back there was a constant regular beeping sound.

It was every second on HD and every three seconds with SVCHD. So I googled it a low and behold it’s a known issue!

Turns out some memory cards are not compatiable in what seems to be a issue with the voltage or something? I’m baffled. The link above gives more details and I’ve posted a response myself.

Even YouTube has a video uploaded that shows the beeping—It’s called “TZ7 Beeping In Video” :)

So looks like I’ll be buying a new memory card.

9:51 pm - Sunday, June 7, 2009

#70 You Tube Video Link

Also, just to add. SVCHD is limited to 15 Mins recording each time and HD recording is limited to 8 Minutes 20 Seconds each time - no idea why though.

Declan

9:55 pm - Sunday, June 7, 2009

#71 Bud

I appreciate all of your comments as I am considering getting a ZS3, currently in Costco @ $279 which includes a 2Gb card, case, etc, My question…is there any indicator of low battery? This is a major frustration for me on the Cannon I’ve been using for 3-4 years, hate it when it dies with no warning. Anyone?

4:37 am - Monday, June 8, 2009

#72 Declan

Yeah, it has a 3 Bar battery indicator ..

4:11 pm - Monday, June 8, 2009

#73 JB

Unfortunately all the links to the vendors the site sponsors gives you the TZ4 camera not the TZ7 at the price displayed.  I have settle for the TZ5 which has all the features i need, i am not interested in video recording and is selling for 208 at best buy including shipping.  Hopefully the camera will take as good pictures as most reviews states while i wait for Sony to come out with the rumored alpha 800.

6:14 pm - Tuesday, June 9, 2009

#74 brian santilli

The battery life is hopeless - not even 20 still shots and the battery needs recharging. My previous camera TZ5 - fantastic battery life. What’s going ON?

12:52 pm - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

#75 Declan Bohan

20 stills? Something must be wrong with your camera or battery. Shot 240 shots yesterday and 25 mins of AVSHD and then the battery died.

5:59 pm - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

#76 Dave

I’ve only just got the TZ7 yesterday and it’s looking good. One question though. My 2gb sd memory card is only holding 350 still shots according to the Lcd. On my old IXUS 700 I got over a thousand on that card. Excuse my ignorance but shouldn’t I get more pictures on there?

12:25 am - Thursday, June 11, 2009

#77 Declan

The IXUS 700 would have a smaller file size due to smaller sensor I believe.

Anyway, I have a 16GB SDHC card and I can get 2430 10MP, 3217 7MP photos or 62,000 0.3MP photos :)

The avegage size of my 10MP pic shout outdoors with lots of color and detail is 5.4mb for me so I would say on your 2GB card you should be getting around 350 pics or so :)

1:09 am - Thursday, June 11, 2009

#78 Dave

Cheers Declan:-)

12:31 am - Friday, June 12, 2009

#79 malex

Hi, has anyone tried a non-Panasonic battery yet?
I notice that Inov8 state the following-

‘INOV8 are the first UK battery manufacturer to produce the DMW-BCG10E ID Secured Battery for Panasonic TZ7 and TZ6 which contains a special ID secure chip to make it fully compatible with the Panasonic TZ7 and TZ6.’

At about £25 the inov8 is a lot cheaper for a spare than a Panasonic battery that cost between £49 and £60.

8:28 am - Saturday, June 13, 2009

#80 Andy

I’m thinking of 3 cameras - T27, F200d and Samsung SL830 (it100 in Europe) - I’m travelling to Malta this summer and will be doing lots of either low light shots (which F200d is good for :P) then also something in crisp sun, which I heard F200d ain’t that good for :P

So which one of those three would you recommend? (I’ve never seen good and reliable review of IT100, as it’s fairly new, and I don’t trust marketing slogans)

12:49 pm - Sunday, June 14, 2009

#81 Philscbx

DMC-ZS3
I just ordered 2 of these, one black & one red to hand out at upcoming wedding for friend. 2 dedicated video cameras for others to use, and I’ll do backup with 1DsMk2 w/ 70-200 f2.8 for closeup views. Then the hard part/ DVD slide/video of event.

The sample test shots I took at photo shop were impressive enough with 1/2 the store lights shut down for closing.

Biggest problem/Backordered to July 2009
Other reviews/ http://www.dpreview.com/news/0901/09012706panasonictz7.asp

That was the perfect test for reality image.

5:50 pm - Sunday, June 14, 2009

#82 glanglois

My battery life has been excellent (given its CIPA rating) at, I think, the factory power defaults. 

There are other power settings that may help.

Certainly you’ll use a lot of power keeping the LCD on all the time and zooming in and out.  I expect that a half hour of video over an extended period of using the LCD may well deplete a battery.  Haven’t tried that.  I’ll wait a bit on third-party batteries.  I have my backup battery at USD $42 shipped/taxed (or not).  Good enough for now.

By the way - this camera may drastically reduce my DSLR shooting.  It’s not comparable to an SLR but it’s a brilliant camera given its size and price. Couldn’t be happier, unless they add manual shutter speed control!

10:29 pm - Sunday, June 14, 2009

#83 Hedgehog

Panasonic DMC TZ7 or Canon Powershot IS200 ?

8:37 am - Friday, June 19, 2009

#84 Declan

There’s no contest. The TZ7 is in a diffeerent class. This is the first point & shoot compact digital that slips into your pocket that a professional photographer would have in their arsenal.

And if they did, they would more than likely use it 1000 times more than they thought they would.

12:35 pm - Friday, June 19, 2009

#85 glanglois

No contest - agreed.  Looked at both.  Handled both. 

Bought the TZ7 and found that the DLSR stays in the bag more than I expected.

3:02 pm - Friday, June 19, 2009

#86 malex

Update on 3rd party batteries.
A new firmware download has been released to prevent using non Panasonic batteries and reduce AF noise when recording AVCHD video…

Panasonic issues ‘battery safety’ firmware
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 09:05 GMT

Panasonic has released firmware updates for its latest digital cameras including the GH1, G1, ZS3 and TS1. The new firmware can identify genuine Panasonic batteries and prevents the use of any third party battery packs. The company says it has taken this move to ensure safety of its users against possible injuries because of overcharging, internal heating or short circuit in third-party batteries.

10:38 am - Saturday, June 20, 2009

#87 Roderik

Dear,

I am currently pondering as to whether I ought to purchase the Lumix DMC-TZ7 or the Lumix FZ28. Seeing as how intend to use these camera’s mainly whilst sight-seeing, both in-country and abroad, I wonder whether there are any clear-cut advantages or disadvantages as to the purchase of either of these camera’s. I am looking for a camera as versatile as possible, since I just started doing photography as a dedicated hobby.

Regards,

Roderik

10:37 pm - Sunday, June 21, 2009

#88 Reil Cruz

I purchased a Lumix ZS3 in Korea. It is generally a fine camera but I want to suggest that Panasonic make the mode dial stiffer so that it doesn’t turn accidentally when the user fiddles with the zoom lever. Also, the pair of mics on top are too close together and due to its location,I worry that a slight rain may damage the camera. Perhaps the mics may be put somewhere on the front side. Finally, the camera emits some sound during operation even when the beep and shutter sound have been disabled.

1:59 am - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#89 Richard Fox

I’m looking to get a camera that I will predominantly use at concerts. Up to now I’ve just been using my camera phone (Nokia N95 8GB) and in fairness to it, it is pretty good in open air concerts where the light is good. The sound is excellent. However, it suffers big time in indoor venues. It is a hit and miss affair. You can get great photos if close up but if you are a bit of a distance back then forget it. Plus when taking video and playing it back, the sound is terrible. You get a whistling noise which I can’t get rid off.
Thus when I saw the Panasonic TZ7, it seemed like the best all round camera for concerts. I did see a YouTube clip from cameralabs profiling the camera but the sound didn’t seem great in the sample they gave. A little tinny in fact. Also, on another
YouTube clip the video shots provided looked a bit grainy. So I’m having doubts whether this is the camera for me or not.
Declan, I saw your post about when you went to Beyonce in Dublin. Do you have sample images and videos to look at?
Thanks
Declan, I saw your post when

3:15 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#90 Declan

Hi,

Yeah, I went to the Beyonce gig & Def Leppard and Britney too :) Goind to Springsteen on July 11th.

The footage was amazing.

Still not sure how the camera settings effect Video Recording—but I’m sure they do. I set it too High Sensitivity and recorded and it seemed perfect.

You can have constant auto focus but it can take a while sometime to get going. I find I need to zoom on something else and then go back while recordind. Maybe my settings are off.

I’d like to see more users post od video’ing experiences.

I haven’t uploaded anything yet as I have no broadband in my apartment yet and I’m not sure how to convert from AVCHD to MPEG as of yet.

I can assure you that the audio is super and you will not find a pocket digital camera that can record video in HD better.

You can of course get a camcorder but I can tell you that as I was recording people all around me with little Canon Camcorders where being told to put them away :) These people complained and said they were shooting stills - which they might have been - but you stick out like a sore thumb with a little black camcorder.

If you do get one I’d stick with Silver as although the Black one is lovely it looks more the a camcorder. I think we just associate camcorders as being black and still cameras as being silver.

During the Britney concert one eagle eyed chick gasped behind me as she could see I had full close up of Britney’s breasts on my LCD and me about three hundred feet back :)

She said NO VIDEO’ING really loud in my ear and I snapped back ‘It’s a still Camera’ and she said ‘I seen the flashing red light’—I said—‘that’s the auto-focus light and demonstrated it in still mode—she just looked confused and said ‘okay sorry’ :)

3:46 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#91 Richard Fox

Def Leppard was a good gig. Right up at the front. Was at Slane Castle at the weekend for Oasis. Got good sound but terrible video so that’s why I need a good camera that will do both. Well that was my week spent back home before heading back to the UK :o).
So you reckon that the sound is as good as the sound on the mobile phone? If it is then excellent.
Pretty sucks though that the battery only lasts about half an hour when recording. I get about an hour with the phone before changing it.

4:51 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#92 Pink Video Using TZ7

Click on the above link to see a Pink Vid shot using TZ& / ZS3 ..

4:56 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#93 ** Pink Video Link **

Forgot the link that time :)

4:58 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#94 Richard Fox

Will definitely check the link out. Can’t see it on my ipod touch

5:34 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#95 glanglois

For Roderick:  These cameras are really not much alike.  They are aimed at two entirely different users.

The TZ7 is small, pocketable, works extremely well in auto mode, has a wider view at the wide end (25mm vs.28mm - important for landscapes), larger (and absolutely stunning) LCD with twice the pixels. etc.  Does well in low light. 

And it’s essentially a fully automatic point and shoot.  Not much in the way of user control.  It does the thinking for you.  And does it quite well.  Some people like that.

But if you are serious about photography as a hobby, the FZ28 gives you manual control over the things you need to learn about: shutter speed, aperture (including depth of field), ISO, flash mode, flash EV adjustment, etc.  Some choices on the four-way controller can be customized by the user to match the way you shoot.

The electronic viewfinder may or may not be of use to you.  It tends to make me a bit dizzy but there are times when it’s much more helpful than using the LCD.

The FZ28 also allows you to save images in raw format. This gives you much more control when making large and small changes to the images once loaded on your computer.  There are some who’d choose this camera based strictly on the raw cability.

Sum:  TZ7 is a great camera for those who want the camera to make most of the decisions.  The FZ28 is a far better tool to help you learn the basics of photography.

Now ...  if they’d add manual controls to the TZ7 .......

7:49 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#96 tony

I need your help in deciding whether it’s the TZ7 or Fuji’s F200 EXR that makes the most sense as a great all-rounder. Both seem to have received rave reviews from the ‘professional’ reviewers which has left me struggling to make my mind up. I’ve been using a Fuji F810 for a number of years purchased at the time because it seemed then that most pundits rated it as an absolute cracker. It’s now developed a couple of faults that I have been warned could be costly to put right…so time for a change. I’m not hugely concerned with the video but image quality across a wide-ranging conditions is what really matters. Panasonic’s zoom has appeal but Fuji’s latest sensor is claimed to represent a major breakthrough in achieving exceptional results in all sorts of challenging situations. Straightforward, non-too-technical responses would be appreciated.

Thanks

1:25 am - Thursday, June 25, 2009

#97 Richard Fox

Saw the Pink video. The video quality looked good but the sound sounded a bit choppy at times. Could just be the PC I was using.
Looked at a Nickelback clip on YouTube. Looked pretty good in both terms of video and sound and also very good in the low light. Most impressed.
Here is the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmqG7IbQit8

6:23 pm - Thursday, June 25, 2009

#98 glanglois

I haven’t shot with the Fuji but I checked it out in the shop and on line.

The zoom was the killer for me.  I’ve used both ends of the Panasonic’s 25mm-300mm more than I expected.

Other reviewers, even positive ones, suggest that the Fuji’s auto mode sometimes chooses unreasonable ISOs, leading to noisy photos.  Good for 4 X 6 snapshots but not much more. 

With careful use, and set to only 6 MP, the Fuji apparently can deliver superb photos. 

For me, those were simply too many limitations.

9:20 pm - Thursday, June 25, 2009

#99 Tony

Glanglois, thanks for your input…so for you it’s the TZ7.But do you have any serious disappointments with the Panasonic? And does anybody elese out there have a view on the Fuji 200 Exr versus the FZ7.

Happy Snapping

Tony

1:52 am - Friday, June 26, 2009

#100 glanglois

Tony, I’ve not had any disappointments at all with the ZS3/TZ7.  I do wish I could fiddle a bit with full manual but I have a bag full of DSLR gear to go back to when I wish.

The intelligent auto mode has been very good but I’ve a bit better luck with “regular” auto for some reason.  The stabilization is top notch, even at 300mm and focus is crisp with the points well-marked.  The dedicated video button is very tempting and I have to admit I’m doing more of that than I planned.  The video quality on the LCD looks very good but I’ve not tried it on the TV yet.  I’m not sold on the battery life.  That’s really the only reservation I have but I always pack a backup battery anyway. 

The shop assistant was rather pumped about the sensor but, oddly enough, didn’t seem familiar with the actual image quality.  I was worried that the technology story may be better than the photos.  That sometimes happens.

Hope this helps!

3:55 am - Friday, June 26, 2009

Entry Tags

hd video, 3 inch LCD, compact, 720p, 12 megapixel, beginner, 12x zoom