Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 Review

March 26, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 (also known as the DMC-ZS3 in the USA) is a brand new ultra-compact super-zoom camera, offering several major improvements on its predecessor, the popular TZ5 model. There's now a 12x, 25-300mm optical zoom lens, both wider and longer than the TZ5's, the megapixel count has increased from 9 to 10, the Venus IV Engine processing engine promises enhanced responsiveness, and the 720p HD video mode is recorded in the new AVCHD Lite format which almost doubles the recording time. Movies have been further enhanced by the addition of a dedicated Record button, stereo microphone, wind cut function to block out background noise, and audio sampling at 48kHz. AF tracking and Face Recognition have been added to the Panasonic TZ7's Intelligent Auto mode, which is also available for the first time during movie recording. The TZ7 retains the same optical image stabilisation system and 3 inch LCD screen with 460K pixels. Priced at £349 / $399 and available in silver, black, brown, blue and red, is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 the best travel camera that money can buy? Carry on reading to find out...

Ease of Use

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 is very similar to the previous DMC-TZ5 model in terms of its design. At first glance the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 strikes you as being a little large, elongated and bulky, feeling similar in size to Canon's "A" series cameras. It's actually a little lighter than the TZ5 model, and remarkably the depth has has been decreased by a few millimeters too. You have to remind yourself that Panasonic have somehow fitted in a new 12x zoom lens, equivalent to a focal range 25-300mm on a 35mm camera, which provides both a wider angle of view and longer telephoto setting than the TZ5. Even when set to 300mm, the lens doesn't extend too far from the front of the TZ7, looking to all intents and purposes like a "normal" camera. This helps to make the DMC-TZ7 a great candid camera, as people assume that you're using just a standard point and shoot.

The 25mm focal length provides an entirely new wide angle of view that can only increase your creativity. Take it from me, you won't want to go back to a "standard" 35mm zoom after using the 25mm lens on the DMC-TZ7, or to the TZ5's 28mm lens - 3mm makes a surprising amount of difference in the world of wide-angle photography. The 12x zoom lens obviously makes this one of the most versatile compacts in terms of focal range, especially as it is coupled with Panasonic's excellent Mega O.I.S system, which helps to ensure that the majority of photos taken in good light are sharp. The TZ7's lens isn't particularly fast at the wide-angle setting with a maximum apertures of f/3.3, but f/4.9 at the 300mm telephoto setting is respectable enough.

The DMC-TZ7 is a well-built camera with a high quality metal body. The design is dominated by the large 12x lens on the front and the large 3 inch LCD screen on the rear. There is no optical viewfinder, which follows a recent trend in digital cameras, and this does make the camera a little harder to keep steady at the telephoto end of the zoom than holding it up to your eye. The chunky rubberized hand-grip on the TZ5 has unfortunately been replaced by a shiny, smooth one on the TZ7, something of a backwards step in my opinion. The TZ7 actually has a 12 megapixel sensor, but only uses 10 megapixels so that it can offer three different aspect ratios - 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 - without having to change the angle of view. The Multi Aspect mode takes an image in all three aspect ratios simultaneously and lets you choose the best one.

The DMC-TZ7 is well-made overall, although there are a couple of external controls that don't instill much confidence. The cover for the battery compartment and SD card slot feels a little insubstantial and is locked using a cheap plastic switch. We can live with that, but not with the intensely annoying Shooting Mode dial. Now positioned on the far right of the top of the camera, this dial has an unbelievably loose action, causing it to move out of position virtually every time that you store the TZ7 in a pocket or bag. Trust me, you'll quickly become sick and tired of seeing the message "Mode Dial is not in the proper position" displayed on the LCD screen. On a brighter note, the tripod socket is now made of metal and has been moved to the middle of the bottom of the camera, a big improvement on the TZ5.

As this is purely a point and shoot camera with no manual controls, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 is not overly complex in terms of the number of external controls that it has. The majority of the 13 controls are clearly labeled and common to most cameras, with the Q.Menu button and iA mode being specific to Panasonic and requiring a quick read of the user guide. As mentioned above, there's a traditional dial on the top of the camera that lets you select the various shooting and scene modes. This dial is a typical feature of SLR cameras, and enables you to quickly change between the various modes (too quickly most of the time!). Interestingly there are two Scene modes available, both of which offer exactly the same options, but which can be set independently of each other, allowing a little customization of the camera setup.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7
Front Rear

Also found on the top of the camera are the Off/On switch, responsive zoom lever, and the shutter button. The TZ7 now offers stereo sound, with the left and right mics found to the left of the On/Off switch. When used in combination with the new Wind Cut menu option, this makes a real difference to the sound quality in movies - check out the sample movie on the Sample Images page. The DMC-TZ5's E.Zoom button, which allowed you to zoom to the full telephoto focal length at a much faster speed than normal, has unfortunately bitten the dust to make way for the repositioned mode dial. Indeed, this feature has been completely removed.

The Extra Optical Zoom function is still available though. This basically works by digitally increasing the zoom from 12x up to a maximum of 21.4x by only using the central part of the image. To achieve that increase, though, a smaller image size has to be selected by the user. Choosing the 3 megapixel mode means that you can zoom up to 21.4x, whilst 5 megapixel provides a 17.1x zoom, and 7 megapixel is 14.3x (all in the 4:3 aspect ratio) . Fairly useful if you don't mind the decrease in resolution, but you do have to set the camera to the right picture size before the extra zoom function works. It would have been a much better system if the camera intelligently increased the zoom and then decreased the size of the image. When activated, EZ is displayed next to the horizontal zooming scale.

The dedicated Movie button on the rear of the camera is a brand new addition, and a very useful one at that. As you'd expect, it allows you to start recording a movie with a single push of a button, and then stop recording by pressing the same button - a lot more intuitive than having to select the movie mode then press the shutter button, as on most compacts. The Camera / Play button on the rear of the camera enables you to quickly and easily switch from shooting to playback without also changing the shooting mode. Also on the rear of the camera is the Q.Menu button which provides quick access to most of the principal controls, including ISO speed, image size, image quality and white balance (there are 9 settings in total). You can still access all of these options from the main menu system too. Optical image stabilisation is only accessible through the DMC-TZ7's menu system. This isn't really a problem in practice, as I left it turned on for 99% of the time without negatively affecting the battery life.

The very large 3 inch LCD screen is the only way of framing your shots, so if you have to have an optical viewfinder, look elsewhere now, but I found that the 460K pixel, high-resolution screen coped admirably with the majority of lighting conditions, even being nice to use in low-light. There's a clever function called High Angle, accessible from the Quick Menu, which essentially brightens the LCD screen when the camera is held over your head so that it is perfectly viewable, which is great for shooting over the heads of a crowd. The Intelligent LCD function automatically detects the current lighting conditions and boosts the LCD backlighting by up to 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, helping to keep the screen visible.

The DMC-TZ7 once again features an enhanced version of Intelligent Auto Mode, with AF tracking and Face Recognition added to the mix. Panasonic have tried to make things as easy as possible for the complete beginner by providing this shooting mode, which allows you to point and shoot the camera without having to worry about choosing the right mode or settings. Intelligent Auto Mode automatically determines a number of key criteria when taking a picture, including selecting the most appropriate scene mode (from 5 commonly used presets) and ISO speed, and turning face detection (up to 15 faces), image stabilization and quick auto-focus on. Intelligent Exposure increases the exposure only in the under-exposed areas of the image, and Digital Red-eye automatically detects and removes red-eye. Intelligent Exposure can also be turned on in the Normal Picture mode (but strangely not Digital Red-eye).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7
Front Front

AF tracking continually tracks a moving subject and keeps it in focus, without you having to hold the shutter button halfway down as on most other cameras. Face Recognition is a fun and genuinely useful new feature, which "remembers" up to 6 registered faces and then always prioritizes the focus and exposure for that person in future pictures. Very useful for group shots where you want your loved ones to be the centre of attention. You can specify the age of the registered subject, stamp the age of the subject onto your photos, change the focus icon for a particular person, and playback only the photos that contain a certain face. The camera will even automatically switch to Baby mode if someone registered as less than 3 years old appears in the frame!

In practice the Intelligent Auto Mode system works very well, with the camera seamlessly choosing the most appropriate combination of settings for the current situation. The 5 available scene modes are Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Night Portrait and Night Scenery, so obviously not all situations are covered by Intelligent Auto Mode, but it does work for the majority of the time. It makes it possible for the less experienced photographer to easily take well-exposed, sharp pictures of people, scenery and close-ups by simply pointing and shooting the camera. Panasonic haven't stopped there - Intelligent Auto Mode is now available for movies as well as still images. It doesn't offer the full range of settings - just the Optical Image Stabilizer, Face Detection, Intelligent Exposure and Intelligent Scene Selector - but it's a welcome addition none-the-less that helps to make movie-making easier for both beginners and the more experienced. 16 different scene modes can also be selected.

The HD video capability of the DMC-TZ7 is one of the major features of this camera, and it's now further enhanced by support for the new AVCHD Lite format and some features more usually found on dedicated camcorders. The TZ7 can record 720p video at 1280x720 pixels at 30 or 15 fps in Motion JPG format, or 25fps in AVCHD Lite. Both are a big improvement on the TZ5's Quicktime .MOV format, which resulted in some massive file sizes that quickly filled up your memory cards. AVCHD Lite features almost double the recording time in HD quality compared with Motion JPEG, but software support is currently a bit thin on the ground. Panasonic describe it as the best mode for playing back on a HD TV direct from the camera, and Motion JPEG best for email and playing on a computer.

The dedicated movie button makes it much easier to record a movie, and the various movie options are now sensibly stored in a new, easy to understand Motion Picture menu. Stereo sound is recorded during capture, a big improvement on the rather muffled noises recorded by the TZ5, helped by the wind cut function and audio sampling at 48kHz. You can also use the zoom lens during recording and really make the most of that 25-300mm focal range. On the negative side, you'll find that the lens zooms more slowly than when shooting a still image, and if you choose continuous auto-focus, areas of the video will be blurred before becoming sharp again as the camera tries to refocus, although this has been improved when compared to the TZ5. The HDMI port allows you to connect the TZ7 to a high-def TV set, but only if you purchase the optional HDMI mini-cable.

As with all current Panasonic models, this camera has an anti-shake system, dubbed Mega O.I.S. Turn it on and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 automatically compensates for camera shake, which is a slight blurring of the image that typically occurs at slow shutter speeds when the camera is hand held. There are two different modes, Mode 1 is on all the time including image composition, and Mode 2 is only on when you press the shutter button. An Auto setting is also available if you're not sure which one to use. In practice I found that it does make a noticeable difference, as shown in the examples on the Image Quality page. You don't notice that the camera is actually doing anything different when anti-shake is turned on, just that you can use slower shutter speeds than normal and still take sharp photos. Thankfully leaving the anti-shake system on didn't negatively affect the battery-life, with the camera managing nearly 300 shots using the supplied rechargeable Li-ion battery.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Panasonic also provide a High Sensitivity Mode to help combat the effects of camera shake. When this scene mode is selected, the camera automatically raises the ISO speed up to a maximum of 6400 and therefore allows for a faster shutter speed. This mode allows you to handhold the camera without using the flash and get more natural results, whilst at the same time freezing subject movement more successfully. There are some obvious drawbacks with this special scene mode, principally a significant increase in noise and blurring - Panasonic state that "Pictures may appear slightly grainy due to high sensitivity". You also need to select the scene mode and therefore have some idea about when it is applicable to your subject.

The Intelligent ISO mode is the third way in which the DMC-TZ7 attempts to avoid subject blur in low-light conditions. The camera automatically sets the appropriate shutter speed AND ISO speed for the subject that you are taking pictures of. So if you're taking shots of a child indoors, the DMC-TZ7 automatically raises the ISO and in turn the shutter speed to avoid blurring the child's movement. If the subject is still, then the camera chooses a lower sensitivity and slower shutter speed. It's a clever idea that works well in practice, with the camera generally choosing an appropriate combination of shutter and ISO speed. You can also limit the maximum ISO speed that the camera can choose, which I'd strongly advise, as ISO 1600 produces very noisy images - ISO 800 is a better maximum setting.

The main menu system on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 is straight-forward to use and is accessed by pressing the Menu/Set button in the middle of the navigation pad. There are three menu options, Record, Motion Picture and Setup. Most of the camera's main options, such as white balance, image quality, auto-focus mode and ISO speed, are accessed here, so the Record menu has 19 options spread over 4 screens, the Motion Picture menu 9 options over 2 screens, and the Setup menu has 25 options spread over 5 screens. As mentioned previously, the addition of the Quick Menu button on the rear of the camera speeds up access to some of the more commonly used options. Due to the large LCD screen and restricting the number of on-screen choices to five, the various options and icons are very clear and legible. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea, especially as a few of the buttons are specific to Panasonic cameras. Thankfully Panasonic have chosen to supply it in printed format, rather than as a PDF on a CD, so you can also carry it with you for easy reference.

The start-up time from turning the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 on to being ready to take a photo is quick at around 2 seconds. Zooming from the widest focal length to the longest is very slow at around 4 seconds, but focusing is quick in good light and the camera achieves focus most of the time indoors or in low-light situations, helped by the focus-assist lamp. Note that the camera does struggle to lock onto the subject at the tele-photo end of the lens in low-light situations. The camera is generally very quick to find focus if you use the 1-point high-speed AF option. It takes about 1 second to store an image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card - there is no LCD blackout between each image. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 has a disappointingly slower Burst mode than the DMC-TZ5, which enables you to take 2.3 frames per second at the highest JPEG image quality, up to a maximum of 5 images in Standard mode and just 3 images in Fine mode. There is also a Free Burst mode, which allows you keep shooting until the memory card is full, but only at around 1.8fps.

Once you have captured a photo, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 has a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 30 onscreen at the same time and in a special Calendar view), zoom in and out up to 16x magnification, view slideshows, delete, protect, trim, resize, copy and rotate an image. You can also select favourite images, sort images into categories, change an image's aspect ratio, add a text stamp, add a soundclip and set the print order. Face Recognition playbacks only the photos that contain a certain face. Dual Play, which allowed you to compare two images onscreen at the same time, has sadly been removed. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed, and there is a small histogram available during both shooting and playback. When taking a photo, pressing the Display button toggles between the detailed information, the detailed information plus gridlines to aid composition, and no information at all.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 carries on where the TZ5 left off - this is an equally simple-to-use, responsive mid-sized point-and-shoot camera with the main benefits of a wider, longer zoom and improved movie mode.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 produced images of very good quality during the review period. The 1/2.33 inch, 10.1 megapixel sensor used in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 produces noise-free images at ISO 100 and 200, with ISO 400 also looking good, although there's slight loss of saturation. ISO 800 shows some quite obvious noise and softening of fine detail, and ISO 16000 is even noisier, although still OK for small prints and web images. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 dealt extremely well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light. Anti-shake is a feature that sets this camera apart from its competitors and one that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is good, allowing you to focus as close as 3 cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the DMC-TZ7 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg


Here are two 100% Crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

10M Fine (5.37Mb) (100% Crop) 10M Normal (2.63Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)



The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (300mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (300mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


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 shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Anti Shake

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/6th / 25mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
1/4th / 300mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 camera, which were all taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 22 second movie is 43Mb in size.

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Rear of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Rear of the Camera / Quick Menu


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Rear of the Camera / Video Mode

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Top of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Bottom of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Side of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Side of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Memory Card Slot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Battery Compartment



The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 is easy to recommend to anyone looking for a compact, pocketable point-and-shoot camera that takes great photos with the added bonus of HD video. Although the DMC-TZ7 no longer has the travel zoom market to itself, with the likes of Canon, Olympus and Samsung all recently launching rival models, it's still the leader of the pack, mainly thanks to the the new 12x zoom lens and improved video recording. The lens in particular is a real triumph, providing both an ultra-wide 25mm angle of view and a 300mm telephoto setting that really will cover virtually every photographic situation that you'll encounter. The icing on the cake is the apparent lack of distortion at ether end of the range, no mean feat for such a small folded optic. We suspect that Panasonic are performing some behind-the-scenes processing to help out in this department, but who cares when the images looks this good? The inevitable increase from a 9 to 10 megapixel sensor doesn't make any real-world difference and thankfully hasn't come at the expense of image quality, with the TZ7 maintaining similar noise performance as the TZ5 at comparable ISO speeds. I'd be happy to use ISO 100-400 for most photos, with ISO 800 reserved for low-light situations, on a par with most of its main competitors. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 dealt extremely well with chromatic aberrations, macro performance is improved, and the dependable Mega OIS anti-shake system is present and correct.

The DMC-TZ7's video mode may offer the same 720p, 1280x720 pixel resolution as the TZ5, but Panasonic have made some real advances here. The new AVCHD Lite mode almost doubles the recording time in HD quality compared with Motion JPEG, although 3rd-party software support for playback and editing is patchy to say the least. You can still use the very effective 720p Motion JPEG mode though if you want to edit your video. There are also big improvements in sound quality, with much less background noise and the ability to clearly make out individual voices, even in a crowd. You can use the zoom lens during recording, although this is tempered somewhat by the slow zoom speed and awkward continuous auto-focusing, with the subject often being blurred before becoming sharp again as the camera tries to refocus. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 is definitely not a replacement for a dedicated HD video camcorder, but it undoubtedly provides some of the best HD movies that we've seen from a compact camera, making it perfect for more casual users. The HDMI port makes it easy to connect the TZ7 to a HD TV, although we would have liked to see a suitable cable included in the box.

In summary, the DMC-TZ7 is the best travel-zoom camera yet. Even the annoyingly loose Shooting Mode dial and slightly higher launch price don't detract too much from what is simply a fantastic camera. One of the best compacts of 2008 just got even better...

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 from around the web. »

Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-TZ7 (or ZS3 as it’s known in North America) is a 10.1 Megapixel compact with a detailed 3in screen, HD video recording and a 12x optically-stabilised zoom. Launched in January 2009, exactly one year after the best-selling Lumix TZ5, the new model further enhances Panasonic’s enormously popular travel-zoom line. The core premise of its predecessors remains the same though: packing a flexible super-zoom lens range into a pocketable compact camera.
Read the full review » »

The list is impressive: it has a new compact 12x zoom image-stabilised Leica lens with a maximum aperture of f/3.3-f/4.9 and a focal length range equivalent to 25-300mm, an impressively sharp 3.0-inch 460,000 dot wide-view LCD monitor, a dual-processor Venus Engine HD, and most significantly is has 1280 x 720 pixel HD video recording with stereo sound and full optical zoom capability. It uses the advanced AVCHD Lite recording system, a video encoding format designed for solid-state camcorders. The TZ6 is very similar, but lacks the HD video mode and has a smaller 2.7-inch 230k monitor.
Read the full review » »

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 ($399) is the follow-up to the extremely popular DMC-TZ5. I was a big fan of the TZ5, which put a 10X zoom lens, a beautiful 3-inch LCD, and HD movie recording into a small package. I've "sold" a few friends on it, and they absolutely love it. The DMC-ZS3 takes everything that was great about the TZ5 and improves upon it. You get a wider, more powerful zoom lens, a new image processor, improved face detection, and an HD movie mode. And that's on top of all the other great features that haven't changed, which I'll cover throughout this article!
Read the full review »



Camera Effective Pixels 10.1 Megapixels
Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter 1/2.33-inch / 12.7 Total Megapixels / Primary Colour Filter
Aperture F3.3 - 4.9 / Iris Diaphragm (F3.3 - 6.3 (W) / F4.9 - 6.3 (T))
Optical Zoom 12x
Focal Length f=4.1-49.2mm (25-300mm in 35mm equiv.)
Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) 14.3x (4:3 / 7M), 17.1x (4:3 / 5M), 21.4x (under 3M)
Lens LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR / 10 elements in 8 groups / (2 Aspherical Lenses / 3 Aspherical surfaces, 2 ED lens)
2-Speed Zoom Yes
Optical Image Stabilizer MEGA O.I.S. (Auto / Mode1 / Mode2)
Digital Zoom 4x / ( Max. 48.0 x combined with Optical Zoom without Extra Optical Zoom ) / (Max.85.5x combined with Extra Optical Zoom)
Focusing Area Normal: Wide 50cm/ Tele 200cm - infinity / Macro / Intelligent AUTO / Clipboard : Wide 3cm / Max 200cm / Tele 100cm - infinity
Focus Range Display Yes
AF Assist Lamp Yes
Focus Normal / Macro, Continuous AF (On / Off), AF Tracking (On / Off), Quick AF (On / Off)
AF Metering Face / AF Tracking / Multi (11pt) / 1pt HS / 1pt / Spot
Shutter Speed 8-1/2000 sec (Selectable minimum shutter speed) / Starry Sky Mode : 15, 30, 60sec.


Face Recognition Photo
Optical Image Stabilizer Photo & Movie
Intelligent ISO Control Photo
Face Detection Photo & Movie
Intelligent Scene Selector Photo (Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Macro), & Movie (Portrait, Scenery, Low Light, Macro)
Intelligent Exposure Photo & Movie
AF Tracking Photo
Digital Red Eye Correction Photo
File Format Still Image: JPEG (DCF / Exif2.21) / Image with Audio: JPEG (DCF / Exif2.21) + QuickTime / Motion picture: AVCHD Lite, QuickTime Motion JPEG
AVCHD Lite REC NTSC / PAL (Depends on Region)
Mode Switch [Recording] / [Playback]
One-Touch Movie Button Yes
Mode Dial Intelligent AUTO, Normal Picture, MySCN1, MySCN2, SCN, Clipboard
Still Picture Scene Mode Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Sports, Night Portrait, / Night Scenery, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High sensitivity, / Hi-Speed Burst (Image Priority / Speed Priority), Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, / Aerial photo, Pinhole, Film Grain, Underwater
Movie Scene Mode Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Low Light, / Food, Party, Candle Light, Sunset, Beach, Snow, Aerial, Pinhole, Film Grain, Underwater, High Sensitivity / (Activated by selecting Still Picture Scene Mode then pressing movie button. Still Picture Scene Modes without corresponding Movie Scene Mode is recorded in Normal Mode)
Continuous Shooting Mode Full-Resolution Image, 2.3 frames/sec Max. 5 images (Standard mode), Max 3 images (Fine Mode) / High-speed Burst Mode: approx. 6.0 frames/sec (image priority) approx. 10 frames/sec (speed priority) (recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9)
Unlimited consecutive shooting 1.8 frames/sec
Motion Picture Recording [4:3] VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 30fps (Motion JPEG) QVGA: 320 x 240 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG) / [16:9] WVGA: 848 x 480 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG) / [HD Movie] 1280x720, NTSC Mode: NTSC model: 60p(CCD output is 30p) / PAL model: 50p(CCD output is 25p) (AVCHD Lite, SH: 17Mbps / H:13Mbps / L:9Mbps ) / 30fps (Motion JPEG)
Exposure Program AE
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Backlight Compensation Yes (only in Intelligent AUTO mode)
Auto (AE) Bracketing '+/- 1/3 EV ~1EV step, 3 frames
Multi-Aspect Yes
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple/ Center Weighted/ Spot
ISO Sensitivity Auto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 High Sensitivity (ISO 1600-6400)
Aspect Ratio 4:3 / 3:2 / 16:9
Still Picture Recording [4:3] 3648 x 2736 (10M) / 3072 x 2304 (7M EZ) / 2560 x 1920 (5M EZ) / 2048 x 1536 (3M EZ) / 1600 x 1200 (2M EZ) / 640 x 480 (0.3M EZ) / [3:2] 3776 x 2520 (9.5M) / 3168x2112 (6.5M EZ? / 2656x1768 (4.5M EZ) / 2112x1408 (3M EZ) / 2048 x 1360 (2.5M EZ) / [16:9] 3968 x 2232 (9M) / 3328x1872 (6M EZ) / 2784x1568 (4.5M EZ) / 2208x1248 ?2.5M EZ) / 1920 x 1080 (2M EZ)
Image Quality Fine / Standard
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set / White Balance Adjustment (±10steps, except for auto set) / (Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Highspeed Burst, Pinhole, Panorama Assist mode?
Quick Menu Yes
Colour Mode Standard, Natural, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, Cool, Warm
Still Image with Audio Recording 5 sec
Audio Dubbing Max. 10sec
Real-time histogram Yes
Composition Guide line Yes (2 patterns)
Auto Review 1sec, 2sec, Hold, Zoom
Review Yes
Easy Zoom / Zoom Resume No / Yes
Optical Zoom in Motion Picture Yes
Zoom Macro Yes
Orientation Detector Yes
Scene Mode Help Screen Yes
Self Timer 2sec / 10sec
Focus Icon Select Yes (in Face Recognition only)


Playback Mode Normal Playback, Slideshow, Mode Playback, Category Playback, Favourites Playback
Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback 12,30-thumbnails / Max 16x
Calender Display / Dual-Image Playback Yes / No
Set Favorites / Rotate Image Yes / No
Playback Still Images with Audio Yes
Playback Motion Picture Yes (Motion JPEG / AVCHD Lite)
Slideshow Mode All / Still Images Only / Motion Picture Only / Favourites / Category / BGM Effect (Natural / Slow / Swing / Urban / OFF)
Show Histogram Yes
Delete Image Single / Multi / All / All except Favourites
DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection Yes / Yes
Resize / Trim / Aspect Conv. / Leveling Yes / Yes / Yes / Yes
Copy / Title Edit/ Text Stamp Yes / Yes / Yes
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All / Favourites / DPOF


OSD language Japanese, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
Viera Link Yes
HDMI Output Video: Auto / 1080i / 720p / 576p (PAL) / 480p (NTSC) Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo Creator
Movie REC Guide Yes
Wind-Cut in Motion Picture Yes
Travel Date / World Time Yes / Yes


LCD Monitor 3.0" TFT LCD Display (460K dots) / Field of View : approx. 100%, Wide Viewing Angle / AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode
Built-in-Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off 0.6 - 5.3m (Wide/ISO Auto), 1.0 - 3.6m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Recording Media Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard (Still image only)
Built-in-Memory approx. 40MB
Microphone / Speaker Stereo / Yes
Interface miniHDMI, USB2.0 High speed / AV Output (NTSC/PAL or NTSC only) / DC Input (requires optional Multi Conversion Adapter)


Power ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, 895mAh) (Included) / AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC) (Optional)
Battery life (approx.) 300 pictures (CIPA Standard)
Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO v3.0 HD Edition / ArcSoft (MediaImpression / Panorama Maker) / USB Driver, QuickTime
Standard Accessories Battery Charger, Battery Pack, Battery Case / AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, AC Cable / Hand Strap, CD-ROM
Dimensions(W x H x D) 103.3 x 59.6 x 32.8 mm (4.07 x 2.35 x 1.29 in)
Weight Approx. 206g (0.45 lb) Approx. 229g with Battery and SD Memory Card (0.50 lb)

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