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Travel Compact with HD video and good battery


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Initial post: 1 Aug 2009 22:40:24 BDT
T. Morren says:
Hi, my price range is under 300pounds and I'm looking for a Compact with HD video and a good battery life. I'm going travelling and good video is vital along with good picture quality, some may say dish out on a camcorder but going through many countries requires that i keep the numbers of items i carry down.

I've been looking at a variety of Sonys and then the Panasonic Lumix tz7 which looked great - great images, great zoom, great video etc. Until i read concerns about the battery life, which really would ruin the deal in South East Asia or somewhere.

Can anyone offer a suitable alternative or assuage my concerns over the battery of the Lumix?

Thanks!
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Posted on 2 Aug 2009 13:29:10 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Aug 2009 13:30:01 BDT
X says:
What exactly are your concerns with the TZ7's battery? The only negative point I've seen in any of the reviews I've read concerned the lightness of touch required to operate the function wheel at the top right of the camera, seen from the back. That created a few occasions when the wheel was turned inadvertently, but isn't that exactly the sort of thing a new owner would quickly avoid "instinctively"?

I need to find an excuse for buying a TZ7; all this frustrated love is wearing me down.

Posted on 2 Aug 2009 16:11:23 BDT
T. Morren says:
After great reviews and a full intro to the camera on cameralabs.com i was pretty sold on the idea of getting one. however if there is a con mentioned in any of the reviews on here (apart from the function wheel as you mentioned, which doesn't bother me) then it's that the life span on a full charge is poor - to the point where people mention picking an extra battery just for a long day. I'm going to a lot of places and this might possibly be a problem when i may not be able to charge it after every use.

Of course i'm not fully informed so i'm speculating, but would like to know what anyone's experiences of it are.

Cheers.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2009 18:07:33 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Aug 2009 18:09:33 BDT
X says:
OK. You'll find that whatever camera you have, the deadly "empty battery" icon lurks unlit on the screen until THE shot of your life presents itself. I don't know of any serious photographer going a long way from home without a freshly loaded spare battery in the kit. It's not a big expense, it's nothing to pack, its worth can be immeasurable. Obviously, if you are taking a camera on any trip with an over-night stay, you'll need your charger as well. But that is the best advice I could give for any brand of camera, (or camcorder, or mobile phone, or electric shaver...)

I really think you would be pleased with yourself if you made whatever effort needed to get your hands on that Panasonic DMC-TZ7. (This is getting dangerous for my credit cards: I can even get the reference right without looking it up in another message...). No camera is perfect for everyone, and of all the possible alleged faults or weaknesses, a high-ish battery drain would be the very least of my worries: it's such a cinch to deal with.

BTW, I've been around quite a few reviews, on sites I trust, and I find no mention of battery problems. Is this a case of some reviewer thinking that negativity is a mandatory requirement? It happens... Anyway, for any prudent photographer it's a non-problem.

Posted on 2 Aug 2009 18:37:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Aug 2009 20:49:58 BDT
X says:
Update: There are moaning-minny comments on blogs and amateur review sites, but the data from a professional reviewer is that the battery in the TZ7 is rated for 300 shots at CIPA standards. CIPA are the main trade association for camera producers, but I can'r remember what CIPA stands for letter by letter. 300 is a very high rating. The annoyance will come from people shooting massive quantities of film and then showing it to their mates. As no other digital camera that small will do real HD video, that would make the TZ7 the victim of its own success. Easy to deal with: when you really want to keep the battery live so you can do your photography, rein in the video use. I know of at least one dork with ambitions to be the World YouTube Champion Contributor, and he really would be the kind to wear the battery out showing some dumb video-clip to his co-dorks and then post in a blog, moaning that the battery ran down. O tempora, o mores!

Posted on 3 Aug 2009 00:20:42 BDT
Hi,i also have the tz7,and if you have to find something to moan about,then yes its the battery life,but if you take into account the size and definition of the screen,than theres your answer,"simples",get a spare battery,as i did and away you go,maybe the "battery life"is the reason the camera only gets 9 out of 10!,shut up moaning get a life,get a tz7,you know it makes sense.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2009 10:03:45 BDT
X says:
Don't sit on the fence that much, do you Frederick? Apart from a bit of spice like your post, this is a boring thread. It's absolutely crystal clear that the TZ7 is today's best buy, and by a huge margin, and that dealing with a big bright screen and camcorder-standard video imposes the availability of a second battery, and charger if a long trip is planned. It is just too simple to deal with. Saving money by lowering ambitions would result in the most expensive economy-driven purchase ever.

Byee-e-e!!

Ohh cripes, I can hear my credi card's teeth chattering with fear. Sorry, faithful e-620, I think I love another...

Posted on 3 Aug 2009 15:59:23 BDT
Ros - Oxon says:
If you can still get it, the TZ5 offers most features of the TZ7, including the high-res sccreen. The control wheel is better placed and there is a nice firm rubberised finger grip. My concern about the TZ7 bsttery is tht it contains a 'security-coded' microchip (tying you to Panasonic) and costs about £40, whereas the TZ5 uses a common battery type that can be bought for £5

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2009 17:58:05 BDT
X says:
Buy a cheaper product, get less performance: a lot less. The TZ7 outperforms most camcorders of the same price. Look at the clips!

Some of you moaning minnies need to grow up. Extra quality requires extra money. Stretch your budget to buy the approved battery: one-click on Amazon, in case your little minds would find the buying process too taxing. Or go for the inferior product, and go and have happy lives.

So you pay the price for the best, or you don't pay the price and you get less performance. Now Ros has hit the nail right on the head and showed you the way out. You just have to do it.

Posted on 4 Aug 2009 19:47:35 BDT
T. Morren says:
I too had seen about the battery security chip, but i also agree that to get the best you have to shell out, i'd be annoyed with myself for getting the lesser spec model. If it doesn't take too much out of my savings for the trip itself then I'll get a TZ7 and a spare battery. Cheers.

Posted on 7 Aug 2009 21:43:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Aug 2009 21:56:53 BDT
I'd go along with the advice of Ros from Oxon. I went to Currys last weekend to have a look at this super duper TZ7 I'd read and heard so much about ...and discovered that the camera took a while to a) register and b) save a few in-store test shots, using the 'Burst' (continuous) mode.
The sales assistant informed me that the only real difference as far as he's concerned is that on the TZ7 the movie mode is located in a different place, i.e. on the back close to the LCD screen, and not on the camera mode dial.
I'd also save myself £60 into the bargain if I bought the 'older' model, and am also SO glad I've now learned on here that a new battery would be more expensive for the TZ7.

Posted on 7 Aug 2009 23:45:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Aug 2009 23:54:57 BDT
jmh says:
If your primary concern or interest is video recording, do not buy this panasonic camera and go for the samsung wb500, I have tested both, and I can assure you that the video quality of the samsung machine is far superior to this panasonic, you can buy cheap batteries too from several different brands and suppliers.

The panasonic is better in the picture department, but not extremely better to my eyes. You will save 100 pounds chosing the samsung, and it is more efficient compressing video.

The samsung machine has a wider angle too that lets you pick a wider image in small spaces.

If you want to see with your eyes the difference in video quality, look for sample videos on youtube HD channels and see what I am saying. You can use the full optical 10x zoom too with the samsung while video recording.

I have tried too canon sx200is, this machine is even better in image quality to my eyes, but definitily it is not for video, it makes extremely big archives that eat your saving space, and worst of all you cannot use optical zoom once you have started recording. You can use digital zoom but at the cost of loosing quality. The files too are more difficult to play on a computer than samsung's.

Another parameter that is important for me is lag shutter, the time spent since you push the button and the machine captures the scene, the differences amont these three machines are imperceptible to me, they are in the 3 to 4 tenth's of a second range, too bad for me, but that is the problem with compact cameras. To do instant shooting I use my SLR canon.

So my advice if you want quality 720p video in the first place and long battery life for your travels is to buy the samsung wb500, you won't regret your decision.
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Initial post:  1 Aug 2009
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