Most helpful critical review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Jack Of All Trades
on 5 February 2013
I seem to have spent months trying to decide which type of camera to buy.
I've got a cupboard full of cameras that never see the light of day,
So I was determined that my next camera would be one that I would actually use.
Eventually came to the conclusion that I would be far more likely to carry a compact camera with me every day.
My next task was to find a compact camera with 20x OPTICAL zoom and a viewfinder for about £200.
Well looks like all the manufactures have given up on viewfinders on small cameras.
I can find compact cameras with WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Facebook, cameras that are more phone than camera but can I find one with a viewfinder?.....No.
Looks like lots of people have bought the TZ30 and most have left favourable reviews.
So bought myself one off Amazon as a birthday present to myself (thanks mate.)
At the time a black TZ30 was £199.99 inc. postage and Panasonic were offering £35 cashback so for £165 i thought it was quite a bargain ( and still do.)
Quite often when out walking the dog we bump into Foxes, Buzzards, Kingfishers etc.
So my idea was that if i always had my camera with me at least I'd have a chance of getting a good photo. If only photography was that easy.
The biggest negative point of this camera is the "Intelligent Automatic" Mode,
it's just not intelligent enough.
If you've got the camera in IA mode and whip it out of your pocket to take a photo, indoors with flash enabled or a bright sunny day it will take good pictures.
Any other sort of scenario and the photo will be DARK.
I'm in the forest underneath the tree canopy trying to take a picture of my dog 20 mtrs away, so I've turned the flash off and selected IA mode...picture looks like a black dog in a coal cellar at midnight!
Try to take the same picture in Manual mode adjusting the aperture/shutter speed and ISO to get the light meter in the middle. Can't get the light meter in the middle unless I select maximum ISO...not ideal.
Strangely if I select PET Mode in the same situation I get a good picture. when i check the properties of the "pet" picture when I get home only an ISO of 350 has been used?
Also the Autofocus doesn't always focus on what you want especially at full zoom.
If I try to get a photo of a small bird in a tree, more often than not I'll get brown blurry blob where the birdie should be.
Again in Manual mode you can fix this by altering the Autofocus to a point on the screen, same for the metering.
Sadly these settings will only work in Manuel mode.
It's not all bad if you're prepared to work at it this camera will take good photos, it's just a shame IA Mode is so poor.
So if you're after a "point and shoot" you're probly better looking elsewhere.
I've owned the camera two months now so slowly getting the hang of it.
The big selling point of the TZ30 is the 20x zoom lens and you can eventually get some good photos with it.
With full Optical and Digital zoom you can get up to 80x zoom, using a tripod and shutter timer I've taken what I would think are quite good pictures of the Moon.
Have uploaded a photo of the moon and a photo of a buzzard into the customer images bit... not sure if it worked or not?
There's lots of settings to play with ( slowmo, Macro etc.) looks like it's going to take all year to try them all.
The Video mode is pretty good, I've also got a Panasonic Video Camera (a few years old) and the TZ30 takes better videos even in mp4 mode. One less camera to carry about.
A few of the reviewers complained of having no paper Manuel well like it or not we're in the 21st century now. you can put the Manuel onto your smart phone, pdf reading app. is free from the app. store.
Or select the pages that you really need and photograph them off your computer screen, then you can look at them using the cameras screen.(might have to zoom in a bit)
If you need a case/pouch for this camera i found this one fits nicely....AmazonBasics Pocket Camera Case with Storage Black Suitable for Most Point & Shoot and Video Camcorders
I know these are out of production now but thought I'd leave a bit of an update.
I've owned my TZ 30 for about 18 months now and on the whole it's done pretty much what I wanted it to.
Until last week when I turned it on the Lens wouldn't extend and "System Error (Zoom)" message on the display.
Looks like that's the end of it's life, you can find videos online how to dismantle the camera but don't know if I can be bothered.
This camera's always lived in a case so don't know what's happened to it to freeze the Lens up?
It's annoying really, like I said in my original review I've got a cupboard full of cameras I never use but I know they still work!
I've got a 40 yr. old 35mm film camera that still takes good photos, so can't see any good excuse as to why this one should die prematurely.
Ah well looks like my next compact camera wont be a Panasonic!