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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 December 2012
I bought this camera after a fair amount of swithering, wondering if I should go for a larger bridge camera instead. I was looking at various Lumix, Canon and Fuji models. The market for compact cameras, bridges and superzooms is extremely busy,and seems to be moving fast! Astonishing developments seem likely in the next couple of years with ever higher optic zooms coming in.

I finally plumped for this Lumix on the basis that the best camera is the one you have with you. By that I mean it is so neat that you can always have it, while even really small bridge cameras like the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS Digital Camera - Black (16.0 MP, 30x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD would only be with you on days you definitely planned to take photos.

The Lumix is only slightly larger than a pack of cards and it is frankly witchcraft what they have made it do. The 20x optical zoom will be the first thing most people will be attracted to. It is astounding in such a small camera. But it has lots of other clever stuff going on by way of image stabilization, burst shooting, High Dynamic Range imaging, effortless panoramas, face recognition and touch screen.

Lots of people could probably manage fine sticking to the intelligent autofocus, but there is the potential to go a fair bit off-piste too with aperture and shutter priority. There is also a wide variety of scene options. I did though find these a little disappointing as many of the setting available in my previous camera (an Olympus Mju I still love even though my phone has more pixels) are not around here - such as snowsports or beach settings. I am sure the Lumix handles such conditions admirably on automatic but I do miss the specific scene option.

I can say nothing about the GPS as I am not interested in it. You might note that there is actually a model called the TZ27 which is identical to the TZ30 except it lacks GPS and is therefore cheaper. It is only available as an exclusive through a high street chain. Worth looking into if like me you are not interested in GPS.

Video is easy to use and very good quality although again this is not what I bought the camera for so I am perhaps not the most demanding critic.

You have to be realistic about a camera like this. There have been compromises and you will occasionally find serious snappers who work with DSLR bemoaning this or that shortcoming. But their camera will be five times the size and eight times the price! And again I will repeat - the best camera is the one you have with you. You are far more likely to have this with you than a bridge, compact system or DSLR camera.

If like me you are going to be sharing shots online with pals rather than blowing them up to print as posters - you will be very well served by a camera like this.

It is at its best outdoors. Like all compacts it is going to struggle with low light. The flash is not wonderful. But it gets by at parties or restaurants. Outdoors it really comes into its own though with lots of wide angle in the lense for views and group shots, with the impressive zoom capability too.

I'm delighted with the photos I have taken. They are generally sharp and allow me to be creative with my eye as I am freed up from a lot of the technical stuff.

Pluses: It looks good, is easy to use, takes generally great shots.

Most of its downsides it will share with all other compacts - struggling in low light and flash not so fabulous. Having said that most of us who are going to sling a few snaps from a night out onto facebook will be more than satisfied.

The only major downside of this camera is battery time. It is really poor. You would not make it through a busy day on holiday without need for a recharge or battery switch. I have just been on my works Christmas night out. I took 90 shots in a restaurant, so flash coming in quite a lot. It was totally out of juice having been fully charged at the start of the night. We are asking a lot of the battery moving the lense in and out so far. I mentioned before that I am not interested in GPS so have it switched off. I imagine GPS would really chew up power to make the battery time ludicrously short. They are selling this as a travel camera so people probably want to shoot a lot and not necessarily be able to recharge all the time if they are on the hoof. So this is really bad I think. Add to this the fact the battery is charged in the camera - you don't get a separate charger. So even if you get a spare battery you won't have the convenience of charging one battery while the other is in use. If they could extend battery life this is a five star camera for sure. I've given it four. I'd have given it four and a half if Amazon would let me. For some people though, this will be a dealbreaker. If I was backpacking round the world this otherwise nifty camera would suddenly be off my list.

Judged in context this is a tremendous little camera though. Of course it is not going to produce the results of a professional DSLR but at hovering around £200 and just small enough to fit in a shirt pocket - you really cannot go wrong.
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85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2012
I have only recently bought this camera so haven't really got a lot to say about the performance that you can't read in any of the great rave reviews it's been getting. I haven't even read the manual because I'm a bloke.
I'll come clean and say that I've always been a Canon buyer because I love the Canon quality of images and ease of use.
My short list was the TZ30, the Canon SX260HS and the Sony Cybershot HX9V and I agonised over many a review.

I ruled out the Sony which got great reviews last year and better reviews than the HX10 and HX20 funnily enough - simply because the images were said to be over-processed but more fundamentally, it seems the camera couldn't find the GPS satellites and having had a sat-nav with that annoying tendency, I ruled it out.

That left the Canon and the Panasonic to slug it out and regrettably, Canon made that choice for me by only offering 24fps on the HD video whereas the TZ30 has 60fps so it was time to defect.
I bought my TZ30 in white and bought
(1) a Lexar Professional card Lexar 8GB 133x Professional SDHC Card which has the quality and speed to maximise the TZ30s capabilities.
(2) a spare battery Panasonic DMW-BCG10E Lithium-ion Battery Pack - for TZ7/TZ6/TZ8/TZ10/TZ20 which worked straight off and charged quickly.
(3) some incredibly cheap but astonishing value Neewer tripods Neewer 2x Small Bendable Flexible Black table top Tripod for Compact Cameras
(4) a Crumpler Lolly Dolly 95 camera pouch which is a perfect fit for the TZ30 as well as great quality and value Crumpler - Lolly Dolly 95 Camera/Media Pouch - Black/Grey.

The camera is great, the jump in quality and ability from my old Canon A710iS being obvious. It has a reasonably intuitive menu and a dedicated video button (which I didn't like on my Canon SX10iS but here it is much more obvious). So far I am very pleased with the quality of the shots and the video it produces and the 20x zoom is quite amazing and produces a good quality photo even on full zoom where my old Canon used to get very grainy on zoom(though in fairness that had half the pixels and only a 6x zoom).
The touch screen also takes photos on contact which came as a surprise and gave me many fine shots of the ground.
The GPS works very well and overall, it's a very handy size given it's capabilities.

"Downsides" for me - the photo download software is not as good or easy to use as the Canon software whose Zoombrowser EX offers better ways of viewing photos. I download using the Panasonic software and view on the Canon browser (though that can't "see" the Panasonic videos so I have to use both anyway). That said, the later Canon 2010 software was not as good as the earlier 2007 software and what you don't know won't hurt you.
The battery/card cover is flimsier than Canon's offerings but OK and the camera connector is unnecessarily smaller than Canon's more robust plug-in.
The battery can only be charged in the camera and has no separate charger (and you'd risk electrical catastrophe if you bought any of the rubbish ones on ebay) but in practice, the charging is no big deal.
Anyway, great buy, no regrets, shame on Canon for losing a sale based on lazy video specifications (though I should say I could have bought the SX260HS for about £40 cheaper but then I could have paid £100 less for a Panasonic TZ20...and so it goes on...)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Tried the TZ30 after returning a Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20, unfortunately, on arrival it looked like someone had played kick about with the camera's cardboard box! It's a testimony to the strength and quality of the TZ30 that it still worked when taken out of said battered box. It's a very solid, quality, feeling camera with all the controls falling nicely to hand.

The menu system has been simplified since I owned a TZ7 and in that respect much improved though one still has to plough through several to alter some of the functions.

The 20x zoom function worked well although the view on the LCD was somewhat better than the printed photo at the longer end of the zoom. Overall, I thought the photo's had slightly more vibrancy (punch) than those of the Sony straight out of the camera. But both have the ability to `turn up' the vibrancy of photo's so I am sure that there's something for everyone in there somewhere :-)

I found the GPS locked on quickly and the information provided was just the ticket for plotting one's whereabouts etc. as it did on the Sony.

Neither camera has wifi straight out of the box so either taking out the sd card card and putting it into a computer or connecting by USB is required to get the photos from one location to another.

I did not think the sweep panorama mode of the Panasonic was quite as refined as that in the Sony although it does allow one to `cover' more ground. Having said that I am sure my camera had a fault so that may have affected this aspect.

Apart from my comment on `punchiness' I did not think there was a great deal between the photo's from either the Sony or Panasonic, except, when enlarged to 100% the Sony photo's suffered to a greater extent from waterfall. However, the Panasonic was not fault free and above ISO 200 I found the pictures got progressively noisier.

Video, as mentioned above I am certain that the `kicking' this camera had received at one point or another had caused a problem and this was with the video side of things. I could not get the camera to focus at any sort of distance when in video mode. The zoom worked and everything appeared to function but it just would not focus. As I know from experience with Panasonic's, I've had three and have an LX3 in front of me as I write, they usually do a more than competent job in this area.

Four stars because I think ISO 200 is a little low to produce the amount of noise I was seeing.
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2012
I wanted to write this review once I'd had a chance to become acquainted with my new camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30. I moved to using dSLR's a few years ago and own a Canon EOS 550D which incidentally is a great camera. After using the TZ30 for little over a week since purchase, I am happy to report I think it is a fantastic little camera, packed with loads of features, and I really, really like it. Let me say first of all, in my opinion it is unfair to compare the TZ30 like for like with a dSLR that would be ridiculous. But the TZ30 can be described as an ultra compact zoom camera with built-in GPS mapping capability.

Panasonic have done a brilliant job bringing this camera to market although at a retail price of around £274 some think it is too expensive. On the other hand, performance is very good indeed and I must declare the 24mm wide angle Leica lens certainly helps to explain why I've been so impressed with the camera's performance creating some first class photographs. Unfortunately you cannot shoot in RAW format, only JPEG standards are possible. Nevertheless, if I wanted to shoot in RAW format I'd probably use my Canon dSLR anyway.

Camera zoom functionality is very good with optical at 20x boosted by intelligent digital zoom up to 40x. I've found with landscape scenes at 20x optical zoom I think this camera takes more detailed photographs than my other Canon SX30 compact at 26x zoom. I'm not sure why this is so but on the other hand underlines the quality performance of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30.

GPS feature works very well and I've had no trouble to date automatically tagging photographs with GPS switched on; although would agree with other reviewers, turning the feature off means you can take extra photographs per one battery life cycle. I cottoned on to this quickly so simply bought an extra battery to double the cycle of shots when planning to exceed 180 photographs on any one filming occasion.

Image stabilization is good but for even more flexibility I have added a quick release plate to my TZ30 and utilise a Manfrotto 680B monopod which improves the handling capability for me. This works particularly well for maximum zoom shots - remember this camera is described as an ultra zoom compact so on some occasions using a monopod or tripod certainly adds to TZ30 flexibility. Truly with big hands I find using small cameras tricky however in its stand alone state even with my cumbersome hands, controls on the TZ30 respond positively and doesn't incur a penalty in the ergonomic design stakes. In fact I am pretty pleased with myself! (Normally I don't use a monopod it's just on occasions when I do, maximum zoom shots have turned out to be especially good.)

This camera is a recommended buy although keep a close eye out for added discounts, such as the £35 Panasonic cash-back bonus I managed to secure. The current offer runs through until 31st July 2012.

You pay for quality these days and certainly the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 is definitely a top quality camera well worth buying provided it is within your budget.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2012
I bought this camera for my wife as I have a DSLR. Having just come back from a holiday with a few hundred photos on the Lumix and my own camera I was initially horrified to find that with very few exceptions the best photos came from the TZ30! Having recovered from the blow to my photographic self esteem I realise that the secrets of the Lumix are that the intelligent auto is more reliable than me in setting up the camera for a shot, the in-built HDR is brilliant in creating good photos in difficult conditions, the zoom provides a versatility that the need to change DSLR lenses doesn't, the panorama mode produces great photos, the GPS saves a lot of effort in managing photos and the image quality is excellent in most situations. I am so impressed with the TZ30 that I have put own camera on eBay and will use the TZ30 exclusively from now on!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2012
I'm no photography expert - more a happy snapper and mostly I take photos of my dog running around. With my older cameras i often found myself taking photos of her rear end as she'd already moved out of shot by the time the shutter fired. With this new Zumix, there's a fab continuous shoot function enabling multiple photos to be taken at once, and resulting in the best action shots I've ever taken!
The zoom is amazing and I recently captured some photos of seals on rocks that were so far away I couldn't actually be sure I was looking at seals until I zoomed in with the camera!
I like the short cut menu which enables access to commonly used featres and saves having to go through all the complicted menus. I'll be honest and say I've only really used it on the auto function, but this is all I need really and if the quality of these is anything to go by, then I'm sure those who want to have more control and use the many other options will not be dissapointed. Great value for money.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2012
Having seen an earlier version of this camera in use by a fellow tourist on a recent holiday in the Far East, I make enquiries on my return and came up with the brand new release, the DMC-TZ30EB-K, carrying an upgraded specification to the one that I had observed.
Having received and now used the camera, I can only say that I am absolutely delighted with its performance to date. There are still a few settings that I need to look into but I have no doubt that they will produce shots to the same high standard. The GPS function is interesting and will be of use when photographing obscure / less well known locations around the word. The location is shown on the screen at the time of shooting and can also be included on the printed photograh. Ther only problem with it is that it seems to run the battery down much quicker than normal so a back up battery / batteries are to be recommended. The video setting produces good quality results.
The compactness and weight of the camera is most welcome.
I would have preferred the option of a viewfinder to avoid those bright sunlight moments making composing your shot difficult to see on the screen.
All in all, a very good camera from a top class manufacturer.
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71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2012
Bought this as an upgrade from the Lumix TZ-20 and the title says it all - the autofocus is very much faster, the x20 rather than x16 is handy and the increased sensitivity and improved handling of backlit subjects are both incredible. Also nice to have is the maps facility but more of an improvement has gone into the GPS - on the TZ-20 it seemed to take forever to get a lock - by default it is much quicker now and the ability to use a computer to load the GPS positioning data so as to speed it up even more is a welcome addition.

In general, pin sharp, very smart and still small enough to carry all the time so you don't miss that magic picture because your camera was still in the bag/car/at home.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
The TZ30 (or ZS20 in the US) is Panasonic's new top of the range point and shoot travel camera. Since the release of the TZ20 competition in the sector has hotted up considerably with offerings from Canon (SX 260HS), Sony (DSC-HX30V) , Nikon (Coolpix S9100) and Fuji (F770EXR) all competing with the TZ30 for a slice of the market. The "ball park" price of all these cameras is around the £300 mark.

The TZ30 packs a huge 20x optical zoom together with GPS into a genuinely pocketable package. The 14. 1 Mega pixel sensor has been redesigned to give better low light performance and is supported by a very effective anti-shake system. To me the pictures are noticeably better than the TZ20 which we also own. I can best summarise the pros and cons of this camera as follows;

- The build and pocketable size combine to produce a stylish package - because of these factors this is the camera you are most likely to have on you for that once in lifetime shot.
- Huge 20x zoom with effective stabilisation plus further usable digital zoom.
- Pictures are pretty good most of the time (but see below) and certainly better than the TZ20.
- GPS works well plus there is a mapping DVD provided with a database of over 1 million landmarks across the world - you load the region you are using the camera in and it saves the data to the SD card.
- Good burst mode and fast autofocus with tracking mode.
- 1080p video is very good with a wide range of formats to choose from.
- Clear touch screen display.
- Lots of scene modes plus, creative controls, panorama and a 3D facility.
- Seems to cope well with backlit subjects.
- Battery life quite good for a small camera unless you use GPS a lot.

- Pictures are not noise free and follow the inevitable pattern of the higher the ISO the noisier the shot (but show me a truly pocketable camera where this isn't the case).
- GPS runs the battery life down very quickly, especially, as it remains on when the camera is off unless you switch it off.
- You can't input text via the touch screen plus, although ok, it is not as HD as some other brands - the Sony has twice as many pixels.
- No raw mode, and, in IA mode the camera decides on picture quality for you.
- Prone to red eye (like all small cameras where the flash and lens are close together) but there isn't a specific camera tool to edit this (or I can't find it).

Overall, this is an impressive camera, and, the "cons" are in effect, limitations that all of the competitors suffer from too. In essence, it produces good results, is versatile, and, of course, there's that huge zoom crammed into a tiny package which really does get you close to the action. Although still new, I like this camera and it's growing on me, plus, it's small enough to keep in my pocket. Good things can come in small packages. Recommended.

PS. Although the description of box contents on this page suggests the camera comes with a stylus for the touch screen it does not. Also, if you are looking for a "minimalist" pocket case try the Lowepro Seville 20.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2012
I had an LX3 which I was very happy with, though it was slightly too bulky for a shirt pocket the results were excellent. The only thing it lacked from my perspictive was a decent zoom - the LX had a short zoom from 24 to 60 mm (35mm equivalent). My father-in-law recently bought a TZ30 and when he was last over I had a chance to look at it, and was bowled over by the lens - optically this zooms to the equivalent of 480mm, which - with the image stabilisation feature - is usable even handheld. There is a digital option which takes the lens out even further in an emergency, and I used it at an indoor concert last week to produce good 6x4 prints. The lens could be faster - the LX3 had a 2.8 - but the lens is fast enough for most purposes. Quality is excellent - unless you are going to produce images the size of billboards this is likely to be more than adequate for all amateur needs. I haven't tried the video yet but it promises 1080 quality with that great zoom usable throughout, and a useful slo-mo feature at lo-res as well. As close to a perfect travel camera as it gets - and a very decent price when compared to a DSLR, which frankly isn't worth the hassle unless you're a David Bailey wannabee.
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