Customer Review

74 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 is overrated, 16 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-K Compact Camera - Black (14.1MP, 20x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 can take clear photos with good detail, also in low light situations. Photos taken with the built-in flash, however, looked unnatural and were washed out because of too much light. If you are considering purchasing this camera for the long (20x) zoom you might be disappointed - I was. Far away objects look normal size, ie. same size as with naked eye at about 10x zoom, which means you are actually only getting 10x optical zoom with long range objects. In other words, if you have to zoom in 10x just for a photo to look normal size, how much zoom do you have left? Objects about 50 meters away look normal at 5x zoom, so you get more actual zoom there. Objects close in the room look normal at 2-3x zoom.

The battery discharges fairly quickly. I took the camera (fully charged) on a 4 kilometer walk, using it only periodically, and the battery discharged by half, and this was with the GPS turned off. If you turn the GPS on, be sure to turn the airplane mode on as well so that the GPS will not stay on when you turn the camera off.

Startup time in not slow, but not fast either. Out of the box you can take only one photo with the 12Mb built-in memory! So if you buy this camera, you must also purchase a SD, SDHC or SDXC memory card. If you plan on shooting movies, a 16 or 32 GB card, class 6 or higher is recommended. After installing the software from the included DVD onto your PC, you can install the GPS map for your world region to your camera's memory card. Be aware that the GPS map will take well over 1 GB of space on your memory card.

Nearly all digital pocket cameras are plagued by the same problem, and the Lumix DMC-TZ30 is no exception. If sunlight is shining on you and your camera, from no matter which direction, than you have no chance of composing your shot; it comes down to "point and pray". If you plan to frequently use your camera for outdoor and landscape shots, forget about pocket cameras and look instead for a camera with a viewfinder and preferably with a rubber eye cup.

GOOD
Clear photos with good detail even in low light.
Several preset "scene" settings to choose from.
Good manual adjustment capabilities.
Wind filter works and is a welcome feature.
Small size, camera fits in a coat or jacket pocket.

BAD
Long zoom is below expectations.
Slow focus recovery when zooming while filming.
Performance with flash is unsatisfactory.
Noise from zoom motor present on video recordings.
Relatively short battery life.

SUMMARY
If you can accept it's shortcomings, it is a decent camera with good features and can produce high quality photos.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Nov 2012 08:02:59 GMT
This camera has the big advantage of a zoom with a very wide angle (equivalent to 24mm for a conventional 35mm camera) The 20x zoom starts from this point, so gives the equivalent of a maximum focal length of 480mm, which is more than enough. In terms of a conventional SLR camera this would have required a lens of nearly half a metre long! To achieve such a massive zoom range in such a small camera is incredible and should not be criticised.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 11:06:56 GMT
Indeed. The very wide angle end of the lens's rage is a superb benefit for those of us who take landscape shots.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jan 2013 17:50:27 GMT
bluesforlife says:
We can applaud the technical achievement of a placing a 20x zoom lens into a compact camera. However, as I explained in my review, if you have to zoom in 10x just for a photo to look normal size, how much zoom do you have left? If you buy this camera for the long zoom, you will be disappointed.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jan 2013 17:57:39 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Jan 2013 18:03:26 GMT
bluesforlife says:
I have taken some very fine landscape shots with this camera, but only when the sun was not shining on me and the camera, although I did get a few good shots in direct sunlight by pure luck (point and pray). If you *NEED* 20x zoom, this camera is not the right choice. Shooting sunrises and sunsets is a mixed bag. I get good detail, but the colors are invariably off.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Feb 2013 06:48:34 GMT
stevecross says:
What you need to bear in mind is the wide angle end of this lens is 24mm, what is a standard lens, 50mm so before you actually get to actual size you will need to zoom in. That is the way all cameras work even if you pay £1000 it would still be the same. It is a bit like buying a 400mm lens and saying it magnifies the image. 24mm is wide angle and will need to be zoomed in to make things life size.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Feb 2013 11:09:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Feb 2013 11:15:14 GMT
bluesforlife says:
Good to know, Steve. If I understand correctly, any wide angle zoom camera will have to be zoomed in order to make the shot look normal size (naked eye), which means a portion of your zoom is already used up. In the case of the Panasonic DMC-TZ30, when I take long distance shots, I have effectively only 10x zoom, because 10x is used to bring the object to normal size before any real zoom takes place.

When I see "20x zoom" in a camera, I have always thought the camera will bring the object 20x closer than the naked eye view, and I bet most people think the same way. I can understand why the manufacturers do not tell us the truth ("Now get 10x closer with our 20x zoom", is confusing) but it is misleading not to inform the consumer.

So, if a long distance zoom is what is desired, one would do well to avoid a wide angle lens.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Feb 2013 11:29:09 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Feb 2013 11:30:55 GMT
Here is what I understand. "Times zoom" in digital cameras is the ratio between the focal length when zoomed all the way in (telephoto) and the focal length when zoomed all the way out (Wide angle). In the days of 35mm camera the 'magnification' was expressed in 'mm'

So a digital 17-70mm lens is called a x4 zoom (70/17 = 4.1)

And a digital with a 100-400mm is also a x4 zoom (400/100 = 4)

You can tell nothing about how close it will make an object appear by simply referring to this zoom ratio.

As a travel camera it is rightly assumed that the owner of a TZ30 will be taking a proportion of shots of scenery, landscape, buildings etc. So it is supplied with an excellent wide angle end to the zoom - equivalent to a 24mm focal length for a conventional 'roll film' camera. It zooms this out 20 times and at the telephoto end delivers an equivalent to a 480mm conventional lens (24 x 20 = 480). That 480mm equivalent figure is the only one you need to look for if all you seek is magnification for distant objects.

If I recall, most fixed-lens 'roll film' cameras had a focal length around 56mm. Therefore you only use up 2.3x of your zoom (56/24= 2.3) to bring it to the 'normal' camera focal length, leaving you 17.7x which is your telephoto range (i.e. not using up 10x as you had estimated)

I hope this helps explain?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Feb 2013 11:57:44 GMT
bluesforlife says:
Thanks Rob, your explanation does shed more light on this issue. I have not taken any scientific measurements, but I have tested this camera many times (by eye), and for long distance shots it does seem to use up 10x zoom (my best estimate) to get to 'normal' or 'naked eye' camera focal length.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Feb 2013 12:46:13 GMT
Could be.

Normal cameras back in the day always made thing appear further away than they looked. Remembering hundreds of really disappointing airshow pictures.

Posted on 25 Mar 2013 23:20:20 GMT
flc says:
I agree. Don't buy this camera.
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