on 19 September 2007
Bought this camera as we were going on a Mediterranean cruise. I wanted a compact camera with wide angle lens for using on the ship but also needed a good telephoto lens as well.
I already own a Nikon D80 with 2 lenses covering 18-300mm but didn't want the hassle of carrying it around on a relaxing holiday. This wee beauty covers 28-280mm, there is no constant changing of lenses and the LCD screen can be easily seen even in bright sunlight so the lack of a viewfinder is no problem. I was even able to use the camera to read the names of other ships when I did not have binoculars with me!
It always amazes me that so few compact digitals come with a wide angle lens and only 2 or 3 combine a wide angle with a long zoom.
This camera is great for shooting sunrise and sunset photos using the warm mode and there is a vivid mode for shooting bright colours. I also found the travel mode useful. You just set the start date of your holiday and the camera will tell you on what day any photo was taken-eg 3rd day/6th day.
Although the camera is not the smallest you can buy it packs a lot into a fairly compact body and the camera will easily slip into a trouser pocket.
I also bought a 2GB SD Card from Play.com for approximately £13 including postage and was able to take around 700 photos on the highest resolution setting of 7mp.
This camera must not be seen as a straight alternative to a DSLR however. Although the camera has high ISO options any pictures shot above ISO 200 will be a lot less than perfect. There is no control over shutter speed or aperture size either and in anything less than bright light it may be difficult to obtain a fast enough shutter speed to capture a sharp image.
As I say I bought this camera specifically for ease of use for holidaying in sunny climes and I can thoroughly recommend it in this respect. For snapping wildlife in the middle of a British winter(or even summer!) stick to a quality DSLR.
Since returning from holiday I have taken many photos in less than bright conditions and have to say that I am really impressed with the camera.
Some tips I would add to my original review are;
1) Buy a screen protector for the LCD screen, they cost about £6 including postage for a pack of 6.
2) Keep the camera set on VIVID colour mode permanently, results are much brighter even in dull conditions.
3) As the battery doesn't last a huge length of time it may be an idea to buy a 2nd battery if taking lots of of shots on single outings. The good news is that the battery recharges in a couple of hours.
4) The camera does not have a high speed USB connection so it may be better to stick to 1GB memory cards as it takes forever to download a 2GB card.
on 18 May 2007
I bought this camera to replace my old Olympus C770 ultra zoom and my newer Fuji F10 as I wanted something that would encapsulate what both cameras could do ( Small with a powerfull zoom ) I was not dissapointed, this compact has all the features you could want. It has many different scenes settings and the zoom is amazing for a camera of this size, I love the anti shake feature as well which will give some great long distance shots. Try using the wide angle feature too it gives a different and interesting perspective.
The screen is crystal clear and a good healthy 3".
I give this camera 5 stars coz I looked long and hard for really good compact that fitted all my requirements, give it a go you won't be dissapointed.
on 27 May 2007
Having had a few digital camera's over the years, what I was looking for was one with a decent wide angle and zoom and started looking at "prosumer/bridge " and even SLR camera's. Then I saw the TZ3. I've been using it for over a month now.
Pros: ease of use, sharpness, image stabilisation, 10x zoom, battery life, zoom-resume, very little "purple fringeing" (only on extreme of zoom), etc, and it's pocket sized.
Cons: probably only the weight (about 250 g) as it feels like glass lenses.
Conclusions: I've tended to use the wide angle with the 16:9 aspect ratio but the versatility of the 10x zoom is very useful. There are a lot of useful settings like histograms and grids to put on the LCD and you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want. In fact don't be put off with all the settings as you can just use "simple" mode and get superb crisp photo's and familiarise yourself later (if you want). The flash is pretty adequate for it being a compact.
I was dissapointed not to be able to get RAW and TIFF files, but the on-board processing needs little further adjustment. I'm very glad I've got one as I'm far more likely to be carrying it in my pocket than I would be with something bigger.
on 28 November 2007
I looked around at loads of other compact cameras, and finally narrowed my search down a Canon ixus 860is, sony T200 and the Panasoic TZ3.
I took loads of pictures on all three cameras, and after a while it was clearly evident that the Panasonic and Canon took the best pictures overall. The Sony with its hidden lens was nowhere close the quality lens found on the Canons and Panasonic. The Sony although being small and sleek looking took awfull pictures.
So I was finally torn between the canon and panasonic. When compared to the Canon, I found the Panasonic had a better Zoom, excellent build quality, Easy to use and in my oppinion better looking. The Canon was just too flimsy with too much plastic, and the Canon's screen was not TFT unlike the Pansonic's.
The picture Quality on the Panasonic is excellent especially in daylight, with pictures coming out crisp and clear when viewed on a HDTV. However it does suffer a little bit indoors and under poor lighting, but I guess thats to do with most compact cameras and therefore they keep marketing higher ISO's and Anti shake systems in there cameras.
I also looked at the Panasonic FX55 as it was a little bit smaller then then TZ3, however when looking at the results of both the cameras pictures, it is clear that the TZ3 takes better pictures compared to its sister camera the FX55. So I finally bought the TZ3 from Amazon, which arrived in perfect condition and was sent within a couple of days even though I used the Super Saver option
I have overall been very satisfied with this camera, and would recommend this to anyone looking for a camera which takes good pictures and is easy to use. I cant wait to try this out in the sun...
on 29 July 2007
I bought a Lumix when in the US on Amazon.com because the price with the exchange rate meant I got it for about £180.
I have taken an age to buy a replacement for my creaking Ixus and nothing was really doing it for me, mainly due to the poor optical zoom. What was very strange was that when I got to the US and bought my new camera a colleague from Australia had done exactly the same and bought a Lumix TZ3.
I have to say that it has bowled me over how good this thing is. I have taken pictures which in some instances look better than the real thing. One example is when I took a picture of the sunset using the sunset scenario mode - the pictures that I produced were incredible.
The camera came with a 256MB memory card which was sufficient for approx 2 short films and 50 pictures. I have since bought a 2GB memory card.
I would recommend this camera to anyone that wants the convenience of a compact but the power of a SLR.
I admit I'm a bit of a camera freak with a mere 9 digital cameras already but.... the 10x optical zoom lens on this model has won me over.
I already have the Sony DSCH1 which, in my opinion, is unmatched in terms of its quality. However, it's bulkier and heavier to carry and far too often I simply couldn't be bothered to carry it around - then regretted it by missing shots which the pocket cameras with a 3X optical zoom lens just couldn't take, eg wildlife.
This camera fits the bill perfectly. Not only has it the 10X optical zoom on 7 megapixel photos but... when used for pics up to 3 mpx, this increases to a whopping 15X optical zoom - which beats even the 12X Sony. The massive zoom, combined with an optical image stabiliser, wide angle (28mm) lens and small, compact build is the perfect combination for almost any snapshot - be it a macro of a bee on a flower, a distant landscape or a candid shot discreetly captured from a distance! It's easy to carry, fits into a (larger) pocket and is probably the most versatile model currently available - Panasonic promote it as the smallest wide-angle, high-zoom camera available worldwide putting it in a class of its own, for now.
I've tested many cameras on an amateur level for a typical `keen amateur' user and the TZ3 scores highly. This camera performs well - it has a fast start-up, a good range of modes (although I tend not to use them), a bight clear 3" display which can be powered-up in bright light, a high-quality video mode with sound, 3 picture aspect settings for both still photos and video (4:3, 16:9 widescreen and 3:2) and I've managed to beat the quoted 270 shots per battery by achieving almost 500 from a single charge using a mix of video, burst shooting plus the occasional flash.
Naturally, I have just a few niggles - but nothing too major: There is no way to set the shutter speed manually, eg to 'slow' the flow of a fast-moving waterfall (although it's possible to experiment with some of the 'fireworks' type modes with a slower shutter speed but the shot is likely to be very over-exposed). The incorporated lens-cover is a bit flimsy, the zoom cannot be used during filming (but I add pans and zooms during editing later) and after setting the focus for the first shot, the focus mechanism remains fixed at that point. This isn't necessarily a bad point - some cameras which don't fix the focus then pick up noise from the focussing mechanism creating a clicking noise which ruins the video. My only real niggle is that I think the Leica lens is superior to the sensor on the camera. I generally shoot at ISO100 but after about ISO200, noise can become visible on the photos when enlarged on a monitor - but this probably wouldn't be an issue for a typical user of this camera or printing shots of up to 8" but it is there and the shots are not as crisp and clear as my Sony. However, I probably wouldn't have lugged the larger Sony camera around to take these so any minor niggle has to be put into perspective!
I am very pleased with the camera and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good quality, highly-portable camera with long zoom and wide-angle lens, particularly those moving up from a 3X zoom 'pocket' camera. The customer service from Panasonic is also good so the camera can be purchased with confidence.
on 29 August 2007
Bought this camera from Digital cameras.com. for £230, high street prices can be as high as £300 so shop around. Arrived next day with a 2 year warranty. It has won numerous awards lately including T3 magazine top zoom compact. Nice build quality, and a large screen. The 28mm wide angle came into its own at a wedding recently. I would say it matches my Canon Ixus 750, but also with the Panasonic you get the image stabiliser and of course the 10x zoom, which when combined with the brilliant Leica lens gives very good results. There are many settings to play with, and as with most new digital cameras, you have to experiment to get the best out of it. If you are after pure professional results then go for a £500 plus SLR, but remember for the equivilent zoom you would have to invest in a twin lens kit, so add another £200. Lets face it most of us just want a compact point and shoot that you can drop in your pocket and take anywhere, and this little marvel can do this and a lot more besides.
Only received this Thursday but already very happy.
From getting it out of the box and charging (2 hours) and having a quick flick through the manual I was taking pictures/video and easily changing settings in the plethora of menus with ease. The camera build looks and feels sturdy. The pictures I have taken so far have been excellent bar the mistakes on my part! I particularly like the quick 'jump to settings' button which I will use a lot once I'm more familiar with things and set my two favourites up. The compartment for the memory card/battery feels sturdy and is easy to open/close. I was surprised and delighted to find that taking pictures without a tripod at the 10x optical zoom were very good but turned out even better after I switch from 'mode 1' to 'mode 2' with the ISO button - as recommended in the instruction manual. The screen is very clear and you are provided with excellent on-screen info if you so wish. On complete beginner mode my grandfather took very good pictures and loved using it. Battery life seems good - I've been using it for a day and a half and taken a lot of pictures, used the zoom constantly and taken half a dozen videos and am still on the first charge.
I cannot comment on the provided software as I just popped my Sandisk extreme III SD card into my reader - in the manual it does say the better quality SD (max 2GB)or SDHC (max 4GB)card you use the better performance you will get.
My previous cameras have all been Canon and I've been very happy with them. However I must say that in terms of build and optical zoom I think my TZ3 has outshined them all.
One point - when reading the reviews I noticed that someone was unhappy with receiving this camera from Amazon without a charger. Well just to put your minds at rest, mine came with all it's official Panasonic cables etc including the charger + english manual AND came within a couple of days even though I ordered on supersaver delivery.
on 27 May 2007
This is a super little camera, very portable and versatile, with a wide angle and a decent zoom (equivalent to 28-280mm). It's my first digital camera and I wondered whether an old dinosaur like me would be able get to grips with how to use it. I needn't have worried. The TZ3 is very easy to use, the controls are very intuitive, so that you don't really have to consult the (very comprehnesive) instructions very much once you've read through them. I was also concerned about how I would manage without a view-finder. Again, no problem. The LCD screen is huge - even I can see it clearly! Another big plus is the excellent image stabiliser. When I've tried using other people's cameras the images have often been disappointingly blurry from camera shake. But with this one they're very sharp.
on 3 December 2007
I bought this camera nearly three months ago as I was about to embark on a 10 day trip across Britain. In fact, I'd been looking at buying a new digital camera for some time, but the road trip spurred me into action and since that time, I've used it on numerous occasions.
I ended up doing an enormous amount of research into what to buy, which I tend to do on even the smallest item so I wasn't going to spend £200 on a new camera without making sure it was the right one.
So what attracted me to this camera? Possibly the fact that my last 35mm camera took 28mm wide pictures and I'd always appreciated the extra width, particularly useful if you're always struggling to fit everyone in!
However the fact this camera is a 28mm equivalent is, in a way, just an incredibly lucky bonus because I would have bought it anyway, based on what I wanted from a camera and what this had to offer. The beauty about this camera however is that not only are you getting a wide angle camera, but you're also getting one with a 10x optical zoom, equivalent to 280mm. In terms of quality compact cameras out there at this price, that offer that range of flexibility, well I can't think of any others.
So, what about the look and feel of the camera. The first thing you notice is the huge 3 inch LCD monitor. The great thing about this is it doesn't make the rest of the camera appear busy or squashed. Everything is well proportioned. The quality of the image shown on the screen is superb, even more so when you consider the size of the monitor, and I`ve never had any problems viewing this even in bright sunlight.
The build quality seems assured, as you would expect from an item made in Japan. Daft it may sound, but little things like the solidly built Off-On button, zoom lever and battery / memory card holder lock just provide that reassurance of quality.
One of the features on this camera is the optical image stabiliser, which is definitely something you will appreciate when using the 10x zoom feature. Start-up is fast, and repeat photos no problem.
But what I really like about this camera is that its so easy to use. I really like things that are menu driven and straightforward. I don't want to change a setting by pressing a series of totally unrelated or illogical buttons (fortunately whoever designed Panasonic telephones didn't also design their cameras!). This is really simple. Believe me, if I can use even quite advanced features on a camera, this must be well designed.
Onto the video. The one thing that is a shame is that there is no zoom when using video. However that is the case on 99.9% of cameras, so I wouldn't let that worry you. The quality again is fantastic. I went sailing in September and genuinely couldn't believe the quality of the film I took. You'll have to believe me, but I really didn't expect anything like that from a compact!
There are loads of different scene types, so many I think they are a bit of a gimmick but having said that, that's probably because I can't imagine I'm ever going to take "Candlelight" or "Underwater" photos, but then again, who knows. There's even "Pet" and "Food" scenes!
The software that's supplied is all very good, light years away from the rubbish you used to get bundled with cameras. This camera has many other features but I think you get the picture by now, sorry about the pun, but this is a fabulous camera which you won't regret buying.