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on 17 September 2012
I am not a photographer. I am simply someone who uses a camera to record memories, hoping that at some 'twilight' stage in the far distant future I can look back over my life and be reminded of things I did, places I went, people I knew. Even now I have an electronic photo frame in the lounge, cycling through parts of my life, one new image every 15 minutes. How often it catches my eye as I walk past and I stop to think about that holiday or those flights.

My bigger Canon Powershot has been a great camera, but all too often I don't have it with me when I need it, and my smartphone camera is ok, but irritatingly inflexible. So I looked for a compact to fill in, was pointed at the Panasonic range and discovered the TZ30.

It's a handy size, seems well built and has one major strongpoint above all the others. Its 'intelligent auto' mode is perfect 95% of the time for the shot where you pull the camera from your pocket, point and shoot. It seems to work pretty well in low light also - and the auto panorama is a joy to use, providing effectively a super-wide-angle. No need to take it to the full 360 degrees, just sweep the area in front of you, crop if you wish, and you end up with a perfect wide-angle shot.

There are plenty more options if you wish to take control of the camera, rather than the other way round.

I have seen the image quality criticised in more 'enthusiast' reviews. Maybe there are better, but for me the images this little camera turns out are plenty good enough. Sufficient that I can see the Canon being used far less.

If you are looking for instant memory capture, you have found the solution.
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on 16 August 2012
This is the one with GPS and a 3" touch screen. I was very impressed with this small and light camera not only were the pictures very sharp it was very versatile due to the 20X zoom lens (a Leica 24mm to 480mm [35mm equivalent] with an aperture of between F3.3 and F6.4), as it is 14Mp it is possible to use the digital zoom without too much degrading of the picture, there are two digital modes 2X and 4X additional zoom which will give a max of useable zoom of 80 X. There were a few different things about this camera one the GPS which allows real mapping to be displayed on the 3" screen out of the box the map lacks detail however additional mapping can be downloaded from the supplied CD to the SD card so buy a large one (it does take SDXC cards of up to 64Gb) as the mapping detail will use up SD memory. The problem with the GPS which is very accurate once the satellites have been acquired is the time that it takes to acquire a satellite from off. The instructions say this can take up to 2 minutes but I found it took far longer; it is not so bad if the GPS is left on but this runs down the battery very quickly. Also remember to turn the GPS off if you travel by plane as even with the camera off the GPS remains on unless you switch it off.
The other thing was the touch screen which some are just normal selections; it can also be driven by switch and button. The thing that took me some time to get used to is the fact that you can touch the screen to focus on a particular area and tap the screen to take the photograph, but very good once I got used to it. The thing I did not try as I do not have a 3D TV is the ability to take 3D still photographs so I cannot tell if this is useful or a gimmick.
There are a multitude of metering, exposure and scene modes including the usual sepia and black and white, there were a couple of modes I have not seen before including "Toy" which tries to replicate a toy camera, I have no idea why.
The flash is fully controllable including the ability to turn the flash off, useful to prevent annoying people at stadiums etc where a flash would be totally ineffective.
The video capabilities are excellent, with stereo sound, however as usual if you want to display HD videos (1920 X 1080) you have to do it via the camera and HDMI lead (lead not supplied)
Charging is accomplished via the USB lead while the battery is in the camera as no separate charger is supplied. This is a mixed blessing it means that if you want to charge a spare battery you need a charger but also means that you can also run the camera from one of the rechargeable batteries that have a USB output.
Once you have taken a photograph as the camera has a 3" screen it is possible to edit the picture in the camera and while the options are minimal compared to those on a separate editing programme they are effective.
Why "almost perfect" I appreciate it would cost more but if only there was a viewfinder I would willingly pay more as although the screen is bright it is overwhelmed if you have bright sunlight behind you.
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on 7 May 2012
I have been using a digital compact for some years now and decided to upgrade particularly with good zoom and no shutter delay. This camera exceeds my expectations completely - BRILLIANT
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on 15 April 2012
This is now best superzoom on market IMO.owned Sony 9 v and liked it but not perfect.used this over weekend and results speak for themselves.good colourfull defined images, panarama mode now same as Sony's all auto.
Size is great not too small feels right.ordered via another website Inc case for 289.
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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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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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VINE VOICEon 24 January 2013
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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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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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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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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