Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
- Sharp pictures, low noise, O.I.S and intelligent ISO work very well, big zoom
- Some fringing towards edges, very noticeable barrel distortion
The image stabilisation technologies combined with the large zoom and above average image quality make the TZ3 a great compact camera, particularly for travelers.
Price$ 769.00 (AUD)
Panasonic's latest range of cameras contains several interesting and innovative models and one of the key entries is the Lumix DMC-TZ3. Billed as a 'travel camera', it packs in a great bundle of features for the roaming photographer, including a 10x zoom in a relatively compact package, along with both optical image stabilisation and intelligent ISO sensitivity. The only issue we had was some very noticeable barrel distortion, and slight colour inaccuracy.
The TZ3's 7.2 megapixel sensor performed well in most of our tests. Imatest awarded it a score of 1701 in its sharpness test, which is a brilliant result for a camera in this class. This was reflected in our shots, which exhibited great clarity and sharp, defined details. There was some fringing towards the edges of our shots, but this can be attributed to chromatic aberration, for which Imatest gave the TZ3 a score of .098%. This too is a strong result, slightly below what we see on most compacts. There was a small amount of haloing in areas of high contrast, but it wasn't serious, and the fringing we spotted won't have any noticeable impact unless you're making fairly hefty enlargements.
Our test shots did however reveal one other issue; extremely prominent barrel distortion. Our charts towards the edge of the picture were noticeable distorted and curved, as if they were being pulled out of the shot. This doesn't have an impact on the subject in the centre of the photo, but you'll notice it on any background elements around the rim of your pictures. We rarely encounter barrel distortion this prominent, and it was the one area where this camera really disappointed.
In our noise test, the TZ3 performed well, with Imatest giving it a score of .61% at ISO 100. This is a great result, and our shots showed little in the way of visible image noise at this level. Furthermore, this camera scaled well with higher sensitivities, producing usable photographs all the way up to ISO 800; a rarity from most compact cameras.
Its colour results weren't quite as impressive, but were instead about average, with an Imatest score of 8.44 in the colourcheck test. Everything looked a little oversaturated, with no single colour noticeably worse than others. Most good compacts score between 6 and 8 in this test, so the TZ3 is only just shy of being excellent.
While its picture quality is fairly good overall, where the TZ3 really stands out is its features. With its gigantic 10x zoom and dual optical and ISO image stabilisation technologies, it is an ideal camera for those who regularly take photos outdoors or on the run. Panasonic's O.I.S has always been one of the best optical stabilizations on the market and by adding Intelligent ISO they have only improved it. Intelligent ISO, when turned on, will automatically adjust the ISO sensitivity and shutter speed if it detects movement in the picture, in an attempt to capture a clearer picture. In our tests it worked wonderfully. Pictures out of a light plane window, with everything rocking backwards and forwards, turned out crisp and sharp. If you regularly find yourself snapping hasty, blurred pictures then this may be the camera for you.
Aside from these technologies, the TZ3 is a fairly traditional Panasonic camera. It's got all the usual bells and whistles, including ISO sensitivities up to 1250, white balance presets with a custom mode and a variety of spot and metering modes. The burst mode is excellent, operating at three frames per second and offering 21 scene modes, which should keep novice users happy. The interface is fairly well laid out, with all the key imaging options available at the top, within plain view.
Panasonic has stuck with their traditional control mechanism, which includes a five-way directional pad and a function wheel on top. It works well, and everything is within easy reach. The design is another area where Panasonic has really done a great job with this model. It is quite chunky by compact camera standards, but the fact that they have managed to cram a 10x optical zoom lens into a body this size is really impressive. It is definitely one of the smallest ultra-zoom models on the market.
Overall this is a great package. We were disappointed by the barrel distortion, but the crisp, clear pictures combined with multiple forms of image stabilisation make this a fantastic camera, particularly for travelers.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 4 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCQuality Assurance LeadNSW
- CCDatacenter EngineerNSW
- FTMid to senior Java Software EngineerNSW
- FTMigration Release CoordinatorACT
- TPChange Manager | GovernmentQLD
- CCSenior Pega DeveloperVIC
- CCProject ManagerVIC
- FTPeopleSoft Business Analyst x 2QLD
- CCEMC Storage ConsultantWA
- CCContract Programmer (Internet/Intranet) 161019/P/615Asia
- CC.Net DeveloperWA
- FTSenior Python DeveloperNSW
- CCKofax DeveloperQLD
- FTWebSphere MQ Application SupportSA
- FTBusiness/Technical Consultant (CPM)QLD
- TPiOS Developer (Mobile)NSW
- FTPre-Sales Consultant - HardwareVIC
- CCSenior Security AnalystVIC
- FTLevel 1/2 Service Desk AnalystWA
- CCITSM Process AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Technical Specialist - UNIX/LinuxVIC
- CCMicrosoft Dynamics AX Solution Architect (Permanent and/or Contract Option)QLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst - Telco - Melbourne CBDVIC
- FTSystems SpecialistNSW
- CCContract Systems Analyst (IT Security/Admin.) 161014/SA/253Asia