Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7
A hybrid digital camera capable of taking great still shots, as well as 720p video.
- 12x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation, useful autofocus tracking and face detection, clear and vibrant pictures, 720p video capture
- No manual mode, awkwardly placed shutter button
This hybrid digital camera is capable of taking great still shots and 720p high-definition videos. We liked the overall image quality of our test shots, videos looked smooth and vibrant, and we made good use of the autofocus modes that are available. The only thing we don't like is the location of the shutter, which is to the inside of the mode dial, and we also wish it had a manual mode.
Price$ 769.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic TZ ('travel zoom') series of digital cameras will welcome the Lumix DMC-TZ7 in April. The Panasonic DMC-TZ7 has a 10.1-megapixel sensor and a 10-element LEICA DC 25mm lens. It will be a hybrid camera capable of taking 720p-resolution videos using the AVCHD Lite codec, and will feature a 12x optical zoom capable of reaching up to 300mm.
In a hands-on test session with a preproduction model at the launch in Singapore, the Panasonic DMC-TZ7 captured vibrant and clear images in challenging lighting conditions. It doesn't have a manual mode, so the majority of the exposure settings will be set by the intelligent auto mode, but it is one of the best automatic modes you could want in a compact camera.
It incorporates autofocus tracking as well as face detection, both features are a little more advanced than we've seen on other cameras we've tested. The face detection feature allows users to tag familiar faces and give them priority, with the hope of automatically detecting them and focusing on them when they are in the frame (The intelligent auto mode can detect up to 15 faces in the same frame). This feature worked more often than not, and it could end up being a handy feature for parents taking group photos featuring their children — their kids will always be in focus.
The tracking feature can be set to focus on moving objects, such as players on a basketball court, or cars on a race track, but it requires a little practice to master, as the zoom lever needs to be manipulated to make sure the object you are tracking is always in range.
At maximum zoom, the camera mostly captured clear images — even from a moving bus — which is due to its optical image stabilisation feature. Only fast and jerky hand movements made for blurry images at the camera's longest reach. In dark environments, the Lumix DMC-TZ7 will automatically bump up the ISO speed, but images won't be overly grainy until ISO 800 is reached. As for shutter speed, we were able to capture clear images with a speed as low as 1/30th of a second, but slower shots were blurry.
Despite having such a wide ranging zoom lens, our pictures did not suffer from an obvious amount of distortion (or barrel roll). In fact, there was only minimal distortion evident along the edge-most vertical lines. You'll be able to get great reach with the 300mm zoom lens, and it's also useful for macro shots. We were able to get right up close to our subjects and focus from only a couple of centimetres away. It rendered the background out of focus, but with shapes still clearly recognisable, so it won't give you a super-shallow depth of field.
Digital camera design
Physically, the design of the TZ7 is a little unconventional, with the shutter button located on the inside of the mode dial. This did cause the mode dial to be shifted out of place — especially on our preproduction models, which had a loose dial to begin with. The custom scene modes and auto mode, as well as intelligent auto mode, can be selected by turning the dial. The custom scene modes are especially useful for changing between regularly used scenarios. These modes should significantly assist photographers when taking specific types of shots — such as night or action shots — but one of our favourite modes was the film mode, which captured classy black and white images with plenty of simulated film grain.
The back of the Lumix DMC-TZ7 has a 3in LCD screen, a 5-way controller, and a dedicated record button for its video mode. As mentioned previously, the camera has the ability to record at 720p using the AVCHD lite codec, so it's not only a great point-and-shoot, digital still camera, it's also an above average, point-and-shoot digital video camera.
A comparison of the AVCHD lite and Motion JPEG video demonstrated the AVCHD lite encoded video's superior clarity and colour saturation. Audio function is not neglected either, as the Lumix DMC-TZ7 has built-in stereo microphones that do a good job of capturing close proximity audio. The digital camera comes with the required software for you to convert your AVCHD footage to DVDs or to prepare them for uploading to YouTube.
From our brief hands-on evaluation of this camera, it's set to be one of the best super-zoom, point-and-shoot compact digital cameras on the market. If you've been considering purchasing a new compact camera, it's definitely worth waiting until April to take this for a test drive — especially if you want a digital still camera that will also capture exceptional video footage.
Elias Plastiras flew to Singapore as a guest of Panasonic.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
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
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTApplication Support LeadQLD
- CCProject Support SpecialistVIC
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - Infrastructure ProjectQLD
- FTDrupal Developer - Senior or Mid levelQLD
- FTLevel 3 Application Support AnalystVIC
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- FTICT Client Services ManagerQLD
- CCChange AnalystSA
- CCLightweight Directory Access Procol (LDAP) DeveloperNSW
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistNSW
- CC3 x UX Designers - 3 month contract initially - IT Services company - SydneyNSW
- TPAgile Implementation LeadNSW
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- FTICT Client Services ManagerQLD
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)Other
- FTNodeJS DeveloperNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Systems EngineerNSW
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCSystems AdministratorQLD
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT