With its excellent Leica DC Vario-Elmar 10X zoom lens, optical image stabilization, 9.1 megapixel sensor, 3 inch hi-res 460,000 dot LCD and a plethora of features and parameters, it’s no wonder the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 is a Best-in-Class pick.
My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5’s Leica DC Vario-Elmar 4.7-47mm F3.3-4.9 (28 - 280mm, 35mm equivalent) lens has a remarkable 10X zoom range and produces images with such low distortion that few, if any, other cameras in its price range can match it. Coupled with a 9.1 megapixel (effective) image sensor, in-the-lens optical image stabilization, and really intelligent AUTO exposure control makes getting good pictures the first time, every time a pleasure.
If total auto isn’t your thing, the DMC-TZ5 has 21 scene modes, 7 image parameters, 5 white balance presets plus custom set, 6 AF modes, 3 metering modes, ISOs from 100 to 1600 (up to 6400 with boost), and shutter speeds from 8 seconds (15, 30, and 60 in Starry Sky mode) to 1/2000th second. There’s even a built-in flash with 5 modes. Plus, there are movie clips up to 1280x720 (HD) at 30 fps and a fantastic 3” high resolution, 460,000 dot LCD to view everything on. It all makes for a pretty impressive little camera that will handle just about any shooting situation that comes along.
Of course, there are a couple of caveats. First, and it’s not really a bad point, but battery life is about average with about 300 shots typical, less if flash is used or image stabilization left on continuously, before it poops out. Since there is no optical finder, the LCD stays on for viewing and composing, and that eats power, too. But for your average snapshooter, 300 images is probably three times more than they’ll shoot in a day anyway.
The second caveat is a big one: image noise. As with all small, high density image sensors, not just this camera’s, noise is a real problem even at the lower ISOs, but Panasonic has controlled it well up to ISO 400 with images being sharp, of good color with minimal noise and smearing. Higher speeds should only be considered for emergency situations where flash is not possible or unwarranted.
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 is the perfect, all-in-one camera for those on a budget who want a more for their money.
Comparison with Samsung HZ10W
Newly release in January 2009, Samsung’s HZ10W is a worthy competitor with a 10.2 megapixel sensor, 10X 35mm equivalent 24mm - 240mm zoom lens, and similar features, size and weight. Its only failing is a smaller, conventional 2.7” 230,000 dot LCD.
- +Optical Image Stabilization
- +720p HD movie mode
- +Zooming of lens in movie mode
- +3" 460,000 dot Hi-res LCD
- +Live View
- -Average battery life
- -No optical finder
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5
Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices
|Product||Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5||Samsung HZ10W|
Close Effective Sensor Resolution The Effective Sensor Resolution tells you the total number of pixels that are recorded when you take a picture. The units are MP, which stands for megapixels or millions of pixels. For outstanding fine compression prints, 3MP is required for 5x7's, 7.1MP for 8x10's, and 10.9MP for 11x14's. The effective sensor resolution is only one of many important factors that will determine the quality of the photograph when displayed or printed at different sizes.
|9.1 megapixels||10.2 megapixels|
Close Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. On any 35 mm film camera, a 30 mm or less lens is considered a wide-angle lens.
|28 mm||24 mm|
Close Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. Larger max focal lengths make distant objects appear more magnified.
|280 mm||240 mm|
|Image Stabilization Type||Optical (lens shift)||Dual|
|Min ISO Setting||100||80|
|Max ISO Setting||6400||3200|
|HD Video Available||Yes||Yes|
|Max Video Resolution||1280 x 720 pixels||1280 x 720 pixels|
Close LCD Screen Size The LCD Screen Size is the length of the miniature LCD monitor measured diagonally.
|3.0 in.||2.7 in.|
|LCD Screen Resolution||460000 pixels||230000 pixels|
|Size (W x H x D)||4.1 x 2.3 x 1.4 in.||4.1 x 2.5 x 1.5 in.|
|Weight (with batteries)||8.5 oz||8.8 oz|
The 10.2 megapixel Samsung HZ10W with the excellent Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan 4.2 - 42 mm F3.3-5.8 10X zoom lens (24mm-240mm 35mm equivalent) is a good alternative to the TZ5, if you need a wider view in your pictures. The equivalent 24mm focal length is very wide and something rarely found in a point-n-shoot of this price. If the standard 2.7” 230,000 pixel LCD is not a concern, then this features laden camera is a good buy.
Where to buy
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