The Panasonic DMC TZ3 is a super zoom digital camera inside a much more compact body then you will normally find with this type of camera. On top of this the DMC TZ3 also sports a wide angle lens. A wide angle lens comes in useful for landscape style shots or groups of people. Indeed any type of photo where you need to squeeze in a wide scene will be helped by this type of lens.
Another difference from a typical super zoom digital camera is that the DMC TZ3 does not offer a range of really advanced features such as manual exposure controls. This makes it attractive to someone who would like a longer lens, but would still like the simplicity of a point and shoot digital camera.
This camera has seven megapixels and the lens offers 10x zoom. Image stabilisation is also available.
105.0 x 59.2 x 36.7m
SD / SDHC
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Picking out the bricks on the building in the centre of the photo I am happy with the levels of sharpness the DMC TZ3 manages to achieve. The picture is a good one, although there is a small loss of detail from sun glare. I have also noticed that some of the blue lines on the boats have a purple tinge to them.
The second outdoor shot shows the difference a wide angle lens makes, with extra detail squeezed into the shot. It is a little darker then most of my similar test shots owing to the time of day the photo was taken. Sharpness is about in line with expectations.
With the lens zoomed right in the photos are not pin sharp, but it is still a good effort. There is a small amount of purple fringing showing in the photo. This is less than with many other super zoom cameras I have tested. Another familiar problem shows a reduction in the colour of the sky, with the blue taking on a greyer colour. One thing I really like about this picture is the way the DMC TZ3 handles the lighting.
Colour wise the DMC TZ3 is roughly mid range. You will find other cameras with stronger colours, but I feel this camera offers more natural tones.
I have given the colours a bit of a boost for the outdoor portrait. The photo was taken in the shade, so I used the white balance shade setting. This has the effect of warming the colours in the photo and helps to give the photo a bit of a glow. This is one of my favourite photos in this set of tests.
Both of the indoor, lowlight photos are very good considering the conditions the photographs were taken in. Not only do they show pretty good levels of focusing the DMC TZ3 also gets the exposure levels right creating light photographs. There is just a hint of red eye in the portrait shot.
The macro shot shows a higher level of definition than I am used to seeing. All the numbers on the watch are clearly defined. In terms of macro performance this is some way above average.
Taking lowlight photos without flash at ISO 400 produces good results. The DMC TZ3 doesn't produce the same noise levels or colour distortions that a number of other cameras do. I would still refrain from using this level of ISO unless it was absolutely necessary to get the shot. The highest ISO setting is 1250. By the time you reach this level picture quality has seriously diminished.
Considering the length of lens the DMC TZ3 is a very compact model. It also has a robust feel to it. You can choose from three colours blue, silver and black. There is a small grip area on the front to hold it steady and I found plenty of room on the back to place my thumb to further help me to get a good grip.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Ease of Use
Easy to hold, straightforward menu system, large 3" LCD screen for viewing the menu. All in all a well thought through digital camera.
Points I Like
Ease of use - indoor photos - LCD display quality - compact size - widescreen movies
Where it Could Improve
Small internal memory
If you would like a super zoom digital camera, but have always been put off by their bulk and complexity then the Panasonic DMC TZ3 could be just what you are looking for. Picture quality is good, usability is excellent and the camera also offers a wide angle lens.
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