Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 10x zoom -- opinions?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rogersmj, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #1
    I have a DSLR, but I'm looking for a modern point-and-shoot for "Santa" to give the family this Christmas for the usual reasons -- something my wife or I can just throw in a pocket or purse for those times when you just don't want/need the big camera.

    Let me say that researching P&S cameras is harder than DSLRs, because there's just so damn many of them! Canon Elph-style (my first digicam) P&S cameras are a dime a dozen -- 8-10MP, 3x optical zoom, all about the same deck-of-cards size. Yawn...I'd really like something a little better than 3x while still remaining pocketable.

    Then I ran across the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5S. 10x optical zoom (stablized) in a shell hardly bigger than those little Canons. Facial recognition. A dynamic exposure feature that sounds similar to the active D-lighting on the newer Nikons. Auto ISO. Continuous AF. A big 3.0" LCD. 15, 30, and 60 second exposure modes. 3 FPS in "sports mode". The sample images look pretty darn good too. All for about $235.

    Almost seems too good to be true! If it's all that, I'm surprised I haven't heard more about it. The user reviews are extremely positive too. What do you folks think? Look like a good deal? You get a free 4GB card with it right now as well.

    EDIT: Apparently it can also record 720p HD video at 30fps, and the lens does 28mm-280mm equivalent.
     
  2. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    Nov 16, 2006
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    Bay Area
    #2
    I bought one because it sounded perfect.

    Didn't work out so good. Very very slow (takes forever from pressing shutter to seeing image on screen) and the flash sucks (vignettes in all corners).

    If you're used to point and shoots, I bet it rocks. Used next to my D300, I couldn't stand it. Sent it back to Amazon.
     
  3. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #3
    Hmm, thanks for the input taylorwilson. After combing through the DPReview.com review of the TZ5, it seems the biggest drawback is the extremely aggressive noise reduction even at low ISOs; blurred the hell out of details. Other than that, they mostly loved the camera.

    I'm still considering the TZ5, but that noise issue and the slowness puts me off. Does anyone have any other recommendations for quality compact cameras? I know there aren't many in the 10x range, but I'd consider anything over 5x probably. I don't want a "crossover," one of those wannabe DSLRs -- I'd like something that actually fits in a pocket.
     
  4. King Luis macrumors 6502

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    Jul 3, 2008
    #4
    i was going to get it but decided not to and went for the fx37....then those were sold out so splurged a little more and got the fx150. for a point and shoot, i knew i didn't need a super zoom but i wanted low noise and fantastic clear photos. the fx150 did it for me. its based on the leica clux3 i believe which is why its so much better compared to other panasonic cameras. before you buy, test out how quick you can take pictures from flash to flash and non flash to non flash. you'll see some down sides on speed with different cameras.
     
  5. claimed4all macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    #5
    I picked up one of these about 2 weeks. I am not a professional and I do not own a DSLR, but I am avid with the point and shoots. I am really liking this camera. It takes spectacular pictures outside. The indoor pictures look good, sometimes even better when I force the flash off. The Video works very well, other than an oddly placed mic. Its a bit bigger than most P&S, but it is still small. The 10x zoom is just spectacular and combined with the image stabilization, you can get crystal clear photos at full zoom. I wish there was a manual mode on the dial, but there is not. I am also really liking the "Clipboard" mode, it lowers the resolution and puts the photo on the onboard memory, that way when I want to throw something on ebay I don't have to deal with it importing into iPhoto or getting mixed in with some event pictures. As of right now I am more than impressed with the DMC-TZ5. I looked at this first at C City and bought on Amazon. After comparing with the others I was looking at it was a no contest win.
     
  6. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #6
    claimed4all, do you find it to be slow, like taylor did? I keep reading about how much people love this camera, and as long as you don't try to blow the images up very large the noise isn't a big problem. The aggressive noise reduction, though, that causes loss of detail, is a bigger concern than the noise. The DPReview has some sample images that show how bad the loss of detail can be. I'm not sure if this is just the way a lot of compacts work and DPReview is just being their usual nitpicky selves, or if in real-world use this is a particularly bad trait for this camera.
     
  7. claimed4all macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    #7
    I would have to go through an do a check on the noise, but I have not noticed any bad noise yet, also I have not had to and the camera has not needed to crank the ISO up into the higher end. I am just a consumer, I have a little different expectation bar than the professionals. I have printed a few 8x10 of some pictures I shot in the autumn woods and they look crystal clear. The camera is no slower than my last one, but not much faster. I do not find the speed cumbersome when using it. You do have a continuous shooting mode that will not compromise quality if you are looking to just hold the shutter. It also has sports mode where it will lower the resolution to 3mp and shoot fairly quick. If you feel that its slight slow, go with the TZ4 which is supposed to be a bit faster, but it is 7mp, 2.5" screen and no hi-def video. In the end I feel its a nice Point & Shoot. Also, for those that found it slow, where you using a regular SD card or a Hi-Speed card? I stuck a regular in and it was awful slow, then I put the Hi-Speed it and it made a huge difference. Since its what the camera calls for I assume you are all using the Hi-Speed.
     
  8. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

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    Mar 18, 2006
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    UK.
    #8
    I too have a DSLR (Canon 30D) and after my faithful Fugi 4700 expired, I needed something that was more "pocketable" and less bulky than the Canon. I spent a fair bit of time checking out (and using) a fair range of P&S's. In the end, I settled for the Panasonic TZ3. This is the predecessor to the TZ5 and apart from having a few more pixels, HD video etc it is essentially the same camera.

    Why did I choose this camera? I wanted a simple camera to just point and shoot - my 30D does all the serious stuff. However, I did want picture quality which would, subject to obvious limitations, compare favorably with the the larger format camera. The quality of the Leica 28-280mm zoom lens is superb and capable of excellent images that will enlarge up to at least 8x10in. with little degradation. As far as speed is concerned, I can't recognise the camera that Taylor is referring to!

    All in all, for a simple P&S that is capable of superb results, in my opinion, it needs a fair bit of beating!
     
  9. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #9
    I have an FZ8, and bought it at Amazon for $238. I wanted to try a like DSL-R, instead of a DSLR.

    The FZ8 is nice, but I did find out that what most say about Panasonic Digital Cameras is true - there is a lot of noise in higher ISO or darker areas.

    I like the camera, but got a fantastic deal on an Olympus DSLR, and I miss taking photos with one. I had an older Olympus high-end P&S (5050) that was at the time $749, and it still beats a lot of cameras out there today.

    I have tried the Nikon, Kodak, and Canon P&S, and I like the Canons - high quality pics and low noise.
     
  10. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #10
    The quality of any photos taken at 5x-10x zoom with a PnS camera are not going to be very good. You'd be better off getting one of the new mini-DSLRs like the Olympus e-420 +pancake lens (a pocketable combination) and cropping the shots to get "zoom". The quality would certainly be better than any PnS, especially in low light situations, since that pancake lens is f/2.8.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    I've always wondered, what do people who buy the 10X zoom feature use it for? Logically the only time you'd need it is if the subject were far away and you had no way to get closer. Are people really shooting wildlife in Africa with a 10X zoom P&S? My guess is that either (1) People are just being lazy and using the zoom rather then walking forward or (2) people buy these and then never use the feature? Likely both.
     
  12. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    Location:
    East Coast
    #12
    There are certain situations where you'd want a longer zoom. It's no different with a P&S vs. an SLR. If you're in the stands at a football game, a 10x zoom comes in handy. Or if you're taking vacation shots from a cliff and want to get closer to an island off in the distance and don't want to get wet.

    The point is that no matter what the camera, a zoom lens can come in handy in lots of situations. Just don't zoom to 10x when you're taking indoor shots, unless you live in Trump's house ;)
     
  13. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    Indianapolis, IN
    #13
    I don't need another DSLR, and although I know the Olympus is pretty compact it's not what I would call pocketable. I don't have pockets that huge, nor does my wife carry a purse big enough to slip that thing in.

    Yeah, I think you just answered your own question. I like to have reach for those times you can't get closer. I rarely shoot in places where I have both the time or the ability to walk 50 or 100 feet closer to what I want to capture, and if possible I'd like to have the ability to zoom as much as possible on a P&S also. Just in case.

    I'm still considering the Panasonic, but I may wind up going with a Canon like the SD880IS because I know I can get good image quality out of those. It's only 4x, but it's pretty slim and still has IS. I dunno, there's too many choices!
     
  14. dcl macrumors regular

    dcl

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Calif.
    #14
    Just returned from vacation - took my new TZ5 with me and I am very happy with the pictures

    - Small enough to fit easily in my pocket
    - Scene Modes worked great
    - Being able to take 3 shots at different exposures, made sure I ended up with an excellent picture.

    Feel free to look at my vacation pictures and decide for yourself.

    http://lievsay.smugmug.com/Athens to Dubai 2008

    - Dave
     
  15. Dimitrios macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #15
    Try the LX3

    I think the Pany TZ series has made strides (I have a TZ3). If you're used to SLR quality photos, consider (for a pocketable but quality P/S):

    Panasonic LX3
    Nikon P6000

    "Compact Ultrazoom"
    Olympus SP565uz
    Canon SX110

    I also tend to browse www.seriouscompacts.com for good reviews and discussion. Check out Flickr groups too
     
  16. Hls811 macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

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    Location:
    New Jersey
    #16
    I had a TZ5 and thought it was an OK camera - I wasn't overly impressed with it but I wasn't disappointed either. Ultimately I ended up selling it simply because I wanted something smaller. (I know its pocket-able and small, but I still wanted smaller).. I ended up buying an Olympus Stylus 1010 which has 7x optical zoom and was smaller.. the 7x zoom extends to 260mm and compared to the 280mm of the Panasonic wasn't a big difference for me. I've also had quite a few Olympus cameras in the past and they've always produced some of the best results from a P&S that I've had.

    I do think the TZ5 was a little slow compared to other P&S's, the pictures (when in Auto or in one of the scene modes) were just OK. (Its tough to explain because the quality of an image and what makes it good varies from person to person - but I never looked at any of the TZ5 pictures and thought they stood out... I think in some cases the noise dulled some of the pics too much).

    If you do consider the Olympus, let me know - I'm selling mine as I'm trying to force myself into using my D60 more.
     
  17. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #17
    Hls881, I actually did run across the Olympus 1010 and it's on my list. 7x zoom in a body not any larger than the Canons is very tempting. The thing that irks me (although not necessarily a dealbreaker) is that they (still) use xD memory cards, when I've already got tons of SD cards and readers. Other than that...how's the video quality on the 1010?
     
  18. Hls811 macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

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    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #18
    The video is OK - its 640x480 @ 30fps - its not HD like the TZ5 but its been fine for my needs (I don't do much video).

    The xD Card thing bothered me at first too, but they now include an adapter to let you use an SDMini card and that was a little better for me since I had a 2Gb from an old phone I wasn't using. (and I had a USB adapter for that already too) I wish they'd just give it up and go to SD but I don't see that happening. I like Olympus cameras alot but I see that being a downer for alot of potential buyers.

    Anyway - heres the info on mine if you decide to go Olympus.
     
  19. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    London
    #19
    Actually, it is the FX37 that is the exact same as the Leica C-Lux 3 (except for the signage of course).
     
  20. titaniummd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    #20
    I have the TZ-5. I got the 10X zoom since I cannot always get seating in the front row of a performance for my child. I also like the zoom if I am somewhere that restricts the ability to get closer - like photography of Zoo animals, outdoor concerts or landmarks like the White House. It also has a decent wide angle lens. I bought 10X since my other point and shoot had only 3 X - and this was the smallest point and shoot 10 X with a metallic body at this price point.

    When I went to Portugal and India, it was small enough to fit on my belt and take a bunch of photos from various distances - without having to lug around a large SLR hanging off of my neck (which is just asking to get robbed in a foreign country).

    I use it as a point and shoot and don't mess with ISO settings that much.

    Video taken on the camera is great. However, sound is limited with the small microphone.
     

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