Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3/TZ7: Small, HD Video, Dolby Stereo - demo video

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Habakuk, May 24, 2009.

  1. Habakuk macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I've made a demo with the extreme lightweight device. My first shot with it (yesterday in church -- organ). HD video with impressive sound in your shirt pocket! Adding some more demo shots today. For a first glance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg3icGqjufI

    The proprietary Sony/Panasonic "AVCHD Lite" format is not supported by Mac OS -- Corrected, in the meantime it's supported, see below--anyway the better quality (but larger files) "QuickTime Motion JPEG HD" (selectable) works fine on my MBP. 1,280x720 @ 30fps. You can record max. 8 min 20 sec with MJPEG/TZ7 in one piece because auf tax law limitation (the first real hybrid cam).
     
  2. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #2
    Hey I've been thinking of getting this camera for some time now. I would get it for the ability of inserting video into my travel blog. Is it really portable? I mean could you see yourself carrying it around like a cell phone most places you went? or would you have this giant bulge in your pocket. Or to put it this way, can you put it into a shirt pocket?

    Thanks for the video.
     
  3. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #3
    by the way, unless you're using imovie, it seems that there are actually workable ways of using avchd on macs.
     
  4. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

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    #4
    The colours look a little desaturated to me? Is this the case?
     
  5. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #5
    yeah i was thinking the same thing. I think the problem may be that the inside of the church is just not that colorful.
     
  6. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Compared to my iPhone it's in any dimension a bit smaller--only thicker and heavier. Yes you can transport it in your shirt pocket. I think it's the smallest device for HD video and Dolby stereo for the time being. You can zoom very smooth during recording.

    As said before the lights in the church were really bad and most difficult for a camera. Additionally I did let make iMovie the "video optimizer" thingy what was a mistake because it added more contrast and desaturated colors. It was merely thought as a sound demo. In some hours I'll add another demo video with better images.

    So far I am really impressed with the new Lumix. For it's size and the price it offers some high performance.
     
  7. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Mind that series name and product number vary depending on the sales area (DMC-ZS3 or DMC-TZ7). So Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 are the same thing. I'll try to change subject text.

    As promised another quick demo video made some hours ago. "YouTube-HD", the original file is a bit higher resolution. Record format "Motion JPEG", assembled (no image quality manipulation) with iMovie '09 on MBP. Recorded with firmware version 1.0. (Updating now to 1.1. 9,6 MB. Very slow download--20 min. Ups. I can't write data on the device. Need SD card slot or USB SD card reader.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEDt7Qp2Ad4

    Switch on YouTube-HD, put on your headphones or connect power amplification. The stereophonic sound is really great!

    You almost won't recognize it but the choir in the church stood in a completely dark corner with heavy and difficult backlight.

    The new developed "Intelligent Automatic" mode works pretty well (even more intelligent than calling the same thing with two names) and changes scene preset during record. 25 mm (equiv.) wide angle is very nice too. Love that little multi-purpose camera. It's very easy to handle.

    Just my two Eurocents: Highly recommended!

    Photo of the camera.

    Manufacturer's product info global. German-language.
     
  8. MrMister111 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    #8
    Can you tell me something as Im thinking of getting the TZ7...

    So you record in Motion JPEG rather than AVC Lite, is there any quality differences?

    Have you tried to import into iMovie 09 with both formats? does it import ok? what about AVC Lite? does it convert it to Apple intermediate 1st?

    What about battery life on HD video with zooming? Im looking for a digi camera that can replace my Mini DV, ie I want a digi cam that is as good as a camcorder, for an all in one device

    cheers
     
  9. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Sure.

    Some experts said that Motion JPEG has a slight better quality but larger files. The maximum shot length is limited to 8 min 20 sec at Motion JPEG ("AVCHD Lite" unlimited depending on the size of SDHC card--according to manual). Edit: This (max. record length) may be different in several countries.

    I had no success viewing "AVCHD Lite" files on my MBP so I didn't try to import them. But everything seems to be okay with the Motion JPEG HD files. I can import directly from the camera or a card reader into iMovie '09. Edit: In the meantime AVCHD Lite import works very well with iMovie '09. Please read on this thread.

    According to the manual you can import "AVCHD Lite" files only with the software PHOTOfunSTUDIO--and this software (ships with camera) is only for Windows. You can't read those files directly from camera or card reader--even under Windows you need the software.

    I would say after some tests battery life is good but not overwhelming. The battery is very small.

    I think it's one of the best camcorders in this size and price range. Very good image quality (photos too), superb sound quality. Easy to handle, good automatic functions, short starting time.

    Some drawbacks found so far:

    Vertical smear artifacts when there are strong direct lights or reflections in the video picture. Sound very prone to wind noises (as almost every camcorder). I'll try to get some microphone windscreens for it. It is very hard to get Panasonic accessoires (no battery here in Europe). Original battery is very expensive (€60), and there are only two third-party (Blumax--€40 and Mswsell--€30) batteries at Amazon available (ordered).
     
  10. thejohnny macrumors newbie

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    May 31, 2009
    #10
    I can confirm that you can import AVCHD into iMovie '09. Unfortunately, it's not as convenient as ejecting the SD card and putting it in a card reader. You have to use the USB cable to attach the camera. Once connected, iMovie '09 will detect the camera and import.

    Screenshot of import in iMovie '09
     
  11. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    So that's funny. I can't confirm that with my TZ7. Other than I've said before I can view the files (video play) in the import window of iMovie '09 (will detect camera) but when I want to import them an error message shows up. Tried that several times with different files.

    Maybe there are some differences between TZ7 and ZS3. It is confirmed that with the TZ7 the maximum record length is 15 minutes and some seconds for "AVCHD Lite" files (because of some weird toll legal regulations). The ZS3 is only limited by card capacity. Maybe that import miracle has something to do with it.

    Anyway. I've found a software that converts (free although there are some nag screens) AVCHD Lite files into *.DV files on a Mac. The software does a good job. I described that here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=7692161&postcount=39
     
  12. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    With iMovie '09 (updated today to version 8.0.3) the import of AVCHD Lite (generated with Pana TZ7/ZS3) files works fine now. It needs about 40 sec for importing a 1 min HD file with my MBP 3.1. I did a quick assembling, some transitions and export (5 min for a 2:20 min clip) into HD *.mov: Video and sound excellent with QuickTime playback!

    Import only possible with the camera symbol button and that special window (with thumbnail & clip preview), not via menue item "Files - Import".

    Really great! Now full AVCHD Lite support for Macs!
     
  13. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #13
    I just bought my ZS3 this weekend. It's silver so that it matches my MBP!

    While it's nice that imovie supports it now, I am stuck with ilife08. Do you guys think it's a better idea to spend my money on ilife 09 or go for final cut express? I use gmail for my mail and wordpress for my blog, so i don't think I'll use anything other than imovie....
     
  14. sarge macrumors 6502a

    sarge

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    Brooklyn
    #14
    Too bad the availability for this camera is a complete unknown. I've been trying to get my hands on this for 4 weeks now and nobody has it. I'll be hearing a choir of angels if and when I actually find that it's in stock.
     
  15. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Congrats!

    As long as you don't want to produce sophisticated (professional) videoclips get iLife '09.

    Have patience. I hope you can get one.

    Some indepth reviews on that fancy cam that I've found:

    http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_zs3-review/
    http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_TZ7_ZS3/
    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/ZS3/ZS3A.HTM
     
  16. razorme macrumors regular

    razorme

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    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #16
    I just bought the ZS3 due to it's good reviews and 720p moive capability with zoom and continuous auto-focus. I have had Canons Elphs to date, but they are only finally catching up with 720p, have never offered a widescreen VGA, and still don't offer zoom or stereo.

    I'm still evaluating the ZS3 - the movies are high res, but not as clear. I don't understand why they didn't just make H.264 files like the Canon, but instead use this AVC wrapper (or whatever it is). I also have found the on/off switch can move by accident, the mode dial is too loose, the lcd doesn't shut off when syncing, and the movie on/off can only be controlled from the back button which is awkward for my big hand. HOWEVER, the picture/movie quality is the most important, and it does very well here. The wide angle and 12x zoom are fantastic for the size!
     
  17. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Vienna Austria Europe
    #17
    I've put some photo mode demos of the camera in the Mac Rumors thread Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3/TZ7: Zoom range demo (shots of Belvedere Palace, Vienna) and warnings about the most recent Panasonic firmware update.

    Could you please evaluate this a bit more? Do you have some examples maybe? Thx in advance.

    I can't see that. The high definition movies are as "clear" as possible either in Motion JPEG format or in AVCHD lite format.

    I've never needed that file format before. Maybe Elgato Turbo 264 HD is an option for you:

    http://www.elgato.com/elgato/na/mainmenu/products/Turbo264HD/product1.en.html

    It's not so bad. It saves card space. But it's not so versatile as Movie JPEG format (no QuickTime support but full Movie '09 support since the last update some days ago as mentioned before in this thread).

    I've got used to that. With a little bit of skillness and care I can avoid the worst handling errors. There is a large message across the whole screen when the mode dial is not in proper position. Almost each of those small cameras needs some experience and practice here.

    Still refining my experiences here. You are right. I would like to be able to change the photo/movie button (however the movie button has no half-step). But I am getting better handling that day by day :)

    +1 on that. The advantages prevail by far.
     
  18. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    [​IMG]

    Another videoclip made with TZ7/ZS3:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JALetYmPih8


    As a special attraction in 2009, a white/yellow painted streetcar visits Vienna's Tram Museum (Straßenbahnmuseum). The Salzburg streetcars were taken out of service already in 1940 and replaced with electric trolleybuses. This by "Museumstramway Mariazell" totally reconstructed oldtimer streetcar was put in service on May 4, 1909 - almost to the day exactly 100 years ago - in Salzburg! With this car - on loan from the "Museumstramway Mariazell" - visitors may ride short trips around the Museum.

    All photos and video recorded with Panasonic TZ7/ZS3 in HD MJPEG format, edited with iMovie '09.

    Enjoy!

    [​IMG]
     
  19. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2007
    #19
    That's truly impressive. I assume it's auto-only in movie mode? The shadow handling is excellent and the highlights much better than expected. And the sound is better than it has any right to be. The only flaw (and it seems petty to be picking one out) is it seems a little juddery at times. This could be a YouTube thing, but I'm guessing it's the shutter being set too fast for smooth motion...

    I've been looking at the Panasonic LX3 but will now have to take a look at the TZ7 too.

    Oh, and keep the videos coming — it's like a virtual tour of Vienna.
     
  20. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Yes that's right. All in iA.

    Of course you have to love oldtimers to be able standing those noises ;) I have to confess that I took sometimes the sound from another footage esp. at the outside shots (dubbing).

    If I see the same thing you are talking about -- it's already in HD format. When you look at the clip from runtime 2:40 to 2:48 and concentrate on the streetcar the motion is not smooth. If you concentrate your gaze on something else in that shot it's not as evident.

    Seems to be a mixed thing of shutter, 30/25/24 fps calculation and maybe PAL/NTSC. The problem is as old as cinematography and discussed lengthly in the dpreview forum. I'll try to shoot the next clip with AVCHD lite format maybe it's better on that topic.

    I am pleased that you like it.
     
  21. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Just uploaded another Pana TZ7 video. Fireworks. Enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwXy37OIYlw

    Mind that there is NO "natural" sound delay because of sound velocity (way object--ear)! Watch and listen for your first time the explosions synchronized (manipulated with iMovie)! Better and even more dramatic than in reality. ;-)
     
  22. urbanmacUser macrumors regular

    urbanmacUser

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    #22
    Anyone upgraded to 10.6 and is now having import issues with the .mts files from the ZS3/TZ-7 - Im certainly am :mad:
     
  23. Habakuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Sorry for that, urban.

    I am always using the Motion JPEG format and not AVCHD Lite (with those .mts files) but I did a test right now with Snow 10.6: Importing a ZS3/TZ7-made AVCHD Lite clip via USB card reader and iMovie '09 (version # 8.0.4; import window Command+i) worked fine with image and sound as usual, exporting a HD movie (.mov) of that short testing project (and play with old and new QT) as well.
     
  24. urbanmacUser macrumors regular

    urbanmacUser

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    #24
    Thanks for trying it out. This is strange as both my Macbook and Macbook Pro have been upgraded to 10.6 and both will not import .mts files. I've tried connecting the camera via the wire it came with and using a USB memory card reader. iMovie is on 8.04 and when I import all the .mts files are greyed out :(
     
  25. rogerbaer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    #25
    Panasonic TZ7

    Hi
    This is my first post here. I bought the TZ7 a couple of days ago and have been blown away by the camera. However, I am completely unable to download video onto either my iMac or my Macbook. When I attach the camera it will readily download the photos to iPhoto. However, if there is a movie it just takes ages to download it to iPhoto and it is just a still JPEG.
    I am very new to all this and would be very grateful if someone knows how to download AVCHD (the manual says it is not Mac compatible!) or possibly the other format Motion JPEG. I can view the images on my Panasonic TV but they are not HiDef as I don't have a Mini HDMI cable. Also I would like to be able to edit my footage. Very frustrated to have basically a HiDef video camera ( thought I was buying a stills camera) and not be able to use it. Many thanks
    roger
     

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