Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
Support me by shopping at Amazon!
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Gordon Laing, May 2007
 
 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 is without a doubt one of the most flexible compact cameras on the market today – and one which has few if any rivals. It may not be the slimmest compact out there, but manages to pack in a genuine 10x optical zoom lens complete with image stabilisation and a 28mm equivalent wide angle.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - front view Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 - rear view











As we said in our review of its predecessor, the flexibility and convenience of having such a long reach in a relatively pocketable body cannot be underestimated. You’ll enjoy the kind of opportunist shots which only a long zoom can deliver, but at times when you’re unlikely or unwilling to carry a larger camera.

Panasonic has improved on the earlier TZ1 though by equipping the new TZ3 with genuine wide angle capabilities, and what you lose at the long end is more than made up for what you gain at the short.

Considering the constraints the optics have to work in, they’re also remarkably good. Geometric distortion and light fall-off are kept to a respectable minimum, while coloured fringing is virtually non-existent. The overall contrast may fall-off as you zoom-in, but this is par for the course with many super-zooms and easily corrected in software afterwards.

While the TZ3 boasts a couple of new modes though, it remains, like its predecessor, pretty much automatic only. Exposure compensation along with a wide variety of scene presets allow you to get reasonably creative, but if you want manual control over the aperture and shutter, then look elsewhere.

Panasonic Lumix TZ3 - silver

Like other Panasonic compacts, noise also becomes an issue at lower sensitivities than we’d like and you should really stick at 100 or 200 ISO for the best quality. As our results pages show though, it arguably performs better than the higher-end Lumix FZ8 in some noise tests, so it’s not all bad news.

So before wrapping-up, how does the TZ3 compare to other models?




Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1

 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1
 
 

Since the new TZ3 is such a unique camera, the most appropriate comparison is against its predecessor. Panasonic’s made several key improvements including the wider coverage and a larger 3in screen, along with implementing the useful Function option of the LX and FZ series, which presents quick access to common settings.

On the downside, the focal ratio is slower, as is the startup time thanks to the TZ3’s extending lens. The inevitable increase in resolution from 5 to 7.2 Megapixels also doesn’t make a huge difference, but the lens coverage, screen and functionality easily add up to make the TZ3 a worthy successor to one of our favourite compacts of 2006. See our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 review for more details.


Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8

 
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8
 

The FZ8 is arguably the next model up from the TZ3, in terms of optical range anyway. It’s a much more serious looking camera, styled like a DSLR, although much smaller and lighter. That said, it actually feels less substantial than the TZ3. In its favour the FZ8 boasts a longer 12x optical zoom range, although starting at an equivalent of 36mm, it’s not as exciting to use as the TZ3 in practice. The TZ3 also boasts a bigger screen, although the FZ8’s arguably looks better.

The big difference between the two models in terms of functionality is manual control. The FZ8 offers full control over its aperture and shutter, making it the preferred choice for the photographic enthusiast. That said, the TZ3 holds up well in comparisons and could end up ultimately being the better choice for many people. See our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 review for more details.


Final verdict

It’s hard to find cameras to compare the Lumix TZ3 against because it simply represents a unique proposition on the market. After all, while there’s plenty of super-zooms with stabilisation, none can squeeze into a trouser or coat pocket like the TZ3.

The lack of manual control can be annoying for enthusiasts, and the performance at 400 ISO is, like other Panasonic compacts, nothing to be proud of. But these are about the only downsides to the TZ3. Leave your creative options to various scene presets and limit the sensitivity to 100 or 200 ISO and you’ll enjoy some great-looking photos.

 
Click here for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 video tour
 

The earlier Lumix TZ1 was one of our favourite compacts of 2006 and Panasonic has improved on it with the TZ3. The noise levels and manual controls may not be any better, but the wider optical range, bigger screen and quick access to what settings you can change, make it a worthy successor.

We also feel our final sentence of our earlier TZ1 review equally applies here: it’s a highly compelling proposition for anyone who wants the flexibility and power of a long zoom with the carry-everywhere convenience of a compact. And by improving on its predecessor, the TZ3 earns itself our Highly Recommended rating. It may not be perfect, but it sure is good.




Good points

10x optical zoom with 28mm and OIS.
Large 3in screen.
Quick access to settings.
Excellent build quality.

Bad points
Noise becomes a problem above 200 ISO.
Little or no manual control.
Relatively poor battery life.
Ultimate image quality beaten by some compacts.




Scores

(relative to 2007 compacts)

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

18 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20
18 / 20
18 / 20

86%
 
If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs