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






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

Sigma DP1 Quattro
Sony Cyber-shot W830
Nikon COOLPIX L830
Nikon D750
Canon SX400 IS
Sony Cyber-shot H400
Panasonic Lumix LX100
Canon SX60 HS
Canon ELPH 340 IXUS 265
Canon G7X
Nikon COOLPIX P530
Canon SX520 HS
Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
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 when shopping at Amazon by clicking through to them here! The prices are the same, but they share some profit, and that's what pays for my work! Thanks, Gordon
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 Ken McMahon, August 2010
   
 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 is a 12 Megapixel pocket super-zoom camera. Released in January 2010, alongside the higher-end TZ10 / ZS7, they're the most recent models in Panasonic's enormously popular TZ series which introduced the 'travel zoom' classification.

The TZ8 / ZS5's stand-out feature is a 12x optical zoom. It also has a wide range of exposure modes including full manual control, very effective optical image stabilization and can shoot 720p HD video. These are all features it shares with its more capable sibling, the TZ10 / ZS7, but the latter additionally sports a 3 inch screen, built-in GPS, HDMI connector and AVCHD video encoding.

As well as its impressive hardware specification and advanced controls, the TZ8 / ZS5 is packed with consumer-friendly features including a wide range of auto exposure and scene modes, Scene recognition, face detection and recognition and a Q.menu that provides quick access to commonly used settings. Now let's see how it compares with its rivals...

   
   


 

Compared to Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55

 
 
     

The TZ8 / ZS5's maximum image size of 12 Megapixels numerically falls below the Cyber-shot H55's's 14 Megapixels. But unless making big prints is imperative, the difference in pixel resolution is largely irrelevant, with actual delivered image quality being more important.

The Panasonic Lumix TZ8 / ZS5 also has a huge 12x optical zoom, matching the Cyber-shot H55 for wide-angle performance and out distancing it at the telephoto end by 50mm. In one sense, the TZ8 / ZS5 provides the best of both world's - the H55's wide angle perfomance with the COOLPIX S8000's telephoto reach.

In handling terms it's very difficult to choose between these two models. They are almost identical in size and have very similar styling, with both providing a good range of automatic exposure and AF modes combined with fully manual exposure control. Both have accessible menu choices - though we think the Lumix wins out with its Q Menu system - and both are similarly priced.

Both also have 720p HD video with the option to use the optical zoom during shooting. The one thing that might decide you is the difference in approach to mode selection - the Lumix TZ8 / ZS5 switch-based system preventing easy switching to shooting modes, not to mention giving the camera a slightly dated look. In terms of quality it's also a close -run contest. Here we'd give it to the Cyber-shot H55 by a whisker, but again the broader zoom range of the Lumix might nail it for you.

For more information, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 review.

 

Compared to Nikon COOLPIX S8000

 
 
     

On paper, there's more to separate the COOLPIX S8000 and Lumix TZ8 / ZS5. First, the TZ8 / ZS5's maximum image size is 12 Megapixels compared with the S8000's 14 Megapixels. But unless making big prints is imperative, the difference in pixel resolution is largely irrelevant, as the actual image quality is much more important.

Both cameras feature super-zooms, but the Panasonic Lumix TZ8 / ZS5 has a huge 12x range, matching the S8000 at the tele end of the range and out-reaching it at the other with a 25mm super-wide angle.

We also preferred the TZ8 / ZS5's handling to the S8000. Of all three cameras, the TZ8 / ZS5 is the one that best combines ease-of-use with advanced features. It has point-and-shoot auto modes with scene recogniton and face detection, but also provides a good range of exposure over-rides extending all the way to full manual control.

Like the H55, the TZ8 / ZS5's optical zoom remains fully functional during video shooting and both it and the Cyber-shot performed better in our real-life resolution and high ISO noise tests. Do remember though, it's not all one-sided, as the Nikon S8000 enjoys an HDMI port and a higher resolution screen than the Panasonic, not to mention the ability to recharge over a USB connection with your computer.

See our Nikon COOLPIX S8000 review for more details.




Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 / ZS7

 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 / ZS7
 

Like its predecessor, the TZ8 / ZS5 was launched alongside a more sophisticated version at a hgher price. The pricier TZ10 / ZS7 features the same 12x 25-300mm equivalent zoom with Power OIS stabilisation packed into the same pocketable body. Both share the same sensor resolution with adjustable aspect ratios. Both also offer the same shooting modes with full PASM options along with the enhanced Intelligent Auto mode with Intelligent resolution. So far so similar, but there are of course a number of key differences.

The cheaper TZ8 / ZS5 is lacking the GPS capability of its pricier sibling, and is equipped with a slightly smaller and less detailed 2.7in / 230k screen (3in / 460k on the TZ10 / ZS7). There's also no AVCHD movie mode (nor the one-touch record button) on the TZ8 / ZS5, although it still offers the Motion JPEG modes, including the HD option at 720p. So you can still film in HD, but only to a maximum file size of 2GB which limits you to about 8 minutes per clip. There's also no HDMI port. On the upside though, battery life is improved to around 340 shots per charge.

If you can live without HD movies which last longer than 8 minutes, GPS capabilities, an HDMI output and a large, detailed screen, then the TZ8 / ZS5 is well worth considering. It gives you the compelling lens range and compact body of the TZ10 / ZS7 without its extra frills at a more affordable price. But if you're sold on the idea of GPS in a travel compact, not to mention longer recording times, an HDMI port and a nicer screen, then it's worth spending the extra on the TZ10 / ZS7.

For more information, see our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 / ZS7 review.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 final verdict

Panasonic may no longer be the only player in this market niche, but the TZ8 / ZS5 remains a very attractive proposition. Fundamentally, travel zooms are about packing the biggest zoom range into the most compact body. While the competition may have a marginal size advantage it's hugely outweighed by the ability of the TZ8 / ZS5's zoom to go where others can't follow.

Often cut down versions of more capable models, in this case the TZ10 / ZS7, involve compromises that are hard to swallow, but if you can live without built-in GPS and a bigger screen, the TZ8 / ZS5 retains almost every other feature of its more expensive sibling. Where it doesn't, for example the lack of an HDMI port and AVCHD video encoding, these don't affect the functionality of the camera in a major way.

Though it isn't the best in terms of handling, the inability to switch from playback to shooting mode by pressing the shutter is a pain and the menu system can be long-winded, the TZ8 / ZS5 is extremely versatile. It has all of the consumer-friendly friendly features you'd expect - often features like Face recognition are hobbled on economy versions of flagship models, but not here. And at the other end of the useability spectrum , where many models fall short of 'proper' manual control the TZ8 / ZS5 goes all the way with DSLR-style PASM modes.

Finally, with its up-front positioning of the Travel mode tab and it's associated features, Panasonic has made a noteworthy attempt to make the TZ8 / ZS5 a real traveller's camera. All in all, the TZ8 / ZS5 represents a very capable compact travel zoom with wide appeal that deserves to, and almost certainly will be, hugely popular.

 



Good points
Fully manual PASM exposure modes.
Effective optical image stabilization.
Quiet 12x optical video zoom.
340 shots from a fully charged battery.

Bad points
'Fixed' playback mode.
No direct movie button.
Limited continuous shooting.
Mono mic susceptible to wind noise.



Scores

(relative to 2010 compacts)

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

Overall:

18 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20
18 / 20
17 / 20

85%


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