Product Type: Panasonic digital cameras
Newest Review: ... the TZ1 is slightly unimpressive - images shot at anything over ISO 200 are quite noisy, so night time photography isn't this particular ma... more
Tough little shooter
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1
Member Name: JJJJ
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1
Date: 18/08/11, updated on 18/08/11 (106 review reads)
Advantages: Metal build, comfortable to hold
Disadvantages: Image noise at ISO200+, only five megapixels
Design & Appearance
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Available in silver, black, or blue, the TZ1 is comfortable to hold with a designated grip section on the right hand side of the body. The build quality is top-notch, and the metal construction makes a change from some of the ultra-plasticky cameras that i've used in my time. The metal body does make the camera a little heavier than some of its contemporaries (265 grams) - but it's not an overly weighty machine and can be carried around with ease. Overall, the TZ1 looks rather pleasant, and at 112 x 58 x 40 mm it will just about squeeze into a trouser pocket. Round the back there's a 2.5 inch LCD screen, which, although clear and glossy, struggles somewhat with reflections in sunny outdoor conditions.
The Optics & Manual Options
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So let's take a look at the main selling point of this camera - namely the 10x zoom lens. This 35 - 350 mm bad boy extends the entire length of its range almost silently and at a respectable speed. The glass is of a high quality, and although there isn't much distortion, I've noticed evidence of purple fringing at the longer end of the zoom. The TZ1's macro mode is qausi-effective, allowing the user to focus as close as around five centimetres of its subject, and there's dual image stabilisation, which, in my experience, I have found to work especially well. I usually like my cameras to have full manual controls, but unfortunately, the TZ1 is limited in terms of what you can fiddle about with. You can set the white balance and exposure compensation, but the lack of manual shutter and aperture settings means that the camera isn't one with which you can get especially creative.
Image Quality Camera Speed & Flash
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In terms of the image quality, the TZ1 is slightly unimpressive - images shot at anything over ISO 200 are quite noisy, so night time photography isn't this particular machine's forte. The Panasonic's Venus Engine II does attempt to employ noise reduction techniques, and although this helps with worst of the grain, it also results in smudged details. The full ISO range of the camera extends from 80 - 1600, and thankfully colours are vividly reproduced and natural looking for the most part. What's especially good about the camera is its speed - the TZ1 is quick off the mark with a fast start up, and there's very little evidence of shutter lag between shots. The TZ1's flash is for the most part effective, and has a range of 3.7 metres (2.4 metres when using zoom) - all the usual flash modes are present including auto and red-eye reduction.
Battery Life & Additional Features
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The TZ1 comes complete with a lithium-ion battery which performs to an acceptable standard before it needs replenishing. Obviously the amount of shots you'll be able to take will depend on the amount you use the flash and the LCD screen, although my rough estimate would be in the region of 200 - 250 photos. During my time with the camera I've found that the battery life could be significantly extended by dimming the screen down from the default level. The camera's main options can be scrolled through via a mode dial on top of the device - and whilst I appreciate the inclusion of this physical control, it can accidentally be nudged to an unwanted setting with a light knock. The rest of the options are engaged via the menu system, which is clear, nicely presented, and easy to understand.
Storage-wise, the camera takes a standard SD card, plus there's around thirteen and a half meg of internal storage to also use up. The additional features? well, the majority of modern digital cameras allow you to shoot video, and the TZ1 is no exception with a fluid and generally clear movie mode. The standard setting is the sub-HD 640 x 480 pixel resolution, although there's also an option to shoot in widescreen (16:9 @ 480 x 848 pixels). Sound can be recorded and the zoom can be used as well, and overall the image quality is pretty good.
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Although it doesn't have a wealth of manual options, the Panasonic TZ1 is an extremely well made and easy to use camera which features an attractive design. Its specs are starting to look a little dated (especially where megapixels are concerned) - however, for a beginner the camera would be a perfectly adequate travel companion (especially if you can pick one up for under fifty quid). It has to be said that the TZ1's photographic image quality isn't amazing, but for daylight use at lower ISO settings you won't notice the noise too much - three out of five dooyoo stars.
Summary: Sightly dated superzoom camera
|Ease of use:|
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