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I purchased a Panasonic Lumix TZ30 over two years ago as an upgrade to my old TZ7. The TZ30 gave me everything I could ask for and more in an upgrade - so much so that I still use the TZ30 now alongside my newer TZ55.
With 14.1 megapixels and full HD, the first thing I did on buying the camera was purchase a large memory card - a 32 gigabyte card that could handle the speed of writing (in particular) high quality video to memory. Until recently, I recorded match footage for a local football club and discovered that the TZ30, with its ability to capture stereo sound, was perfect for this - though on occasion, especially when videoing at night, the camera would shift in and out of focus. This isn't too big a problem though.
The TZ30 shares a crowded travel compact market, but stands out in some regards. Its brilliant 20x optical zoom works well and saw a lot of use when I was on holiday. A negative to the zoom is the possibility of capturing dust in the zoom mechanism which will work its way further into the camera with more use of the zoom feature. This can be rectified, but only by taking the camera apart - best to keep a check and wipe the camera down following use, as well as storing it in a sealed pouch of some kind.
An interesting addition on the TZ30 is the 'Creative Control' modes, which act like digital versions of filters. Lots of fun can be had with modes like Miniature Effect - try standing at a height and zooming in on a town or traffic for a model village type effect.
The size of the camera is good, it's slightly smaller than many of its rivals, and the image stabilisation (built in, can be switched on & off) is a must if you occasionally suffer from a shaky hand or you're out and about with a bit of a breeze.
The TZ30 also comes with inbuilt GPS, allowing images to be located on an in camera map - though you will need to load the map for your specific camera from a disc beforehand.
I've recently purchased the newer TZ55, but I still regularly use my TZ30 as I find it is the quicker of the two cameras - with a compact camera like this, ease of use and the ability to produce the camera from a pocket or bag and quickly capture an image (with minimal set up) is important. The TZ30 manages this well every time.
The camera is a very reasonable £230.00 isn (depending on where you get the camera from) though I would usually not pay this amount for a camera, it was a present to me and I'm very glad I got it as it is worth every penny.
It has all the things you would expect in an expensive camera, for example the red eye correction, a self timer and white balance adjustment.
The face tracking function on this camera I believe is better than most, picking up faces 99% of the time.
The camera is available in black, brown, red, white and silver. I have it in white, which makes it look more girly and stylish. Although it is what seems to be an average 14megapixel the picture quality is outstanding.
It has a three inch LCD screen which is large for a compact camera and handy to see your pictures in fantastic quality and not have to squint!
It also has a 20x zoom which is incredible, and you keep the quality too which is not something you get in most cameras!
Having a variety of settings you can use it in most situations, for example in still image mode you have: soft skin, scenery and underwater just to name a few.
Not only is it a camera though, it is also a video recorder with high definition capabilities so not only can you catch beautiful still moments but also a HD film!
Rather than being powered by disposable batteries it is powered by a built in one that you can charge by plugging it in your computer or into the wall sockets- which is better for the environment!
Something that I had not heard of before in the camera world was the GPS which the Panasonic Lumix has, it automatically 'geo-tags' your photos. (For those who don't know what geo-tagging is which I didn't before getting this camera, it is when it tracks exactly where that photo was taken, adding an extra dimension to the still image) which is especially nice if you are thinking of using it for holidays.
At first glance it does look larger than the average camera and it may be a little bit but it does not make too much difference and the weight is roughly the same as ones I have had in the past.
The casing is a good quality metal which makes it rather durable, I must admit I have dropped in already though there are no scratches or any internal damage as far as I know so I would say that it is probably going to last a while though you expect this with the price you pay.
It takes a while to process the picture when using the wide angle settings, however when you are capturing a larger angle, I believe that it should be expected to take a little longer in order to keep the outstanding quality so this for me is not a deal breaker.
When it comes to cameras I am quite old fashioned and would have liked to have the option of an optical view finder, rather than relying entirely on the screen, it does make it harder to take a picture sometimes when you have to hold it out in front you, though those with a steady hand will probably not be effected as much as I may be.
Battery life is generally good, if just taking pictures it can last hours (5-10 hours) though if shooting video it lasts only about an hour. Even less if your GPS is on!
I still probably wouldn't spend this amount of money on a camera, though it does make a lovely gift. Fantastic quality, brilliant for experienced and beginner photographers.