I bought this as a pocket camera for when I don't want to lug my SLR around. The main feature that attracted me was the huge 12x zoom lens, which at the time was unsurpassed.
There are a LOT of scene modes on this camera, in fact, it can become confusing to decide which to use, particularly as they all have slightly different features and amount of 'adjustability'. In a lot of ways, it would actually be less confusing just to have a manual mode, but one is not provided. There is a mode where you can adjust a myriad of settings without a specified 'scene', but the picture taking is still automatic.
The picures are good, but can be a little noisy and over sharpened. They are sometimes over exposed, and not all modes can have exposure compensation. The bracketing is also only plus or minus one stop, which is not enough.
However, the zoom is amazing, and the picture and video quality great for normal use, so all in all I have been very pleased.
The TZ7 is a good all-rounder. With a splendid 12x Optical Zoom, a variety of picture modes, and two formats for High Definition Video, this is the perfect camera for your travels. It's very easy to use. Stereo mics give excellent sound reproduction, and although there's no viewfinder, the clarity of the screen and contrast more than compensates. The only thing I did struggle with photographing was a volcano erupting by night - but we were fairly distant on a ship at the time - you'd have needed a physically huge camera to have captured glowing lava on the side of a mountain anyway.
For videoing, I tend to favour using the AVCHD Lite, but beware; not all photo/video software on computers supports this format - if in doubt, use the other format Motion JPEG. Fortunately, iPhoto on the mac has recently begun support AVCHD Lite.
To get the most out of this camera, add a fast high capacity SD card.
I have had this camera for 18-months now, and I must say, I love it!! It was a present from my father who has been obsessed with photography for many years and really did his research. I'm not a photographer, I just like taking photos, without needing to adjust too many settings - yes I like to just point and press! The beauty of this camera, is that you can make it as technical and accurate as you want it to be. If I have time, I adjust the settings, but even without changing size, exposure, using macro etc I have captured some fabulous pictures which I will treasure forever. The buttons are a good size, the menu is reasonably simple, the pictures are very quick to download and the sound quality is impressive on videos. It also has a face recognition feature which will memorise facial features once programmed to pick out a person ie, your child in a school carol service, using that as the focus point - genius! The battery life is good, but if you are turning it on and off a lot, it uses it quicker, you are better letting it go to standby. Also, if you are holding it a long time, it gets quite warm and that reduces the battery life, but if you are aware of that, it is fine. I only really have a couple of negatives really. The screen is very sharp, but in bright sunlight, it can be difficult to see and with no viewfinder, it can be rather tricky to see what you are taking! Also, at night, getting the settings can be hard work, I either end up with an over exposed image or a big blur! This could be user error though! The price has come down a little since I got it, so I also feel it is really good value, but would suggest screen protectors, a case and a spare battery!
The TZ7 is a compact camera which I can take with me when I can't be bothered lugging around the SLR. It is small enough to fit into your pocket, or to hang from your belt.
The pictures come out looking good for a digital camera, as long as you aren't shooting in the dark. The flash tends to over brighten the object closest to you. The lens is good, the zoom is amazing, it goes all the way up to 12x. This also does 720p video, which look quite good on a HDTV but its a shame it doesn't do 1080p.
The great thing is that you can use the optical zoom while taking video, which is not the case with some other cameras. The noise that the lens makes when zooming isn't picked up by the microphone either so you don't have to run the videos through a filter on the PC to remove any unwanted sound.
Talking of sound, this camera comes with stereo microphones which with the microphones being so close together you would think it wouldn't work so well but you'd be pleasantly surprised, the quality of the sound is pretty good. The LCD Screen on this is a 3 incher and looks fantastic. It has adaptive brightness so it dims automatically depending on the light.
If you know what you're doing you can manually go through each of the settings to get what you want, at the moment I let the camera do all the thinking, but in order to take better pictures it would be beneficial to learn about all the different settings and what they do. If you know what you are doing you can adjust exposure compensation, white balance, bracketing, ISO, colour temperate etc.
When the camera is in automatic mode it detects what settings to use depending on what you point the camera at. If for example you are taking a picture of a plant, the camera will go into macro mode and show the icon of a flower, or if your shooting some scenery. It has modes for snow scenes, portrait pictures, beach scenes, party scenes, scenic photos etc. The camera can also detect the faces of people that are stored in the camera and will focus more on them, whilst displaying their names near them, which is a very handy feature. You would have to program the faces of your family or friends into the camera first though, but that is not too difficult.
Connectivity wise, it is very easy to get the pictures of the camera, you just plug it into your PC and the media is right their to print/view/email/copy. You do not get a carry case with the camera and only get one battery but the battery does last quite some time, i can normally get a days full shoot out of one battery, it would be an idea to get a spare battery just in case though.
Overall I would recommend the TZ7 even though it does not give you the best results when shooting in low lighting but not many digital cameras do. And the rest of the features more than make up for it. These can now be picked up for about £200, which is a bargain.
I have owned this camera for almost a year now, and I can say it's easily one of the greatest and most worthwhile gifts I have recieved. The quality of the images on the camera are exceptional down to the very last detail, the colours are vibrant and hold a fine sharp quality, especially when uploaded onto a computer and blown up into full size.
The optical super zoom feature of the camera is simply quite amazing, I personally found it very useful for taking images of concerts from a distance without losing any of the image quality, but I'm sure it could be utilized in many other interesting ways I have yet to experience. The digital zoom feature is also great, providing an even further, yet still clearly zoomed image for the earlier stages of zooming using the camera's default features.
I was also stunned by the HD video quality produced by the camera, which is actually better than my standard video camera in terms of quality, the only issues with this I have found are when you are zooming in while recording the zoom focus can blur and sometimes take longer than expected to focus in on the desired place.
In summary it's an excelent camera for professional picture quality in your pocket, for those who want a portable camera but also an acceptable standard of image clarency I highly recommend this camera.
I've had this camera, the Lumix TZ7 for about 10 Months now. It has to be probably the best amateur digital camera available at the moment. Certainly I find myself grabbing this when Im off out more than any other camera I own.
At first glance, it would be fair to say that it doesn't exactly have the highest technical spec of any camera out there. Its modest 10megapixels are nothing to shout about compared to others in its price range which can have upto 14MP's. HOWEVER.... it makes up for this lack of megapixels in sooooo many other ways.
(On a side note, you REALLY don;t need even 10MP's....... I rarely take pictures at more than 6/7. Why? You ask.... well... pictures at 10MP's have huge file sizes. and with the amount of pictures I take it would be an expensive task buying storage to keep pictures that can be upto 20megabites each. ALSO its worth noting that a 7MP file will happily be blown up to A4 size with no visible loss in quality if you get it printed professionally...)
Anyway, back to what makes this camera stand out :
*THE ZOOM: many of the camerras i've bought over the years have a frankly, PATHETIC optical zoom. That is, real zoom caused by the movement of the lenses, as opposed to digital zoom which is a software way of getting closer to the image by cropping the edges off. The 12x optical soom means you can get up close to the thing you're taking pictures of with no loss in quality. This is especially useful when taking pictures of animals and landscapes. Where you cant always get as close as you might like
*WIDE ANGLE LENSE: in the past, if you wanted to take a scenic shot, you had the option of taking several photos then using Photoshop to combine them into one image, if you were lucky, the camera combined them for you. With the Lumix.... the lense is wider than most cameras meaning you can get alot more in.... Not only is this useful for landscapes, but also for photos of groups of people.... you can get closer to the action
*INTELLIGENT AUTO... THIS REALLY IS SOMETHING TO TAKE NOTE OF : every camera has some sort of auto photo mode. However the Lumix cameras really have refined this. It can detect faces, turn the flash on and off... EVERYTHING basically that helps you get the perfect photo first time. That said, there are also plenty of manual modes for those wanting to be creative. Compared to most other point and shoot cameras, this one has the functionality to let you be creative, if you so choose.
I have been using this camera for well over a year now and can still say it's exceeds all expectations. Whilst the User Interface is simple to use (Simple set to IA Intelligent Auto) it still allows more experienced users to adjust numerous factors. On a shopping trip to New York my girlfriend was even able to use the camera! Set to IA the images it records are sharp, clear and balanced.
Battery life is more than sufficient for a days photography, infact I only recharged the camera once during a 4 day trip to New York.
Build quality is as strong as you would expect from a Panasonic Camera. The rugged body hasn't dented, scratched or dulled in months of day to day use.
When considering the ease of use, build quality and features of this camera it is easy to see why it's best seller. Optical zoom, red eye reduction, Intelligent Auto and scene adjustment make it a perfect choice for beginners or more experienced camera users alike.
I bought this camera a few weeks after it came out to replace my very old camera. I researched this for a while checking out lots of good reviews. I was very impressed and mainly drawn to this model by the big Leica lens with a massive 12x optical zoom. Leica is one of the best camera makers out there as they make cameras which cost thousands. This is basically the little sister of the 'Leica V-Lux 20'. They almost look identical except Leica's costs around £500. This makes the TZ7 very good value for money as you get the same camera and lens just with Panasonic's circuitry inside.
The camera comes with all the manual features you can think of in a compact camera and the intelligent auto is very good. For point and shoot with a bit more control, there are several scene modes (time-lapse is under starry sky mode). This sorts out all the settings for a particular scene.
I have taken great pictures of far away subjects at 12x zoom and as its 10mpx resolution, you can zoom in even closer on your PC to small details. However the camera shake is magnified as well so I would recommend a tripod for far away shots. Even though the camera has very good shake detection, it doesn't work as well when zoomed in.
I would also recommend buying a case like I did with this camera as you can buy ones made for different sizes of camera. It's useful for me to have as little bulk as possible when carrying it out and about so getting the right sized case is the best way to reduce bulk and protect your camera properly. For anyone wondering, i bought the 'Lowepro Apex 30AW' case for £15 off amazon. It comes with a velcro belt attachment, a shoulder strap and a waterproof cover as well. I got this one as there were plently of reviews saying it was like a 'made to measure' case for the TZ cameras.
I hope my review persuades you into buying this camera like other reviews have for me! It's a fantastic camera overall and I use it all the time. I'm even starting to use the HD video a lot more than I used to as it's amazing quality and you can zoom while recording. The 2 dolby digital microphones also make the audio fantastic. Overall, an amazing compact camera for the price.
I bought this camera somewhat on a whim with the new version being released and the reduction in price. I was already aware from some friends (one of which used to work in a camera shop) that this camera is a great piece of kit.
With the additional memory requirements and a case the cost neared £200, but that's still good value for money. The camera comes with a small amount of memory but it's not nearly enough to make good use of the full 10 mega pixels on a day out.
Unlike some competitors it supports a standard memory format in SD or SDHC (meaning high capacity), this makes upgrading the memory quite cheap.
Personally I would recommend getting a case, my friend broke his by treating it to a drop in sand and sea. This to me was a worry as the first use for mine was the Bournemouth air festival which turned out to be a rainy few days. Despite the conditions, the camera not only survived but it provided both crystal clear images and video at full zoom.
As a camera it offers a large array of settings for novices, amateurs and experts alike. It's most basic setting does almost all of the work for you and from there you can change it to allow you to do almost anything you can think of for a camera to do. I have made use of the tracking system to keep fast moving aircraft in focus for a sharp picture and the feature surpassed my expectations. Other nifty features I had not come across include the facial recognition system allowing you to register faces on the device so that it recognises them in photos.
The 12x optical zoom is a massive selling point, it does further that with a considerable digital zoom made possible by the high pixel quality. The screen on the back is crisp and large. It fits snuggly in your hand and the controls are intuitive yet precise. I can safely say this is my proudest purchase of recent years and I look forward to snap shotting memories with it.
It's only marked down on reliability and quality because I have yet to test the battery capacity, my friend's broke when he dropped it at the beach and the body is made of plastic where metal would have maybe better.
I have had this camera for a few weeks now. It is a compact camera. I had a TZ5 before and it isn't much different. Lightweight, but not too lightweight you're afraid it'll break. I like them a little chunky to be able to hold on to. The zoom is responsive and not too sensitive. Quick to take pics, just turn it on, point and click, it really is very simple. There are easy to use options for different types of photos (portrait, night, scenes etc.) I don't use these much, although the night option is good when you're inside and it is dingy. I've got a cute little carry case too which i just chuck in my handbag and i'm off. New baby nephew who is just 3 months has featured heavily in my current clips! Can also take video with the right chip, this is great, and the audio isn't too bad, although the battery goes a bit quicker. Batteries seem to last a long time. I've used my camera for hours at a time. I do keep a spare battery though just in case. Panasonic is a quality name and you get what you pay for without a doubt. Brilliant little camera, hence the upgrade. I wouldn't have gone for the newer version if i didn't think the old version wass great. Easy to upload on to laptop. All cables included. I'm no photographer, but i love taking pics and this has served me very well so far.
My boyfriend bought me this camera at christmas and it is fantastic. It gives a high quality of picture with a number of different scene settings from landscape to portrait to beach to fireworks and so on! The zoom is fantastic, even when zoomed in, it gives an excellent quality picture. It has been used out in the snow and a little bit of water caused no damage - pictures again were a good quality. It has been to Amsterdam and Italy and has taken some absolutely amazing sunset pictures. It is easy to alter the shutter speed to take some fantastic night pictures.
There is an auto function for those that are less competent with cameras and there is also facial recognition and auto focus. You are able to look at the pictures by date and add titles and place names to them to make it clear where they are taken (excellent facility if travelling and you don't want to forget names of places!)
Best camera I have ever had, shame the boyfriend keeps trying to steal it to use himself!! Maybe we'll end up getting another!
I bought the Lumix TZ7 just under a year ago now and must say it is one of the best cameras I have bought. The picture quality is crisp, the camera is packed with features and it is easy to use even for me!
There is a useful AI mode that automates the focus, lighting and speed so all you need to do is point and shoot. It also has a manual mode where you can adjust the settings yourself.
The video is the main reason I bought this camera. It shoots high definition at 1080p and responds well to shudders and movement. The sound is clear but I faced a problem of sound distortion when I placed my finger over the mic - which is inconveniently placed at the top of the camera. I shot a some footage only to realise when I played it back that the sound juddering - not pleased..!
Other than that I would say this is a great camera and would highly recommend it.
Wanting a small compact but high quality small camera for taking out and about as opposed to my canon slr I invested in this camera. I was drawn to the HD video capabilities and have not been disappointed - the video quality is excellent and the sound quality impressive compared to other small cameras with this capability. The colour tone on the still pictures is less good than the slr but the large monitor is clear even in bright sunlight and makes good shots easy to obtain. On the downside I dislike the need to use a switch to go into playback mode - it makes reviewing shots a slow and clunky process. The scene modes are fun and in particular I like the black and white and pinhole camera settings. Overall as a good camera to have "in your pocket" this camera is a great buy and the zoom lens is excellent especially if you like to take pictures whilst out walking.
This camera clearly demonstrates that Panasonic can manufacture excellent quality compact digital cameras. In fact, if you want a step up from this model, my suggestion would be a digital SLR, although of course they are also a step up in size.
I had not really associated Panasonic with making high-quality cameras as my previous experience with them had been the Exilim range, which is good, but there the design focus was clearly on creating a slim, easy-to-use camera.
The all-important picture quality
This is superb. There are a range of simple, easy-to-use features which allow you to adjust the camera settings so that it takes gorgeous pictures in even low-light conditions without flash. The best is the white balance auto-adjust. Through this, you point the camera at a white object and it "learns" what should be white, just as your mind automatically colour-corrects in low light conditions. So, if you are taking a shot in yellowish indoor lighting or simply in low light conditions, the camera will compensate so that the colours come out looking the same as you see them with the naked eye.
Styling and build quality
This is no disappointment. The camera's build feels like a cross between a large Ixus and a nice pre-digital compact Olympus cameras which my brother was a fan of. Certainly, in terms of size, it is bigger than an Ixus but it also houses an excellent lens and its pictures pack more of a punch. The brushed metal gives the camera a sturdy, solid feel. Best of all is the very generous-sized LCD display, which is extremely crisp. The menu system is also easy to navigate, although not quite intuitive.
I love taking photos for web design, and about a year ago I decided I needed to upgrade my camera. I wasn't after anything fancy, just a simple point and shoot, but I wanted one of the best available so it would last a few years.
After hours of reading reviews and trawling the web, I narrowed it down to a Panasonic Lumix TZ7 and an LX3. Unfortunately the LX3 was out of stock pretty much everywhere at the time, so I opted for the TZ7.
Lumix cameras are well-known for their great lenses, and indeed it does have a big lens as you can see from the picture. This camera doesn't have the tiny form factor that make others popular and attractive, but the quality of the pictures is much more important to me.
Over the past year I've used this camera in a lot of different settings, and I've found that whilst it does produce very good photos in bright light, darker conditions and underwater conditions produce very noisy (grainy) and sometimes blurry photos. This is annoying because the camera's screen always shows previews of the photos that are much better than the actual result, which I feel is misleading. However, if you're intending to use this camera in the daytime, then it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I have taken lots of photos of interiors and people inside with this camera, and whilst the photos do benefit from forcing the flash on rather than leaving the camera to decide, they aren't that bad. So it's not completely unusable in darker settings.
The camera can shoot high definition video, which looks good but is a bit ruined by the noise of the lens zooming in and out. You can see an example of an underwater video with the Lumix TZ7 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWv90s9dSSo (please note that the camera on its own isn't waterproof and you're looking at £200-£300 for underwater casing).
If you're willing to spend time doing post-production editing of both videos and photos, then this camera is probably a good choice. However, I do feel somewhat let down by the quality of the photos in general as they are nowhere near as amazing as people had made out in reviews. Incidentally, the two later releases of this camera, the TZ9 and TZ10, both have much poorer reviews on Amazon and don't seem to rectify the problems of the TZ7.
I have played around with the many settings on this camera. Many of them are quite non-technical, so you can select from scenery, sunset and a range of others. Others, such as the size of the picture and ISO are more technical, but a novice wouldn't find them too difficult to switch between. I would say that this camera does require a bit of fiddling to get the right settings - I tend to stick to default and then change the settings based on the resulting screen preview. Obviously this isn't ideal because the screen preview is often so different from the actual finished image, but it helps to take the same picture with a few different settings where possible.
As the camera is 10.1 megapixels, it's good for those who want to print large photos. As I use my photos for webdesign this isn't really as important to me, and smaller photos often do yield better results overall and have the advantage of taking up less space on my memory card.
The camera also has an impressive 12x optical zoom, which basically means that the camera can 'see' much further than a human and take photos with more detail at a distance.
I've only got really old 128MB memory cards, but photos aren't massively slow, which surprised me. I am going to invest in higher capacity SDHC cards though - class 6 is recommended if you're shooting HD video.
The camera comes with a Panasonic battery and wall charger. Please do read the charging instructions carefully before using so you get the most out of the battery. I find a full charge of the battery usually lasts about 8 hours or so, so it may be worth investing in a spare. These are quite expensive at about £30-35 for a genuine Panasonic battery; however I think it's worth it because you're assured of the compatibility, quality and safety. It's also worth noting that replacement batteries are compatible with other cameras in the TZ7 range if you have an older version or are thinking of upgrading to the latest.
There's also a USB cable to connect to your computer and transfer photos. The accompanying CD also includes an in-depth Photo Studio with a lot of features for editing and organising your photos. I do find that this is a bit slow and I prefer to use a combination of Windows folders and Photoshop for organising and editing.
This camera doesn't come with a case so you'll need to buy one to keep it safe. You also might want to buy something to clean the lens as it does seem to attract dust, though this hasn't affected the photo quality in my experience.
I bought mine from Currys, but you can also buy it on Amazon for about £180; it's come down in price a lot since the newer releases.
Overall, I have quite mixed feelings about this camera - it does take great photos in daylight, and well-detailed photos of people and scenery, but if you're looking for a very versatile camera or take lots of shots with little light then this probably isn't for you.
If you'd like to see some examples of photos I've taken with the Lumix TZ7, you can check out my photo gallery here: http://www.blossom.nu/photo-gallery/main.php (please note that not all photos were taken with my TZ7; going into a photo's details will tell you whether it was or not).
25 mm ultra wide-angle 12x optical zoom LEICA DC lens in compact body
HD movie recording in AVCHD lite with Dolby stereo digital creator
Advanced intelligent auto mode with face recognition and movie iA mode
3.0 inch, 460,000-dot high-resolution intelligent LCD with wide-viewing angle
Venus Engine HD with HDMI Compatibility and VIERA Link
(More information on the tech specs can be found at Amazon).
Thanks for reading.