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I was unhappy with my Canon PowerShot SX120 IS (see my review) because the screen became a mirror when the sun was shining and I couldn't see what I was taking a photo of no matter which way I was turning the camera. Besides, it has no view finder, something I was used to and missed every time I took a photo. After more than a year I decided to end the plight and sold it on Amazon. I was lucky and fetched a good price for it.
Then the question arose which camera to buy next. My idea was: a not too expensive digital one with a viewfinder and a good optical zoom. I spent hours on the net only to realise that there is nothing on the market to satisfy me. Surprisingly, Canon does have a digital camera with a viewfinder, the PowerShot A1200 for ~ 66 GBP. But it only has a 4x wide optical zoom. That's not enough for my liking. Besides, the viewfinder is tiny. Then there is a big gap, the next range of cameras with viewfinders costs around 300 GBP and more. Why is that so? I won't go into the problem again, I'm simply quoting what I found on the net, "A scarcity of compact models with this vital feature [i.e. the viewfinder] has been the shame of the camera market for the last few years." The expensive cameras with viewfinders are also all rather bulky, something I don't like.
In the end I bought the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ 22 *without a viewfinder*. Its dimensions are: 3.3 x 10.5 x 5.8 cm ; 195 g. I mentioned before that I don't like bulky cameras, but when I first took the Lumix in my hands I thought it could be a bit bigger. Yet it's pleasant to the touch, very smooth, and I've got used to it. I had set my mind on the grey specimen (as shown at the top of the site), but unfortunately, it was sold out. When I pondered which of the remaining colours to take (black, blue or red), I learnt something about sales speak. The shop-assistant showed me the black specimen and at the same moment when I said, "Conventional and boring" he said, "Timeless and elegant". In the end I took the red one. I always had conventional and boring black cameras, I felt it was time for a change.
What convinced me that this camera was as near to what I wanted was a) the price b) the 16x zoom range [24 mm wide angle (3,3-5,9/24-384 mm] c) the fact that Panasonic formed a partnership with the legendary and most prestigious camera and lens maker on the planet: LEICA of Germany meaning that there would be hardly any mirror effect (according to the shop-assistant). What did not convince me was the amount of megapixels, but more of that later.
I paid 193 GBP in a high street shop in Germany. Amazon.co.uk mentions the RRP 319.60 GBP and sells the camera for 211.59 on the day of writing. Why the differences? The camera was released in February 2011 and is already *old*, and the price is going downhill rapidly. The shops want to sell it as fast as possible so that they can stock the new model. Why is there a new model already waiting in the wings which will cost around 400 GBP if there's a good one still on the market? I asked the shop-assistant, he rolled his eyes and said, "It will have more megapixels, of course." (16 instead of 14). Obviously, it's easy and above all cheap to increase the number of megapixels whereas putting in a viewfinder is expensive. The higher number of megapixels beats the competitors (who also upgrade after a while). Customers, especially male, techno-crazy ones (this is not a sexist remark but based on real life observation), have something to show off to their mates thinking that more must logically be better. Ask a megapixel maniac what megapixels are and what a high amount of same means and it's likely that he doesn't know. From the net, " As digital camera technology increases, and the number of megapixels continues to grow, a common misconception is that it is necessary for the consumer to constantly upgrade their equipment. While a large number of megapixels are necessary in order to produce large sized prints, the maximum number of megapixels necessary for general photography purposes is only five (!!!). At the setting of five megapixels, digital cameras can capture high resolution photographs that are suitable for most standard print reproductions."
What would even 30 megapixels help someone who has no probs amputating people on their photos or letting telephone poles grow out of people's head? The shop-assistant looked at me in awe because of my wise remark and said, "As the saying goes: 'Crap in, crap out.'" Now, if someone knows German sayings, it's me, and I had never heard this one. He had made it up, but I agreed whole-heartedly.
What I'm interested in is taking good photos without any further processing. I must say that the camera is superb for this purpose. I won't tell you what one can do with it but what I do with it - or rather, what I don't. It has many modes I find utterly superfluous. Why would I need a GPS telling me that I'm just taking a photo of, say, the Buckingham Palace? (another reviewer finds this praiseworthy) Not only this but the description moving along the bottom of the screen all the time while I'm looking at the photo? It makes me nervous. I have a wrist watch, I don't need my camera to tell me the time. I can also click on a calendar, what for I'd like to know? As to printing the date and time of day into a photo, well, some people find this vital, I don't. When I'm on holiday and take photos and later look at them, I enjoy the photos and don't need the information that I took them in year X, on a Thursday in July at 5 pm.
To cut a long story short, I have the iA (intelligent Automatic) mode switched on permanently and switched off all the information crowding the screen. Normally what I see is very clear, only when the sun is hitting the lens at a certain angle, it may be a bit diffuse. I've only seen my face once when looking at the screen, but when I slightly moved the camera, the mirror effect disappeared. So the shop-assistant was right. The optical zoom is wonderful. I've taken photos of far away objects and detected details on the paper print I hadn't seen with my naked eye. Out of habit I always stand with legs slightly apart, upper arms pressed to the body, if possible leaning at a wall, a lamppost, a tree trunk or whatever in order not to take blurry photos, but it's really not necessary. The camera has a stabiliser for the optical zoom. I've taken photos of flowers from a short distance which are equally brilliant.
The other day I showed my camera to a friend. When she checked my photos, she was surprised at how large the screen was and how clear and luminous the photos were. Indeed, they are, it's a pleasure to look at them. There are digital cameras which show the photos in drab colours on the screen so that one always doubts if they will come out as brilliant paper prints in the way one saw them when taking them. I should also mention that what I see on the screen corresponds to the paper print regarding the measurement. There are screens which show more or less than the paper print, so this is worth mentioning.
The method to get the photos from the camera onto the computer is the same as with other digital cameras. All necessary cables are in the box as is a small leaflet explaining the basic functions of the camera. I won't bore you with details as to where to switch it on and off and how to activate the flash etc.
When the 16 megapixel generation will be on the market, the price of this 14 megapixel 'oldie' will go down even more, an opportunity you shouldn't let pass if you intend to buy a new camera in the near future. But think of it, now that you know that only 5 megapixels are enough to make brilliant photos, you can try to find the ancestors of my camera with 12, 10 and fewer megapixels for really good prices. If I had known so much about the megapixel business before I bought the camera as I do now, I'd have done that.
I'm not giving a camera without a viewfinder five stars on principle, so the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ 22 gets four from me. If a viewfinder isn't vital for your happiness as a photographer, it's five stars for you.
DSLR or a Compact Camera? This was the decision I was making and here is what influence my decision. If I am in the city or somewhere else and something spontaneous happens, I want to be able to get my camera and without any hesitation take amazing photos of certain events. Well, I finally ordered my Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ22 and when I opened the box I have to say I was extremely happy, super excited and just simply over-satisfied (if that is a word) with this product. It is an absolutely amazing camera with a quality like never before. It fits into your pocket or a small camera bag and allows you to carry it anywhere without any trouble what so ever. The TZ22 has a lot of fantastic features that allow you to be creative with your photos. I will go through the different functions:
The Body type:
Well as mentioned before, the camera is a beautiful Compact Camera that allows you to put it in your pocket or a small camera bag and you are ready at a moments notice. For the measures of the camera, they are as follows:
3.3 x 10.5 x 5.8 cm. These are the dimensions I stand corrected and of course it is very light-weight, weighing in at just a 195g. Therefore the best friend for a "pocket photographer". For the body dimensions, its weight and its compactability I give it a clear 10/10
Well of course these are the most important parts of the camera and let me tell you that this camera has a lot, i mean a lot, of amazing features and settings that allows you to play around with your style of creativity and create the most stunning photos with such a little compact camera. Here are the amazing features:
Starting from the very top surface of the camera (that is when it is standing up normally, lens facing away from you-straight ahead and you look from the top).
GPS- Yes this amazing little camera can do it all. While you are shooting your amazing close up, landscape or portraits, this camera can tell you when and WHERE you took the photo. All you have to do is click the menu button next to the display on the back of the camera and your GPS is turned on. It is required to be outside in order for the camera to receive a GPS signal, but when I did my trip to Europe and stopped by in England, it successfully showed me that I took my last 30 photos at the Buckingham Palace in England. You can also put the GPS into flight mode, meaning if you are in the airplane, this mode is perfect. In my opinion, if you want the most out of your camera's battery life, I suggest you only turn the GPS on when you are taking photos and are outside, otherwise leave it turned off to save battery life. Overall, the GPS works, it's great and even shows up when you took the photos. (You can see it on your computer when you are viewing your own photos)
I give it a 10/10
LOUDSPEAKER and MICROPHONE- Amazing, just amazing sound quality you receive with this camera. On the very top right side of the body the loudspeaker can be adjusted to the right volume when watching a video you just filmed by just operating the Zoom in and out button. The built-in mircophone close together both function as one on the right (R) and one on the left (L). The quality on not only the camera itself but also when viewing videos on the computer are just outstanding. Also if you check on other members who have already purchased this camera, you will see that this section receives a lot of positive feedback. From me no different. I simply give it a 10/10 for exceptional sound and mircrophone quality.
MENU/OPTION WHEEL- This little round display comes complete with 10 functions alone on the camera for an extremely quick set-up, so you are ready to shoot amazing photos at a moments notice. These functions are:
A (Aperture-Priority Mode): Well now you are thinking- what the heck does that mean? To make it simple for you, it just defines as that you have the ability to control the aperture (the gap which light passes through) and the camera then automatically adjusts the shutter speed for the best exposure.
P (Programmed Auto): In this mode, the CAMERA automatically adjusts the aperture and shutter speed for the best possible exposure, BUT you can still choose about different combinations, for the same exposure/result, from different combinations of shutter speed and aperture.
S (Shutter-Priority): This means, as the definition already says it, that you control the shutter speed and the camera automatically adjusts the aperture.
M (Manual): You can choose both the shutter speed and the aperture. But be careful here, if you happen to choose the wrong combination, your final photos could result in being too bright or too dark.
CUST (Custom Sets): This function basically includes all the functions above, just for better and quicker access, you have the opportunity to adjust and choose from 3 different sets of settings. Therefore you just set them all up the way you want them and when you are just about to take a photo you can choose one the sets that suits your needs most. If none of them suits your needs, you can still just adjust it manually.
3D: Yes, believe it or not, this camera has 3D functions. Just move the camera from left to right (facing the object) while holding down the "shoot" button and connect the camera to your television with the provided cables. Put on some 3D glasses and you just looked at a photo in 3D that YOU took.
SCN: This section is without the most interesting and most enjoyable section of the camera. There are so many functions, unfortunately I can not go into great detail but some of the functions adjust the settings for you AUTOMATICALLY for example if you are on the beach, in a plane etc. Just play around with these settings and see what a great ability you have to make the most amazing photos no matter where you are. This gets a 10/10 just for the available functions.
MS1 and MS2: Just like the custom sets (CUST), these two modes allow you to automatically set up a scene mode in advance. So instead of looking for the necessary function, you can just save these two functions and scroll to them with the wheel. There you go and ready to take photos.
iA (Intelligent Auto) Well why does Panasonic call this "Intelligent"? Because no matter what condition you are in, the camera adjusts every setting that is necessary for you. The correct exposure, lighting etc. I use this all the time, because it makes taking photos so much easier, especially when you have to make a photo really quickly and unexpected. I also give this feature a 10/10. Great thinking by Panasonic.
Well next to the options wheel, you have the "take photo" button and it is surrounded by the zoom-in and zoom-out button. Very easy to use.
The record button is on the right top corner of the top of the camera. Turn your camera on, press the button and you are recording. I think this is extremely handy, instead of having to look for the recording function in the camera. Beautiful concept and I give this a 10/10.
Underneath that is the On and Off button which is recommended to turn on in order to take photos and videos haha.
If you lay the camera down (front/lens side on table) you can see the 6cm wide touch screen of the camera. Next to the screen, starting from the top is the Camera and Media option. The Camera option allows you to start taking photos and videos. The media option allows you to look at your amazing photos.
Right underneath is the "Exposure" button, but to be honest, I would let the camera itself set that function automatically. If you do not wish to do so, you can set it manually, by pressing the Exposure button.
The selection buttons contain the menu button, flash button (you can control the flash from anywhere between 2 and 10 seconds), the Macro option for close up photos and the self time again from 2 to 10 seconds.
You can make the writing on the screen go away by pushing the display button (DISP. On the camera) and delete photos with the button next to it.
On the bottom of the camera you can insert the media card, the battery and it has a little screw hole for the tripod base.
The side allows you to connect your USB cable and connect the camera to your television.
The package comes with the TV cables, instructions, booklet a software which is amazing for looking at your photos and videos in amazing quality, however I would recommend buying a professional editing software.
Well there you have it, a nice review on the Panasonic Lumix. It is an amazing camera that allows your creativity to go beyond wild.
I give this camera, its functions and its accessories a clear 10/10 as I believe you get your moneys worth. If you want to have a professional looking and acting camera, get this camera now or make it a Christmas wish.