Product Type: Panasonic digital cameras
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Panasonic Lumix TZ 22
Member Name: MALU
Panasonic Lumix TZ 22
Date: 05/06/12, updated on 18/04/13 (107 review reads)
Advantages: brilliant photos
Disadvantages: no viewfinder
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.
Summary: a good camera
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