Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ1 | Digital Camera Review | Control
The Panasonic Lumix TZ1 is a light, compact camera. It is not the very lightest digital camera, but certainly one of the lightest and most compact Mega zoom cameras with a 10x optical zoom. It is not ultra thin, partly because of the prominent handgrip, but if you place the Panasonic TZ1 on the wrist strap or even in a holder, the format is handy enough to carry around with you all the time. You would not think that there was so much optical range in a camera that size and it is nice to be able to carry around a camera with such an all-round range. The average consumer likes to zoom in and it is great if you are on holiday, whether you want to photograph someone without being noticed, or fill the whole photo with that one particularly interesting elephant on your safari holiday.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 - SCN modes
Recently, the average size of an LCD screen has increased from 1.8 to 2.5 inches and even more. With this size, the manufacturer is free to entice the consumer into making more use of the camera's menu and this is certainly true of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1. The minimal number of buttons makes the camera's lay-out easier to oversee and increases the importance of the menu. The command dial on top of the camera gives the starting signal to select the SCN (Scene) mode. The command dial shows a SCN1 and SCN2 whereby the two most used settings are linked to the buttons and can be activated directly. The extensive range of pre-programmed modes gives everyone a quick solution to the best settings in a particular lighting situation. The SCN modes offer more creative solutions for everyday photography.
Panasonic Lumix TZ1 - Simple mode
The limited number of buttons still gives quick access to certain photographic settings. The hot keys in the form of a multi-controller contain essential features like the flash settings, exposure compensation and even bracketing. If you press the button, the setting options are shown on the 2.5 inch screen and changes can be made according to your own judgement. It is quick and easy, unless it is very sunny, in which case it is difficult to see the information on the screen. The pre-programmed modes make life pretty easy for photographers, but if you want even more ease, you can go for the Simple mode. In this setting, the Simple menu is activated, fewer options are shown and the information is given more clearly. This mode is simplicity itself, but of course, that's the point of having a Simple mode. You will never have to consult the instruction manual again.
Panasonic DMC TZ1 - 10x Optical zoom
Lots of consumers will want a digital compact camera with a 10x optical zoom range, but this is not the only feature that will win over fans of the Mega zoom; an image stabilizer (preferably optical) is every bit as important. The Panasonic TZ1 has such a technique, the MEGA O.I.S. and this puts it streets ahead of its competitors, who surprisingly still can't resist depriving the consumer of a decent image stabilizer.
The Panasonic Lumix TZ1's combination of an image stabilization system and a 10x optical zoom lens is a powerful one and gives the photographer better image quality immediately, while drastically reducing the risk of movement blur and making it extremely easy to use. You can take photographs easily, just as you please with the Panasonic TZ1, bringing subjects 10 times closer without having to worry about light conditions versus optical zoom. Panasonic also offers a high sensitivity mode which raises the ISO value. I'm not so keen on this mode. The Lumix TZ1's high ISO values have a too high noise ratio, to the detriment of image quality. It is possible to improve this, and Fujifilm has been demonstrating this for some time with its excellent signal/noise rations at high ISO.
Panasonic TZ1 - Venus Engine III image processor
The Panasonic Lumix TZ1 profits from the powerful inbuilt image processor, the Venus Engine III. Integrating a processor like this makes compact cameras like the Panasonic TZ1 quicker and speeds up image processing. The camera has a rapid shutter lag which prevents bothersome delays when taking fast action photos. Strangely enough, the shutter lag is slower when pressing in the first half of the shutter release until the focus has been confirmed before pressing in totally. It is as if the internal image stabilizer is causing a delay. If you press the shutter release in completely when taking a photo there is practically no delay. It is even possible to take a whole series of photos in rapid succession with a maximum of 3 images with a speed of 3fps.
Panasonic DMC TZ1 - Good grip & Clear menu
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 operates smoothly. Its prominent handgrip makes it stable to hold and it easy and comfortable to carry around. The limited number of buttons makes it easy to see what you are doing, but means that you need to rely more on the menu. Fortunately, Panasonic has kept the menu simple and you can navigate your way around it easily. Both experienced photographers and beginners will probably find it a user-friendly camera.