Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ1 | Digital Camera Review | Adjustments
Anyone on the move with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 will be taking photos in the automatic setting or one of the pre-programmed modes. The Panasonic TZ1 is an easy camera whose emphasis is on carefree photography and where settings like aperture and shutter speed have been completely taken over by the camera. Matters like white balance, resolution, ISO, compression, focal mode, etc., can be set by the user. The 19 pre-programmed modes each offer a solution to certain lighting situations and the only thing expected of users is that they correctly assess the lighting situation. In practise, the wide variety of modes is very handy and easy to use.
Panasonic DMC TZ1 - Wide-angle & Tele lens
One of the Panasonic Lumix TZ1's most striking features is the attractive 10x zoom range and the Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens. It is impressive to see how Panasonic's designers were able to integrate such a large range into such a compact body. Looking at the lens' performance we saw stable results across the entire range. The sharpness of the wide-angle pictures is good and the contrast is excellent and not too dominating. Distortions in the wide-angle right up to the furthest tele setting are conspicuous by their absence, and this is a great achievement. We can be clear about the sharpness of the pictures - there is nothing wrong there. Focus is good across the entire focal range, even in corners and if we compare the design of the lens to more traditional mega zoom lenses, we can only say that the designers have done an excellent job.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 - Image stabilization system
The big advantage of the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 with its 10x optical range is, without doubt, its MEGA O.I.S. system. Panasonic has consistently included this advanced image stabilization system across its entire range and it delivers the goods every time. This is also true of the Panasonic TZ1 and after you have used it for a while, you won't be able to imagine a Mega zoom camera without such a system. As the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 is fairly compact for a camera with 10x optical zoom, there is more risk of the photographer inadvertently causing movement blur than with a bulkier camera. The MEGA O.I.S. consists of two settings: mode 1 and mode 2. Mode 1 activates the image stabilization so that the image on the screen is also stabilized when making the composition. This makes it easier to frame the subject. Mode 2 becomes active when the shutter release is pressed. The final result sometimes appears to be minimal, but test photos show that Mode 2 is the most effective.
Panasonic Lumix TZ1 - Automatic white balance
In addition to the automatic white balance there are other settings with which you can achieve the correct white balance. In general, the automatic white balance gives excellent results, even in pictures containing both artificial light and normal daylight. The colours are accurate and realistic.
Pictures taken in daylight can be made mainly with the automatic white balance setting, but sometimes it is necessary to intervene if there is less light. If a photo is taken in poor daylight but with fluorescent lighting, you would normally adjust the white balance to fluorescent lighting. Strangely enough, the Panasonic TZ1 does not have this setting and it is necessary to fall back on manual. The results are fine as the manual white balance works very well and can even be fine tuned.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 - ISO values
The Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ1 has an extensive ISO series from 80 - 1600 ISO. The last two settings, 800 and 1600, are only active in the high sensitivity mode and cannot be selected manually. Such a high ISO value in a digital compact camera is still a matter for discussion and opinion is not usually in favour of the manufacturer. Unfortunately, this is true of the Panasonic TZ1. The high ISO value cannot be used if you want to make decent prints and I can't imagine anyone making much use of the high sensitivity. The low ISO series is another story altogether and shows what Panasonic can do. The quality is excellent up to 400 ISO, especially in consideration of the final prints of the test pictures. The automatic noise suppression gives good results and gets rid of any noise. In densely detailed pictures, this can be at the expense of some detail, but this is only noticeable if you put it under a microscope. Thanks to the optical image stabilizer it is not really necessary to make much use of the high ISO settings, which is all to the good of the camera and picture quality!
Panasonic TZ1 - High quality Leica lens & Mega O.I.S.
All in all, the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 performed very well. Although it is a fully automatic camera, it benefits greatly from the optical image stabilizer, good automatic exposure and wide variety of pre-programmed modes. The high quality lens makes an important contribution and in combination with the MEGA O.I.S. it enables you to enjoy problem-free photography. Panasonic could make it even better and one point in particular is important to me: better signal/noise ratio!