Panasonic TZ3 Underwater Review Conclusion
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Digital Underwater Photography
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
Underwater Photography
Panasonic DMW-MCTZ3 Review - Page 3/5
Underwater housing review
Zeehondencreche Pieterburen
Published : Friday, December 21th 2007
Text & Photography by Karin Brussaard
Zeehondencrèche Pieterburen
After a while we've had enough and we leave the young seal in peace. We set up the barbecue and talk about this unique adventure. Suddenly a car drives up on the breakwater. It is Jaap van der Hiele, volunteer of E.H.B.Z. (First Aid for wounded Sea mammals) who comes running out of his car and before we know it he has captured the small seal. It turns out that the seal is only five weeks old and badly undernourished. Seals have a birth weight of seven to nine kilos. After four weeks they leave their mother and by then their weight has increased to thirty, thirty five kilos. This animal does not even weigh ten to twelve kilos. Van der Hiele immediately starts giving the seal liquid food. With pride he starts talking about his work. Somebody on a boat spotted and reported the seal at this unusual spot. Normally seals repose on sandbanks. We feel rather silly of overlooking the fact that this seal was an undernourished young animal. 75 percent of the seals born here don't make it on their own because of lack of food. The young seal will be taken to the "Zeehondencrèche Pieterburen" and cared for until it is around three months old and will then be brought back to the Oosterschelde, in The Netherlands.
Young Seal Zeehondencrèche Pieterburen
Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ3 camera Short-Spined Sea Scorpion
Short-Spined Sea Scorpion
Panasonic TZ3 Limited setting possibilities Panasonic TZ3 Short-spined sea scorpion
An additional nice function on the camera is the image stabilization system. It enables shooting with slow shutter speeds. You do have to activate this function beforehand, which I find a pity because once the camera is inside the underwater housing the function is not accessible anymore. The camera has a limited amount of setting possibilities, such as setting shutter time and aperture. Therefore it might be less suitable for the demanding photographer requiring more advanced settings. For those who like convenience this camera is ideal. There is a considerable amount of scene modes available to choose from.
Every picture I made during testing was taken in "Simple Mode". And I find it striking how well exposed the pictures come out in this mode. A diffuser is delivered with the underwater housing to spread the light of the flash. This makes the dirt in the water less visible on pictures; a great advantage. One disadvantage however is the fact that the left bottom of the pictures is not exposed well when only using the internal flash. This picture of a short-spined sea scorpion shows it. This problem occurs with almost every compact camera.
Panasonic TZ3 battery Underwater
The camera is delivered including a Lithium-Ion battery. Unfortunately this battery got empty after one hour of diving thus requiring a recharge before every next dive. It means that when you go for more than one dive during a day, you have to remove the camera from the underwater housing in between scuba diving. On a boat trip this is not the nicest of jobs and mistakes can be made easily.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Underwater Review Conclusion
Panasonic TZ3 Review Conclusion : All in all I am very pleased with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 and the DMW-MCTZ3 underwater housing. Biggest plus of this camera is the large zoom range of 28-280mm that makes the camera perfect for using underwater as well as on land. The weekend that I was testing the camera a young seal appeared on the dike unexpectedly. It only took seconds to take the camera out of the housing and thanks to the extreme zoom function and image stabilization I was able to capture this beautiful creature. The camera takes needle-sharp pictures underwater as well as on land and it is an easy to operate camera. One disadvantage I came across is the battery's lack of stamina. Taking a second battery with you might be a solution.
++ Extreme zoom range making the camera ideal for snapshots
++ Image stabilizer
++ Large LCD monitor
++ Sharp pictures
++ Easy to operate

-- Battery empties after one hour of diving
-- Diffuser causes shadow bottom left on the picture
-- Image stabilizer cannot be operated when the camera is
   inside the underwater housing
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