The DMC-LZ3 is physically identical to the LZ5. It shares the same compact plastic body and button scheme as those of its bigger brother: control pad on the back; mode dial, power switch, zoom rocker, and image stabilization button on the top. The DMC-LZ3's LCD measures a scant 2 inches compared to the DMC-LZ5's 2.5-inch screen. Since both cameras use the same body mold, the DMC-LZ3's LCD looks smaller than usual against its 2.5-inch bezel.
The DMC-LZ3's 37mm-to-222mm-equivalent Leica lens with Panasonic's Mega Optical Image Stabilization is its most prominent feature. Like the DMC-LZ5, it offers 15 scene presets, including a long-exposure Starry Sky mode for astrophotography. The DMC-LZ3 also has 14MB of built-in memory, the same as the DMC-LZ5.
Unfortunately, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ3's performance is as lackluster as the DMC-LZ5's, as well. With a full second shutter lag and a flash-recycle time of 4.5 seconds, the DMC-LZ3 makes a poor choice for quick action shots. In burst-shooting mode, the DMC-LZ3 delivered an impressive 2.7fps but for only a meager 3-shot burst.
Image quality proves equally disappointing, with noticeable noise and chromatic aberration even at the lowest ISO settings. Specks and blurs fill the image, and purple fringing appears on object edges far too often. Even shots taken at ISO 80 are so noisy that the compression algorithm creates large color-shifted areas, and edges become visibly jagged. Noticeable vignetting starts to appear along the corners at the wider end of the lens, but that's not surprising for a high-zoom compact snapshot camera.
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-LZ3 is seriously hurt by disappointing performance and extremely noisy images. Its features make it a decent budget high-zoom camera, but don't count on it for decent photos when the lights are low.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)