Pros Wide angle lens (28mm), 10x optical zoom, 16:9 video format at 30fps, sturdy construction, optical image stabilization
Cons Slightly larger than I would have liked, but this is a minor issue - the camera easily fits in my back pocket
Summary I have had this camera for 3 days and am thoroughly impressed. The combination of wide angle lens, 10x zoom and 16:9 format video option are simply unbeatable in a camera of this size. In fact the video is so impressive I will probably stop using my camcorder altogether. The 3in screen looks great and even has a couple of "extra bright" modes for very bright sunlight situations. The photos I've taken look outstanding. Net/net - a great camera!
Pros Large easy to see display, good picture quality and great stablization
Cons Uses propriotory batteries and records videos in quicktime
Summary This truly would have been a great camera if it had been allowed to use recahargable AA batteries rather than an expensive Panasonic battery.
I really wish Panasonice would use some video format that you could actually do something with after it is recorded. This camera as all Panasonics records in Quicktime, which leaves you with buying Quicktime Pro as your only real option to edit any videos that you might shoot with the camera. I would much have preferred that it used even uncompressed avi files or some other format other than an Apple product.
All in all this is an enjoyable camera to use and takes easy good pictures. Panasonic does have the best image stablization going and this camera shines as a result.
"Super Zoom!"on by kwren
Pros 10X -- 15X optical zoom, optical image stabiliser, good build quality,
Cons No manual controls, cannot pause or zoom while filming video clips, focus is fixed while filming in video mode, some noise on pic abouve ISO200
Summary I admit I'm a bit of a camera freak with a mere 9 digital cameras already but.... the 10x optical zoom lens on this model has won me over.
I already have the Sony DSCH1 which, in my opinion, is unmatched in terms of its quality. However, it's bulkier and heavier to carry and far too often I simply couldn't be bothered to carry it around - then regretted it by missing shots which the pocket cameras with a 3X optical zoom lens just couldn't take, eg wildlife.
This camera fits the bill perfectly. Not only has it the 10X optical zoom on 7 megapixel photos but... when used for pics up to 3 mpx, this increases to a whopping 15X optical zoom - which beats even the 12X Sony. The massive zoom, combined with an optical image stabiliser, wide angle (28mm) lens and small, compact build is the perfect combination for almost any snapshot - be it a macro of a bee on a flower, a distant landscape or a candid shot discreetly captured from a distance! It's easy to carry, fits into a (larger) pocket and is probably the most versatile model currently available - Panasonic promote it as the smallest wide-angle, high-zoom camera available worldwide putting it in a class of its own, for now.
I've tested many cameras on an amateur level for a typical ‘keen amateur’ user and the TZ3 scores highly. This camera performs well - it has a fast start-up, a good range of modes (although I tend not to use them), a bight clear 3" display which can be powered-up in bright light, a high-quality video mode with sound, 3 picture aspect settings for both still photos and video (4:3, 16:9 widescreen and 3:2) and I've managed to beat the quoted 270 shots per battery by achieving almost 500 from a single charge using a mix of video, burst shooting plus the occasional flash.
Naturally, I have just a few niggles - but nothing too major: There is no way to set the shutter speed manually, eg to 'slow' the flow of a fast-moving waterfall (although it's possible to experiment with some of the 'fireworks' type modes with a slower shutter speed but the shot is likely to be very over-exposed). The incorporated lens-cover is a bit flimsy, the zoom cannot be used during filming (but I add pans and zooms during editing later) and after setting the focus for the first shot, the focus mechanism remains fixed at that point. This isn't necessarily a bad point - some cameras which don't fix the focus then pick up noise from the focussing mechanism creating a clicking noise which ruins the video. My only real niggle is that I think the Leica lens is superior to the sensor on the camera. I generally shoot at ISO100 but after about ISO200, noise can become visible on the photos when enlarged on a monitor - but this probably wouldn't be an issue for a typical user of this camera or printing shots of up to 8" but it is there and the shots are not as crisp and clear as my Sony. However, I probably wouldn't have lugged the larger Sony camera around to take these so any minor niggle has to be put into perspective!
I am very pleased with the camera and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good quality, highly-portable camera with long zoom and wide-angle lens, particularly those moving up from a 3X zoom 'pocket' camera. The customer service from Panasonic is also good so the camera can be purchased with confidence.
Pros Easy to learn, didn't even read the book
Cons Flash will wash out photos if too close
Summary Nice features and pics. Very easy to learn if you have used dig camera before.
Don't get closer then about 8 feet to your subject with the flash on or it will wash out the photo.
Pros Compact, impressive zoom
Cons Images a bit soft, slow to process images with flash
Summary I couldn't believe it when I first found out about this camera: A compact, pocket camera with a 10x zoom! I ran to Best Buy to check it out before the end of their sale, liked what I saw, and picked one up. I've been using it for one month now.
I've been looking for a minimum 10x zoom in a pocket sized camera for quite some time. What I like about this one is that it really is compact, comes with a stabalization mode, and does not have tons of bells and whistles that I would never use. A basic camera that I could carry around with me was all I was looking for and this one fit the bill.
The 10x zoom is impressive. Having only had a digital camera with a 5x zoom (and still using my trusty Canon AE-1 for 200+ shots) I was amazed at how close I could focus on objects.
That said, I found that zoomed images come in a bit soft, though acceptable for everyday pictures (I wouldn't blow these up, though). Applying sharpening tools from Paint Shop Pro helps; but I'd prefer not to use it.
I was dismayed at how long it takes to process images when the flash is used. Even though I was using a SanDisk SD Extreme III card, it sometimes took longer than a minute before I could shoot my next shot. I tried switching batteries but found that didn't help. I was pleased, though, to find that turning the flash off not only allowed me to shoot more shots in less time but the pictures came out fairly well in darkened rooms after applying some Paint Shop Pro tools.
All in all I am quite pleased with the camera and am looking forward to taking it on many future adventures.