"Almost Perfect 4.9 Stars!"5.0 starson by DavidCameraCrazy
Pros: + Intelligent automatic is amazing
+ Solid metal body, stylish design
+ Intuitive menu plus very convenient Quick-menu
+ Image quality when optical zoom was at max was very good
+ Very good movie quality in 720p
+ Accepts SD/SDHC and new SDXC
Cons: - A mechanical lever for switching between shooting and playback modes
- Some soft "sh-sh-sh" noise while zooming in and out (but no "clicks")
- I wish more sensitivity for low-light shooting
Summary: After using this camera for a few weeks I am amending my rating and giving it 5 stars. This camera is truly incredible. The intelligent automatic is amazing---I only move it to manual for a few special situations. The only real complaint is that I occasionally inadvertently hit the video button. Otherwise it is simply amazing.
It handles difficult situations with grace. Sunset with sky and foreground properly exposed. Delivery room newborn with no flash and low ambient lighting. Black and white is fantastic. Couldn't be happier.
This is a great camera for a beginner---Point and shoot. Lots of control for advance photographers. I'm sorry to say I don't lug around a camera bag and tripod anymore. Just slip this in my purse.
I waited a long time to upgrade from the first generation Panasonic Lumix TZ1 (complete with dangling lens cover & 5MP) Glad I did. The best improvements are the quick power-up and lack of a shutter delay for catching fast action. If you leave it in the completely automatic mode it does an impressive job---and if you need control there's plenty and then some. Lots of programs plus aperture and shutter priority or complete control.
Other notable improvements are in the macro end of things where capturing very fine close-ups are greatly improved---my TZ1 was always focusing on the background if I could get it to focus at all. This does an incredible job! Almost too much detail (if that's possible) Every speck on the petal of a flower is exposed. This camera is slightly smaller and has a larger display screen. Most of the functions and dials are similar and I find easy to use but that may be because they are familiar.
Flash is improved over the first generation.
The zoom on the original was 10X. 12X even better. I took incredible photos of bullfrogs 15 feet away. Unbelievable detail.
This camera isn't perfect and no camera will ever be. It would be nice to have a more powerful flash and nice if you could shoot in lower light with less noise without flash and it would be nice if it had a 20X optical zoom and a faster lens but for what it is its an incredible piece of engineering. AND don't forget the Leica lens which is just plain beautiful.
All cameras have limitations and this is no exception. However it will get you a great photo most of the time. The wide angle to long telephoto range is why I bought my first Lumix. This flexibility makes for great travel photos. I did side by side comparisons of a Sony, Canon, Nikon and the first Lumix in the store and then we printed them out on the spot. No comparison. No ghosting, better color correction, better macro. And I like the ergonomics. I always place the wrist band over my wrist and hold onto the camera with fingers and pad of thumb and it feels secure. Some of the ultra small cameras are almost too small for me. (Didn't compare to current models)
What is truly awful about this camera is that the manual is on a disk and covers this camera and its 2 predecessors making it a bit (if Not totally confusing at times). It also does not come with MAC compatible editing software which is really not a big deal for me. One person asked if it is MAC OSX 10.6.3 compatible and it is. The only problem I've encountered is in using Aperture (a MAC program)it doesn't want to import directly into a project that has other images from my other Lumix camera. Make a new project and problem is solved but irritating. (Manual software and downloading from card to MAC is compatible)
Haven't tried uploading video yet.
DO purchase an extra Panasonic Battery DMW-BCG 10PP. Make sure it has the PP (It won't work without it) Also you'll need a SD Card. It's not necessary to go to the Class 6 cards unless you are shooting HD video. A SDHC 4GB card will hold 700+ photos at full MP.For most people this will be more than adequate. I carry two cards in case one goes south. You can always find them on sale for under $20. I also like the Caselogic TBC-302 Ultra Compact Camera Case for under $8.
*** P.S. If you will buy this camera I suggest you have a compare price before you decide at: www.amazon.com/gp/*************?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%****%2Foffer-listing%2FB00395WIXA%3Fie%3DUTF8%26ref_%3Ddp_olp_new_map%26condition%3Dnew&tag=***************&********=ur2&camp=1789&creative=390957