Panasonic Lumix TZ7 review by What Digital Camera
The TZ7 features a 12 x optical zoom with an equivalent focal range of 25-300mm. It has optical image stabilisation, with a 1/2.33in CCD sensor at 10.1MP and a 3in LCD with a comparatively high resolution of 460K dots. A full range of image capture modes, including the brand’s successful iAuto plus full HD video capture with HDMI out socket is provided.
In a fashion befitting the compact superzoom category, the TZ7 is larger than your average compact camera, but still small enough to fit relatively easily in the pocket.
The TZ7 features fairly straight lines around the body with a slight protrusion for a hand grip. Whilst the camera is generally well designed, it isn’t without flaws. For example, the mode dial resides to the far right of the top-plate, where one naturally reaches for the shutter – combine this with an easy-to-rotate mode dial and quite often you’ll change settings rather than capture an image.
Lens and focus performance is good, with the lens travelling from the wide to the tele end of the zoom both quickly and quietly. The LCD is very good with double the resolution of other cameras of this level. Autofocus is both accurate and handled in no time at all. Exposures are generally reliable and the camera sports a prompt autofocus system There is very little hanging around involved in general use. The menu system is also both intuitive and simple to navigate
The TZ7 handles image noise well, with usable results right up to the maximum ISO, at full resolution, of 1600. Although it does display noise at higher ISOs, the camera doesn’t use aggressive noise reduction to combat this and the problem can easily be rectified using software in post production.
The overall look of images from TZ7 are excellent . It produces a good range of tones and displays a high dynamic range, and a pleasing contrast. Colour rendition is natural, with pleasing colours. With such a wide focal range packed into a small body, fringing is always going to be an issue. The TZ7 copes admirably with this threat, with any fringing kept to a bare minimum. Although the 10MP sensor of the TZ7 is lower than others in the category, it is more than ample for detailed prints.
Value For Money
The TZ7 is currently available around the £350 mark, which is fairly pricey. If you look at what the cameras is lacking as a serious shooting proposition, namely Raw capture and full manual controls, it seems a touch expensive. However, it is generally good at what it does, and that is to combine a large focal range into a relatively compact body, with few compromises.
The TZ7 s a very good camera. It offers exactly what models in the compact superzoom market should: namely, an extensive focal range in a compact body, along with extensive functionality and an ample LCD screen. However, it does have niggles with regards to design, such as the TZ7's misplaced and loosely fixed mode dial is all too easy to nudge out of line.