Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 Design

Just a bit too big to pass for palm-size, the TZ1 is still pocketable thanks to its short height. At 2.29 x 4.41 x 1.58 inches it is long and deep, though. And at 9.24 ounces (262 grams), it's among the heavier pocket digicams. It is small, however, when you consider that it features a 10x zoom. Part of the lens elements are inside the camera, facing from right to left, and then the optic is "folded" by a mirror. So some of the zoom and focus components are inside the camera, and some come out. The upshot of this design is that the 10x zoom doesn't protrude from the camera until you start to zoom toward telephoto.

The front panel is dominated on the right by the lens housing, with the 10x Leica lens protected by a plastic lens cover attached to the body with a small strap. The lens extends a bit over half an inch at telephoto, but doesn't have to pop out when you power the camera on. The substantial grip on the left has a chrome accent that helps seat your fingers. Above the lens to the left is the flash, and to the right of the lens is the combination self-timer indicator and AF assist lamp.

On the right side is the lens cap/wrist strap eyelet.

On the left side, under a small hard plastic cover, is the USB/AV Out port, and the DC In socket.

The TZ1's top panel has a small hole for the microphone about an inch in from the left side. To its right is the four-hole speaker grill. The Mode dial is right of that, next to the Shutter button and Zoom lever combination. To the right toward the front is the Image Stabilization button, and behind it the sliding Power switch.

The back panel is dominated by the large 2.5 inch LCD monitor on the left. There's plenty of room to the right for the four cursor buttons surrounding the SET button in the lower right corner. Just to the left of these are the Display/LCD Mode and Burst/Delete buttons. A status indicator is just above the Display/LCD Mode button, and a series of nine bumps next to a raised edge serves as a thumb grip in the top right corner.

The bottom of the TZ1 has a plastic tripod mount at the far left and the battery/storage card compartment on the far right. A small spring ejects the battery when the door is opened.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 External Controls


Shutter Button: Resting in the center of the Zoom lever on top of the camera, this button sets focus, and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.

Zoom Lever (see image above): Surrounding the Shutter button, this lever controls the optical and digital zoom while in Record mode. In Playback mode, the wide setting accesses the nine- and 25-image index displays, as well as a calendar display, which shows thumbnails of each image in a calendar format (arranged by date of capture). The telephoto position enlarges the currently displayed image as much as 16x, so that you can check on fine details.


Mode Dial: Also on the camera's top panel, this large, notched dial is used to select the camera's shooting modes. Options include Movie mode, Macro mode, Still Record mode, Playback, Simple mode (in the shape of a heart), Scene 1, and Scene 2. Scene modes include Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Self-Portrait, Food, Party, Candle Light, Fireworks, Starry Sky, Beach, Aerial Photo, Snow, High Sensitivity, Baby 1, Baby 2, and Underwater.


Image Stabilization Button: This button is on the far right side of the camera's top panel. When you press and hold this button, the LCD displays the Stabilizer menu with three options: Off, Mode 1, and Mode 2. Also available by pressing the Right arrow is a Demo mode that helps show the difference between modes. Mode 1 stabilizes the image continuously while Mode 2 does so only when the image is captured, to somewhat greater effect.


Power Switch: Behind the Image Stabilization button on the top panel, this sliding switch powers the camera on. Sliding it to the Off position shuts the camera off.


Display/LCD Mode Button: Positioned about midway on the right side of the rear-panel LCD monitor, this button controls the LCD display modes. In Simple mode, this button offers a normal information display or no information. In Still Record mode, it toggles between the normal display, normal with histogram, no information with guide lines, and no information. In Playback mode, it toggles between normal information, display with recording information plus histogram, and no information. Pressing and holding this button accesses a brighter LCD display mode (Power LCD), as well as a High Angle LCD mode, making the image easier to see when holding the camera at higher angles.


Burst/Delete Button: Just below the Display/LCD Mode button on the rear panel, this button toggles between High, Low, and Unlimited burst modes, and accesses the Single shot mode. High speed, indicated by an H in the icon, captures three or five images at three frames per second (fps). Low speed, indicated by an L in the icon, captures three or five images at two frames per second. Unlimited mode, indicated by the infinity symbol, captures continuously at about about two frames per second. In Playback mode, this button deletes the current picture; or, if pressed twice, can delete more than one, or all images.


Four-Way Arrow Pad: Arrayed in a circle in the lower right corner of the camera's rear panel, these four buttons serve as navigational tools, pointing up, down, left, and right. In Record mode, the up button accesses the Exposure Compensation adjustment, while the down arrow switches to Review mode. The right arrow controls the flash mode, while the left arrow enables the self-timer modes. In Playback mode, the left and right arrow keys scroll through captured images. If an image has been enlarged, all four arrows pan the view.

Menu/Set Button (see image above): Set in the center of the Four-Way Arrow pad, this button activates the LCD menu system, and confirms settings. It also dismisses the menu system.

 

Panasonic DMC-TZ1

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