Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A very generous 10x optical zoom with good performance. Digital zoom also performs fairly well.

28mm 280mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 28-280mm, which is a very useful range, and is unusual for its compact size. Results were quite good at wide angle, especially considering its wider-than-average coverage. There was some noticeable blurring in the corners and coma distortion in the tree branches against the sky, however this is not unusual for such a wide angle. Performance at telephoto was also good, but did exhibit some softness and loss of contrast across the frame. The camera's 4x digital zoom performs reasonably well, with typical loss of resolution associated with most digital zooms.

Macro
A small macro area with excellent detail and high resolution. Closest focusing distance is too close for the flash.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Panasonic DMC-TZ3's macro setting performed quite well, capturing a small minimum area of 2.34 x 1.76 inches (60 x 45 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both excellent, though there's a moderate amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The TZ3's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area, resulting in a very uneven, severely blown-out exposure. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the TZ3.

Distortion
Surprisingly low barrel distortion, average pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 28mm is 0.2%
Pincushion at 280mm is 0.2%

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The Panasonic DMC-TZ3's 0.2% barrel distortion at wide angle is very low, especially considering its wider-than-average 28mm equivalent focal length. At the telephoto end, the DMC-TZ3's pincushion distortion was about average, at 0.2%, but still very good considering the range of this lens. Both had minimal effect on most images; an excellent result.

Chromatic aberration
Low to moderate, with minimal effect on images at edges.

Wide: Low and not very bright
top left @ 200%
Wide: Low and not very bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Moderate but dull
bottom left @200%
Tele: Moderate but dull,
bottom right @200%

Chromatic aberration is low at wide angle, showing only about 3-4 pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines, and because it's not very bright, the effect is not noticeable in most real-world images. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) At telephoto, chromatic aberration is a bit higher in the lower corners, but also not very bright or noticeable

Corner Sharpness
Slight blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle, moderate at telephoto.

Wide: Slightly soft in the
corners (lower left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Moderately soft in the
corners (lower left)
Tele: Fairly sharp at center.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 produced slightly soft corners of the frame at full wide angle. At full telephoto, there is stronger blurring in the corners, which is noticeable in some images.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Excellent accuracy from the LCD monitor.

28mm eq., LCD 280mm eq., LCD

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3's LCD monitor showed about 100% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 99% at telephoto. The DMC-TZ3 does not have an optical viewfinder.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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