Sunday, 18 April 2010

Lumix TZ7 - First Impressions

There are many times when walking Bobby that I want a camera with me but a hefty DSLR and zoom lens are not the easiest of things to control. Many years ago I bought a Pentax Optio, sturdily built, small enough to go in a shirt pocket, 3X zoom lens, 3.2 M pixels and video facility (very poor). At the time it seemed great but technology has moved on since then and the quality doesn't come up to my expectations any more.

A few days ago I was looking through some blogs and saw a video taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 and was very impressed. A quick search for its specifications showed it has a 12X zoom (the equivalent of 25mm to 300mm on a 35mm camera), 10.1 M pixels  and the ability to take HD video. That did it, along with good independent reviews, I had to have one. Looked on the Argos site - out of stock in every store within 30 mile radius. Looked on the Amazon site - a bit cheaper than Argos and in stock. Opted for overnight delivery and it arrived Friday morning.

It's a bit larger than the Pentax but still pocketable, sturdily built and easy to hold with the main controls within easy reach. As is usual these days there are endless menus which take some getting used to but easy to read on a large clear LCD screen. No viewfinder which is a pity as even a modern bright LCD screen is hard to see in bright sunlight.

First trials were around the garden. With the lens set to wide angle and using the macro facilities it is possible to get as close as 3cm to a subject so I tried it out on various plants. The auto focus and image stabiliser worked well. All of the photos have been cropped to some extent, some more than others.



Red Leaves

Next thing was to take it out and about. A couple of riders were coming down the street so out with the camera, fire it up, point and press.

Horse Riders

To get a photo of this horse in the paddock I had to poke the camera through a gap in the hedge.


Back at home a ladybird co-operated even with the lens about 3 cm from its body.

7 Spot Ladybird

And this unknown bug was so determind to have its portrait taken it landed on my hand.


Of course a photo session would not be complete without a shot of my ever lively Bobby.


 Finally after a couple of visits to the churchyard I managed to capture some video of the Black East India Ducks. The video has been processed to reduce the file size.. The original is 848 x 480 pixels HD. Filmed hand held.

All in all I have been very impressed with the performance of the Lumix TZ7 and its Leica lens. Battery life is a lot shorter than  the Canon DSLR - up to 300 stills or 90 minutes of video are stated in the handbook. The camera has approximately 40 MB of internal memory which can be used for photos or low quality video otherwise you need to buy a SDHC memory card to take full advantage of all its facilities. Photos are stored in jpeg format and videos in AVCHD lite for HD or QuickTime motion jpeg for other video sizes. Software is supplied for handling the HD video format though I found that my copy of Daniusoft Video Converter will convert any of the camera files to WMV or MPG (or many other formats).


  1. John, these pictures taken with your new camera are brilliant and the video clip is also brilliant. I have often said to my OH I would like a small camera that I can keep in my handbag for just in case. There have been occasions when I have seen a lovely photo opportunity ie a baby rabbit on a grass verge sniffing a snowdrop, and I don't have my camera with me. The video on this camera will be great for taking video clips of butterflies, as they don't sit still long enough for you to get a decent shot. It is my birthday very soon and my OH will be asking me what do I want for my present, well thankyou John, I think I now know:)

  2. Great results from your new camera John, the detail shows particularly well in the catkin photo, and of course its good to see that the camera comes with an in-built Bobby setting to enhance his leisurely demeanour. Linda

  3. Hello Linda Y. Glad the write up has been of some help. It is a heavy camera for its size but I like them well built. If you decide on the Lumix then you will need an SD card. They vary a lot in price and speed of working and some will not work with the HD video. I bought a SanDisk VideoHD 8GB card and that works just fine. It holds well over 1000 pictures and didn't cost an arm and a leg. Also a case will be extra as one does not come with it. I like to have a softish case for that added bit of protection, especially to the LCD display.

    I have been looking around for some time for a replacement 'pocket' camera and I continue to be impressed with the results, which takes some doing with me!

  4. Hello Linda (KC). I am really impressed considering the price difference when compared with my Canon equipment. Funny you should mention a Bobby setting. There are 27 different settings including one for pets! I just leave it on automatic most of the time.

    I was pleased with the catkins and also with the detail on the Ladybird. Makes a difference when the sun shines. ;)

  5. Impressive camera John. Great results from it too.

  6. I'm well pleased with it Keith. It fills in a gap for portable photography, when shopping, dog walking, etc..

  7. Thanks for the information...I have been considering the Lumix for a while because of its zoom but have wondered about the quality of the macro so I was pleased to see your pics. Think I might put it on my birthday wish list:-)

  8. Hello Helen. It seems to be a possible for a few birthday lists ;)

  9. Bobby looks well impressed!! I am though.

  10. Hello Adrian. Bobby always looks suitably impressed!


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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