Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 "Review". The massive increase in people selling their old point and shoot cameras is at an all-time high thanks to so many people now having a Smartphone capable of taking high quality pictures. I can't tell you how many eBay listing descriptions of people selling cameras I've read that say something along the lines of "don't use it anymore, I've got my phone for taking pictures".

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All images / content Copyright © Still Paused

This trend is not just having an impact on people selling their old point and shoot or Bridge cameras either, it's actually affected the whole camera industry. Camera sales are down across the board, that's all cameras, of all shapes and prices. Smartphones are the main reason. I suppose its just the progression of technology combined with convenience. Why carry around a stand-alone camera. Especially if you're just taking pictures for your own interests, if you have a Smartphone that can do  the same thing and has many more features, such as Internet connectivity and the ability to make phone calls all in the one device. Makes sense, doesn't it.

But for people like me, who don't own a Smartphone (I know, you must think I'm crazy), it's great because with there being so many cheap cameras for sale, there are so many good deals to be found. Anyway, enough about all that. This brings me to a camera that I picked up for really cheap on eBay a while back. The Panasonic Lumix TZ1. This isn't a review, but more of a general talk about this model.

Straight shooting: All images in this post that are not of the TZ1 itself have been taken with the TZ1 and are not edited in any other way other than made smaller.

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Ever seen the TZ1 through Fish-Eye before..

I'm no expert on Panasonic camera history, but I believe this was Panasonic's first camera produced in the TZ range. The name is a bit of a giveaway!

By today's standards, the "spec" of the TZ1 seems very poor. 5 mega pixels is widely frowned upon these days. Some people won't even look twice at a 5mp camera. But don't be fooled, mega pixel count isn't everything. Especially in cameras with small sensors.  This camera can still take good pictures. First I'll go into what I like about the TZ1, then talk about what I don't like.

What I Like About The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1


While the shape is a bit long for what I'm used to, the build quality is excellent. It has a good weight and feels nice in the hand. The zoom button / ring has some resistance, which makes it feel precise and steady.


Easy To Use


Starts up fast and the interface offers a simple but adequate amount of different options. It's very easy to use, just turn it on and its ready to snap away. True to its name - point and shoot. If you're new to the Panasonic user interface, and you do need a bit of help, the manual is available to read or download in PDF format online here.

Features + Specification


Features are quite minimal compared to more up-to-date cameras, but it still has enough modes for most situations. On the dial, the options are Normal, Macro, Simple mode, motion picture and Playback.

There's also 2 scene modes, which have a good selection of image settings catered for different subjects and shooting situations. To name a few of my favourites, or ones I've actually used, are high-sensitivity, snow, starry sky, fireworks, food, night scenery and sports mode.

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 Here is an example image of sports mode. Cars are doing around 50MPH

Manual controls include 3 different aspect ratios, shutter speed adjustment (1/8 - 1/4 -  1/2 - 1), continuous auto focus, various auto focus modes, auto / manual ISO (80, 100, 200, 400 and 800) and auto, pre-set or  manual white balance. Two image stabiliser's also come in very handy. They are also referred to as Mega O.I.S. You can turn stabilization off if you want, but that's not recommended for most situations.

Special Feature


Pick and mix two settings at once. Even some of the newer cameras can't do this. I own a few, much more up-to-date point and shoots that for some reason can only manage one setting at a time. With the TZ1 it has the ability to mix two settings together.

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Quite surreal: Vivid Sepia Test Shot

Example: If I choose one of the colour effect modes, such as black & white, warm or sepia, I can also enhance that further with the picture adjustment settings, which are natural, standard or vivid. So I can have black and white in vivid, natural sepia, or any combination I want. This is pretty cool feature for such an old camera. I also own the Panasonic Lumix TZ3, yeah, the successor of the TZ1, and that model does not have the functions available to do this.

Zoom


The 10 x zoom is very nice on this camera. Slow, measured and steady for a point and shoot. Some zooms, once pressed to zoom in, jolt forward really quickly and can over run the desired zoom range, leaving the user having to zoom out, and potentially miss the moment.

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 Zooming in on motorbike man

This can be annoying. But with the TZ1, it's nice and measured, zooming slow and steady to begin with, then it speeds up a little. It's fairly smooth, and I really like it. However, like a lot of older point and shoot cameras, image quality isn't that great at full zoom.

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This is full zoom


The Lens


I like the fact that the lens doesn't come out at all once the camera is turned on. It only makes an appearance if the zoom is used. And even then, it doesn't come out very far compared to come cameras. The LEICA - DC VARIO-ELMARIT 1.2 8-4.2 / 5.2 / ASPH lens is very capable. Pictures have good depth, and are, overall, fairly sharp considering the age of the camera.

Battery Life


Battery duration from the 3.7V 1000mAh Li-ion has been great. My particular Lumix TZ1 is in pretty good condition and came with the original battery, which, going on how long it lasts, doesn't seem to have been used much. If you buy a used TZ1, the chances are the original battery it comes with may need to be replaced. If this is the case there is no way to know beforehand how long the battery will last, as replacement batteries are so mixed when it comes to quality.

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Messing around with the "warm" mode

I'm not sure if Duracell have replacement batteries out there on sale for the TZ range like they do for other Panasonic cameras, such as the FZ range, including the FZ8 (I have one for my FZ50 - Excellent), but if they do, I would buy one of those rather than take the risk on some unknown brand just because its cheap.

Macro


Macro mode is pretty good. Close up shots come out clear and sharp providing you don't push the camera and try to get too close to the subject. For an older camera the quality is certainly acceptable. In fact, under the right conditions its actually pretty good. Here is a quick example of a flower in macro setting.

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Wild Rose in macro

Motion Picture


Shooting film with this camera is obviously outdated considering the highest quality setting available is 30fps VGA (there's also lower quality settings like 30fps QVGA), and these days we have 1080p / 1280p / 4K etc. However, if you just want to "film something" and don't care about the footage being super high quality when watched back on a bigger screen device, the quality isn't all that bad. But do note: VGA isn't as compressed as many of today's formats, such as MP4, so the files are usually a lot bigger. You can always convert them, though, to make them smaller. Check out some video footage that I took below. This is filmed at the highest quality setting - 30fps VGA. Sorry, it looks as though Vimeo have removed the video for some unknown reason.

And, would you believe it. The TZ1 can zoom in and out while filming video footage. I say would you believe it because as mentioned above, I also own the TZ3, and for some reason Panasonic left out the ability to be able to use the zoom while recording video. I don't know what they were thinking, but wow, what a terrible decision. The older TZ1 can zoom in video mode, and the newer TZ3 can not. Seems a bit backwards in my opinion.

Price


While you won't see a lot of people selling this particular model, the few Panasonic Lumix TZ1's that can be found for sale are usually extremely cheap. Websites such as eBay are the best location if you're looking to purchase a used TZ1. I bought mine for literally £10GBP buy it now. (that included postage costs). The price range is generally between £10 - £25. For such a good quality, versatile little camera, it's a great deal.

What I Don't Like


There isn't much I don't like about the TZ1. For an older camera it still ticks a lot of boxes for those of us who want a simple to use, low priced camera. I'm quite easily pleased, and most things mentioned below are me nit picking.

Size


For what I've become used to, the shape and size of the TZ1 is a bit cumbersome. It's not huge by any means, but it doesn't really qualify as a pocket sized camera either. Don't get me wrong, It can fit into a pocket, but the person who's carrying it definitely wouldn't forget it was there.

Image Preview / Review


Like many Panasonic cameras, picture reviewing is slightly annoying. If you want to look at a picture you have taken, and you remain in the mode you were using the camera in, such as normal mode, after a few seconds the camera resets itself back to live view mode.

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Alder leaves in the sunshine

Of course, in playback mode it does not do this, it stays in review mode and allows the user to view a taken image for as long as they like. But turning the dial every time you want to view an image for longer than a few seconds without it resetting back to live screen is annoying. But in fairness to the TZ1, even my FZ50 is like this, so its not an exclusive to this model design fault, many of the Panasonic's function like this.


Lens Flare


Lens flare can be a bit excessive at times.


Shooting In The Dark


Again, like so many Panasonic cameras, they can be fairly poor when it comes to shooting in darker conditions (outdoor and indoor) when in the most popular modes (Normal, Macro, etc). This model is no exception. However, there are several preset scene settings, as well as higher ISO / exposure that can help with this. But make no mistake, the TZ1 is in its element when shooting outdoors on a clear day. Like so many cameras are. And that's about it. Overall, this is an excellent camera. Well made, easy to use, and takes a pretty good picture even by today's standards. Buy one.


Troubleshooting


I have not had any problems what so ever with my TZ1 Lumix, but I do know that the number one issue with this model (and many Panasonic's around the same age) is a dead original battery. People who own this camera, and have left it sitting in a drawer for a few years but now want to use it again, have mostly all experienced the same issue.

They tried to turn it on and there was no response at all, totally dead. This is either a knackered original battery, or the battery has gone into protection mode from being left uncharged with no power for too long. In both cases a new battery will fix the issue. You can revive a battery that's gone into protection mode, but if you have no electrical tools or experience its best to save all the hassle and just buy a replacement battery. I hope you found this review-type post helpful. Until the next time. -Still Paused.

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