Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ3 Digital Camera

If you've been doing some research on the 7.2 megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ3, I'm sure you have already come across many reviews from some of the big camera websites that list the good points and bad points about this camera. Most reviewers rate it highly, with the only real let down being the lack of manual control over things like shutter speed and aperture.

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But don't let this put you off. Most people who are looking to buy a simple, now older model point and shoot camera like the TZ3 just want something that takes good pictures and is not too complicated to use. That's what you get with the TZ3. Individuals who fall into this category will not miss, or even notice the lack of manual controls. And to be honest, this camera more than makes up for it. This isn't a review. I say this because I prefer to write about anything I choose to mention about the camera rather than have to point out every single detail and function.

Straight shooting: All images in this post, other than the picture of the camera itself (still taken by me), have been taken by me with the Lumix TZ3 and have not been edited in any way other than made smaller.

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All images / content Copyright © Still Paused

Build quality is excellent, and the weight of the camera, while a bit heavy by today's standards, gives it that extra quality feel when in the hand. The 28mm wide angle Leica lens, with its 10x optical zoom works really well. Viewing screen is big at 3 inches for such a compact camera. Overall Images are sharp and have fairly good depth.

Dedicated Macro mode is quite capable, and can, on occasion, score an impressive image capture. Mega O.I.S (Image Stabilization) is close to fool proof on the TZ3. Even someone with no experience of using a digital camera can definitely manage to capture a good picture with no blur after a few attempts.

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Sports mode on a hazy sunny day

Colours can sometimes seem a bit washed out in "Normal" mode, but there are different image settings, such as Vivid, Cool and Warm that can help add a bit more life to an image if the first shot(s) looks a bit dull on the viewing screen. On top of that there is also 20 scene settings that cater for many shooting subjects and situations. Sport, High-sensitivity (ISO  3200), Night Scenery, Soft Skin, Sunset, Portrait and Party to name a few.

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The flash is strange on the TZ3. I find it to be superb. It's dull, but more often than not, when combined with the Exposure compensation settings, seems to be able to produce just the right amount of light to produce a really nice image. It can be tweaked quite easily to find those sweet spots. Some cameras can struggle in this area. Speaking of cameras, check out these two balloon heads below.

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CCTV is in operation: Ever get the feeling you're being watched..

A quick example: I was trying to photograph something the other day in a darkly lit room and instinctively reached for my excellent Canon EOS 700D DSLR. Almost every shot I had taken, no matter what settings I tried, was over exposed and looked terrible. So I tried with the TZ3, and within a few attempts I had captured images that I was pleased with.

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This is not definitive proof that the TZ3 has a better flash than anything else, as it matters on so many variables, such as subject / conditions / angles / light sources / room sizes / flash strength etc. But it just shows that the TZ3 can still be better in some circumstances (with less messing around with settings) than other cameras can be which are much more advanced.

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Battery life is very good. Mine is still on its original battery, and it still lasts a long time. Even when flashing red like its about to die it can still soldier on and keep taking pictures for quite some time before finally giving up and automatically retracting the lens before going to sleep.

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 Macro mode: For a brief moment we were friends, watching the world go by.

Video recording is the one area that is the biggest let down for me. Yes, it can record video footage, and yes, it's not that bad in terms of quality (highest quality is 30fps VGA + size 848 x 480). However, the zoom does not work in movie mode. I talked about this in a review I wrote not long ago about one of the TZ3's older brothers, the TZ1.

I was basically pointing out that it was a disappointment that the older TZ1 can zoom in movie mode but the newer TZ3 can't. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe the DMC-TZ2 can't zoom when filming video footage either.

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Warm mode: Check out this strange image. If you follow the "trail" (they're thin clouds), It looks like a fireball flying across the sky. But really its the sun behind the clouds in a chemtrail filled landscape.

I never even knew there was a DMC-TZ2 until a few days ago. They kept that model quiet. Other than a few potentially major differences, like less mega pixels, smaller LCD with less pixels, and a slightly smaller CCD sensor, the DMC-TZ2 and TZ3 are very similar in appearance and features.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ3 Pro's and Cons



Pros

  • Good image quality
  • Great image stabilization
  • Decent zoom smoothness
  • Well Built
  • Nice Flash
  • Easy to use
  • Long battery life
  • Good selection of scene settings

Cons

  • Lacks manual shutter speed and aperture control
  • Can't zoom in movie mode
  • Not the best in low light


Also worth noting: User can't view taken images for longer than a few seconds when in normal dial modes. The user has to be in "playback" mode on the dial to be able to view taken images for longer than a few seconds. (same with many Panasonic cameras).

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Sun slithers through a pylon in a moody sky

While its not perfect, the TZ3 has a lot going for it. I have quite a few cameras in my collection, some of which would definitely be considered as much better than the TZ3, but funnily enough, I do still find myself using the TZ3 much more often than I would have expected. That says it all really. Even in 2019 / 2020, it's still an excellent little camera for quick and simple shooting.

Troubleshooting


I can honestly say that I haven't had any problems with my TZ3. But I have read about a considerable amount of issues arising with this model. Some of the more serious being the screen turning either black or purple (showing no image), or the screen (view finder) showing a purple distorted image. The fix for these is most probably either a new LCD display or a replacement CCD sensor. Problem is, it may end up being too expensive to fix, and you would be better off just buying another TZ3 used online from eBay. They are very cheap to buy these days.

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More warm mode: The peeping sun 

However, if you have a TZ3 that has suddenly died and won't respond at all (Won't turn on), it may be the internal battery that might need replacing. If this is the case, you could be in luck, as they are really cheap to buy. The battery that would need replacing is the ML614S/ZT Lithium (3V 3.4mAh Coin cell). There's no guarantee it will fix the issue, but it might be worth a try if you have experienced the sudden death of your TZ3. It has worked for some people. I hope you found this post helpful. Until the next time amigo. -Still Paused.
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1 comment:

datapkts said...

I have this camera. Don't use it much anymore. Dug it out after I found your review when I was looking for sunset pics on google. Now I wanna use it again. Daily user - Sony a200 dslr. Too big for carrying around every day.

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