Zoomy but pricey
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ15 is a 9.1-megapixel (Mp) camera with a 10x optical zoom and a 28mm wide-angle lens. It's marketed towards travellers as a highly portable camera that's versatile enough to be used during long trips.
- 28mm wide lens with 10x optical zoom
If you can see past the cost of the unit, it offers a 10x optical zoom and adequate built-in image stabilisation capability, as well as a 9.1-megapixel sensor. All in all, a good travel camera.
Price$ 659.00 (AUD)
Thanks to an ability to take crisp images largely devoid of noise at full zoom and a relatively intelligent automatic ISO system, the DMB-TZ15 generally fulfils its mission statement. However, it comes with a high price tag.
Physically speaking, the Panasonic is nothing to write home about. With a body measuring 105x35x58mm, it will easily fit in the palm of your hand. Although it is a little heavy for its class at 240g with batteries installed, it isn't too heavy to cart around with you while sightseeing.
The camera features a 3in LCD screen, and there are a number of modes available to review photos that have been taken. One of these is dubbed Dual-Play and allows users to view two images simultaneously, making quick comparisons easy. This is an excellent feature for users who want to conserve memory space, because it makes it easy to delete less desirable photos.
Thanks to the camera's relatively good 9.1Mp sensor, images are sharp and suitable for small and medium prints. Unfortunately, when images are taken with an ISO of 400 and above image noise starts to become an issue. The colours are slightly tinged towards blues and greens by default, but the Lumix has enough colour options (vivid, standard etc.) to partially negate this.
Along with the usual range of options such as scenery and self-portrait modes, there are some unusual scene modes such as Baby, which allows the photographer to set the name and age of the subject, and Food, which is designed for eager foodies to take perfect pictures of their meals. A Clipboard mode allows users to record voice and text notes with 2Mp photos and works surprisingly well, despite its gimmicky premise.
Face-detection and image stabilisation settings are included on the camera and they both work well, with the latter being vital for a camera with a zoom this powerful.
The unit's speed when taking photos was surprisingly good given its lens size. It took photos at two frames per second in burst mode, and there was a 1sec pause between pictures in standard mode. The camera had a start-up time of 2sec and the time taken between taking pressing a button to take a photo and the shutter activating was 0.9sec.
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