Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 review
1/2.33in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (25-300mm equivalent), 191g
The TZ8 is a cut-down version of the Panasonic TZ10, and costs around £75 less. The two models are very similar and their photo-taking abilities are identical. What you don’t get here is the TZ10’s GPS tagging, its 3in, 460,000-dot screen and its ability to record video in AVCHD Lite format.
GPS tagging is something we can happily live without, especially if it’s as flaky as the TZ10 was in our tests. The screen downgrade is more significant, but this one’s 2.7in diameter and 230,000-dot resolution are perfectly adequate.
The TZ8 records its video in the capacity-hogging M-JPEG format, which means a 2GB card holds just eight and a half minutes of video. However, unlike the previous cut-price TZ model, this one can record videos in 720p HD.
Noise reduction wasn’t as effective as it was on the TZ10 and the audio is mono rather than stereo, but the autofocus and zoom are fully operational and their motors didn’t spoil the soundtrack. Comparisons with the TZ10 aside, the TZ8’s videos are considerably better than from most stills cameras.
With the same lens, sensor and image-processing engine, it’s no surprise that the TZ8’s photo quality and performance are identical to the TZ10’s. That’s good news for outdoor photography, with crisp details and exquisite colours in bright light. Low-light, high-ISO shots were spoiled by noise, but the highly effective stabilisation meant we could keep the ISO speed down as long as the subject wasn’t moving.
The TZ10 is trumped by the Samsung WB650 thanks to the WB650’s more effective GPS facilities, better screen and lower price. However, the battle between the TZ8 and Samsung WB600 s a closer-run contest. There’s little to choose between them for features or image quality.
The Samsung has the bigger zoom range, but the Panasonic is more responsive and its optical stabilisation is more effective. Ultimately, stabilisation is an important feature on an ultra-zoom camera, and is enough to clinch the TZ8 a Best Buy award.