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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 review

Ben Pitt
23 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
280
inc VAT

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Specifications

1/2.33in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (25-300mm equivalent), 206g

In most respects the TZ7 is the same camera as the TZ6, but it comes with various upgrades and extra features.

There's the same face-recognition technology discussed in the review of the DMC-FT1 on page 85. The LCD screen is up from 2.7in to 3in and has double the number of dots, producing a noticeably sharper image and much better colours when viewed at oblique angles.

The sensor is physically bigger and has a 12-megapixel resolution, but photos have the same 10-megapixel resolution as those of the TZ6. That's because, with both cameras using the same lens, the TZ7 only uses its sensor's extra surface area when shooting at 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios. While the TZ6's 16:9 photos are cropped to 7.5 megapixels, the TZ7's are 8.9 megapixels. In normal 4:3 shots, the TZ7 showed slightly sharper details and more noise than the TZ6, but not much.

Other differences include a dedicated video record/pause button and a stereo microphone. Video is recorded at 1,280x720 pixels, and although that's far from unusual in this test, both picture and sound quality were well above average. Details were sharp, even indoors, and zoom, autofocus and automatic exposure were remarkably smooth and reliable. Audio was full-bodied and detailed, but the wind-cut feature appeared to do nothing more than roll off some of the bass, which doesn't help much. The 15-minute maximum clip length could be frustrating.

The AVCHD Lite logo means that videos will play directly in Panasonic Blu-ray players with an SDHC slot, and there's also an HDMI out port for playback on HD TVs. It took us ages to work out how to watch videos in this way without the soundtrack being replaced by some cheesy slideshow music. It's also possible to record in QuickTime format for wider compatibility with PC software.

Some of the TZ7's improvements over the TZ6 are non-essential luxuries, but the screen and video mode are worth the extra money for those who can afford it.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.33in
Viewfindernone
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution460,000 pixels
Optical zoom12.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent25-300mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution3,648x2,736
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; QuickTime (M-JPEG), AVCHD Lite

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied40MB internal
Battery type3.6V 895mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)300 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI
Body materialaluminium
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight206g
Size60x103x33mm

Buying Information

Price£280
Supplierhttp://www.purelygadgets.co.uk
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangeauto
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controlsnone
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus3cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer

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