Panasonic DMC-TZ30 Compact Camera
I’m afraid my old TZ7 (which replaced my earlier TZ5 due to my clumsiness) has now had to be replaced with the new TZ30. The reason? At some unknown moment, my usual dollard-ish clumsiness put a scratch on the lens….. the whole recent trip to Australia is marred (to my eyes at least) by a fuzzy mark off-centre at 2 o’clock.
I wanted the red one as it’s a beautiful thing indeed. In fact, I hunted to get one at a good price within a reasonable time-scale, but have settled for the black one for cost and because I can get it now!.. (The Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-K).
It’s now on the way so watch this space for my opinions and results later!!. I’m extremely hopeful due to the reviews I’ve read.
I’ve waited and have passed over the TZ20 and other incarnations due to unfavourable comments and lack of substantial change in their features. Now, the TZ30 has tipped the balance for me. The GPS feature introduced with the TZ10 hasn’t had much interest to me, but maybe this’ll change all that!
Specification Highlights for me are:
- The 20x optical zoom (naturally) in a body that’s less obtrusive than my current TZ7.
- Better ISO performance – reputed to be very good at low light down to ISO800.
- Better burst mode shooting. It’s supposed to be 10 fps whereas my TZ7 only does about three…. I have some stop-action movie ideas that I started with my old Fuji FinePix F30 that I’d like to continue and expand upon. The F30 did reasonable frames per second whereas the TZ7 is just too slow for the effects I want.
- Semi-automatic panorama shooting. Much better than the old manual stitch mode….
- Rapid autofocus (AF) – reputed to be 1/10 second. Combine this with burst mode and nature and sport shots should be great with at least one being on the button.
The only one I’ve spotted that directly affects my expectations is that in burst mode, the auto-focus is fixed once the burst starts, at 10fps. However, to counter this the feature is more variable than I’m used to in that with burst mode set to 5fps autofocus and zoom work concurrently! This definitely needs playing with!
My Standard Expectations:
- Minimal blue/purple casts or fringing at high contrast edges.
- Wonderful summer shots with vibrant colour.
- Much better focus changing in video zooming.
My Quantum Leap Hopes:
- The same or better sound quality that the F30 and TZ7 delivered. Both produced full non-clipped audio sound at rock concerts! The TZ7 does it in stereo. (see my Iggy Pop video below, discussed in this post, Iggy at Hammersmith).
- Much, much faster autofocus and burst shooting than I’m used to. This includes the continuous autofocus & zoom at 5fps mentioned earlier.
- Much better auto-focus on video zoom especially and pictures generally. I’m hoping the intelligence of the thing has been re-jigged…… To explain…….
The tendency on my TZ7 is to focus on the near-field whether it’s bright or dark. Yet I want it to focus on what the human eye drifts to, i.e., bright objects. On the TZ7 I’ve had to use human intervention to override the camera expectations….
The video below shows this.
For me the prime purpose of a compact camera is to get the best shot possible as fast as possible.
At the Stooges concert at Hammersmith below, I’d waited for ages and then suddenly the band came on and kicked off immediately! There was no time to prime the focus because I knew I’d miss some performance, so I had to make allowances for the camera deficiencies by pulling back zoom and trying to get autofocus on the bright areas by field drifting.
Ideally, I should have asked Mr Pop to restart his concert so that I could stop the video, auto-focussing on maximum zoom to distance and then restarting the video before he kicked off again. ;-) Obviously that wasn’t going to happen so I did the best I could without missing any of the performance of my historic bête noire idol.
As it was, my guess was right, even to continuing filming without a break, because against all rumours and knowledge that the Raw Power album was to be played in order, it wasn’t! Search & Destroy immediately followed Raw Power.