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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 - Test shots - ISO performance

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4

Summary

Our Score:

9

A range of test shots are shown over the next few pages. Here, the full size images at the minimum and maximum ISO settings have been reduced for bandwidth purposes to let you see the full image, and a series of crops taken from original full resolution images at a range of ISO settings have been included in order for you to gain an appreciation of the overall quality.

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This is the full frame at the minimum ISO setting.

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At 100 ISO the image quality is very good with plenty of detail and vibrant colour.

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Virtually no difference at 200 ISO.

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There is some visible noise at 400 ISO, but the level of detail remains high.

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Noise levels are much higher at at 800 ISO, and a lot of detail has been lost.

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At 1600 ISO the noise level is just about acceptable for a small print.

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This is the full frame at 1600 ISO.

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Roddion

November 21, 2008, 6:31 am

I have just bought this as a carry everywhere point and shoot camera to replace an Olympus FE-340 (with 5x zoom) I was not happy with and an old Olympus C770 (with 10x zoom) which I was very happy with but needed to be replaced.





My reasons for choosing this model were the good review, the 28-280 effective zoom range and a special price of NZ$399 (about US$220) with free accessory pack which included a case, 2GB card and an extra battery. So far after taking around 20 good clear picture, I am very happy with my purchase. The 28mm wide angle zoom is great compared with both Olympus's 38mm, and while the images are not significantly better than the C-770 they are noticeably better than the FE-340 which suffers from very noticeable barrel distortion at the wide end and soft at the telephoto end.





If anyone is curious about whether I considered the DMC-TZ5, the answer is yes. But I decided it did not offer me any real advantage that could justify the 50% higher cost no free accessory pack!

spolky

January 16, 2009, 5:15 am

I bought the TZ4 as an everyday snapper instead of having to lug my E410 around. It was a close call between the TZ4 and the Canon SX110, and in the end I went for the one my local Currys had in stock! I compared it to the SX100, and whilst the Canon feels more 'natural' to use, the TZ4 is much more compact and feels much better made, being mostly of metal construction I think.





Indeed, the Pansonic feels like quality as soon as you feel the weight. It looks the part, too. After two days experimenting I have come to terms with the limitations of the camera - basically it is a point-and-shoot with very little option to take manual control. As I have a DSLR I am not too concerned about this. One area where it does score highly over most other compacts, is in having that 28mm lens. I am not overly-impressed with the sharpness - in this respect it looks positively prehistoric when compared to my E410 - but colour reproduction and exposure seem good. I’m sure it is good, but just not as good as I expected based on the reviews.





Digital compacts have moved on since my first Sony DSC going back 5-6 years in terms of speed and options, but image quality appears to have hit a block and I personally can't see a lot of difference between my old 3MP Sony and this 8MP model. However - and I'm surprised this has not been mentioned before - one area where compacts have rocketed ahead is in terms of their ability to shoot video. The TZ4 shoots a very respectable 16:9 aspect, 848 x 480 pixels, 30 fps. I didn't buy it as a movie camera as I already have one, but I shall certainly use it in place of my bulky old Digital 8 Handycam. Of course the sound quality is abysmal, but we can’t have everything!





I am not a professional photographer or reviewer, and can only compare this to the half-dozen other digital cameras I’ve owned in the past few years. It is undoubtedly the best compact I’ve used, and the small size compared with long zoom make it a great travel companion. Being able to shoot decent video just about seals it as probably the perfect travel camera. It falls way short of a DSLR – even one with far fewer MPs - in terms of image quality, but is more than acceptable for small prints or computer use. It feels well made and is very easy to master, so should be a trouble-free holiday companion. But I would buy an extra battery because I seriously doubt the 300-shot life claimed by Panasonic. I would put it closer to 200 without flash, and with a two-hour charge time, it won’t make it through many parties!

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