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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5


Our Score:


The TZ5’s performance is very good. It starts up in approximately two and half seconds and shuts down again in just under two seconds. In single-shot mode and maximum image quality the shot-to-shot time is approximately 1.8 seconds, which is respectable, but in unlimited continuous mode it can shoot at nearly two frames a second and appears to maintain focus, which is very fast. It also has a three-shot burst mode which is slightly faster, at just under 3fps.

The TZ5 has multiple autofocus modes, including nine-zone wide, single and three-zone high speed, single zone normal, centre spot and face detection. It is respectably fast in all modes, and its low-light performance is excellent, focusing quickly and accurately in all light conditions. It has one of the best AF assist lamps I’ve seen, enabling it to focus in complete darkness at a distance of around four metres, even with relatively low contrast targets.

For battery duration, Panasonic claims 300 shots on a full charge from its 1000mAh Lithium-ion cell, but in fact this may be slightly conservative. I took around 200 shots with it over the course of several days, many of them with the flash, and it was still reading two out of three bars when I’d finished.

Panasonic’s recent cameras have shown significant improvement in image quality, and the TZ5 continues this trend, although image noise is still something of a problem at higher ISO settings. There is a noise-like pattern visible in darker areas even at 100 ISO, although this may be an artefact of the image processing. Oddly shots at 200 ISO actually appear slightly cleaner, but the noise reduction kicks in at 400 ISO and fine detail begins to deteriorate. At 800 ISO the image looks like it’s been blurred and re-sharpened a few times, and at the maximum 1600 ISO colour reproduction is very poor and the image quality is very poor.

However as long as you stay under 400 ISO the TZ5 is capable of producing excellent shots, with good colour, above average dynamic range and plenty of fine detail. The Leica-branded lens is as good as ever, with superb sharpness right across the frame and producing no distortion at any focal length, which is a remarkable achievement in such a compact lens system.


Over the week that I’ve been using the Panasonic TZ5 I have come to really like it, and will miss it when I have to give it back. It is a well designed and solidly made camera which is tough enough to survive quite a bit of rough treatment. It handles superbly, performs exceptionally well and is a genuine pleasure to use. Apart from its zoom range it’s a bit limited in terms of creative features, but has a good range of automatic functions that produce good quality pictures in almost any situation. It is quite expensive, but it is a product of real quality and as a general purpose snapshot camera it is hard to beat.


August 27, 2008, 1:36 pm

I agree with your verdict. I used to have the Pana FZ5, which served me well until it was stolen. But lets face it, though ligth and versatile, its shape makes it a bit of a bother when travelling.

So I went for the TZ5 this time. I recently returned from a trip to China (no, not the Olympics!), where it has fully proved that it is sturdy (I dropped it any numer of times, clumsy me), fast and handy. Of the 24 people in the party I travelled with, I was the one with the smalles, handiest - and cheapest - camera. I was also the only one who succeded in taking a good shot of the 'diamond' at the precise moment when the total solar eclipse ended. Admittedly, the others have some fabulous shots from the rest of the trip, but I simply would not carry the weight they did.

I enjoyed the creative possibilities of the FZ5, and at times even dreamt of something more advanced, but the FZ5 taught me that when the rare photo-op presents itself, there mostly isn't time to fidde too much with settings.

The possibilities with TZ5 match very nicely with my needs when travelling and for family shots, and I have yet to see a shot it could not make.

Warmly recommended.


August 27, 2008, 3:09 pm

At last! Thank you, Cliff :)

Doug Ellison

August 27, 2008, 3:10 pm

I have one myself, and it outperformed my 400D as a 'holiday' camera in and around NYC. Some focus trouble when taking movies- but other than that it is just superb.


August 27, 2008, 3:17 pm

This is nothing to do with the ability of the camera, but why have they made it from both stainless steel and aluminium? This means that galvanic corrosion could be a problem particularly if it gets wet. Maybe not a problem because most people will only keep it a few years, but it seems a shame to make it so sturdy then build in a problem like that.

Ric Foot

August 27, 2008, 8:56 pm

A nice review as always ... but is the TZ5 worth the extra money over and above the TZ4 ?


August 27, 2008, 10:17 pm

hiii.. i bought a lumix tz 5. i am satisfied with the performance,but there is one big problem.. the picture quality and colour is outstanding in the camera lcd but when i transfer it to computer, the colour is reduced significantly. why is it so? and yeah,when auto correct is done in microsoft picture viwere the colour is restored. what could be wrong? i shoots in ia mode. any settings to be changed for better colour? author please advise.

Oliver Skuza

August 28, 2008, 2:55 am

Nambiar: Could be that your computer monitor isn't calibrated to match your camera's LCD or it could be the other way around.


August 29, 2008, 2:04 am

I researched digital cameras for travel and choose the tz5 and am very impressed! The camera has impressive zoom capabilities with the 10x optical and using built in settins such as the "food" setting enables the 40x zoom and is one of the best settings to take photos of flowers, butterflies where you are about 1.5 to 2' feet away and it provides great shots with the flower/butterfy in focus and the backround slightly blurred! There are many built in settings and I have only used a few so far. I am a newbie to digital cameras but have taken the best pictures thus far from any camera with the tz5. People have complained about low light but I read up on DPR review forums and got great examples and advise from many users showing great pictures taken under low light with the TZ5 that amazed me! I've used the IA mode often but when in low light I often set the manual mode to max iso 400, no flash, natural color, and auto for the various other settings and the pictures come out great! I sometimes take a quick one with the IA to compare or switch the manual back to flash and while they all are good often the no flash turns out more natural. I've seen people take shots with it set to iso of 800 and 1200 and they turned out great. I learned from the forums that many camera nuts talk about specs often comparing more finite performance differences found in large DSLR cameras that only a serious camera freak would detect.

I also love the HD movie feature of the camera! This is to me the best camera for travel and overal general use for most people not needing a big fancy bulky camera. The wide angle is a major plus as when you travel this camera enables you to capture all the people and the backround you want even when very close! I took a shot in Toronto Canada right below the CNN tower and the wide angle enabled me to take a shot that had the entire tower and I was so close I did not think I could do that! I reccomend to get at least one extra battery which can be had online often for 20-30 bucks for a factory or 5-10 for a generic. Also I got a Sandik extreme III 8gig online for about 35 bucks and that can shoot something like 1900 pictures! This to me is the best all around camera for travel with the ultra wide angle, huge optical zoom and HD movie capabilities!


September 6, 2008, 6:47 pm

Hi All,

great review, I really like the tz5 and Im very close to buying it but need to know just one thing.

My lads ride BMX freestyle,I need to know would this camera be able to cope with this sort of action shot(with it not having manual set up)?


September 8, 2008, 5:49 pm

i have read the reviews on the TZ2 TZ3 TZ4 and TZ5 and i am stuck on which one to get its either the TZ3 and the TZ5, which one would you strongly recommend me getting

Jeff 1

September 10, 2008, 3:48 pm

I bought the TZ5 and i absolutely love it! @Bushiee: if you want action pix, buy a dslr. In holland a Nikon D40 can be bought for 210 pounds, for fast moving subjects a dslr is the tool. In compacts the slow focusing and viewfinder blackouts during burst shooting mean that you miss more moments than capture them. Take a compact to a airshow and try to take pics of jets streaking by! :-)

As for the TZ5: when i don't have to take the dslr with me i always carry the Panny and this little gem ROCKS!!! the wide angle and the ultra tele capabilities make it the winner in its class. for all purpose pictaking in not to demanding situations this is the cam to have!!!


October 24, 2008, 10:04 pm

I'm after a zoom camera mainly for taking photos at concerts and football matches. I have a brilliant Fuji camera but it only has a 3 x optical zoom and I'd pretty much decided on the TZ5 - however after reading the above comments I'm a bit concerned that it's not going to be able to cope with acts moving around on stage or footballers running up and down the pitch in full zoom mode!! Any suggestions on alternatives, or advice on whether the TZ5 will meet my needs would be gratefully received


October 28, 2008, 5:14 pm

I currently own the TZ1 and am looking to replace it. It is between the new TZ5 and the Canon SP-110 IS. I take a lot of sports pictures and do a lot of photo cropping. Any recomendations?

Colin Davis

November 23, 2008, 2:09 am

I have several cameras, one of which is the Pana TZ5. Whilst it is OK on outdoors scenes and video, I find it sadly lacking on indoor scenes with varying light areas. I have tried the Intelligent Auto for such scenes but it just cannot cope!. Trying to view a TV screen it still operated flash with obvious reflected light spot. I have also tried it during a childrens Halloween party in doors which had varying lighting, and nearly all the shots were a disaster, many over-exposed and many under-exposed - so I Auto is not as clever as Panasonic tell us! I am disappointed with it!


December 27, 2008, 11:47 pm

I am looking at buying the TZ3, TZ4 or TZ5. Apart from the difference in MPs and the larger screen on the TZ5, is there much difference between the models? Any help would be appreciated so I can choose a camera before going on holiday. Thanks.


January 13, 2009, 3:58 pm

I have just got one and I must say that all positive reviews of this camera are true. Built like a tank, blazing fast, easy to use, very good photo quality and not costing you an arm and a leg. Clearly one of the best travelling cameras on the market.


February 4, 2009, 12:52 pm

I have a DSLR, but it's too much camera for me (I really like it, it's a Nikon, but I just haven't put in the time to learn all the gadgetry on it and I've had it for over 3 years) and am looking for something that will do what I need but in a smaller, simpler to use camera. I'd like a more compact camera, but some of it's usage is going to be going to car races and I really would like to be able to take some shots of the cars in action without blurring (afraid I didn't even accomplish that with the DSLR). Can someone give an idea of what would be a good camera for that, or tell me where would be a good place to learn how to accomplish that with the camera I have now? I'd still like a compact also and this sounds like a nice one, even if that means I'd have to haul around two of them.

Kenneth Stiglich

February 7, 2009, 8:28 pm

I own this camera and really think it is a good camera but I agree that Intelligent Auto is not too intelligent..or maybe, but for example, when I am indoor I prefer to use flash instead of increasing ISO to 800 or 1600. Some times this camera prefer to increase ISO thus decreasing picture quality. I like this camera but I do not use the Intelligent Auto option, instead you have a photo option, and I set this to ISO 100, Auto-Flash, 9Megapixels, high quality picture, and this camera works pretty good!

Tom MacFarlane 1

April 20, 2009, 3:11 pm

I was lucky enough to find the TZ5 cheapo on eBay.

If you can use the HD video setting - you need to buy a special cable - the results are superb.

I gave up using iA very quickly as the results were often quite poor. Using 'Normal Picture' you get a bit more control - no aperture or shutter - and so far the results have been much better.

I'm pleased with scene modes, and specially Sport. On the TZ3 which I had before, the sport mode went for a higher ISO rather than a faster shutter speed which was useless.

This one seems to deliver a higher shutter setting.

I would have preferred manual settings, but to find such an excellent movie mode is a huge plus.


May 1, 2009, 9:40 pm

can sum 1 help me out. im buying a cam shortly nd cant decide weder d TZ5 is worth d money. i mostly take outdoor shots nd rarely will take indoor or nite shots. is d TZ5 gud , if not is der ne odr cam better dan dis 1 less dan $250

Cliff Smith

May 11, 2009, 9:00 pm

Jeremy - I'm sorry, but I'm not even going to attempt to translate that gibberish. If you'd like us to take the time to answer your question, it seems only polite that you should make the effort to type it in plain English.


May 12, 2009, 7:12 pm

Hi everyone, looking for a new camera at the moment. (Only owned 1 digicam in my life, a Samsung Digimax 5MP bought a few years ago) Besides the megapixels count and the wide lens, is there any other differences between the TZ5 and TZ7? I really like the TZ7 and but it is a bit too expensive for me and am wondering if the TZ5 is a good camera at this time or is it considered to be outdated or the likes?

Cheers for any responses.


May 14, 2009, 3:25 pm

oh sorry bout that. im buying a camera shortly nd just cant decide wat to buy. i hav been reading alot about the TZ5 . can anyone tell me about the image qaulity outdoors since i will mostly take outdoor shots. i hope the indoor image quality is acceptable? wat do u tink?


June 6, 2009, 6:10 am

Dear Jeremy (or should that be Yo Jeremy),

Sorry to bleat on old chap, but do you think you could possibly refrain from using your modern day vernacular. We 'ordinary' chaps have great difficulty in understanding your 'hop-hip' lingo! As this is a forum for camera users and not 'Gangsta' Rappers from Queens would it be possible for you to use a language that we all understand. That means constructing sentences that are grammatically correct and consist of words that have been spelled correctly.

Greetings and salutations!



June 8, 2009, 11:27 pm

nah i am not the gangsta rapper type of guy, just an sms guy.anyways you took so long to reply that i went ahead and bought the canon sx110is. i hope i have made the right choice.

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