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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Despite the size of its lens the TZ7 starts up in well under two seconds, although it does take nearly three seconds to shut down again. In single-shot mode at the highest quality setting it has a shot-to-shot cycle time of comfortably under two seconds, which is pretty quick, however in continuous shooting mode it can manage 1.8 frames a second, which is very fast. It also has a three-shot burst option which is even faster.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 top

The autofocus system is very good. It focuses quickly and accurately in almost any lighting condition at all, including pitch darkness thanks to a good bright AF lamp with a range of around three metres. Even at the long end of the zoom range the AF hardly ever hunts around, and focuses in under a second. Only at full zoom in very low light does it stumble, but even then at least it lets you know quickly that it can't focus.

The HD movie mode is superb, arguably the best I've seen on a compact camera so far. Sound and picture quality rival the performance of a dedicated camcorder, and the progressive zoom action means you can do some nice slow zoom effects. Unfortunately clips are limited to 15 minutes, but this is not a major handicap. Unless you've got a video viewer that has the appropriate codecs you'll need to use the supplied software to view your movies on a computer, but the TZ7 also has a HDMI output socket, so you can plug it into your HD TV.

The flash ahs been upgraded from the TZ5, and now has a maximum range of an impressive 5.3m at wide-angle. The only slight area of concern is the battery, which is a smaller 895mAh li-ion unit, but this is still larger than most compact camera batteries, and Panasonic claims 300 shots on a full charge, a figure which I have no reason to doubt.

Image quality too is outstanding. Colours are rich and vibrant, exposure is nearly always perfect, and the lens is, as we've come to expect from the Leica brand name, superb. It does suffer from slight barrel distortion at the 25mm wide-angle end, but it is pin-sharp from corner to corner, with no chromatic aberration, and the level of recorded fine detail right across the frame is excellent, surpassing most 12MP cameras. At the highest quality setting the average file size is around 5.5MB, which is pretty decent for a 10MP camera, showing very low compression.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 battery

Image noise is also very well handled, considering that this is actually a 12.7MP 1/2.33-inch sensor, although I can't help but wonder how much better it could be if only Panasonic would switch to a larger sensor format. It produces superb image quality at 80 and 100 ISO, and while there is some noise visible at 400 ISO the images are at least printable, with accurate colour and good detail. However image quality does deteriorate at 800 ISO, and the 1600 ISO maximum setting is best avoided.


Panasonic has done it again with the TZ7, producing a well-designed and exceptionally versatile camera ideal for travel, but also well suited to just about any type of general snapshot photography. Build quality, design, performance and image quality are all excellent, it has a useful range of easy-to-use features, and of course it also has a superb HD video option with stereo sound.


March 22, 2009, 12:16 am

If only Panasonic had released this back in December last year...I have the TZ5 which in itself is a fabulous camera but the sound quality for the video mode is poor. What is the sound quality like on the TZ7?

Rok Krznar

March 22, 2009, 2:19 am

I was wondering, does the video still suffer from vertical banding when the sensor is subjected to extreme contrasts in scenes like sunsets? That's about the only thing that's keeping me from buying this camera. Thanks!


March 22, 2009, 6:50 am

How does this camera manage to get a "9/10" for image quality? Two things are very obvious in these pics.

First, even at base ISO there is a lot of specking in dark areas of the pics. It only gets worse as the ISO goes up. This is plain to see in your ISO tests.

Second, and this is most obvious on the large picture of the beached boat, the JPEG compression or noise reduction are awful creating a watercolr type of effect even in full daylight picture.

And this is a 9/10 on image quality?



March 22, 2009, 1:28 pm

It may take great pictures with plenty of light, but I agree with the previous comment: you can see noise even at base ISO.

I completely disagree with the review when it said that "Dynamic range is very good considering the small size of the sensor". You cannot judge dynamic range in way way or another depending the size of the sensor: There is only one reality: the dynamic range of the picture shown is truly awful. Dynamic range is supposed to combine details of BOTH dark and highlighted areas, not only of one or the other. And that picture clearly shows that the highlight details are simply non-existent.

In my opinion, a camera with such a mediocre dynamic range, and that shows noise even at base ISO shouldn't deserve a 9 in image quality. That without mentioning the noise levels at higher ISO.... (yes; not much worse than most compacts, but still so bad...)


March 22, 2009, 2:15 pm


You must bear in mind, that there are several types of cameras and you should compare them with models from within the same group. So if you compare any p&s camera with a DSLR, p&s will be beaten for sure. The same applies when comparing budget DSLRs and semi-pro ones.

I own TZ5, which is by no means a perfect camera. But I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in a good, all-round, fully automated p&s. And I'm sure that TZ7 is also worth such a recommendation (unless someone comes up with a camera similar to Fuji F31fd).


March 22, 2009, 2:21 pm

Absolutely agree with Kanu ! Also if you look at full size picture you will see how washed out are all the colors...


March 22, 2009, 4:02 pm

Please remember this is a compact camera...


March 22, 2009, 5:30 pm

If the camera is deficient image quality, then well it is deficient. There is no point "recommending" it. Nothing here is better than compact cameras we had 3-4 years ago.

How on earth will consumers know what the real deal is - and more important, how will manufacturers get the message if review websites keep giving a free pass to flawed garbage?


March 22, 2009, 8:18 pm

Can i ask, those of you who are complaining about the image quality, what are you comparing it agianst? The price is extortionate, but will go down within a couple of months of release. The TZ5 can be picked up for 𧵢 now which is very reasonable for what it is.

The TZ5 is most definitely pocketable by the way, happily slipping into a jeans/trouser pocket. The ruggedness of the camera means it can stand up to being dropped from reasonable doubt without trashing it. Isn't this why it is considered a travel camera, rather than one to combat DSLR's?


March 22, 2009, 11:17 pm

@ ZenerEffect: sensor size is not (only) a matter of cost, for a small pocketable cam it's much more a matter of lens size. The bigger the sensor the longer the lens has to be (with equal focal length). Thats why DSLR-teles are that big. With a larger sensor a 25-300 wasn't feasible in s small cam.


March 23, 2009, 1:58 am

@dev and Freddie: Owning a compact camera should not mean not being able to capture good pictures in low light. It is physically possible to have small camera that takes good pics in good light and low light (ie Panasonic LX3). So yes, if you compare the noise levels of this camera to the LX3, then there is a clear winner (and that's not the TZ7). For dynamic range, it seems like the Fuji F200EXR beats the TZ7 quite clearly. And if you cannot have a bigger sensor with such a long zoom, well then take the 1/2.33" sensor of this camera and instead of squishing 12 megapixels into it, put 8 (or even better, 6 or 5) megapixels in it. That would increase image quality considerably, and would allow people to realise that having a compact camera isn't an antonym of being able to shoot at low light with guarantees.

However, as Kany said, if people continue to welcome this kind of image quality, manufacturers will keep selling it to you. Your choice.


March 23, 2009, 1:07 pm

Agree. The LX3 has very short zoom and so it can have a larger sensor and IQ is very much better. It's a choice between long zoom and better picture quality, but if you want the big zoom there's no cam which is better than the TZ7, I'm afraid. I did compare it with the new Canon SX200, and the Canon is worse.

That 6 MP would be far enough and would improve picture quality a lot is obvious for us - but not for camera manufactureres ... they think they have to join the MP race and that no one would buy a cam with fewer MP than 12 ... let's be glad they didn't put 15 MP on the TZ7 ;) ...

I guess they are wrong, meanwhile a lot of digital photographers are experienced enough to know that less pixels = better quality. At least they could offer (instead of 3 colours .. ;) two versions of the same cam, one with 6 MP and one with 12 MP, and consumers could decide for themselves what to prefer ...


March 23, 2009, 2:29 pm

For a compact, I guess it isn't bad, but the IQ would not tempt me away from my 5MP camera as I don't need bigger files / pictures / A3 prints and frankly, I don't think the difference between this and the Pentax previously tested is worth the extra cash (although it would be nice to have "Leica" on the front of my camera!). What would tempt me is the speed - I hate waiting while the camera has a few quiet moments to focus / think about what it's just taken etc.

It would be useful if there was some seperate ratings - 'performance': Fast = good, slow = ****.

Colour accuracy: it's difficult to compensate for erratic colours (in various lighting conditions too). What do Cliff's cars really look like?


March 23, 2009, 4:19 pm

Good review. I really like the colors the TZ7 puts out. Now if only the price comes down to a reasonable level.

Cliff Smith

March 24, 2009, 3:44 pm

Wow, that's a lot of comments; let me try and respond to a few of the points raised.

First, the image quality score. This is always a tricky one, because it covers a lot of factors, including exposure and focusing accuracy, colour reproduction, low-light performance, lens quality, and at least in this case video quality as well, not just image noise. Also remember that I try to compare like with like. I don't judge the image quality of a compact relative to a full-frame professional DSLR, I compare it to other similar compacts, and in this respect the TZ7 performs extremely well.

Secondly, please remember that the small 600-pixel images displayed on the site are compressed JPEGs, so there may be compression artefacts other than those produced by the camera. For a better representation of the true image quality please download the full-size images from the detail, wide-angle and telephoto test shots. These are the files straight out of the camera.

Finally the price; remember that this is a very new camera. The price will (hopefully) drop after it has been on sale for a few months. The TZ5 launched at about the same price, but is now available for under 𧶀.


March 25, 2009, 2:51 am

Thanks for the clarifications Cliff. But in my opinion; no, you don't have to go and compare the image quality (especially dynamic range and low light) of this camera to DSLR cameras. I mentioned that there are some (very few unfortunately) compacts that have better IQ (Fuji F31, F200EXR, and especially the Panasonic LX3 & Sigma DP1...) than this TZ7. So why compare image quality to the majority (and bad) of the compact camera market, instead of comparing it to the few and good?

If I remember correctly the Canon A2000 scored a 10/10 in IQ. To me this is excessive because a 10 should represent almost perfection, and the A2000 might take glorious pictures with plenty of light, but its low light performance is far from being 10/10 (and low light performance should not be less important than day light performance).

You mentioned that IQ includes "exposure and focusing accuracy, colour reproduction, low-light performance, lens quality, and at least in this case video quality as well, not just image noise". This is true. But if the image is great under daylight conditions, but it's so awful at ISO 400 or higher, then it cannot be said that the camera scores 9 or 10/10. Especially when, as I said before, it can be compared to other cameras that do much better, because we don't have to forget that it IS possible to have a good IQ camera for day AND low light (sometimes we could forget it, as 98% of the cameras come with tiny sensors).

Whish everybody would be a bit more critic on IQ, that could make manufacturers realise that public demands better IQ, not more megapixels.

Steve 13

March 27, 2009, 5:46 pm

Thanks for a great review. Perfect for someone like me who just wants the best p&s camera to improve the quality of my holiday pics.

Only worry I have is that I'm always putting my camera in and out of it's case - how will this effect the loose dial (is it really THAT bad? How does it compare to the dial on the TZ5?)

For those of you critising image quality - would any of you care to recommend a similar camera in terms of size, ease of use (iA for example) and features (HD video) that may be better for me?


March 29, 2009, 7:59 am

Canon 960 has better image quality. I would still question if that is good enough quality, but better than this.

There is no point buying junk for features. The purpose of a camera is image quality and this aspect cannot come last in weighting, as it seem to in far too many reviews. This is why the public gets junk peddled at them - the press is far to uncritical.


March 29, 2009, 11:29 pm

Hi there,

I was wondering if I could plead for some digicam advice. I was lucky to have my first digicam purchase be a Panasonic DMC-FZ5 and up until recently I have had a glorious time happysnapping anything that took my fancy. Unfortunately, this digicam is now very tired from overuse of the zoom feature! Rather than blurring pics at zoom extremities it now blurs all pics - I'm lucky to get clear pic after 4-5 attempts.

As I'm not luxuriously flush for funds, I never embark on buying expensive purchases lightly, and always strive for quality as its true that you get what you pay for. To this end, I talk to experts and research a wide range of reviews on every model digicam thats current to the market according to what features I need. Except now, with so many options I've researched myself into total and utter confusion!

I've narrowed options down to Panasonic (either this TZ7 / FZ28 /FZ18 ?), Canon (960is?) or Nikon (L100?). I don't mind Olympus either but from reviews I'm not sure if the SP565/570 UZ? or the mju8000 tough? would really suit my requirements.

Basically, all I need in a digital camera is:

1. Quality - a camera thats not going to date quickly (is 3-5 yrs too much to ask? lol)

2. Reasonable Durability - I have 3 very active kids who know that hurting my digicam

wont be doing their popularity any favours, but what does "murphys law" care?

3. Optical Zoom - blame the FZ5... I'm addicted and Love this feature!

4. Picture Colour Quality - vividity of colour in photo printouts with low noise and

no photoshop wizardry would be ideal. I have photoshop but am completely

ILliterate for how to use it.. in fact I have several photo programs and am

equally capable with all of them! (I'm studying psychology - time to navigate

photo programs doesnt exist)

5. Automatic (intelligent auto) / Point & Shoot quick start + Motion or Blur Sensing,

(each digicam company seems to have different names for this).

Number 5 is is THE most critical factor in my purchase, and will be what sells or kills a digicam option.

While I loved my FZ5, I wasnt able to figure out a way to prevent pics of the kids from blurring when they moved or played sport. Ok, so reading technospeak in a digicam manual isnt a forte of mine, but even handing the manual over for techno-normal speak translation from friend-"experts" didnt rectify this issue. With 2 of my kids being somewhat overenergetic, having no automatic auto-anti-blur feature makes staged kidpics a nightmare, and natural kidpics nigh impossible. Since a digicam in my snaphappy hand has become my kids version of a nightmare, it just makes automatic, freeze-in-the-moment motion sensing from any camera I buy an even more essential feature!

I found I never used half the features of my FZ5 and mainly kept the dial on "simple"(automatic). Rarely, I experimented with sports, macro and fireworks settings but "simple" always managed better photography than my attempts. Most of my FZ5 pics were taken indoors or outdoors until early evening. I think I may need something more reasonable for night photography but nightpic settings arent a critical feature for my new digicam.

As to other digicam features available: I have no need for live recording functions, raw+jpeg variable formats, audio quality, zoom-while-recording, manual settings i think... or will I?) and I dont wont to buy a dslr. My maximum budget is $650AUD and I really need to purchase a camera b4 going away on april 16. I live regionally, so going out to the shops to test drive models isnt always an option for me. My eyes are crosseyed from spending 24hrs over 2 days confusing myself with reviews!

For anyone who has the expertise to translate this post to a matched digicam, I am immensely grateful in advance! Thank you everyone for your time reading this post :)


Cliff Smith

April 2, 2009, 2:37 am

Innigowhale - since you're already familiar with Panasonic cameras, surely the TZ7 would fit your requirements?


April 2, 2009, 7:53 am

Jeff at DC Resource just reviewed this camera, and even he was surprised that the Panasonic's Hi-ISO IQ was superior to the Canon SX200IS. And HE LOVES Canon cameras! After all, this camera costs less than the LX3, and has a much longer zoom range. And it's brand new. The price will go down. Panasonic (and Leica) should be applauded for producing a camera with such a long reach and such wide angle capability while retaining sharp results at both ends of the zoom range. It's too bad that there are no manual controls, because that makes it useless to me. Being able to control depth of field and shutter speed improves your pics exponentially, in my opinion. It's interesting to see that DP Review's interview with Panasonic engineers says that Leica will not allow Panasonic to use any digital enhancements to improve optical quality on any Panasonic camera with a Leica branded lens! This is why the G1 has no Leica branded lenses. I think people are too critical of compact camera's performance. I recently bought a Panasonic FX500, and when pixel peeping things don't look as good as some lower res. small sensor cameras. Yhis is proof of the experts always saying that packing more pixels onto such small sensors actually degrades image quality that requires more processing to repair. But, in real applications, such as 8x10 prints, it is still the best camera I have ever owned. If you can't deal with the limitations of small sensor cameras, then buy a DSLR. But don't criticize people who like compact cameras. People should get what they like, not what other people tell them to like.


April 2, 2009, 11:19 am

Dear Mr Smith,

Sincere Thanks for your advice! As mentioned, technical jargon is not a forte of mine, and I found myself confused with the different functions that each digicam claims is "new & improved" or "unique to..." etc. I was unable to find reasonably consistent reviewing on blur-clear + vibrant colour printouts at a decent range of zooms for one single digicam let along comparatively. Between reviews from professionals and consumers for many digicam models, I could not establish which digicam would better suit my purposes and I felt I was just reading-around in circles.

I want to thank trustedreviews.com for providing decent, credible reviews that on the whole ARE easier for a consumer to understand. Between the professional review by yourself Mr Smith, and the consumer comments, this site provides a general, well rounded perspective on available "toys for big kids". Clearly, trustedreviews.com is the www. leader in its class. Again, thank you.


Richard Fry

April 20, 2009, 1:41 am

Can somebody help me please? I two young children and would like to take those 'special memories' in both stills and video. At present I have a 2 yr old standard Panasonic Mini DC Camcorder (quality ok but not great) and a Nokia D50 DSLR (photo quality good). I would like some kit which does both video/photos well. Somebody bought me a Sony DCS W110 Cyvershot which does neither very well at all - in fact I'd say photo quality reminds me of old 35mm camera and video on 32" HD TV is terrible. Panasonic Lumix TZ7 seems to foot the bill but I don't know how it compares with the Sony and the other bits of kit I have.

I would be extremely grateful for any comments. Price not an issue - I just want a decent bit of kit in small package

david g johnson

April 21, 2009, 4:45 pm

All. after looking at my son,s TZ 3.. I have ordered a Tz7. and am at this moment waiting for delivery. My current (film) camera is an OM 10, with 35/70. Zuiko, It has given me good service, but with advanced technology, I wanted to go pocket size. I have read many good views on the tz7, together with the big, zoom, and Hopefully excellent video, I am hoping that it will fit my needs. I will report back, on my opinion of the camera, in due course. Thanks a lot for the informative video,, which swung my decision to buy, Cliff S. and to all the other comments. DGJ. S20/ 21/04/09


April 22, 2009, 1:04 am

Ok, going to Italy in late May and I need a good quality snapshot cam...not taking an SLR. So which is it , TZ7 or LX3, and why?!?! Thank you!

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