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“I wanted a pocket camera, something that would go...”

Written on: 16/03/2010 by METHUSALA (17 reviews written)

I wanted a pocket camera, something that would go anywhere just to take snaps and snippets of video.

After looking through every compact digital camera on the market, I chose the Panasonic DMC-TZ7.

I was astounded by the features available on this camera, and the image quality, user-friendliness - everything. My last compact was a chunkier Canon G9, which was good and allowed for more manual control, but it had problems with dust that couldn't be avoided due to a design flaw. The panasonic, whilst it is more automatic than the G9 (as a pro photographer, I prefer manual control), it hammers the G9 in every department. Image quality is exemplary, rivalling entry level SLRs easily. The macro facility is the best I've ever seen on a compact, and is not far off a much more expensive professional set up I use (that cost £7000) - I was floored! The wider angle start point for the zoom lens than is available on most compacts is one of the things that made me choose this camera, and it really does make a difference for landscapes and for getting creative with perspective. The Leica lens is excellent, and unlike many older panasonic cameras, isn't compromised by poor quality image processing in camera. Panasonic have really cracked it with this one. The only thing that it can't offer is pro flash standards - the built in flash is more than adequate, but the flash is the only area where this camera fails to punch way above its weight class.

The other thing I wanted was video - and nobody does it better. Full HD video at usable frame rates, and the quality is stunning. I take far more videos than I imagined I would, and due to the low price, I'm happy using it for sports (like skydiving (in a housing attached to my helmet), scuba diving (in a dive housing), cycling (clamped to the handlebars, forks, or wheelstays), and I've got some great, fun videos that I actually want to come back to and watch again, unlike a lot of video I've shot in the past which was such low quality that there was little point. It works nicely in low light too.

I only expected to be using this camera for simple snaps, but I find myself using it more and more, and whereas I have always been waiting for my next upgrade in the past, I feel no such compulsion with this camera - it's perfect for my needs, and the video quality is fantastic. Think of it as the cheapest True HD video camera money can buy, combined with one of the best compact cameras money can buy. I've owned more than twenty compact cameras, and over a hundred SLRs or medium format cameras. This one is the best compact by far, and probably my fourth favourite camera ever - considering the cameras I rate above it are complete kits costing thousands of pounds more (and it beats some costing the same), this is the best value for money camera I've ever owned, and probably the most fun too. I recommend it unreservedly.

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