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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 review

Will the upgrade of the popular TZ6 live up to Panasonic's hype?

Our Verdict

Although this camera is great for a compact, we can't help feeling that for an extra bit more cash, you could get a fully fledged D-SLR

For

  • Lens
  • Intelligent Exposure and AF functions
  • Metering system
  • Noise o.k. until ISO 800
  • 720p movie recording

Against

  • Not as good as D-SLR although price quite similar
  • Fiddly controls for aperture etc
  • Some Intelligent functions have little effect

tz8 review

To judge by all the stickers festooning our review sample, Panasonic is making the biggest noise about the 25mm wide angle lens, impressive zoom reach and intelligent widgets. Let's begin with build quality and lens.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 certainly feels and looks good. While not as chic as the Sony DSC-TX1, or as SLR-a-like as the Canon SX20 IS, it's a nice looking camera that weighs a mere 214g (with battery). The lens recesses smartly into the body and the dials and buttons are generally well laid out.

But that's not to say the ergonomics are perfect. It's great to be able to adjust aperture via the top PASM (Program, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Manual) dial on a camera at this price point, so why oh why is widening and narrowing the aperture so needlessly fiddly?

Exposure button

EXPOSURE CONTROL: You select aperture or shutter speed via the top dial, but then adjust it via this extra Exposure button – a clunky solution

Once you've selected A mode on the top dial, you then have to press a separate Exposure button on the back to let you adjust the aperture via the arrows on the rear dial. Forget to press Exposure and you'll end up changing flash settings by mistake! This convoluted process will soon frustrate SLR owners, for example, who are using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 as a back-up compact.

The dial/button/arrow sequence is also needed to adjust shutter speed (and aperture/shutter speed in Manual mode), and it really slows you down when you need to adjust exposure modes on the fly. A dedicated dial for PASM, as found on higher-end cameras, is badly needed, and it wouldn't spoil the layout.

Fortunately, the lens soon has us back on board. While 25mm is not the widest angle you can get on a compact at this price, it's still a great effort, and the quality of the Leica-branded lens is really up there.

Wide angle

WIDE BOY: The 25mm wide angle lens is a godsend for holidaymakers trying to capture as much of an impressive scene as possible (Click here for high-res version)

Sure, you'd expect, and get, distortion at this price point, but it's well controlled, and generally, the lens is impressively sharp and unflappable.

If you need to squeeze even more into the scene, you can also choose 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Lens performance is also good at the telephoto end, and this, combined with the reasonably wide maximum aperture, makes it easy to get pleasing background blur on portraits, for instance.

widescreen

WIDESCREEN: The 16:9 widescreen mode is also handy for capturing a big scene, and you can enjoy it later on your widescreen TV (Click here for high-res version)

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
USBYes
Wide AngleNo
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix T
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom12x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Video FormatsQuickTime Motion JPEG
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)191 g
Flash Memory Capacity40 MB
Minimum Focus Distance30 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCCD
Total Camera Resolution14.5 Megapixel
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Height59.6 mm
Width103.3 mm
Depth32.6 mm
Autofocus Points11
Product SeriesT
Focal Length4.10 mm to 49.20 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash OFF, Flash ON, Red-eye Reduction
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-TZ8
Product NameLumix DMC-TZ8 Compact Camera
Product LineLumix
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMCTZ8EBK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The 12.1-megapixel DMC-TZ8 features a 25mm wide-angle 12x optical zoom f/3.3-4.9 LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens (35mm camera equivalent: 25-300mm) in a compact body. The 25mm wide-angle lens has about twice the shooting area of the standard 35mm lens. The powerful 12x zoom can also be used in motion picture recording. In 3-megapixel resolution mode, the Extra Optical Zoom function provides additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 23.4x by using the center part of the CCD.

Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-TZ8 Compact Camera
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • Battery Case
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • AC Cable
  • Hand Strap
  • CD-ROM
Display Resolution230000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker