are here: Home
Digital Camera Reviews > Panasonic
Panasonic TZ5 Review
Date: Apr 21, 2008
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2008 - Compact UltraZoom
The Panasonic TZ5 is targeted to point-and-shoot photographers desiring an easy-to-use ultra zoom digital camera. It
has 9.1 megapixel resolution on a 1/2.33-in. CCD
image sensor, and a 4.7-47mm (28-280mm, 35 mm
equivalent) 10x optical zoom lens, with a maximum
aperture of F3.3(W)-F4.9(T).
We find the overall image quality of the Panasonic
TZ5 to be very good at ISO 100 with good image
detail. Image quality is good at ISO 200; aggressive
noise reduction means that, at higher ISOs, images
suffer from noise and loss of detail.
(28mm, 35mm equivalent)
(280mm, 35mm equivalent)
The Panasonic TZ5 has a 10x wide-angle optical
zoom lens with Panasonic's famous MEGA Optical
Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) which helps to reduce camera
shake. In the above pictures, we show the coverage
for 28mm and 280mm. We love the 28mm wide-angle
coverage that allows us to capture real wide landscapes! The O.I.S. ensures that images do not suffer from camera shake even at the long end of the telephoto.
|4.7mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern,
1/200 sec., F8.0, ISO 100
Macro can be as close as 5 cm (2 in.) at wide-angle.
AF is fast (especially when using the 1-area
High Speed AF), works very well in good light
and even in low-light, though I've found that
sometimes you need to stay at the wide-angle focal
length for easier focus lock in extreme low-light.
There are three metering modes:
Intelligent Multiple (i.e., Multi-Pattern), Center Weighted and Spot. Most photographers will use Intelligent Multiple which works very well in all lighting situations.
As the above two pictures show, the Auto White
Balance (AWB) is not quite accurate indoors under
artificial lighting [I have two ordinary household
tungsten light bulbs on the ceiling]. Fortunately,
the Panasonic TZ5 allows WB to be easily set manually and this brings out the real colours.
Most P&S digital camera does not provide manual
WB, so this is a real bonus! AWB works very well
in natural light.
You can set the ISO on the Panasonic TZ5 from
100 to 1600, plus a high ISO of 6400 in High Sensitivity Mode. The 100%
crops above (area delimited by the white square)
demonstrate that noise at ISO 100 and 200 is under control.
Noise starts to be more visible at ISO 400 but
is still usable up to ISO 800. At ISO 1600, the presence
of noise is clearly visible at full image size
and with visible loss of detail.
Sensitivity - 100% Crops
The High Sensitivity scene mode boosts the sensitivity
to ISO 3200 and 6400, both at 3M resolution only (3M at aspect ratio 4:3; 2.5M at 3:2 and 2M at 16:9). It looks very noisy and splotchy
when the image is viewed at full resolution. Though the ISO 3200 image seems less noisy than the one at ISO 1600, notice however that it is at the expense of image detail.
|ISO 3200 - Resized 450x338 Pixels
|ISO 3200 resized for Web display
For Web display, the ISO 3200 images may be usable when resized 450x338 pixels.
CA is not really a problem in everyday shots.
In the above photo, the top left area delimited by the
red square, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom
right, shows negligible purple fringing.
|4.7mm, Starry Sky, Multi-Pattern,
60 sec., F3.3, ISO 100
Self-timer 10 sec., Tripod Used
The Panasonic TZ5 allows the use of a long shutter
speed of 15 sec., 30 sec. or 60 sec. in Starry
Sky Scene Mode (only up to 1 sec. in P). This
allows us to take some very nice Night Shots.
Generally, with image sensors, noise usually
becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds.
The Panasonic TZ5 has special noise reduction
(NR) that automatically kicks in at shutter speeds
of 1 sec. and slower and you'll notice aprox.
twice the processing time before the next picture
can be taken. I like that there is a countdown
of the long shutter speed as well as of the "signal
processing" (noise reduction) time displayed
on screen. Some digital cameras leave you "in
the dark" forcing you to do your own mental
To test this noise reduction algorithm, I take
a low-light indoors shot using a long shutter
speed of 60 sec. The NR works quite well seeing this is quite a long exposure. The
AF works well in low-light, and the AF-assist
Lamp helps to obtain precise and fast focus lock.
The last feature we will mention is the Live
Histogram. A histogram can be displayed during
Shooting Mode and Playback mode. The histogram
is invaluable to give an indication of under-
and over-exposure (don't rely on the LCD/EVF since
the Playback image auto-brightens
and so will be misleading).
I find it incredible that Panasonic would equip
a P&S digital camera with all these practical
features when some more expensive and "for
pro" digital cameras do not.
Overall, very good image quality and
I am very impressed with all the more advanced features
that are included, such as manual WB and Live
Histogram. It is very easy in point-and-shoot mode to obtain beautiful pictures. The TZ5 even provides a Vivid color mode for those who prefer a sharp image with saturated colours right out of the camera (without post processing).
The pictures in the Panasonic TZ5 Photo Gallery
page provide a good sample of what the camera
is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600
pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop
Elements) as well as the 3456 x 2592 pixels original
size (click on the image for the original version).
You can safely assume that most macro shots
and slow shutter speed shots required the use
of a tripod (due to the effective image stabilization,
the use of a tripod was restricted to the long
shutter speeds). Any image that is adjusted for
levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted"
appended to the file name (though the original
sized image is, of course, not adjusted).
I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels.
For those who have their monitor resolution set
to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit
and you should not have to scroll to see the whole
image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels
resolution, start the slide show and then scroll
to the right to position the image within your
screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using
Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode,
and the image should fill your screen nicely.
Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor
display back to normal mode.
To return to this page from the Photo Gallery,
click on the animated graphics of the camera.
Please open and download the original size version
only if you need to and only once
to your hard drive -- and save me some precious