Thursday, December 20, 2007

Panasonic DMC TZ3 vs Canon SX100 or Sony H3: the best Travel Zoom for $220

Four models present the new digital compact camera type – the Travel Zoom: the Canon Powershot SX100, the Sony DSC-H3, Panasonic DMC-TZ2 and Lumix TZ3. This camera type is a compromise between SLR-like cameras with a big optical zoom as Canon S5 or FujiFilm S8000 and compacts as PowerShot A-series or Fujifilm F40 – F50fd. Travel Zoom cameras have the same small 1/2.5 – 1/2.33” sensors. However, their 10-x zoom lens is hiding into the body; it makes this camera type handy, especially for travelers.
For more details look through: Compare 10x SLR-likes: Sony DSC-H3, Panasonic TZ2 vs Canon SX100.
Panasonic DMC-TZ3 best features
Panasonic’s new DMC-TZ2 and DMC-TZ3 are the latest models of the Lumix TZ family of digital cameras, which is renowned for packaging a remarkable 10x optical zoom in a compact pocket body. I already compared the Panasonic TZ2 with the Canon SX100 and the Sony DSC-H3. However, the Lumix TZ2 with a small 6MP resolution sensor is hardly preferred to 8.1MP Sony H-3 and 8.3MP Canon SX100. At that time, the Panasonic TZ3 with 7.2MP sensor and most tight body is a prepotent rival. Try to put the Canon SX100 into your jeans pocket. In that case, the TZ3 looks much more preferable. For more ultra zoom cameras look through: Compare digital SLR-like cameras: from Canon S5, Olympus SP 560 and Sony H3, H9 to Panasonic FZ18 and Fujifilm S8000.
Panasonic TZ3 key features
- 1/2.35 inch sensor with 7.2MP, 8.5 million photo detectors
- 10x optical zoom 28-280mm (35mm equiv) Leica lens
- 4-x digital zoom
- Extra optical zoom (4:3: 12x for 5MP, 15x for 3, 2, 1, 0.3MP, 3:2: 12.6x for 4.5MP, 15x for 2.5MP, 16:9: 13x for 3.5MP, 15x for 2MP)
- 3-inch 230,000 pixels LCD monitor
- MEGA O.I.S. Optical Image Stabilizer
- ISO from 100-1,250 with ISO 3,200 Intelligent ISO Mode
- Automatic exposure
- Twenty scene modes
- Live Histogram
- Aspect ratio options
- White Balance fine-tuning feature
- Built-in flash with red-eye reduction
- Dual image display in playback
- 848 x 480 30 fps Movie mode
- Clipboard function for photographing maps, travel material
- Special Baby Scene Modes, Underwater Scene Mode/Optional underwater housing
- Shutter speed from 60 sec - 1/2,000 sec
- SD, SDHC, MMC compatible
- 13MB internal memory
- USB full speed connection
- Rechargeable Lithium battery and charger included
Some Lumix TZ3 differences from TZ2
Sensor: 1/2.35 " Type CCD, 8.50 million pixels total, 7.2 million effective pixels instead of 1/2.33 " Type CCD, 7.39 million pixels total, 6.0 million effective pixels
Max resolution: 3072 x 2304 instead of 2816 x 2112
Exposure bracketing: +/- 1/3 EV -1EV step, 3 frames
Continuous shooting: Full-Resolution Image, 3 frames/sec or 2 frames/sec
LCD: 3.0-inch 230,000 pixels Polycrystalline TFT instead of 2.5-inch 207,000 pixels
Weight (no batt): 232 g (0.51lb) instead of 222 g (0.49lb)
Dimensions: the same 105 x 59.2 x 36.7 mm (4.20 x 2.37 x 1.47 in)
Panasonic DMC-TZ3 pros and cons
Pros:
- 10x optical zoom with true 28mm wide angle
- Almost distortion-free lens
- Compact body for 10-x optical zoom camera
- Optical image stabilization
- Large high-resolution 3-inch LCD screen
- Easy to use, well-build pocket camera
- Simple mode for handing the camera off to the less experienced in the family
- Ability to limit ISO in Auto and Intelligent ISO
- Good Automatic White Balance
- Fast startup for a long zoom
- Not bad shutter lag
- Blazing shutter response with pre-focus
- 20 Scene Modes
- Special underwater housing
Cons:
- Anti-noise processing muddles detail, especially in reds
- Difficult LCD using in bright light
- High contrast in harsh outdoor images
- Limited low-light abilities
- Flash coverage is uneven at wide angle, and insufficient at telephoto
- Only average transfer speed
- Tripod mount at one corner is awkward
- Battery life could have been better.
- Lens cover seems flimsy.
- Lens thread to attach filters would have been nice
- Has a tendency to underexpose (use exposure compensation)
- Gets noisy at ISO400
- No ISO below 100
- Not zooming in Movie mode
Canon PowerShot SX100 key features
- 8.0MP 1/2.5 inch CCD, delivering image resolutions 3,264 x 2,448 pixels
- 10x zoom 36-360mm lens (35mm equiv)
- 2.5-inch 172,000 pixels flip-out and twist LCD display
- Optical image stabilization
- Manual focus mode with enlargement of focus area
- Face Detection
- Macro (close-up) lens adjustment
- 640 x 480 30 fps Movie mode
- Shutter speeds from 1/2,500 to 15 sec
- Automatic, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual exposure modes
- Built-in flash with five modes plus an intensity adjustment
- Auto or High-Auto ISO setting or 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,600, ISO equivalents
- Safety Manual Focus mode
- White balance adjustment with seven options
- Flash exposure compensation
- Safety flash exposure mode adjusts shutter speed / aperture to prevent blowouts
- Safety-shift function prevents poor exposures in shutter / aperture priority modes
- Auto ISO shift adjusts ISO sensitivity to prevent camera shake, with manual override possible
- Spot, Center-Weighted, and Evaluative Metering modes
- 1.3 fps Continuous Drive with two continuous shooting modes
- Long exposure (1.3+ sec) noise reduction
- Auto-Exposure and Flash-Exposure Lock
- SD/SDHC/MMC card (16MB SD card included)
- USB 2.0 computer connection
- Weight (inc. batteries) 316 g (11.1 oz)
- Dimensions 109 x 71 x 47 mm (4.3 x 2.8 x 1.9 in)
Canon SX100 pros and cons
Pros:
- Excellent Canon’s 10-x zoom lens with minimal lens distortion
- Good Optical image stabilization
- Face Detection AF / AE
- Accurate exposure metering
- Useful ISO range from 80 to 1,600
- Full manual exposure control
- Useful flip out and twist LCD
- Not bad low light performance
- Good macro mode
- Not so big shutter lag time
- Excellent battery life NiMH rechargeable
Cons:
- Not a pocket size
- Some chromatic aberrations
- A little under saturated images
- High contrast in harsh lighting
- Big shutter lag time with using a flash
Conclusion
In comparison with the Canon S5 IS the PowerShot SX100 with the same 1/2.5 inch sensor and practically the same image quality but not the same (a little cheaper) price at $240-260, the Panasonic TZ3 looks good. For more look at: Canon SX100 IS as a Powershot S5 IS killer. However, the SX100 is not a pocket camera (if you do not prefer a working or farmer clothes). In addition, the Panasonic TZ3 with a smaller body but a bigger sensor and price at $220-250 can be the best choice. Especially if you do not demand an outstanding image quality from a Travel Zoom, this camera is good value for money.

7 comments:

Kelly said...

I am looking for a good digital camera under $200. I bought the Kodak camera on sale for $99, but I am not happy with it at all. There was a garbage cam. Now I'm looking for something better, such as a camera that has a good optical zoom that will not distort the pictures when I zoom in and will not eat up the batteries within minutes of putting new ones in. I'm only willing to pay up to $200. Please let me know any suggestions about my problem. Thanks

fototramp said...

To Kelly
It is not a problem with your budget. Look at the Fujifilm F40. This is a great compact.

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tfmercedez said...

I'm not shure wich way to go, what should I choose? Sony dcs h 3s , or Canon PowerShot SX 100 IS +

fototramp said...

To Tfmercedez
In your case it's better to visit a photo store and to hold these cameras. The Canon SX100 is similar to the Sony H3 and your own sensation is much more important that my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I got the sx100 is and love it!
I bought it specially for a trip to Puerto Rico. I have to say that the zoom come in reaaaally handy! allowing for a lot more picture opportunities! several times I was asked by my friends to take a picture for them because their cameras couldn't zoom in enough.
The slow flash, even though it might be a little of a bother, has its advantages, during a party, we were all taking pictures with a lot of different cameras, in the end everyone gave up because their cameras didn't have strong enough flashes to move back enough for big group pictures. (using the flash a lot kills the batteries quick!) the night pictures were good, but I think they could be better. (sometimes I could go into P mode and manually adjust settings to make the picture work) my camera quickly became the favorite trip camera and we were all using it instead of using all of the cameras. :D (I bought the bag for it and a longer strap (neck strap) and the camera never bothered me.

neil said...

Panasonic DMC TZ3 is a good camera for the price. It is simple to use and takes clear, crisp pictures. Also, the battery life is good. And the price makes it affordable to take good pictures.

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