In the time that it would take to compose, check exposure, focus and shoot a picture with my film camera and then send the roll for developing and finally print the shots that were worth it, today one can set up a photo exhibition of his pictures. Shoot, check, edit, save and print – all done in a jiffy. The difference between the film cameras of yesteryears and the digital cameras of today is like making pasta at home and buying ready to eat. Digital cameras have changed the world of photography in many ways, but the biggest change has been the opportunity it has provided to everyone to take photographs.
Panasonic has been one of the fore-runners of the digital camera world and have over the years launched many cameras – both the basic and the high end. The DMC-TZ25, also known as the DMC-ZS15 in the US, is another addition to the range of point and shoot super zoom cameras from Panasonic. Having managed to lay my hands on one recently, I decided to check out the features before putting down my money to get one.
Panasonic Lumix TZ25 Features
Made of high quality metal, the DMC-TZ25 looks a lot like the TZ-18, at first glance. However, there are a lot of differences between the two. Design- wise the major difference is the larger hand grip and the one touch movie recording button on the DMC-TZ25. Available in matte finish with two colour options – black or silver, the DMC-TZ25 does look a little bulky and large, but it actually has the same dimensions and weight as the earlier TZ25 model.
The front of the camera is mostly taken up by the lens along with the LED flash and the AF assist. A three inch LCD screen and the control buttons make up the back. The mode dial along with the on/off switch, movie recording button, zoom lever and shutter are all located on the top, while the bottom houses the battery and memory card compartment. The connecters for USB and HDMI are located on the side. The one thing missing on the DMC-TZ25 is a optical viewfinder which can become a problem in holding the camera steady at high zoom
Equivalent to a 24-384mm on a35mm camera, the 16x optical zoom Leica DC lens on the DMC-TZ25 comes with a special Nano Surface coating that helps in reducing unwanted flaring and ghosting. The 24-384mm focal lengths makes the DMC-TZ25 one of the most versatile point and shoot compacts, that gives you excellent coverage at both the wide angle and the close up range.
The Intelligent Zoom further increases the 16x optical zoom to a 32x using the digital zoom function. Combined with the Intelligent Resolution this ensures little or no deterioration, in good light, of the image quality even at maximum zoom. The lack of the optical viewfinder does make it difficult to hold the camera steady at high zoom, but the O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer) system does ensure that the majority of photographs taken are blur free and sharp.
Though the DMC-TZ25 actually has a 12.8 megapixel MOS sensor, it only utilizes 12.1 megapixels to ensure that all four different aspect ratios can be offered without having to change the angle of view. The biggest problem with compact point and shoot cameras is the levels of noise at low sensitivity levels. The DMC-TZ25 MOS sensor along with the Intelligent Noise Reduction ensures very little noise even in low lighting conditions. The sensor also ensures recordings at 10 fps in full resolution and full High Definition video.
All Panasonic cameras have maintained uniformity with their interface and most users will find the controls easy to use. The User Interface in the DMC-TZ25 is very simple with the majority of the 14 controls labelled. The dial on top lets one select the different scene and shooting modes. The three new features on the DMC-TZ25 are the two Custom Modes and the 3D shooting mode.
The PASM mode offers advanced controls over exposure with programme (P), aperture-priority (A), shutter-priority (S) and full manual (M). There are also a range of artistic filters in addition to a large variety of scene modes. Video can be recorded in AVCHD 1080i or in MP4 at 1080p. Full HD at 25 fps can be recorded only in MP4 mode.
The Panasonic DMC-TZ25 has an ISO range from 100 to 3200. There is no noise in the images at ISO 100-200, with little noise at ISO 400. There is visible noise at ISO 800 levels upwards although one can still get decent small prints from them.
The DMC-TZ25 has an aperture range from F/3.3 to F/6.3.
The Led flash on the DMC-TZ25 is quite powerful for a camera of its calibre, lighting up an area to a distance of around 12 feet.
The Panasonic DMC-TZ25 records and stores media on either an SD, SHDC or SDXC card. The card slot is at the base of the camera along with the battery compartment.
Panasonic Lumix TZ25 Price
With a price tag of around $165 in the US, the camera is a little bit higher priced that its predecessor but significantly cheaper than the DMC-TZ30.
The custom and 3D mode makes interesting settings, as does the manual mode. The 12 megapixel MOS sensor, 3 inch LCD screen, a dedicated movie recording button, 1080i HD video mode with support for both MP4 and SVCHD formats are a definite improvement on the earlier model. The only problem I found with the DMC-TZ25 was the noise levels at ISO speeds of 400 and above.
Although the Panasonic DMC-TZ30 has a better range of features, the DMC-TZ25 is significantly cheaper and a definite improvement over the DMC-TZ18. Although priced higher than the earlier model, the Panasonic DMC-TZ25 is good value for money for those who travel extensively and generally require high zoom functions.