An Amateur Photo Blog, Featuring Various Pictures Of The Best Dog Ever, Plus Other Stuff.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Photos from the Panasonic TZ3K

Some time ago, I purchased a Pentax Optio S60 for my father in law. Of course, the S60 was a dog, and I eventually ended up returning it to Costco for a refund. My poor father in law hated that camera, although even he admitted that when it worked, it took mighty good people pictures.

Fast forward almost two years, and Panasonic releases the TZ-3K, a camera with a 10x optical zoom in a package not a whole lot bigger than the S60. It's about twice as thick, but just about the same in height/width. It's also loaded with a ton of really nice features. The Leica lens is tack sharp corner to corner and at all focal lengths except the most telephoto (and not too bad there), it's got optical image stabilization (which is superior to sensor shift stabilization), and best of all, it's dead simple to operate. The fact that it's got superior ergonomics and the controls are a lot harder to accidently shift during operation doesn't hurt a bit, either.

So I gave the father in law this new camera for his birthday, and lo, all was well with the world.


I had to try the camera out before I gave it to him, just to make sure I got a good sample, right? Good thing I did, too, because the first sample I bought had dust inside the lens assembly. This caused all sorts of focusing and metering errors, so I returned it and got another one.

The problem is, I fell in love with the darned thing, and had to buy another one for myself.

Which the wife promptly appropiated for her own use. Which is infrequent at best. Arrrrgh!

I may have to buy another one soon. As much as I absolutely love my Fuji F30, the 28-280 zoom range and optical image stabilization make the Panasonic vastly more useful.

The top photo was part of an impromptu test I ran on the pro's who use my lab. I printed that photo and two from my Canon 20D, and then asked them to pick the consumer camera photo from the lineup. Not one of them could do this.

Heh. It should have been easy enough, for anyone that understands the major differences between consumer grade cameras and DSLR's. You see, the smaller sensor in the consumer grade camera means that at any given aperture, the consumer camera will have greater depth of field. The top photo was shot at f3.3. Shoot the same aperture on almost any SLR lens you care to name, and the depth of field will be fraction of that. The front part of the step will be further out of focus, as will the wall behind. Both of the other two shots showed the shallower depth of field indicative of a good SLR lens made for pros who like to isolate their subject with shallow depth of field.

But what do I know? The pros are making a living taking pictures, and I'm still working for someone else. Therefore, they must know more than me, right?

And the second photo? Nothing special, I was just monkeying around on the backyard swing when Gunner climbed in my lap after playing in his wading pool. I used the opportunity to test the camera's macro capabilities.

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