Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I’ll start off my product review by saying I am NOT an expert in camera technology. My husband and I decided on this camera because it best fit our needs, but it may not fit your particular needs. I’d still like to share with you my experience in purchasing a camera and hopefully offer a little bit of advice for those of you who are camera shopping this holiday season. I have done a bit of research in the last couple of weeks and all of you helped me increase my knowledge by 100%. (Which isn’t saying much about my initial knowledge of cameras, huh? LOL!) My husband and I ventured to Best Buy on Sunday. Best Buy and Sunday are not a good combination. IT WAS PACKED!! And my husband tends to get really frustrated when it takes 15 minutes to find a parking spot and then another 15 minutes to make our way past the crowd of people so we can actually see and touch the cameras. After much debate, we decided on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1! For those of you looking for a digital SLR, I can’t be much help. But for those of you who are pointers-and-shooters, I can tell you what we were looking for in a point and shoot digital camera:
Optical Zoom vs. Digital Zoom: Digital zoom works by blowing up the center area of the field, which means your camera makes a larger image with the small amount of data. Picture quality suffers as a result. We focused on Optical Zoom in our search for the perfect camera. The Panasonic DMC-TZ1 has 10x Optical Zoom 4x Digital Zoom.
Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.): Image stabilization helps reduce the effects of “camera shake” and makes your pictures crisp and clear… no more blurry blob! The Panasonic DMC-TZ1 has Mega O.I.S.
Megapixels: Myth #1: More megapixels is always better. I was really misinformed when it comes to MP. When we first started our camera search, I believed the more MP I could find, the better the camera would be. While it is true that the camera is probably more expensive and has more features, there comes a point when more MP is just not necessary for most people. Many people end up buying a camera with more MP than they will ever need. Match your camera to your needs. If your main task will be putting photos on eBay, or making 4×6-inch prints, a two megapixel camera is probably fine. If you’re printing 5×7 prints, move up to a three megapixel. If you want to make 8×10 and larger prints, you’re going to want at least a four megapixel camera. The Panasonic DMC-TZ1 has 5 MP.
There were other features that were also important to us in our camera search. A large LCD screen, a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery (I got really tired of buying double AA’s for our last camera), SD Memory Card (we got 1GB for $20.00), small in size, Movie Mode with Audio, Viewfinder (we weren’t able to find a camera that we liked that also had a viewfinder), Color (of course… important to all females!… we got silver, but this model also comes in blue and black.)
Some camera accessories that we bought or will probably buy in the future include: camera case, extra battery, extra memory card, underwater camera case (a little on the expensive side, but allows you to take underwater pics up to 10M!), and a mini tripod (comes in handy for timed shots… no more putting the camera on a stack of books to get the right angle!).
I’d also like to point out some weaknesses of the DMC-TZ1 (because it’s only fair!). There is no such thing as a perfect camera (at lease not one we can afford! LOL!) so the camera search becomes about minimizing the weaknesses. One weakness is that this camera has a VERY small built-in memory. It will only hold 4 pics taken at the highest quality so you’ll need to buy a memory card right away. The TZ1 model also has below average battery life for an ultra zoom camera. It will be a good idea to have a spare battery (which will cost about $50). It also has no viewfinder and it doesn’t support USB 2.0 High Speed so transferring lots of pics and movies to your PC will be on the slow side.
Despite these weaknesses, the reviews I’ve read still put the DMC-TZ1 model at the top of the list for best compact ultra-zoom camera on the market.
1. What is the warranty? Did you purchase the extended warranty from Best Buy?
The camera comes with a standard 1 year manufacturer’s warranty, meaning if anything goes wrong with the camera during the first year, you send the camera to the manufacturer and they will fix or replace it free of charge. We did not purchase the extended warranty from Best Buy. If something is going to go wrong with the camera hopefully it will do so during the first year. We’ll see if we regret that decision… I’ll let you know! 🙂
2. Did the camera come with software? Do you use it?
The camera did come with photo editing software. It has been installed on our computer, but I am still using the software that came with our last camera to edit my photos. I haven’t had a chance to play around with the new software and I enjoy the convenience of quickly editing my pictures since I know all the functions of the old software. I do plan to test out the new software… oh for more time in the day! LOL!
Here are a few websites that really helped in my camera research. I also took some of the information I wrote above from these websites:
Please let me know if you have any other questions. I’d be happy to try to answer them… key word being TRY! 🙂