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Experience with Lumix DMC-ZS30 (TZ40)?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Planet' started by koksie, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. HenrikBP

    HenrikBP Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Mexico
    5,163
    865
    113
    Thanks Koksie,

    I know patience is a virtue ... it's just not one of mine :D
     
  2. koksie

    koksie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Willemstad, Curacao
    55
    1
    8
    I know what you mean:wink:.
     
  3. HenrikBP

    HenrikBP Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Mexico
    5,163
    865
    113
    Just received a spare battery and external charger from Bestbat.com ... adding insult to impatience :)
     
  4. koksie

    koksie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Willemstad, Curacao
    55
    1
    8
    Ha ha ha, at least you can now make sure that the battery is charged before it arrives, so you can start shooting right away, without having to charge fist:).
     
  5. HenrikBP

    HenrikBP Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Mexico
    5,163
    865
    113
    Finally got home and have had a few days to play with the camera:

    - unboxing: uneventful, and everything as expected. The camera at first felt light making me worry about "flimsyness", but the metal case is solid with no flex or "creaks", lens feels solid as well, so all is good there.

    - the camera has a lot of options, and a pretty crummy manual, so it took some reading, and web searching to get a better handle on some of it. Most of it is pretty straight forward wrt. adjustments and such - but there are still a few things I need to play with more to get comfortable with it. Just wish they'd gone further to implement the touch screen - it works so well for the things they allow it to do, and given the "smartphone" age, it'd make sense to make the most of the touchscreen feature.

    - camera feels snappy, and I haven't come across situations where it "drags" as far as getting things done. Panoramas and HDR takes a bit of processing time, but not enough to make me impatient :wink:

    - the WiFi remote control is very useful to me, and is pretty well implemented. It took some "jumping through hoops" to get the connection to my iPhone set up the first time - and it's not entirely "smooth" after that. But it works, and again, now that I after some experimentation think I have the necessary sequence worked out, it's a bit less clunky - although still not "smooth".

    - the video and HS video features are great. It'd be nice with some control over the settings while shooting, but it works fine as is.

    - the GPS feature could be useful, but it's pretty limited as to where it can get a satellite lock - sitting in my living room, I get no satellite reception. My iPhone and handheld GPS both get full strength signal. It also takes the GPS awhile to get a lock, even outside with no trees or buildings around (I did update the GPS/sat file). But when/if it works, it'd be useful to have location information embedded in the EXIF.

    So what's not to like:

    - the big one is image quality. IQ is merely "ok" - it matches the various reviews ok, but I'm still disappointed (my own fault for not fully realizing). I compared IQ to photos taken with my old Canon SD800, and quite frankly there really is not much of a difference, and I'd be hard pressed to say there's an improvement. The SD800 is probably >6 years old, and has 10 megapixel less resolution, but unless you're pixel peeping, there's only a marginal difference. This if of course the curse/challenge of small sensor cameras, and it's not made better by the long lens.

    - the camera feels a bit small in my hands (size L or size 10). The front rubber grip is nice, but with my index finger on the shutter release, it takes some "twisting" to get my thumb up on the "knobby" area on the back of the camera. Said "knobby" area could use some more "traction" too. This is clearly a personal thing, so YMMV :wink:

    In summary: I'm struggling with some buyers remorse. The big deal breakers for me were WiFi remote control and HD HS video, since those features are what I'll be using most often. There are currently no other cameras available that offer both those features, so I'll see if I can get over the IQ issue.
     
  6. koksie

    koksie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Willemstad, Curacao
    55
    1
    8
    Hi HenrikBP,

    thanks for your informative post and also sorry for not responding earlier! I think I was/am suffering from some cognitive dissonance, ignoring your comment about IQ because I don't want to hear it:). Quite rude of me actually, my apologies.

    Has your opinion changed now you have had more time to play with it, or is still the same? I am hoping your buyers remorse has changed into buyers content:).
    I still haven't made my mind up (well, I had untill I read your post:)) and am still hesitating and going back and forth between the E-PM1 deal and the TZ40. The wifi and GPS are not important to me at all, but IQ is of course. Do you have any experience with a predecessor (like TZ5 or TZ10) to compare it to IQ-wise? I wonder if you had the choice, which one you would use for UW, the E-PM1 despite its size or the TZ40 despite the less IQ? Is the TZ40 IQ really that bad?

    Greets, Jeroen
     
  7. HenrikBP

    HenrikBP Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Mexico
    5,163
    865
    113
    I guess my opinion has changed because I've re-evaluated what I will be using the camera for the most. And that is Video using Wifi for some self-coaching as well as a capable pocket camera for hiking and travel.

    I'm into traditional archery, and I use the video a lot for self-evaluation, as well as for showing form to a "remote" coach I work with. The video quality, and especially the slow-motion video is very useful for that, and the quality is great. The wifi is very helpful in getting the camera lined up, and for starting recording when I'm on the shooting line.

    I do a lot of hiking, and the size of the camera and the long zoom range / wide wide angle works very well for that purpose. I would like a faster lens, but then I'd like to be rich and weigh less too ... so there.

    So since that is where the camera sees the most use, it is actually working very well for me.

    As for the I.Q., Greenjuice said it well - and I'm paraphrasing: for the purpose of my pictures i.e. sharing with friends digitally via Smugmug or email, and for a trip down memory lane on a laptop or iPad the quality is fine. The camera in "Auto" does a great job of dialing in the settings, and as long as you don't zoom to pixel level to spy on minute details, then the pictures look fine.

    Currently that is the compromise - and you pick what matters the most to you and work with or around the limitations your choice carries with it.

    For UW photography, the TZ40 / ZS30 will work as well as my old Canon, and will shoot much better video and it will give me a few more options wrt. lenses etc. than the old camera (which had no options at all :wink:). Since I only dive pretty, warm water maybe once a year, I chose to prioritize my daily photo needs the most.

    As for what I would choose; I probably would still not choose the E-PM1. It's a great deal on a fine camera, but with the additional lenses and ports it needs to shoot the same range as the TZ40, the cost as well as the vastly increased size made it a "no-go" for me. If I were to begin assembling a kit devoted to UW and I if I were insistent on better quality pictures - and if cost was no issue - I wish :D , I would probably go with either the Panasonic LX7 or the new Sony RX-100. Both would provide better IQ in a small, expandable package.
     
    koksie likes this.
  8. Greenjuice

    Greenjuice Nassau Grouper

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    Glad to hear the buyer's remorse is fading. I have the earlier TZ30 version and still uncover some really neat things about it.

    For example, walking along a harbour after sunset last month, I came across a nice scene with the street lights reflecting off a boat under the glow of the evening sky. Without a tripod or a place the rest the camera, and expecting problems with the slow lens, I thought I would just try out the 'hand held night scene' preset mode. Amazingly, it 'just worked'! Didn't even need to take multiple shots or bracket.

    Many things I learnt on my old 35mm SLR don't seem to apply when there is fancy image processing technology!
     
    koksie likes this.
  9. HenrikBP

    HenrikBP Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Mexico
    5,163
    865
    113
    It certainly seems like a very capable camera, with enough options for adjustments to satisfy my need for manual control and desire to tinker. So I'm sure it'll only get better.

    And you know - satisfaction is all about managing expectations :wink:
     
    koksie likes this.

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