The perfect pocket HD camera?

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tz7-2Could this little baby be the best pocket HD camera currently available? Certainly from my, albeit limited, experience with these little point and shoots, I think so. I paid around £270 for it and love it. it’s the TZ7 in the UK and the ZS3 in the US. Why have different names? It’s confusing!

It shoots AVCHD lite which is basically 720p not 1080p onto SDHC cards. Got all those cool feature that the GH1 has, facial recognition, OIS etc. Has a great focal range, something like 35mm equivalent of 25 to 300mm…it’s small, light, hey it even takes REALLY nice pictures. But it’s that video mode that really caught my eye. It’s sharp, got nice colours and the resolution is great. It’s not brilliant in low light though…

This sucker stays in my man bag 24-7, it’s not going to give you shallow DOF, any manual controls or anything fancy. It really is point and shoot for those times when all you want to do is point and shoot! Be great to carry my Canon 5d mk2 around with me everywhere or the GH1 when I get it, but in reality a go anywhere camera should be tiny and this is.

I have the nice brown one!


Here are the specs:



Product Features

  • 10.1-megapixel resolution captures enough detail for poster-size prints
  • 12x MEGA optical image-stablilized zoom; 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens
  • Capture HD video in “AVCHD Lite” format
  • Intelligent Auto (iA) mode; Face Recognition feature
  • Capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)

Technical Details

  • Brand Name: Panasonic
  • Model: ZS3 Black
  • Optical Sensor Resolution: 10 MP
  • Optical zoom: 12 x
  • maximum_aperture_range: F/3.3-4.9
  • Minimum focal length: 4.1 millimeters
  • Maximum focal length: 49.2 millimeters
  • Lens Type: Zoom lens
  • optical_sensor_size: 1/2.33″
  • Included Flash Type: Built-in flash
  • Display Size: 3 inches
  • light_sensitivity: ISO 100, ISO 800, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 80, ISO auto, ISO auto (1600-6400), ISO 1600, ISO 3200
  • Image types: JPEG
  • Shooting Modes: Frame movie mode
  • Exposure Control Type: Candle, Beach, Transform, Beach & surf, Snow, High sensitivity, Starry sky, Soft skin, Baby1, Baby2, Portrait mode, Aerial photo, Hi-speed burst, Film grain, Pin hole, Party/indoor, Night portrait, Self-portrait, Pet, Scenery, Food, Fireworks, Low light, Night scene, Underwater, Sports mode, Sunset
  • Viewfinder Type: None
  • Width: 4.1 inches
  • Depth: 1.3 inches
  • Height: 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 Ounces

You can buy it at Amazon by clicking here

and here is an utterly daft video blog I shot with it whilst in Boston last week…

I love this little baby, seriously. Everyone I showed it to, especially Tom Guilmette, loved it! Steve Cahill wanted one after eating at Legal Seafoods with me last week but all he could find left was the pink one. He didn’t buy it. Don’t know why…

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  1. Brenda says:

    I have the predecessor TZ5 and whilst I like the video in most cases, it has a very bad issue with focus hunt. I don’t know whether I’ve just got a bad copy, but any time the scene is changing, the focus hunts like crazy. Have you seen that with the TZ7? Am wondering if I need to upgrade.

    1. pbloom says:

      in low light it struggles with autofocus for sure…can’t say how it compares to tz5 though as never used it.

      1. MikeB says:

        I’ve have the TZ-5 as well, amd it’s a great little camera. Sure I miss all those manual controls, but for sheer convenience, it’s just super.

        I noticed the focus issues too. You can fiddle round with the focus modes to make it less bad, but I found it always “hunts” in the first couple of seconds. Normally it’s easy enough to edit it out.

        It must’ve been a lot easier to smuggle into the aeroplane toilet than your EX-3!

        1. Semi Francis says:

          Great stuff and very informative.

          is the sound from the TZ7’s in-built mic or did you use an external audio recorder?

          Love your work, best of luck with yur other upcoming projects.

          Semi Francis
          Fiji Islands

          1. pbloom says:

            thanks Semi. just the built in mic!

  2. george Patsos says:

    Who the fuck are you that your opinions are worth listening too?

    i mean everyday its some new device thats the best because you use it.

    1. pbloom says:

      why did i publish this comment when it is downright rude and offensive?

      Because I talk about something I like doesn’t mean you have to listen to me, buy it or anything. I am just giving my opinions, my reviews. If you really don’t like my opinion why bother coming to my site in the first place? Seems pretty daft to me!


      1. he hated that one cause i was in it phil. love to hear it from both sides!

        1. pbloom says:

          Well, tomorrow I will be posting a blog about my favourite breakfast cereal and why you should all eat it every morning.

          1. Benjamin Eckstein says:

            Kashi? Frosted Flakes? Cheerios? Yes, Cheerios…that would make sense.

          2. pbloom says:

            Shreddies Ben, do you have them over there?

      2. Alister says:

        it never ceases to amaze me the need people have to make an arse of themselves in a public forum. by the way, thanks for the tip on the T27, I have been hunting for a happy snapper (always-in-my-pocket-camera) that can shoot a bit of video for fun. Looks like what I need. Cheers, Al.

      3. Josh Janssen says:

        ‘Philip, stop making us buy stuff, stop telling us that something is good, because I may want it :(.’

        .. George, welcome to the Internet – I suggest never visiting, it makes you want to buy stuff too. ( or watch TV, or go to the shops )

    2. My dear George, if you are going to make a comment like this, please do link us to your work so we can see who the heck (see that was a nice comment) you are. After all, why visit this site if Philip is such a nasty curmudgeon.

  3. Hunter says:

    HAHA! Why do people write things like that?

    I read your stuff Bloom… :)

  4. jeremy Wilker says:

    yes, the TZ5 is a great predecessor to this one. the video files of the TZ5 are large since it doesn’t do the AVCHD, but for a pocket camera, the stills are super, it has a great zoom lens, and the 720p video is quite handy to have. I recommend this camera line as well.

    1. pbloom says:

      is the tz5 motion jpeg only? avchd is great. just a shame it bloats into AIC with imovie or pro res with final cut pro.

  5. Adam Dodd says:

    wow, isnt george bitter at the world, chill out mate you gunna give yourself a heart attack

  6. Matt Moses says:

    @George … he is Philip Bloom, someone that has been noticed for outstanding quality work, as well as being very accessible to ask questions and get his opinion….and this is his effing site!? What the hell was your rant about!? And keep in mind that a few thousand people (a big number in a small industry) with very similar professional interests as Phil’s are seeing your “nice” little comments. You might as well say “Stay away from me, George Patsos, because I am easily disturbed and difficult”. Good day to you sir.

  7. William Wright says:

    What about the flip mino hd

    1. pbloom says:

      yeah it looks neat. not tried it, but no BIG optical zoom like this baby and not stills. Cheaper but the Lumix is more than 4 or 5 times better on features alone!

  8. How many FPS?

    and bitrate?

  9. LFK says:

    Hello Phil,
    I have very crucial questions to ask and if you don’t answer me I could die before tomorrow :
    – What after shave is the best/should I buy ?
    – If I go on eBay what should I buy ? anything is good (since I’m stupid as George may think).
    – Do you think it’s good or not to believe in god ?
    (and if “Yes” what religion do I have to choose?)
    – I just met a girl and she wants jewels, which one should I buy for her ?
    – And finally we don’t have “Shreddies Ben” in France ; should I move in to England ?

    Thank you for saving my life !

    George, jealousy leads only to self destruction, pain and sorrow…

    Peace & Respect.

    1. pbloom says:

      Easy…Only the best, CREED ORIGINAL VETIVAR. Expensive but you can smell like me!
      Ebay…great for cheap lenses and really effective weight loss pills
      I am an atheist but wish there was something more…does that help? If I had to choose a religion then I would go with Buddhism as I respect the philosophy.
      Dump the girl, if she wants jewels then she doesn’t want you for you. Mind you am single, what do I know?
      Shreddies, import them. I can send them to you.

      Hope I can be of help. Any more questions. let me know!

      1. LFK says:

        I never thought you would answer to this joke with so much spirit, lol
        Plus these are good advises ! :)

        The power of a man can be measured by the number of his enemies…

        Keep going :)

        Peace & Respect.

  10. Steve says:

    can you edit “AVCHD Lite” format direct in Final cut?

    1. pbloom says:

      not yet, imovie just announced support of it. FCP 7 may follow

      1. Steve says:

        so….do you transcode it while ingesting to FCP?

  11. Rwang says:

    Hey Phillip. Maybe the new Olympus Ep1 might take this ones crown. Same sensor (rumored video) with changable lenses.

  12. Hi Philip and fellow readers

    How does it compare to the Panasonic LX3? Especially regarding video?

  13. David Crossman says:

    Was that the music from “On The Buses”? I used to edit that series for London Weekend TV.

    1. pbloom says:

      Ha, that’s great David. Yes it was from “On The Buses”, I love my classic Brit TV!!!

      1. David Crossman says:

        If you ever need a demonstration of how to physically cut 2″ transverse-scan (as opposed to helical-scan) videotape, I’m your man. :-)

  14. Hey Philip, does this camera also have that ridiculous 30 minutes maximum for filming? — F

  15. kpower says:

    Looking at the site and esp blogs etc I see why people are attracted to this site. Down to Earth problem enquiring/solving. Creative minds oh except one as above. I am not easily attracted to sites but this one was just right, typeface and content great stuff. Have alway’s wanted to direct a movie, may just go to movie school now and do so! Peaceful wishes

    1. pbloom says:

      thanks v much for your comment. P

  16. Alex David says:

    I like this camera… is there any other point & shoot camera that you would recommend for under $200 us? I want something that will do video and shoot in low light… I had a Lumix LX2 but someone stole it from me and I just don’t have the $$ for this one yet.

    thanks for any help

    i love your work! the videos are inspiration

  17. Euan Williamson says:

    Hi Phil,

    Could you quickly comment on getting video from the
    Panasonic TZ7 into FCP?

    Many thanks.

    1. pbloom says:


      log and transfer in fcp and import as apple intermediate codec.

      1. Euan Williamson says:

        Many thanks for the prompt reply.

        What I could find over at Panasonic wasn’t clear about MAC compatibility,
        but I knew you had done this.

        Was it AVCHD lite footage and using USB?

        1. pbloom says:

          yep. 720p AVCHD lite

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