Inspirations from older cameras: The Panasonic TZ3

This will be the first in a series of photoessays dedicated to showcasing older equipment: don’t bury those dinosaurs just yet! In all seriousness, I hope it will both go do its part to convince you that the equipment doesn’t matter; and at the same time, show you my evolution as a photographer (to be the subject of a future article; one of the hardest things to write are the introspective, self-assessment genres).

First up is the Panasonic TZ3, a 2007 vintage compact ‘travel zoom’ camera that combined a very good 28-300mm equivalent zoom with a multi-aspect ratio sensor; I particularly enjoyed 16:9 mode on this camera. It shot fast, too – 4-5fps depending on the shutter speed, with large bursts and fast buffer clearing, making it ideal for capturing sequences of expressions. The lens-based stabilizer was also excellent. Its main handicap? A sensor that was dodgy at ISO 400 and above. I’m not 100% sure what happened to the camera, but I think it’s probably with my brother in law somewhere.

Enjoy! All images can be clicked on for larger versions, or EXIF information. MT

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Moon and ships

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The bits of the chicken we don’t eat

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Paradise found

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Sunset in the city

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Heavy metal

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Singapore by night

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Koi pond

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The need for air conditioning

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Race time

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A tudor story – in Malaysia

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Advertising in your fridge

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Man and duck

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Cameron highlands fog


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  1. I just found this series from ThePhoblographer’s write up on the discontinuation of the Nikon D700. I think many of us get swept up in the marketing and hype around new, shiny, “must have” gadgets that we are quick to dismiss the gadgets we own that were the “must have” gadgets of their time. In gadget time, “their time” could mean a year (or less).

    I was a TZ3 owner and at the time was very impressed by its zoom range and image quality (in good light). My biggest frustration with that body was the lack of manual control and its handling of noise (very heavy handed noise reduction). Since then I’ve moved on to dSLRs (Nikon D40 > D90 > D700) and my iPhone.

    • Oh, didn’t even realize I got backlinked from there!

      I still have yet to work out why one would need manual control in a compact – you’ve got to shoot pretty much wide open for diffraction control, there’s no DOF control to speak of because of the sensor size, and anything above the lowest ISO entails a noise penalty. I think you might enjoy the Sony RX100, though – I know I am. The later TZs got too ambitious in terms of sensor and lens reach – and image quality suffered quite a lot as a result.

  2. Amazing… You do excellent pictures with ANY camera!! Nice series this.


  1. […] If you’re expecting me to pick a winner, you’re going to be disappointed. All are similar enough and offer sufficient control, image quality and responsiveness that any one will do for the majority of situations. Yet, they are also different enough in control philosophy and particular feature speciality that if you particularly need any one of these features, your choice may be skewed. If not, pick the one that feels best to you, the one your brand loyalty dictates, the one whose design you prefer – whatever. It doesn’t matter. You just need to like the camera enough to use it, and it should be intuitive enough that you will actually do so. Lower end cameras will work just fine, too – I’ve had great results with the ultracompact Canon SD780 IS and superzoom Panasonic TZ3. […]

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