There's plenty to like about the Lumix DMC-TZ3 digital camera, which recently won Europe's Technical Image Press Association award for 'best superzoom digital camera'. While the TZ3, from Panasonic, may look a lot like its predecessor, the TZ1, it has been improved in signifi-cant ways. For example, it now has a 7.2-megapixel camera - up from the previous model's 5 megapixels.
Size matters The TZ3 has a compact body, measuring 105mm x 59.2mm x 36.7mm and weighing 232 grams. Yet the camera can help expand a user's horizons with its 28mm wide-angle setting that fits landscapes in a single frame and a Leica 10x optical zoom lens, which can capture even subtle facial expressions from far away. As well as its huge lens in front, the TZ3 sports a three-inch colour screen on the back.
Steady as she goes While many small, point-and-shoot digital cameras have an issue with hand-shake when a user is on the move, the TZ3 has no such problem. Panasonic's Mega Optical Image Stabilisation technology helps you take blur-free images. It works by reducing the shutter speed to compensate for jitter and corrects the image the moment the shutter button is pressed. Another useful feature is Panasonic's Intelligent ISO Control, which helps prevent blurred images by detecting motion and automatically allowing faster shutter speeds.
Take a dive An interesting option available for this camera is Panasonic's DMW-MCTZ3 underwater housing, which allows you to use the TZ3 when scuba diving and take pictures at depths of up to 40 metres.
The TZ3 uses SD flash memory cards for storage and secure digital high-capacity cards, which are two gigabytes or more in size. On the minus side, the camera does not support the USB 2.0 standard connection interface. The TZ3 costs HK$3,790.