Taking photos & videos is getting easier… it’s less about the hardware & software, more about the person’s eye for detail & creativity. Back in 2009 when i last bought a camera, the iPhone of the day (3GS) had a 3.2MP camera and no HD video. In just a few short years, the iPhone has become the most widely used camera on the planet for taking photos & videos, according to Flickr anyway. There are a few things it can’t do though which is why traditional cameras aren’t going away any time soon…
iPhone -v- Point and Shoot Camera
I bought the Panasonic TZ7 in November 2009. Since then it’s been to Barcelona, Paris, Dubrovnik, London (several times) & Las Vegas. The vast majority of my photos & videos that are online, including this viral video of a Cork penguin, were all shot on my TZ7. Over the past few days, my flickr stats tell me my photos are being viewed over 10,000 times PER DAY on flickr alone.
That’s a lot of eyeballs looking at my photos. The reason for that is simple – i add a creative commons licence to all photos i upload and try to describe & tag them as best i can. Journalists, bloggers & all sorts of random people then find and use my photos. From fridge magnets to magazines & movies, they can pop up anywhere.
So i make a camera work… it’s not a toy that gathers dust although over the past year or so (since i got my iPhone 5), i have used my TZ7 less and less. I put it down to the fact the iPhone makes everything so convenient. From saving & organising photos to the GPS tags, to uploading them via wifi… it’s easy. With my TZ7, i have to take the memory card out and put it in to a computer. That small action is painful because i’m now used to a world where that pain no longer exists.
Enter the TZ40
I bought the TZ7 because it got good reviews and was generally regarded as best in class. The same is still true for the TZ40. I spent a lot of time looking at alternatives but in the end decided the TZ40 was still the best option for me.
It improves upon virtually everything… zoom, lens, sensor, in built software… but i suppose the biggest features for me are GPS, wifi, touch screen and the fact it can be controlled via an iPhone app. That makes using the camera much more attractive to me. It’s no longer ‘camera or the iPhone’… the two now play ball together. Ultimately i feel that will encourage me to take more photos and video which is the whole point of getting a new camera.
In fact you could say Panasonic have just looked at what an iPhone can do, copied it and improved upon it.
- Wifi – check
- Touch screen – check
- Tap to focus – check
- Compass – check
- GPS – check
- Panoramic feature – check
- Attempt to integrate social networks – check
Straight in to the action
My Panasonic TZ40 arrived yesterday along with a high speed 32GB memory card and it’ll be coming with me to Rome later next week, so it’s going to be hurled straight in to the action. My only concern is the fact i’ll only have one battery with me. No battery power is enough when it comes to any electronic device. 97% charged? Better plug it in before you head out…
I won’t bother doing a review now, i’ll save that for when i’ve actually taken some photos with it and seen what it can / can’t do. First impressions: it’s smart and it tries really hard to make complicated stuff easy. An example of this is the stabilization feature which uses an in built gyroscope to figure out what angle the camera is being titled at… it knows your hand is likely to shake when taking video or photos so it proactively tries to compensate for that and suppresses blurring and jerky movements. You can enable or disable this feature and you only realise just how smart it is when you enable it and then disable it.
Like all non DSLR cameras, its main weakness is darkness. The TZ40 does some trickery to try and improve low light shots but as of yet i haven’t had a chance to test that out much, but when i do, i’ll be posting a full review, along with my best photos from Rome.