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Old Dec 19, 2007, 9:38 AM   #1
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My wife got a DMC-TZ3 for Christmas and so far I'm pretty impressed. She likes the FZ7 we have but she wanted something a little easier to carry. We spent quite a while looking at the different compact point-and-shoot options and this was hands-down our favorite. It'll never fit into the pocket of a pair of jeans like the ultra-compacts, but after using our FZ7 for so long we didn't want to give up the versatility of the 10x lens. The 28mm wide end is what sold me; nearly every other zoom lens starts around 36mm. I'll gladly trade a little on the long end to get a true wide angle (and with almost no barrel distortion)!

One thing did worry me when I started playing with the camera: in low light without flash in anything other than scene modes like "party" or "candle light," pictures came out consistently underexposed. On top of that, exposure shift wouldn't force a change and auto bracketing gave the normal exposure and the low-EV exposure, but the high-EV exposure was the same as the normal (ie. -1 EV, 0 EV, and another 0 EV). It took some quality time with the manual to figure out what was going on. By default, the slowest shutter speed is capped at 1/8 s. You have to go into the Record menu and enable the "Slow Shutter" feature to allow speeds of ¼, ½, or 1 s. Fortunately you only have to set it once. Slower shutter speeds are available in scene modes like "Starry Sky."

I'm not a fan of the "black box" approach to designing electronics and I'd really like to have some manual controls (maybe they'll add shutter and aperture priority to the scene modes in a firmware update, but I'm not holding my breath). Overall I my initial impressions are good though, especially given the competition.
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 8:23 PM   #2
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Glad you figured out what was happening. I hope your wife enjoys her early Christmas present.
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