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Old Mar 27, 2015, 9:09 PM   #1
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Default Lumix TZ60 / ZS40 lens distortion - unusable :(

I bought a TZ60 / ZS40 two days ago from someone via an online classified (gumtree.com.au).

When we looked at the images in detail on a computer screen, we noticed a lot of distortion in the wider angle shots, it is worse in the corners, but still blurry in the middle as well. The distortion makes the images useless, It occures from the widest angle ~25mm through to about 80mm, after that the images are clear and very good.

Returning the camera is going to be a issue, as the seller is not communicating & is over 400km from where we live

So I need to look at options to repair the camera. I am handy with small electronics so am prepared to give it a go. Has anyone pulled apart a similar lens, do you think it is repairable ?

I would take a guess that the issue may be the elements are out of alignment in the wider angle zoom range.

There is not visible damage to the outside of the camera so it is not likely to be an impact damage ?

The camera has no serial number, just a unmarked area where one would probably normally go. Does this mean it is a grey import ?

I would have thought that Panasonic would not let a camera like this out of the factory, even as a second as it must be outside the paramaeters for an acceptable image.

The lens is crystal clear, no smudges or fingerprints.
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Old Mar 28, 2015, 5:09 PM   #2
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G'day mate

I can see where you're coming from - but ...

a) it's well known that huge zoom lenses will show barrel &/or pincushion distortion at the wide-angle end, and chromatic aberration at the long end

b) the lower-priced end of any camera / lens offering will have more distortion than a professional calibre lens ... which often will have much less zoom range too. If you want 'distortion-free/ zoom lenses, start at $2000 for the lens ~ not $300-$500 for a camera + big zoom lens as an all-in-one unit

c) there are software solutions to some of this - but otherwise, you have to live with it

With c) - even something like PS Elements has a Filter for Camera Distortion - and it is very easy to use

I have been running superzoom cameras for over a decade and love them. I have had various cameras with 10x to 40x lenses, and now back off to a 12x system as the best from a series of compromises

So - back to you...

You say

1- The camera has no serial number, just a unmarked area where one would probably normally go. Does this mean it is a grey import ?
To me this simply means that it is a low-priced 'commercial' unit, possibly sold via a budget shop / chain store ... who knows?

2- I would have thought that Panasonic would not let a camera like this out of the factory, even as a second as it must be outside the paramaeters for an acceptable image.
Unless you buy from a recognised dealer with Australian-supplied stock, the camera could have come from anywhere

3- The lens is crystal clear, no smudges or fingerprints.
Then get on with it - do NOT fiddle with anything internally, and use software to fine-tune those small bits of the image that you don't like. ie- do what others here do


Hope this helps a bit
Phil
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Old Mar 28, 2015, 7:25 PM   #3
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Corner softening or blurring (when shooting at wide-angle) whilst viewing at large magnifications (or even less sometimes) is often the bugbear of a pocket hi-zoom camera- especially since most try to squeeze in 24mm or 25mm into the picture...

I fear what you think is a fault is actually pretty much standard issue on the TZ40...
Check out the crop samples here...
http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Pa...solution.shtml

I think once pocket camera's went past 28mm wide angles and/or 12x zoom, clarity and sharpness suffered...
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Old Mar 28, 2015, 8:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses to date.

To be clear, I am not talking about poor quality due to it being a superzoom. I am saying that it is way way outside the normal for a TZ60. It is so bad the autofocus will not work until it gets to about 80mm in equlivent focal length, the AF indicator on the screen shows red as well, it should be green. I have tried manual focus as numerous intermediate steps just to make sure it was not a focus issue.

The lens has a fault. I had a Samsung, WB550, a WB650 and we have a Leica V-Lux 40. All of these would produce what I would call normal image issues with a zoom. The Lumix however looks very blury and distorted on a 14" notebook screen without zooming in.

I have also tried to reset the camera, turn off and on various features like OIS, AF, etc. Nothing can alter what appears to the lens elements not moving into position properly for the wide angle shots. This also affects macro, it will not do close ups at all unless I zoom in.
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Old Mar 28, 2015, 9:08 PM   #5
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I have just opened a Flickr account and put a sample image of a brick wall on it, this was taken at the widest zoom setting. It is a full size image without any alterations.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/smooth...s/16753327927/

Hope that helps "a picture is worth a thousand words"
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Old Mar 28, 2015, 10:20 PM   #6
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I don't see anything wrong in the photo you have posted on flickr - the distortion at wide angle, if any, seems to be within normal limits. Either you posted a wrong photo or your standards are too exacting.
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Old Mar 28, 2015, 11:12 PM   #7
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Another keen photographer friend had a look at the image on the computer and said it was terrible. So, not sure why it looks OK in the flickr version.

Here is another that is taken at a mild zoom length, this one is fuzzy in the edges but OK in the middle. Look at the lady in the grey dress on the lower right, surely that is not considered acceptable sharpness for an image of that size

The exif info is available on teh flickr photos, look at it for focal length details.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/smooth...s/16773905178/

The distortion is more noticable in the right than the left, this would also support the misalignment of the optics theory.

I had a look on the web and downloaded some full size images that a reviewer took on a TZ60, there is no comparision, his were sharp, not perfect, but sharp & looked like what I would expect from such a lens and sensor size. My photos have no clarity unless the lens is zoomed up to 80mm or above. The distortion I can live with, but images that look out of focus. Remember the AF will not work through this lens at wide angles, surely that tells you something is wrong.

Last edited by xcaddict; Mar 28, 2015 at 11:25 PM.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 3:32 AM   #8
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True, this looks pretty bad, clearly blurred on the right. I go with Phil - do not fiddle with it yourself, but if possible, give it to a Panasonic service shop. Sometimes, a heavy drop on a soft surface such as carpeted floor or the rubber mat floor of a car will not show external damage, but might have shaken the alignment inside.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 4:28 PM   #9
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G'day mate

Thanks for all the extra information - it does give a better idea of your concerns and enables us to help a bit more. I fear tho that the ebay seller has sold you the camera because they found similar results and "just moved the problem on..." Unfortunately, it's very common

What I suggest you do is shoot a series of images that the Panasonic technicians can examine. If you have a second camera - or get together with your mate to do some side-by-side shooting for accurate comparisons, then you have a solid case to ask for something to be done. Each pair of images needs to be as closely identical as possible to show up those issues of concern to you

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Old Mar 30, 2015, 7:28 PM   #10
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Having looked at your Flickr pics, it's fair to say the problems you have are indeed beyond "standard issue" high-zoom compromises.
The wall is curious in that the centre isn't the sharpest spot... and the outdoor scene.... is dreadful...!!
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