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LX3 or ZS3/TZ7 – photo comparison


As promised in the prior entry, here are some photo comparisons I did on the first day after purchasing a Panasonic DMC-TZ7 to go along with my LX3.

Methodology:
I set both cameras to ia mode (which is what I use 99% of the time), 5 MP, and self timer. I placed both cameras side-by-side on my balcony ledge. Placement plus the self timer does away with any shaking that could sway the results. I have done nothing with the pictures after taking of them. They haven’t been cropped or adjusted in any way with a program like Photoshop. Nor was either camera set to something like vibrant mode. For the first set of pictures I went with maximum wide angle and received the following results.

zs3 tz7 wide angle comparison review compare photos cameras panasonic

dmc-lx3 wide angle comparison review compare photos cameras panasonic

You can click on the above images to get a better, larger view. Which one do you like better?

I like the second one better, especially the green tree in the lower right. The slightly wider angle is also nice. The differences aren’t huge however. The LX3 took the second picture.

lx3 maximum zoom comparison review compare photos cameras panasonic

zs3 tz7 comparison review compare photos cameras panasonic

Next I put the LX3 on maximum zoom and zoomed the TZ7 to approximate the LX3 zoom. Which do you like better of these two?

If you are biased toward the LX3 and immediately said the second image then no points for you. I swapped these images and put the LX3 image on top. I do think the top image is ever-so-slightly better.

zs3 tz7 12x zoom comparison review compare photos camera panasonic

Finally, I zoomed the TZ7 to maximum and took the final shot. The LX3 can’t take this shot at all.

In some other situations, where lighting is a bigger issue and zooming is not, I bet the LX3 wins in a landslide. The LX3 has never let me down on people pictures. To date I haven’t had the LX3 deliver a single red-eye photo. The TZ7 appears to be far inferior with respect to the flash, but I haven’t taken any people pictures yet with it to see if it avoids the dreaded red-eye results. The sensor in the TZ7 is smaller than the LX3’s so it really isn’t possible for it to take better or even the same level quality in poor lighting.

19 Responses to “LX3 or ZS3/TZ7 – photo comparison”

  1. 1
    Z:

    Awesome comparison. Thank you very much.
    The second photo swap made me laugh so hard.

  2. 2
    Marcin:

    Thanks for the test, it finally convinced me to go for TZ7. BTW, in the first pair I believe the TZ7 shot wins because the sky looks much better, without the noise reduction blotches clearly visible in the LX3 pic.

  3. 3
    acase:

    I am not seeing any noise reduction blotches on the LX3 pic. There are some clouds to the right in the picture. Are you sure it isn’t your browser or the resizing that is making the “noise reduction blotches?” Try clicking on the images to view the originals to see if they don’t disappear.

  4. 4
    Marcin:

    Acese, thanks for your reply! I was quite surprised that you didn’t notice the blotches (both in lower resolution and full size, inside and outside the browser) so I tried again and now I know why. If you look at the LX3 photo on the computer monitor at least slightly from above, the defects become invisible. However, if you look at the same photo with your line of eyesight perpendicular to the monitor, you will start to notice it, and the effect will escalate rapidly the more you look from the bottom up. What’s interesting, only the left half of the sky is affected. The rest of the image, and the sky in the TZ7 will stay fine. BTW, I can see it on my 2 LCD monitors, but it’s much more visible on may calibrated 22-inch one (perhaps because of the higher resolution and more subtle colour?).
    I don’t think it’s a hardware issue. I guess its the problem of less-then-perfect LX3 noise reduction.

  5. 5
    Adam L:

    I have been searching and searching for exactly this kind of comparison as I am stcuk between the two cameras. I want good quality pictures and as I take a lot of photos of my kids, often indoors, I was pulling towards the LX3. I am concerned about your commnet elsehwere aout sports shots as I have a lot of photo’s that just have my kids hair or trailing arm in them as they’ve whizzed past the camera but I guess the TZ7 is probably no better in that instance.

    I chose both the LX3 images as the best images you put up so whether they are perfect or not (I can’t see any blothces) they look the best to me so that’s ok. Decision made.

    Except….that zoom does look awesome…..

    DAMN!

  6. 6
    acase:

    Both cameras are very poor for sports. The TZ7 is a bit better in some regards. For instance, if your kid is playing center field you can take a good picture of them when they are motionless with the TZ7 (thanks to the zoom), but not the LX3.

    Since purchasing the TZ7 (even though the LX3 takes better non-zoomed shots) I have used the TZ7 for more than 90% of my photos simply because it is easier to take with (lighter and smaller), the lens cap isn’t a hassle, and the zoom. The only time I kick myself for not having the LX3 is when I need an exposure in the 3 to 5 second range. The TZ7 can do 1 second and 15 seconds but nothing in between. Also, the video on the TZ7 is far superior thanks in large part to the zoom and the zooming while making a video (which the LX3 can’t do).

  7. 7
    btcmdex:

    Hi! before did you consider canon powershot sx200is and sony cybershot h20 also? I am very confuse between those and with the Panasonic as top of my list, namely: panasonic lumix tz7 and lx3. I want a compact, easy & light to carry, gets great photos each time I use it either day or night (low light) and I prefer a point and shoot so to capture every moment. Can you give me advise. Is the tz7 really that bad in low light? As what I saw in the reviews, it seems tz7 color quality are a bit off or not bright. As I see on the first picture, the sky above is brighter and looks more good on the lx3. Please help me decide as I will be buying a digital camera within the week already.

    Thanks!

  8. 8
    acase:

    The TZ7 isn’t that bad in low light, but it isn’t great or as good as the LX3 in those conditions. The biggest problem is if you want an exposure of more than 1 second and less than 15 seconds. You simply can’t make the TZ7 take a picture in that range. Here is an example of night photography with the TZ7: http://traveljapanblog.com/wordpress/2010/02/tokyo-tower-at-night/

    I don’t think I strongly considered the Canon or the Sony. If I remember correctly they are both bigger and heavier.

  9. 9
    btcmdex:

    Thank you for the reply, your night picture is not that bad.

    Do you have a night photos of people? Since I normally take pictures of me and my family during trips.

    Are you in japan now? Because I am asking a friend for a favor who is now in business trip to buy me a digital camera in japan. I am considering Yodobashi? Do you know that store?

    Does the Panasonic Lumix tz7 has a Internationally warranty? and is it made in Japan? Sorry for too many question, I am just pressured in deciding since this is to be my first digital camera… Anticipating for your response… Thank you.

  10. 10
    btcmdex:

    And whats the least you can do with tz7 settings to get better pictures in low light situations? thanks

  11. 11
    acase:

    Here are some more night shots, some include people using the flash: http://traveljapanblog.com/wordpress/2010/01/bangkok-night/

    I’m in Japan now. I know of Yodobashi, but I haven’t purchased anything there. I would advise against making an electronics purchase in Japan. It is almost always more expensive, and frequently much more expensive. Also, your camera will only come with Japanese instructions and all the controls in the camera itself will be in Japanese. So unless you can read Japanese and want to spend more, buy at home.

    You can force an exposure of 1 second or 15 seconds (but nothing in between). You can also increase the ISO.

  12. 12
    DAve:

    The LX3 has a blue bias. You can see it in the grey building. The TZ7 has a much more natural colour balance.

  13. 13
    btcmdex:

    Hello, I’m back. Haven’t bought my tz7 yet, My friend is still looking for it there in Japan. Just like to ask, is the tz7 sold in Japan MADE IN JAPAN? or made in China? Knowing where it is made is also important to me.

    Thank you.

  14. 14
    acase:

    It is made in Japan. Unless you can read Japanese though you will want the version made in Japan and sold in the USA though as the one sold in Japan only has Japanese menus.

  15. 15
    Bill:

    This is an excellent resource for those of us on the fence (or interested in taking some shots of the fence – heh). I have a TZ5 now, and it makes the decision even more difficult. I know just how useful that zoom can be, and the idea of the TZ7/ZS3 having slightly improved zoom performance in addition to a few other improvements make it a desirable, if somewhat incremental, upgrade.

    Still, the LX3 just oozes ‘quasi pro coolness’ with RAW and more manual control… Plus I do find its image quality mostly superior to the TZ/ZS from what I’ve seen. I sold my aging D100 recently and miss having that SLR flexibility.

    I recently attended a Lady Gaga concert, a show pretty heavy on visuals of all kinds. We were a good distance from the stage, maybe 150-200 feet, yet my TZ5 took some admirable shots. I doubt the LX3 could’ve matched them.

  16. 16
    Laura:

    Hello! Thanks for posting your TZ7 night/people photos. I find myself looking through your blog and wondering what other photos you took with the TZ7 (any way to see?). I have big blue eyes and very large pupils that suffer from red eye frequently. Have you found red-eye to be a big problem with the TZ7? Rarely do people comment on the red-eye or if the flash produces nice skin tone. Also, is there a large space between the two flashes when on red-eye reduction? I have pretty much gotten used to telling my friends/family that they have to “wait for two flashes because I have red-eye.” Any input would be great because I would like to buy this camera but of course it is no longer at the stores in my area and therefore I have no way of testing it! Thanks.

  17. 17
    acase:

    Hi Laura,

    Nearly all of the photos on the blog after August 2009 are with the TZ7. If you want to be sure you can save the photo, right click the photo on your harddrive, choose properties, and then look to see what camera was used.

    Red eye is not usually a problem with the TZ7. There are various kinds of flash options. One of the options pretty much eliminates red eye. The time isn’t long between the flashes. When all else fails, red-eye fixing software can usually take care of things.

    You may want to go with the TZ10 at this point as many stores are offering it for the same price.

    http://traveljapanblog.com/wordpress/2010/05/panasonic-lumix-tz10/

  18. 18
    Laura:

    Thank you very much for your help! How powerful is the flash? Does it wash out skin tones much? I would almost rather good skin tone and not much range than ghost faces. I was considering getting the TZ10 even though many people are saying the picture quality isn’t as great. I am probably too much of a novice to notice this but then I read the DC Resource review and the TZ10 gave the reviewer lots of red-eye! He seemed surprised because the flash placement is pretty much the same but claimed that he tried several times and most of the photos came out with red eye. This made me nervous about the TZ10 even though I like the new placement of the mode dial.
    Red-eye TZ7/ZS3
    http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_zs3-assets/redeye.jpg

    Red-eye TZ10/ZS7
    http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_zs7-assets/redeye.jpg

    I could always go test the TZ10 but its not until I get OUT of the store that this problem arises. I have also considered splurging on the Canon S90 because part of me would love to have the option of becoming more skilled and less of an “auto-mode” photographer. Its not the extra price that gets me (only $60 more) but its the worry that it won’t perform well if I stick it on auto instead of doing a lot of tweaking. My current camera is a 5X zoom and I am not sure if I would like to down grade to less zoom with the S90. As you can see, I am definitely indecisive! Sorry for treating this somewhat like a camera review forum but I am afraid I will get laughed at by all the pros for even bring up questions about an in-camera flash. I promise to go back to simply admiring your photos/blog once I can make this decision! Thanks again

  19. 19
    acase:

    I haven’t noticed any difference in the flash from the TZ7. It should be exactly the same or with moderate improvement. The flash will wash things out if the subject is too close to the flash, but that is the same for most cameras that don’t allow for variable flash.

    Saying the TZ10 takes inferior pictures to the TZ7 is ridiculous. In most cases the photo will look the same. In others, it will be superior on the TZ10. There is no reason why any TZ7 photo would look better than any TZ10 photo unless the TZ10 is broken or is set to inferior settings. No components of the TZ10 are inferior. Most are the same and some are superior. For instance, I couldn’t take today’s photo: http://traveljapanblog.com/wordpress/2010/05/rainbow-bridge/ with the TZ7.

    Here are some night photo/people shots with the TZ10: http://traveljapanblog.com/wordpress/2010/05/tz10-flash-and-no-flash-night-photography-with-people/