Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 9 Mega-Pixel Camera Review

And some brief thoughts on hobbyist Photography

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Yesterday I bought a second hand digital point and shoot camera, the Lumix TZ5, an old nine mega-pixel camera. I didn't buy it because of this film but it was slightly serendipitous that I did. There was no instruction manual and even if there was I wouldn't have read it but thankfully there are some reviews on YouTube that explained the basics on how use it. In short just keep on the "iA" mode on the dial on top so that the software will take some decent shots for you. The selling point of this Lumix camera, as it proudly says on the front casing is that it has 10x zoom capability. The selling point for me was the nostalgia faggotry, as usual. There's a 16.25x  zoom if you click the E.Zoom button the top right, immediately on the left is the button to take a photo inside the zoom level adjuster, if that sounds unclear , well I am only including that bit of info because it took me watching a couple of youtube reviews of the camera to figure out how to use the zoom capability.

 It's a neat little camera, not good enough to shoot video because the audio recording is bad and you can only shoot 15 minutes of video at a time The video recording capabilities really are just an add-on so I am going to use it to take pictures. Pictures of what? I am not sure. Aside from the audio the video does have some charm to me, people might not look that great but it gives a sort of dense saturated feel to things, maybe it just doesn't look as bright as modern cameras, this suits places like cities in particular as it makes them feel inhabited, like there's things going on in there which you are privy to but might be part of if you choose to - that sort of thing.

Take the camcorder scene with the polythene bag in American Beauty, if it was shot on an iphone 10 I think it would look soulless.

I loaded it with a 32GB SD card, the largest memory storage SD card it will accept, which is fine as that's enough to take slightly over 7000 photos. The camera has an LCD screen at the back, I know nothing revolutionary, which you can use to view the pictures you have already taken, which is half the fun.

I tried taking some pictures on it and I must say it feels more fun taking pictures with this than with a mobile phone meant for consumption, it makes me feel more like I am doing something with the lens moving out of the camera and visibly changing size and whatnot.

There's supposed to be a USB cable to take off the pictures without removing the SD card but I didn't get it because the re-seller didn't have it which is just as well because I think it will be more fun to take all of the 7000 pictures on it that I can take and then taking out the SD card to look them over on a computer. Otherwise the temptation is to connect it my PC, have a look and delete them prematurely before the images can gain any sentimental value.

Unfortunately there were also some other bits which were missing, like a casing for the camera when not in use - I have improvised with a cover of my own because the camera is in good condition, no scratches anyway. I got it for just £18 so it's alright. The fake leather on the front grip looks a bit dry but I don't know if that's how it's supposed to look. The material which it is made from feels metallic, in fact it might be metal, the weight is not too much and not too little either - it feels better to hold than it looks sometimes. I mean it looks alright when in use with the lens out and all that but I am not going to lie when I first saw it with the lens depressed it looked a bit like one of those camera you throw away once you are done taking pictures, whatever it is that they are called. There's a hand-strap I'll probably use because I have a feeling I will lose the grip on it at some point.

The camera is not so small you will be able to put it into your breast pocket but any other man-pocket should be fine - though I would recommend you not to - as the window which covers the lens looks easily damageable. Better to just carry it in a bag.

There's a sticker on it which says it is Made in Japan, which is a good mark in my books any day, that might explain some of the detail on the camera despite it being cheap. The User Interface is clean and the few icons it has on it are flat for better or worse, I like the beep sound it makes when I press buttons. I have heard the new Lumix cameras are Made in China, which is a reflection the current unfortunate political situation. Jokes aside I do own some Japanese electronics made in china, for instance my Sony SRS-X11 Bluetooth speaker and it has served me well. I guess small Chinese electronics brands are the issue, brands unfortunately do reflect quality in the electronics case anyway.

There was a spare battery which was nice of them but you can't charge both batteries at once with the battery recharger. As for the battery life, it has been good but I have only used it for one day so I don't know how long it will last plus unlike a mobile phone it doesn't need to be turned on all the time only when I am taking a picture.

For the camera I have to take the battery out and charge it in charging in a charging pod/bay thing and I am little bit worried I might damage the thin door which pops out for battery removal/installation. People are right to complain about how you can't take batteries out in electronics and replace them but they also forget that the more moving parts you have the quicker it will get damaged. For instance om my Samsung Galaxy S3 (the best phone I ever owned) one of the first things to give out was the battery cover which I could never close properly after it got damaged, I guess the solution would have been to get a new cover but the point is that there is just more wear and tear.

A better example of this might be flip-phones, I liked them and I feel sad they are not featured in anime as they used to - now anime characters use smartphones like the rest of us sadly, but the point is that the hinges on those things were a point of failure. The more moving parts, the more points of failure, hence the current movement towards "minimalism" in hardware design heralded by apple (i.e. take away the headphone jack because water can get in there and your headphone jack will get damaged over time).

This trend in hardware get replicated in software eventually as the software adapts to the more limited hardware inputs - because why would you need good inputs when every device is becoming primarily a content consumption device (such as your smartphone) rather than a content creation device such as this camera.

Many electronic gadgets catering for specific purposes seem to be disappearing as their functions get replicated in a cheaper and inferior way in smartphones. One of these functions is photography and another is videography. Of course overtime these replicated functions will get better as it did with computers which for instance could at first only produce certain sounds for music - of course these limitations curried talent to use these limited tools too but that's another story.

The fall of electric gadgets kind of killed "cyberpunk" because somehow those gadgets were necessary for the "high tech, low class" culture of cyberpunk but Apple's aesthetics whom everyone is aping, is certainly not going for a low class grainy aesthetic but for a clean classless and so soulless featureless style for everyone to be the same and equal and somehow still unique.

When I bought this Lumix camera, I also noticed a bunch of ipods for sale for £30 or so and I wondered if I should buy one of them. Ironically the last relevant gadget for a specific task, in this case listening to music/podcasts, came from Apple too.

In general, especially since the smartphone, electronics seem to cater more to women. Electronics were better when it was a male-centric activity. For example, it is mostly men who would go for an android phone over an iphone. Staying on the topic of photography as a hobby - it used to be more balanced and less vain.

With the introduction of the smartphone came the rise of social media, and a lot of hobbyist photography moved here too and devolved into some young women posting pictures of themselves to exploit lower class men, now with corporate support too with places like onlyfans, instagram, and twitch.

Ironically facebook, the social media site that seized the moment and codified what a social media site would be like (sorry MySpace) - is not as guilty of this but has corrupted non-professional photography in another way by turning the family album into an out and out vanity contest. People post things like their kids graduating from university and go on trips just to post about it facebook consciously to boast to their relatives and "friends" about their status. Of course family albums serve this purpose as well to an extent but not to this scale and because it is mostly a private matter, there is less of this public-mindedness about it.

Smart-phones and Social Media have been a disaster for the human ra- sorry I mean for amateur photography. Another cringe-worthy example that comes to mind was when I came across a post (I am not on facebook but a relative sent it to me for some reason) of a female friend of mine wearing lingerie while lying on her boyfriend and with some cringey caption saying something about love.

It is good that she is getting it on with her boyfriend but did I really need to see it? More over the fact that people feel the need to publisise their relationships makes me wonder how much of it is just that, for show, and if they need to say they are getting on in public because they are not getting on in private. Then again you could argue this was always a problem, with or without social media.

Pseudonymous social sites have almost the opposite issue of fake positivity, with people going on depression olympics saying how sad and angry they are all the time and making each other sadder and angrier all the time.

Maybe amateur photography should go back to weirdos trainspotting and taking pictures of trains for other autists. Well, either that or it's better off left offline.

When I have done taking those 7000 pictures, I might post some of them on this site as I have seen others do. Of course I have no interest in their photographs but maybe it's better that way, not everything online has to be for everyone and somethings online can just be for me too.

It's okay to be vain and photograph yourself like Mishima did but this social media stuff feels like selling your vanity so cheaply. Like posting photos of your butt for £4.99 a month on onlyfans. Are that cheap? Is your vanity and pride so cheap? I am not telling people to become cam-whores but if you are going to do it anyway then either do it for free or at an extravagantly high price. The good thing about amateur photography (over professional photography) was precisely the fact that money did not enter into it.

By Otaking, or The Good Student