It was really too bad about the second Panasonic camera I tried out in March. I ended up sending back for a refund (I'm still waiting but hopeful). It was a model called the Lumix DMC-ZS30 in the U.S. (and the Lumix DMC-TZ40 in Europe). It produced beautiful images, but for me the touch screen feature made it hard for me to imagine keeping it.
I guess the idea of a touch screen could sound attractive. I never saw the advantage of that feature, but I quickly realized the disadvantages. Touching it accidentally caused it to take a photo. Okay, I thought, I'll just turn the touch screen feature off. That turned out to be impossible using the camera's menus. I was stuck with it. A web search confirmed that. Bad design, I'd say.
The only way to de-activate the SZ30's touch feature was to touch an icon on the screen itself. And if you touched it again, even unintentionally, it was re-activated and it started firing off photos in every direction, whether you wanted it to or not. I couldn't see getting used to that.
One day when I took it out on a walk and carried it hanging from a wrist strap, every time the back of the camera brushed against my pants leg, it took a picture. You never saw so many blurry photos of gravel, weeds, and gray skies. I understood why my memory card filled up much faster than I thought it should. The camera took more photos on its own than I took by pressing the shutter release, without my realizing what was happening.
So I sent that camera back with some regrets. By the way, I see that the next model up in the ZS line from Panasonic, the ZS40 (the TZ60 in Europe) doesn't have a touch screen. I think somebody in the Panasonic organization finally realized the touch screen (écran tactile) wasn't such a good idea after all. It's a camera, not a tablet.
The first Panasonic camera I tried out, however, was obviously not up to the task I bought it for. It was the Lumix DMC-SZ35. Remember that the second Lumix camera was the ZS30. Two other Panansonic cameras I've owned and enjoyed using over the past five years were the ZS1, purchased in 2010, and the ZS8, purchased in 2012.
Did you notice that the letters got switched? I didn't. ZS or SZ? Did Panasonic do that on purpose? When I bought the SZ35, I wasn't paying close attention and just assumed I was ordering another camera in the ZS series — those cameras have Leica lenses, which is a major selling point.
After spending a few frustrating days with the SZ35, I started doing some internet research. The first thing I learned was that the SZ cameras don't have Leica lenses. Then I understood why I thought the photos coming out of the camera were so different in quality from what I was used to. Not to say inferior... They were fuzzy. The colors weren't right. I returned that camera with no regrets. Thanks to Amazon.com for reimbursing me promptly.
The photos in this post are ones I've taken over the past couple of days using my new Canon camera. You can click or tap on the images to see them at a larger size. More tomorrow...