Review of Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 camera at Panasonic Day at Dunham Massey Hall and Deer Park

On Sunday 2nd October 2016, Greg and I went to Dunham Massey Hall and Deer Park, on the outskirts of Altrincham, Cheshire. We are members of the National Trust and had seen this Panasonic Photography day advertised in one of their newsletters.

Dunham Massey Hall ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Dunham Massey Hall ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Panansonic were running a couple of guided photography walks during the day, as well as making some of their cameras available on loan to take photographs of the estate.

I picked a fairly simple point-and-shoot model Lumix DMC-TZ70. I am not a particularly confident photographer and, at the moment, tend to shoot most things in auto mode. The Panasonic man set the camera up for me so that it would do just about everything automatically. It was also set so that it would adjust automatically to the light and sometimes take 3 pictures in the HDR mode to get the best image.

It was a lightweight camera that did not look at all scary. It had few buttons and dials, which I like. These were all easy to see and easy to use, although I did manage to put it onto video mode without realizing it and wondered why the space on my memory card was rapidly evaporating!

It had a 30x zoom on it, which the instructor assured me would give great shots, even of wildlife. This was a feature I was keen to try out. I have been using the camera on my phone whilst out on walks and the zoom feature is not brilliant.

I soon had opportunity to test out the zoom feature on the Lumix DMC-TZ70 because I spotted some deer by the lake and wanted to take some close-up photos without getting too close, as I did not want to frighten them. I was pleased with the results. The camera seems to do a good job of correcting what my husband refers to as “camera shake,” which is where the hand holding the camera is not quite steady, so the image is blurred.

Deer at Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Deer at Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Deer at Dunham Massey DeerPark ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Deer at Dunham Massey DeerPark ©2016 Amanda Goldston

The images were quite clear, even ones that were taken at a distance. I was pleased with my chimney stacks, my lion on the column and the berries as closer pictures.

Chimney Stacks ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Chimney Stacks ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Lion Statue ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Lion Statue ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Berries ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Berries ©2016 Amanda Goldston

I was also pleased with the brightness of the colours in the reflection type shots.

Water Reflections ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Water Reflections ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Autumn Reflections ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Autumn Reflections ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Below is a shot of the same tree, but using the zoom feature.

Close Up Autumn Reflections ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Close Up Autumn Reflections ©2016 Amanda Goldston

I really liked the large display screen on the back of the camera. It showed me exactly what I was taking a picture of. It had very helpful grid lines and a little circle on the screen, so I could practise my “rule of thirds” and ensure that my subject was in the middle of my picture!

There are also tutorials to help with your photography skills. These are built right into the camera and give helpful suggestions on things such as Rule of Thirds and your point of Focus. The camera then quite intuitively helps you to set these things up. I found this really helpful.

We joined the photography walk at 11.30 am but soon got bored. The photographer explained that this walk and talk was really for absolute beginners. There were a lot of people in the group and it was hard to hear what she was saying. She did a good job of explaining the basics of photography and tried to cover all bases, which was difficult as it was a very mixed ability group with a range of different cameras.

With the group, we walked over to a part of the grounds, which is clearly used a lot for photography walks. There were two male deer lying in front of an old brick building, soaking up the morning sunshine and clearly waiting for their habitual photo-calls. They opened their eyes, gave us a cursory glance and went back to peaceful snooze. They were not at all fazed by dozens of people pointing cameras at them.

Sleepy Deer ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Sleepy Deer ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Deer by the Building ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Deer by the Building ©2016 Amanda Goldston

The lady photographer gave us some useful tips on things for improving our photographs, including looking at different shapes and textures. She suggested that we focused on just a small part of the image, instead of trying to get everything in the frame, in order to try to create more of a wow factor in the photographs. She also recommended trying different angles, such as looking upwards and downwards, as well as holding the camera in the vertical position rather than horizontal.

We had wanted to go on the photography walk and talk that was about two hours long and went to different locations around the park, however we got our times muddled up and ended up missing it.

We had brought a picnic lunch, which we enjoyed in the outdoor seating area. After that we went into the gardens. This was free to us as National Trust members.

An Old Tree ©2016 Amanda Goldston

An Old Tree ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Greg is currently doing a photography course and his assignment for this week is to take images with the theme of Circles, so I decided to do the same thing. It is quite surprising where circles show up, especially in nature and architecture.

Circle in the Clock Tower ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Circle in the Clock Tower ©2016 Amanda Goldston

The gardens of Dunham Massey are well laid out, with plenty of good paths. There are lots of helpful markers all the way round to indicate what you are looking at and there is a trail for children to follow to collect all the letters.

I was quite surprised at the vast array of plants that were in flower in the first week of October. We went to the Rose Garden, which still had a few roses in bloom. I can imagine that is really gorgeous in the summer with a vast array of colours and mixture of delicate aromas.

Back of Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Back of Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Rose Garden at Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Rose Garden at Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

I spotted several circles, including one in a hidden gate, as well as circles in plant holders and trees.

Circles on Tree Bark ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Circles on Tree Bark ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Circular Flower Holder ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Circular Flower Holder ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Garden Gate ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Garden Gate ©2016 Amanda Goldston

I also followed the lady photographer’s advice and looked for places where I could get in close and capture some detail .

Curve of the Bench ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Curve of the Bench ©2016 Amanda Goldston

I spotted a lion – or possibly a gargoyle or maybe a pig- on the roof of the house and some interesting details on the stone steps at the back of the house. I realize the Earl of Stamford was a wealthy man, but a crest on the cast iron drainpipes might be going a bit far!

Gargoyle Pig on Roof ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Gargoyle Pig on Roof ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Steps at Back of Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Steps at Back of Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Personalized Drainpipes ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Personalized Drainpipes ©2016 Amanda Goldston

We wandered over to the old saw mill, which is powered by a water wheel. The Camera did a good job of capturing the movement of the wheel, without blurring the image.

Wheel Spinning in Mill ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Wheel Spinning in Mill ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Water Wheel Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

Water Wheel Dunham Massey ©2016 Amanda Goldston

I took the camera back to the Panasonic stand before we went into the house and was given my free SD card with all my photos from the day.

I was impressed with the Lumix DMC-TZ70 and found it very easy to use. The picture quality is good and the zoom function worked very well. The camera is quite intuitive and for someone working solely on auto mode, the images are good. If I were to buy one, I would certainly be taking the lady photographer’s advice and really experimenting with the other functions of the camera to get out of auto. I am sure the camera is capable of a lot more than I gave it the opportunity to show me.

All of these photos are exactly as I took them in the camera, on a bright, sunny day. Apart from reducing the sizes, I have done nothing to the images – largely because I do not understand photoshop.

As I was shooting on auto, the images all came out as jpegs. They came out as 4000 x 3000 pixels and over 4 MB in size, which are big enough to make good quality large prints.

As a walker, this is a great little camera to pop in my pocket and whip out as I see some brilliant reflections in the canal or the emergence of an awesome sunset.

With meandering around the house and gardens, we still managed to clock up over 4.5 miles. #walk1000miles

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