Camera Test: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ337988986439PanasonicDMC-TZ3The 10x optically stabilized optical zoom (28-280mm 35mm equivalent) Panasonic DMC-TZ3 (street: $299.00) is the upgrade to Panasonic's original 10x pocket rocket, the Lumix DMC-TZ1. Overall, we were very impressed with this first model, although there were a few areas of improvement: the five megapixel sensor was a bit small by modern standards, and noise was a concern at most ISOs. We also put a full manual mode on our wish list for the next generation in Panasonic's travel zoom line. You can't always get exactly what you want, but, in this case, two out of three isn't bad. Panasonic fixed the important things: The TZ3 features a 7.2 Megapixel CCD sensor backed by the Venus 3 processing engine, which dramatically reduces noise and improves overall performance. There's still no full manual mode, but it's not the end of the world -- but we'll get into that later. The most notable feature of the TZ1 was the big, round owl-eye of an internally-focusing Leica Vario-Elmarit 4.6-46mm (35-350mm equivalent) lens, that even had a removable lenscap! This glass was fast -- f/2.8-4.2! It's gone, and so is half an f/stop at either end: instead the TZ3 has a retracting Leica Vario-Elmarit f/3.3-4.9 maximum aperture zoom lens with integrated lens protector. We were skeptical at first at why Panasonic would choose to mess with such a nice fast Leica optic and slow it down -- but then we saw the results of our DxO 2.0 distortion tests, even with the wider wide-angle setting and did a double-take.