Summary: Yes it's slightly bigger and bulkier than competing 'fashion' compacts with 3x optical zooms but the TZ8 from Panasonic can still fit into a jacket pocket and trouser at a push. That broad focal range, decent lens, plus a sensor not especially over-burdened with pixels deliver a consistency of result that makes this a good buy for anyone looking for greater flexibility from their compact camera.
Pros: Ease of use, broader than average focal range, reliability, sharp and colourful results on almost every occasion
Cons: No dedicated video record button, playback needs a separate button
Summary: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 is a 12 Megapixel pocket super-zoom camera. Released in January 2010, alongside the higher-end TZ10 / ZS7, they're the most recent models in Panasonic's enormously popular TZ series which introduced the 'travel zoom' classification.
The TZ8 / ZS5's stand-out feature is a 12x optical zoom. It also has a wide range of exposure modes including full manual control, very effective optical image stabilization and can shoot 720p HD video.
Pros: Fully manual PASM exposure modes., Effective optical image stabilization., Quiet 12x optical video zoom., 340 shots from a fully charged battery.
Cons: 'Fixed' playback mode., No direct movie button., Limited continuous shooting., Mono mic susceptible to wind noise.
Excerpt: Compared with some feature-packed competitors, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS5 is a solid, no-nonsense pocket megazoom camera. Emphasizing smooth, versatile performance, its 12X-optical-zoom lens (25mm to 300mm) offers quiet motors and very fast autofocus, two factors that make the DMC-ZS5 a good double-duty camera for stills and video.
Excerpt: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 (known as the ZS5 in the US) is a step-down from the company's TZ10 model, which most notably features a GPS and a few tweaks to differentiate it from the smaller brother. It falls into Panasonic's line of "super zoom" compacts, offering a 12x optical zoom and a 12-megapixel sensor, moving up from the TZ7's 10 megapixels.
Pros: Little distortion off the 12x lens, manual controls, focus lock works well
Cons: No HDMI, menus not the most user friendly, mono mic, HD video format not the best