If you're looking for a neat compact with reliable auto exposure and AF performance, a quality lens and an easy-to-use HD movie mode, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 is a good choice, and reasonable value at £250.
The Leica 25-300mm lens is a beauty, delivering good wide angle performance.
The intelligent exposure and AF widgets make it very hard to take a bad picture with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 – it's so easy to use.
The metering system is also reliable, and noise is acceptable up to ISO 800.
The 720p HD movies are easy to record, and of a high standard.
Power compact it might be but it's still a compact – another £100 or so will get you a vastly more flexible D-SLR like the Canon EOS 1000D.
Adjusting aperture and shutter speed is needlessly fiddly.
Some intelligent features seem to make little difference in practice.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 is a very likeable and stylish compact that bends over backwards to help you get good shots. The lens is a real winner. It's also very easy to record high quality HD movies. SLR users seeking a back-up compact might find its restrictions and usability quirks frustrating, though.
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