Compact cameras with long-reaching optical zoom lenses are all the rage right now. Panasonic's 5-megapixel DMC-TZ1 is its latest entry, with a 35mm-to-350mm (35mm equivalent), f/2.8-to-f/4.2 10X Leica optical zoom lens in a body that measures 4.4 by 2.3 by 1.6 inches and 9.3 ounces with lens retracted and battery and SD card included. Though not quite as thin, it's about the same height and width as the dual-lens, 6-megapixel Kodak EasyShare V610, which has a higher suggested price than the Panasonic and doesn't include optical image stabilization. The DMC-TZ1's extra thickness can be attributed to its large lens and the chunky grip that houses the memory card and the 1,000mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The grip gives the camera a unique look compared to the legions of boxy designs on the market, while also providing a solid outcrop to grasp, making one-handed shooting a possibility.
Speaking of one-handed shooting, the controls are neatly organized on the right of the camera, so you can keep your left hand free and still access the menus. The mode dial, the shutter button (surrounded by the zoom rocker), the image-stabilization selector, and the power switch sit atop the camera, with all but the dial clustered above the grip. LCD mode, trash, and a four-way-plus-enter cluster of buttons round out the controls and are located on the bottom right of the camera back, next to the 2.5-inch LCD.