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on 2 November 2008
Having been thinking about buying a new camera to replace my ageing 5mp point-and-shoot for a few months, I was tied between the Lumix TZ5 and this camera. Having played with them on the high street there was absolutely no competition.

I took this camera away with me to Turkey a couple of weeks ago. Knowing very little about photography I kept the camera on automatic most of the time, though the sunset and sports modes are very good, the sunset scene mode really brings out the reds and oranges in sunsets. Using a tripod you can get some really amazing night shots. In the right hands you could get some brilliant shots with this toy, that's not to say that an amateur can't achieve similar results.

I'm very pleased that I invested in a 2gb Sandisk extreme card before leaving. There is a noticeable difference between saving pictures to this card and saving to a standard Sandisk card - sometimes of a few seconds. My 2gb SD card will store just over 400 photos at full resolution, I really should get another.

What really sets this camera apart is the zoom function. 18x optical zoom means that you can happily play paparazzi, getting some brilliant shots from far away with no degredation in quality. The camera allows you to disable the digital zoom completely - meaning that you don't accidentally start taking degraded photos.

The best example of the zoom is some of the photos I took whilst away. Taking a photo from the top of a hill of the view down over the harbour you can see a small black object in the sea. Zooming in on this you can clearly see two people sat in an inflatable boat eating sandwiches! Rest assured that you will really be amazed.

The colours of the pictures are incredible, on a recent trip to Scotland I took numerous photos of landscapes and sunsets, all of which have come out clear and crisp with extremely vibrant colours.

Having looked into the lowepro cases I couldn't find a case that could happily hold the camera without being absolutely massive. Popping into Jessops I found one of their own brand cases that fits the camera snugly, without being a really tight fit. Best of all it only cost me £6.00

All in all I am thrilled with this camera. Having played with numerous cameras over the past few weeks, this fills a niche between simple point-and-shoot cameras and full blown DSLR cameras. Whilst incredibly simple for an amateur to use, I'm sure any professional will be more than at home with some of the more complicated functionality.
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on 20 October 2008
I wanted an upgrade from my excellent Panasonic TZ3 compact, which would take better low light pictures and allow me more creativity into the bargain.

After a lot of thought, looking at various reviews of various bridge-type cameras, including whether I could afford a DSLR and appropriate lenses, I kept coming back to the FZ28. Having already had experience of the excellent 10x Leica lens in the TZ3 and being impressed with that camera's abilities I decided that the FZ was the camera for me due to it's 27-486mm equivalent lens and the generally good reviews.

So far I've only taken pictures in extremely difficult indoor conditions. My partner is a mobile DJ and part of the reason for getting a better camera was to try to get better pictures of his events. Now I know a DSLR would get better -noise free images (depending on the size of the sensor) but I have been pretty impressed with the FZ so far. Of course shooting in very low light with people moving (dancing) is always going to be very difficult. At ISO800 there is visible noise but the camera's processing keeps in under control enough to allow a decent image for upload to an online gallery or printing at 6x4. I have not yet tried boosting the ISO even more but expect that the image will be pretty noisy - the limitation of a more compact sensor.... and a tradeoff for price and portability!

At wide angle the camera has a relatively large aperture (for a compact type) of F2.8 and I have noticed how much better the camera is than the TZ3 indoors - the lens allows a lot more light in and the pictures are clearer and brighter than the TZ3 in low light. A test shot at ISO400 with shutter speed 1/8 in lowlight on both cameras proved that the FZ was far superior, as should be expected, producing a much brighter picture with much less noticible noise.

I have yet to really test out the zoom capability as I haven't really done any outdoor shooting, but certainly I have got some great candid indoor shots of people, with the long zoom. The low light ability in the less difficult situation of a normally lit room (rather than a dark disco) is great meaning that the flash is not necessary even at a relatively long zoom (the aperture reduces from F2.8- F4.4 as the zoom is extended) so candid shots are easier without the flash alerting the subject to the camera's presence.

I have tried taking some macro shot's as the reviews suggested that the camera was excellent as such. I took some shots of a penny, taken in low indoor lighting with the lens a distance of 1-2cm from the penny, used manual focus and got truely excellent detail on the penny. You can get an additional macro lens to add, but the in built macro facility is excellent. The only problem coming from the ability to focus so close to the lens being that unless the subject is lit from the correct angle the lens barrel throws a shadow, but this is inevitable and not a fault of the camera.

On occasion the auto focus hunts a little but I've not had a problem and it's still quicker than I would be using manual focus! Mostly the AF is spot on, and the powerful AF assist lamp helps it to find it's subject. Using AF single area HIGH speed gives quick focussing results. The AF tracking and face detection function on my camera works extremely well. Once the Face detection has located a face, it can be turned side on to the camera and it will still recognise it.

I've shot some video both at HD and normal widescreen format. The videos, especially on HD are very clear. The sound quality is acceptable but not great, but then it's not a video camera and I'm not expecting miracles. The file sizes on HD mode are HUGE though. A 10 second clip on HD took up 20MB space!

The manual focus method is tricky and I don't use it unless doing macro where the subject is still, or perhaps if I was anticipating some sporting action to happen in a certain spot I might use it.

I find the software on the camera very easy to use, partly as it's similar to the TZ3 though with more functions, but mostly because it just is easy to navigate. The buttons on the camera seem well placed and ergonomic. I normally don't have to look to select various features and the Q-menu joystick is very easy to use, meaning that you don't have to move your eye from the eyepiece (if used) to change settings.

One thing is that if I'm hand holding the camera, I'd like to rest the lens barrel on my left hand but my fingers then naturally fall in the way of the AF-lamp, so I have to adopt a slightly more uncomfortable two-handed hold. Mostly though the excellent shake-reduction features mean that this is perfectly ok, even at long zooms you can still hand hold, though keeping something small in the focus spot may be difficult!

Overall I'm pleased with my purchase having tested it in some extremely difficult situations for a compact type camera to cope with. A fuji might have been better in low light but I think the Panasonic -Leica Lens has it beat in most other areas, and I'm looking forward to finding out what it can do outdoors and on well lit days!

Getting the FZ instead of a DSLR means I got an excellent and versatile camera with a lens that would mean I would have to get at least 2 and possibly 3 DSLR lenses to cover it's capability. I've sacrificed some picture quality as a result but I'm perfectly happy with the quality of the pictures I'm getting and the price tag is also a big bonus compared to even an entry level DSLR and 3 lenses. Maybe oneday I will get that DSLR, but the FZ will be a great introduction to the photographic world and suits me fine just now.
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VINE VOICEon 17 February 2009
So, let's be clear what we're getting here. The FZ28 is a `prosumer' (dreadful word) camera, a hybrid of a compact and SLR camera. To achieve the compact size a number of compromises have to be made. These include:

Fixed lens - the lens cannot be removed or changed; it is an integral part of the camera. With a massive 27-486mm you may ask why you would want to change it. It uses plastic lenses and so is substantially lighter than the equivalent glass lens.

Electronic Viewfinder - Essentially a small LCD screen as opposed to a true optical viewfinder. These don't perform as well as the true optical viewfinders but it's good enough for most purposes. I find that it can make focussing a little tricky.

Small Sensor - The sensor in this class of camera is (apparently) quite small, about half the size of a true SLR camera. This means that they typically have to try harder to suppress noise and images taken in low light conditions are quite noisy. The FZ28 however seems pretty good here.

The FZ28 is smaller than it looks in the pictures and even with the lens fully extended remains remarkably compact. I found it a little tricky to find a comfortable yet firm grip. It feels slightly plastic, but it is remarkably light and easy to carry.

I bought this camera for the fantastic zoom range and here it doesn't disappoint. At x18 magnification, even at full zoom it has an F4.4 aperture, which makes this a great camera to smuggle into concerts. I've not tries it at ISO 6400, ISO 1600 seems plenty to give good results, and whilst grainy, this can be used to add atmosphere to the picture. It if further helped by the really effective image stabilisation mechanism.

I also like the movie mode; this has a maximum resolution of 1280x720, much better than the normal 640x480, although you'll need a decent sized SD card to use this fully. The camera also has a RAW format in addition to JPG, this is unusual on this class of camera but is welcome none the less.

In conclusion, what's not to like? The FZ28 is small, light, versatile, well thought out and with a really powerful lens, HD movie mode, and RAW format pictures. If you buy one you won't be disappointed.
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on 6 October 2008
I bought this camera 2 weeks ago and am very pleased with it's performance up to 400 ISO. Above this, pictures are somewhat blurry and unless you really need to shoot at 800 or 1600 ISO don't.

As with a previous reviewer I too went for the lowepro Apex 100 and it's ideal if you are carrying the camera, spare battery and SD card. There's no space for anything else though. It's a good quality bag and I highly recommend it. Don't buy a cheap bag without padding as the camera will break if dropped!

I've bought a Sandisk Extreme III 4GB card and this too is excellent. Beware of slow cards as thy will take for ever to save your images and you can't do anything until the images are saved on the card. Note that not all SD cards are equal. I've tried a few a although not the cheapest do recommend the Sandisk.

Optical Zoom is 18x if you're shooting with 10MP. This increases to 32x as you lower the resolution to 3MP. No optical zoom increase below 3MP.

I've found the battery to be good for 500 shots which is certainly above average for this type of camera.

All in all an excellent camera and highly recommended.
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on 10 January 2009
Wont repeat what others have said in the reviews, but this really is a great camera. I took it's predecessor to Vietnam and Cambodia last year (borrowed my dads) and took 8000 + photos in all sorts of weather conditions and was pleased with the results (the reason I've just bought the newer model).

Have just spent a few days taking pictures in and around Edinburgh getting used to the camera before my next trip and it's produced even better results (2 of my pictures are currently on the BBC website). The main settings I use are portrait, nature and sports setting - but of course, you could just turn it to iA function and not bother.

I have found colours are normal and the sunset setting is also very good and accurate.

I think it's sturdy enough, I hang mine around my neck and it feels secure in my hands.

I still use my wee Panasonic FX 33 for just whipping out and taking a picture on the move, but together, they are a perfect combination. I used to use Sony cameras, but this one wins hands down. 6 of my friends also bought this camera for their holidays and we are always discussing what new function we have found - take time and work out what the camera does to make the most of it - but it is good to go when you charge the battery up on the auto setting.

Highly recommended
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on 14 December 2008
Having made the decision to upgrade from my Sony Cybershot point & shoot to something where I could take photography a bit more seriously, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 fits the bill to perfection. Although I was initially in the market for a DLSR, I realized that at this moment in time I wasn't ready to invest in numerous lenses or flash guns but this bridge camera does everything I was looking for right now.

This camera offers all the manual functionality I need to develop photography as a hobby, whilst retaining a fantastic intelligent auto mode to make sure that I don't miss a shot by getting the settings incredibly wrong. The body is well proportioned with all the controls logically laid out and easily accessible and the form factor is great. Also, the x18 zoom has to be seen to be believed.

The 720p HD video mode is the icing on the cake, although the sound quality isn't great and prepare to invest in a large & fast memory card if you plan on using it a lot.

All-in-all I'm very pleased with the purchase and look forward to this camera bringing on my photography in leaps and bounds.
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UltraZooms have came to bridge the gap between Point-&-Shoot cameras and DSLRs. They may not be the easiest to carry in a pocket (especially in the summer) but offer much better lenses, sensors and features than their mobile-phone sized cousins. This is what has came to be known as the CREATIVITY segment of the camera market - and the PANASONIC FZ28 is the its absolute leader.

For months now I kept borrowing my brother's FZ18 as I was researching the market for my own UltraZoom. Since this could not go on indefinitely (and my summer vacation was coming up), I decided on the NIKON P80. Although a very good camera I found it fickle and unpredictable if left on full Auto. My belief that NIKON would never put out an inferior product was confirmed but I am not a professional photographer: I missed the simplified perfection of my brother's FZ18.
Luckily the Internet merchant I had bought my NIKON from offers an upgrade insurance option: for a small percentage of the total cost I bought the option of returning the camera within 12 months (provided in perfect working condition) and having it replaced with a latest model (from the same merchant of course). So, when FZ28 became available, I did just that.

As with the FZ18, the Intelligent Auto (iA) setting is a dream! Perfect crystal clear pictures under (almost) any conditions, EVERY TIME. There are more tweaking options than one could desire of course, but elusive scenes often do not allow for minute setting fidgeting: a reliable Auto is a good friend in a tight moment.
The older model was reported to sometimes have a problem when there were intense sunlight and shaded areas in the same shot: nothing of this sort with the FZ28. As soon as this becomes available I will post some sample photos to illustrate exactly this.

The new features of FZ28 include a new sensor (10.1MP/2.33") coupled with the also new Venus IV engine; an enlarged high quality LCD (2.7" from 2.5"); a wider lens system (starting from 27 instead of 28mm - but also ending at 486 instead of 504mm); a new auto-tracking focus feature; an auto backlight compensation function (missing from FZ18) and (finally!) zooming while taking video.
The cherry on this cake: FZ28 comes also with a leveling function which helps align buildings or the horizon with the subject - even after taking the picture! (OK, essentially it is cropping but still...)

My only gripe: as with FZ18, FZ28's zooming control is counterintuitive! One zooms IN the picture by pushing in it, whereas zooms OUT by pulling back. Well, as with the FZ18, the direction of the zooming control is in the opposite directions. (If someone knows how to contact Panasonic-Japan by email please let me know, I would like to offer them my opinion).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
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on 12 December 2008
Having had a very simple sraightforward digital camera up till now I was looking for some thing that would improve my very basic photographic skills. I studied the net for about Three weeks before deciding on my PanasonicDMCFZ28 Digital Camera Bought one through Amazon.co.uk Ordered Sat Afternoon arrived into Highland Scotland Monday afternoon Delivery from Amazon remarkable as is the camera. This is a no nonsense quality piece of kit that within less than an hour I was taking some really crisp sharp and well coloured pictures. The menu setup is in a very logical way and going through the basics is very easy, the technical stuff will need the book but that is layed out very well to, bearing in mind I am no photographer!!Time will tell but this seems to be remarkable value for money. Thought about a camcorder for a while but HD is expensive This has it although its a bit heavy on the memory card over some time but ithas the facility to do both. Absolute marvelous You wont get better!!
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on 1 May 2009
I bought this camera (not through Amazon - sorry - needed to part ex my 35mm gear!)in Feb. I have a Nikon D80 and a couple of zoom lenses but carting these around on holiday was geting a bit of a bind and all the faffing around changing from lens to lens was a pain, but the biggest pain was getting marks on the sensor (which put paid to taking pictures for most of the 2nd week of my holiday in the US last year)so I decided to look into bridge cameras, no lens to change, far less chance o sensor problems. I spent a lot of time researching and the FZ28 was getting great reviews, including on Amazon. I already had a Panasonic TZ3 for carrying around on a daily basis and was really happy with that so I went for it and bought the FZ28.

After a week or so I had put the camera on ebay as I really wasn't happy with the pictures I was getting from it compared to even the TZ3 never mind the D80, but, I couldn't understand why everyone seemed to be raving over it so I had a good read through the manual and lo and behold eventually twigged that the pictures were coming out darker than I expected because the screen brightness was on the lowest setting - the shop I bought it from had obviously adjusted it when demonstrating to others. Having sorted that little problem out I withdrew the camera from sale and went off to Italy for four days (Florence) and was exceptionally pleased with the results (I'll post some pics when I get a chance). Biggest plus is just how light the camera is it probably weighs about the same as the TZ3! It also uses a Lithium Ion battery instead of 4 re-chargables like a lot of other bridge cameras...much easier to carry spare batteries. The Image Stabaliser works really well, video quality is so good I'm thinking of flogging my camcorder...even less weight to carry around.

There are plenty of options for creativity, when I was in Florence I found myself switching from colour to black and white for people shots / street scenes , I know that I could shoot in colour and fiddle around in photoshop, but actually looking through the viewfinder in b&w makes you look at things in a different light (well, it does me!) I also shot in combined Jpeg and Raw mode (one of each taken at the same time)so I could get creative on the PC if I wanted to. I know there are new bridge cameras coming out from Nikon and Olympus with longer zooms but in a test against the Olympus SP-590UZ, Canon SX10IS and Casio EX-FH20 in Digital Camera Buyer magazine this month (April 2009 - issue 83)the FZ28 came out overall 5 star winner (the Canon also got 5 with the others getting 4 each). If you're looking for a great all round, lightweight camera that gives great quality results I would really recommend this one !
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on 16 October 2008
I agree with virtually everything mentioned by the other reviewers. An excellent carera, better than either of my previous superzooms (Fuji S5600 and Dimage A200). Very well thought out menu system, very intuitive and easy to see on the large display. I particularly like the feature that allows you to increase the zoom past 18x, when using lower resolutions (up to 32x for 3MP). Obviously you could just take the shots at 10MP (at 18x) and then crop the photos down - but this feature saves you cropping and more importantly allows you to take more photos using burst, without filling up your card.

The only downside, not enough to reduce it's rating to 4 stars, is that the EVF is pretty hopeless, even compared to my S5600. So I'll probably stick to the screen.

Great price bought directly from Amazon, much lower than a certain highstreet shop, who didn't seem very interested in selling me one at anything less than full price! I also bought a Hama 46mm filter which will screw onto the end of the lens, protecting it from dust (I go to some pretty dust locations). This allows you to still use the supplied lens cap, which attaches to the camera housing (not the lens). An alternative to this is to buy an adaptor (LA3) for the additional zoom/macro and screw a filter onto the end of this (instead of the zoom/macro). Although this would completely seal the lens and lense mechanism from dust, to me it seemed a bit over the top, since you also have to buy a new lens cap in addition to the adaptor and a larger filter (the end of the adaptor is 55mm).

In summary, very please with it.
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