The 10-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28's 18x (27-486mm equivalent) zoom may seem modest compared to some of the other superzooms on the market, such as the 26x zoom Olympus SP-590 UZ. But the FZ28 makes up for this with a solid feature set, including manual exposure controls, Panasonic's excellent Mega Optical Image Stabiliser and a relatively effective 'intelligent auto' mode. If you're enticed by the higher megapixel count of other superzoom models, you needn't be. Ten megapixels is more than enough resolution to turn out some really good-sized prints.
The FZ28 can be snapped up for around £250.
Like its predecessor, the Lumix DMC-FZ18, the FZ28 has the standard superzoom look and feel of a digital SLR, but without an interchangeable lens. At 414g, the FZ28 is about half the weight of the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS and is light enough to carry around all day without any strain or pain. It measures 117 by 76 by 89mm, so you won't be able to stash it even in the largest of pockets, but a small camera bag or medium-sized purse can easily hold the camera.
A new, 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD, only slightly larger than the FZ18's 64mm (2.5-inch) monitor, but of higher resolution, works well under most lighting conditions and can be adjusted via three brightness options. The first, 'auto power', automatically adjusts to the surrounding lighting conditions; 'power LCD' increases the brightness; and 'high angle' really pumps up the brightness so you can easily see the screen even when the camera is held over your head.
The electronic viewfinder is relatively bright, and large enough to be useful. It also gains up under low light, but we noticed some distortion around the perimeter of the EVF. Also, as with all EVFs, the refresh rate slows in low light. Still, the EVF is quite usable.
There's no hot shoe, but the on-board flash extends far enough to light a subject almost 5.5m away (using telephoto and auto ISO). A feature we always like is the ability to adjust the flash output, and the FZ28 allows up to +/-2 adjustment in 1/3 steps.