Monday, July 21, 2008

New Panasonic FZ28 superzoom with RAW, starts at 28mm, replaces FZ18

The Panasonic FZ18 was announced in July of 2008, and it was Panasonic's first "hyperzoom", departing from their trademark 12x MegaOIS lens. One year later, the FZ18 has a new friend, the all-new Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28!

Press release of the FZ28 at Imaging Insider, where we learn that the FZ28 will ship in August for $400, maintaining the price-point that Panasonic forced upon the other hyperzooms last year. As you may recall, the hyperzooms of that time (Fuji, Olympus, even Canon S5 IS) were starting at $500, but Panasonic's FZ18 intro at $400 accelerated the price drop and caused them all to converge to $400, probably much faster than the other manufacturers would have wanted.

Meet the Panasonic FZ28!
The FZ28 uses a 10mp 1/2.33" sensor, and features an 18x MegaOIS lens that starts at 27mm and extends to 486mm (an homage perhaps to the Intel CPUs?) - in 35mm equivalent terms of course. The lens is a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit.

Continuing with the tradition of the FZ18 and FZ8, and of course the big Fizzies (FZ50, FZ30, etc), the FZ28 offers RAW and comes with the SilkyPix Developer Studio software. Needless to say the camera includes all the "traditional" exposure controls like full manual, aperture priority and shutter priority. But there's also scene modes galore (37 total!), along with the neo-auto-mode, which they call "intelligent something-something".

Needless to say, the FZ28 also features the brand new Venus Engine IV, which contributes to a 2.5 fps burst mode that yields 3 Fine JPEGs or 5 Standard JPEGs. For much faster burst modes, you have to use much lower resolutions, with the fastest one being 13fps at 2mps.

If the 18X MegaOIS lens is not enough, fear not, there is a 1.7X optional teleconverter available to give you an even longer reach! Be sure to adjust your settings though, because a 1/2.33" sensor at the long end of this configuration is going to need a supernova to take bright pictures ;-)

It also has film modes, face detection, AF tracking, and things like that. It will be available in silver as the FZ28S and in black as the FZ28K. It would be interesting if this came in any of the "fashionable" colors. Imagine walking around with a bright red or a pink FZ28! Although a pink one would be a great idea if they were planning to release a special edition for special causes (eg breast cancer awareness).

On the gadgetology front, it has a fixed 2.7" LCD display. The battery life is very nice at 460 CIPA, considering this is an 18X superzoom model. The usual high-def video and picture modes are there to accommodate HDTV and video users.

We checked Amazon and now they are available for pre-orders. You can pre-order it as the FX28K (black finish) or the FX28S (silver finish) for $400. It is listed as "temporarily out of stock", with no shipping date estimate, which appears to be a good sign in that it may start shipping soon.

Coverage of the Lumix DMC-FZ28 on the net

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