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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28

By Cliff Smith



  • Editors choice
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28


Our Score:


There have also been several improvements to the FZ28’s performance, primarily the inclusion of the new Venus Engine IV image processor. The camera starts up in less than two seconds, which is exceptionally fast for a big super-zoom camera, and shuts down again just as quickly.

In single shot mode the shot-to-shot cycle time is approximately 1.8 seconds, while in unlimited continuous shooting mode it can maintain just less than two frames a second until the memory card is full. In RAW+JPEG shooting mode it can manage a shot every 3.8 seconds, again maintaining this until the card is full. This is impressive performance, but in fact in all shooting modes the FZ28 is actually slightly slower than the FZ18.

Some things are apparently unchanged, such as the AF system, although since it is already extremely fast and accurate and copes well in low light situations, it clearly wasn’t in need of much improvement.

The lens is also unchanged, but the slightly larger sensor means that its effective focal length has been slightly reduced, from 28-504mm to 27-486mm. To be honest the difference is barely noticeable, but it’s always nice to have a decent wide-angle setting. The optical quality of the lens is extremely high, as befits the Leica brand name which it bears. It produces almost no distortion at any focal length, and is pin-sharp right across the frame with no trace of chromatic aberration. The FZ28 unquestionably has the best lens of any current super-zoom camera.

The upgraded image processing engine has gone some way towards curing the one problem that has always dogged Panasonic’s cameras; that of image noise. Images at 100 and 200 ISO are now noise-free, and 400 ISO, while showing some signs of noise, has noticeably better colour fidelity. 800 and 1600 ISO are also quite noisy and lack fine detail, but the grain of the noise pattern is smoother with better edge definition, and might make slightly better prints.

Shooting with normal settings, exposure metering, white balance and colour rendition are all extremely good, and the overall picture quality is excellent, even more so if you shoot in Raw mode, although unfortunately Adobe Photoshop’s Camera RAW module doesn’t yet recognise the FZ28’s Raw files, so you’ll have to convert them using the supplied software, which is adequate but a little clunky.


On paper it looks like the FZ28 is only an incremental upgrade on the FZ18, but an objective analysis can’t convey the overall feel of the camera. Despite the obvious similarities, all the little changes add up to a camera that feels a significantly more accomplished and assured than its predecessor. It responds quickly, focuses accurately, exposes correctly and produces outstanding results, and is generally a very satisfying camera to use. The FZ28 will suit anyone looking for a super-zoom camera, whether they want the creative power of its extensive manual options, or the reliable simplicity of its advanced automatic features. In my opinion it is currently the best all-round super-zoom camera on the market, and will become better value as the price drops over the next few months.


August 22, 2008, 4:22 pm

Tho' a pleased owner/user of an FZ18 (over 1500 pics so far), I feel the FZ28 not a big enough step ahead to upgrade. Larger sensor + better viewfinder might persuade me, however! Wait for the FZ60?

Doug Sinnott

August 22, 2008, 10:22 pm

The only drawback with a bigger sensor means the camera would need to be bigger,and the lens as well,thereby defeating it's biggest advantage over a compact DSLR,i.e the Lumix's sheer portability.

I also have a Nikon two lens D40 kit,and while it can produce cracking enlargements,I am much more likely to take the FZ18 when I go on holiday,or even just out for a ramble,as the little Panasonic packs so much in into the well made body,and the weight is much more manageable on the shoulder(I am retired!).

And any 8x10 prints I produce are sharp and colourful,and perfectly acceptable,and I feel I can recognise a good print after 40 year experience of photography.

We all know that if you blow up a print to A3,or do a lot of cropping,the DSLR will outperform the vast majority of compacts,and in some situations,i.e sports photography,etc.,is much quicker to use,but for most photography,these Panasonics are really good,offering great flexibility.

How many people out there print bigger than A4 anyway? Not many I bet!

Both my son and daughter have digital cameras,but never print,or even get prints made,just viewing them on their computers.I suspect the're not alone either.

These Panasonics however really are technological marvels,and the new FZ28 does seem an improvement over the FZ18,seeming to manage high ISOs better,although that is not really important to me,as I seldom go out taking photographs which need high settings anyway.

Again,I suspect,apart from camera reviewers,nether do many other people!

They would just use the flash if required.

There are other general improvements in the new camera,but not enough to warrant me stumping up more money for the new model.

Where do you stop?

Some people are forever "upgrading",seemingly obsessed with having the latest kit,which ultimately is very costly,whereas if they just used what they already have,better, more productively,they might enjoy their photography better.

I still use a Fuji S7000,now nearly 5 years old,but the prints it can produce are really great,if only it had a bigger zoom,it would be even better

I don't really buy photo magazines anymore,as they encourage this obsessive behaviour in my view,being full of "battles" between the latest "must-have" bits of kit.

Be happy with your FZ18,it's a great little camera!!

Doug Sinnott

Doug Sinnott

August 23, 2008, 1:30 am

To Bugmenot: I was only replying to John Merchant's comment that the only improvement he could suggest to both the FZ18/FZ28 would be a bigger sensor/viewfinder.

In my view this would invariably lead to a bigger camera,hence my comments.


August 23, 2008, 2:35 am

image quality 10 out of 10 ??? how come .. ?? please tell me how then the d700 nikon got 9 ??


why u didnt mention the bad EVF ??

sorry for my bad english


August 23, 2008, 3:49 am

I agree a larger sensor would result in a larger camera, but the resultant images would also be improved. A DSLR will produce better images than a compact, mainly, but not entirely, due to the sensor size (?) I too have some experience over many years (my first camera was a Halina 35X at age 16!) but all snap shot pictures, though using several different types of camera including SLR, some of which I still have (Contarex Super; Minolta S1 APS). Still searching for a D700 with a 14-600 zoom (& 10/10 images) that I can carry in my pocket! The FZ8/18/28 is the nearest yet!


August 23, 2008, 4:28 am

Maybe it's just me but all the sample photos look overexposed.

I'm also having trouble seeing an image quality of 10 out of 10.

Emmanuel Walter

August 23, 2008, 12:19 pm


How does the FZ28 compare to a Canon G9 or coming G10. Which one has the better picture quality. The G9/G10 has very good manual controls.


August 23, 2008, 8:33 pm


This is always the problem with review scores, they are subjective, not just in terms of the point of view of the reviewer, but also in terms of the price category of the product and the product class too, like superzoom or compact. In reality, only the very best top of the range cameras should get perfect 10 scores, and all other cameras should be marked against that score. But of course this would result in compacts inherently never getting higher than 3 or 4. Maybe the fz28 would get 5 or 6.

So in this review the fz28 gets a perfect 10 for image quality because (i guess) it is the best image quality you will get from a superzoom camera?

Review scores are always a bit rubbish in my opinion. A good example is the Trail magazine which will review 30 products briefly, then about 8 of them go through to a detailed review. The problem is that the score is only out of 5, so almost all the 8 final products will have the same score!! What's the point in that? At least trustedreviews uses scores out of 10.


August 24, 2008, 9:14 am

Regarding the point about review scores subjective and being a bit rubbish, it's not untrue. However, it's also a quick and invaluable tool for us who don't have the opportunity to spend a reasonable amount of time trial testing the numerous options out there. That's why it is always prudent to look at reviews from different sources to minimise some of the individual reviewers' "bias". Also important to note that the timing of the reviews and product launches relative to the competition will also affect review scores to a certain degree. I usually take ratings not so much in absolute terms but as a range. So anything scoring 8-10 to me is considered a great score. Of course if a product gets a 10 in image quality while it's competitors score 6 and 7s (as the SP-570UZ, P80, S8100fd, DSC-H50 did), then I guess it must be a significant difference, and something to take note of and to verify for oneself. Then the reviews would have done their job!


August 24, 2008, 11:48 pm

Life would be amazing if everything in life got 10's... It's a pleasure knowing there's a company out there producing quality products for the photographer, be it amateurs or professionals.

Married with 3 kids and as much as I would love to carry a DSLR around with me with the lenses to go with it. It's a pleasure to have a camera that I can take with me and that allows me to carry the kids in my ruck sack.

As for the marks... As bevo76 mentioned, take several reviews and judge a product and I'm sure all will make the right choice.

Trusted review is class... keep up the good work :)

Andy Vandervell

August 26, 2008, 1:35 pm

Just a general observation the complete lack of any barrel distortion is pretty astonishing. I've got an s8000fd and have been very happy with it, especially since it cost just 𧵄, but it and most other cameras in this area all suffer from distortion at both the wide and telephoto ends. You grow to accept it, but having none at all is awesome.

In fact, the only thing the s8000fd seems to have over the Panasonic is handling. Not that the FZ28 is bad, but the s8000/s8100 are great to use.


August 26, 2008, 8:55 pm

On a completely different note - seeing as so many happy panny clickers have commented - I'm one too by the way. Are there any good online forums or clubs for getting the best out of the FZ18?

Mike Wrob

August 26, 2008, 11:42 pm

From what I've read, the lack of barrel distortion is due to the image processing of the camera. I believe you would still have the distortion with a RAW image.


August 27, 2008, 1:40 am

In reply to Mike Wrob, I have not noticed extra barrel distortion shooting raw with my FZ18 over jpeg; it depends on the subjects shot. If due to the internal processing, it works real good!


August 29, 2008, 9:40 am

Cliff, does that mean that the noise and limited dynamic range issues of the FZ18 are gone?

Manuel Helzel

August 31, 2008, 10:28 pm

I ordered an FZ28 on the basis of your review. After having done so, I find that the EVF is very small, and less than half the size of the EVF in the FZ18. There is no mention of this significant fact in the review. I think it should be updated to reflect that fact. In the review of the Nikon P80 you say that the viewfinder is small, but not adequate. I looked at both cameras at a local shop and found the Nickon EVF to be quite big and clear and very serviceable. The one on the FZ28 was small and barely adequate. This dicrepancy is quite disturbing, and I wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the review and whether I should cancel my order for the FZ28. Any comments on this would be appreeciated.


September 1, 2008, 12:47 am

Well well. Been away for a while, so missed this review. But I am pretty much disappointed. We expect a lot more from a review. What about the video quality? Where are the samples? Why is there no mention of the absolutely horrible audio with the "high definition" video? I think "trusted reviews" is really very very biased towards panasonic. Although I do appreciate the good features in this model, I would really like panasonic to try to understand that they will always be considered a mediocre brand as far as non-dslr digicams are considered (compared to canon) unless they really give due attension to the video part. Canon S5IS is still one of the best superzooms to feature stunning video (although standard definition) with cd-quality stereo audio which only good camcorders have. And with the Nikon D90, I think the days of compacts for "all-in-one" solution "for any situation" are starting to get over. Anyway, this FZ28 has really disappointed me. I really expected panasonic to improve the audio. And also, the increase in resolution is totally unwelcome. It's ridiculous. The totally killed the prospects (less noise) of the slightly bigger sensor, by this idiot-luring gimic callled "MEGAPIXELSSSSSSSSSS". Can they produce better photos than the 6MP Nikon D40 or any other low-resolution DSLR out there? Disgusting. And as some other guys mentioned above, Not many people want to make poster-sized prints from their handy compacts. So, thumbs down to every company's MEGAPIXEL strategy. And also, people looking for a superzoom bridge camera don't give a damn about size as long as they can carry it in a small side bag. So, opposing the idea of bigger sensor in a bridge camera is ridiculous. Because not everybody can afford dozens of cameras/camcorders for different occations, the bridge cameras MUST fulfil the requirements of such customers. Good audio with SMOOTH video is such a feature. I am saying all this not because I hate Panasonic, but because I thought panasonic does have almost all the features I want, and the new model could just have been perfect.

I hope canon/Nikon comes up with a better alternative soon...


September 1, 2008, 8:40 pm

Hi there, I'm just looking for some advice as I'm completely confused! I'm buying a camera for my partner for his birthday, and had decided on the FZ18, then I read about the FZ28. He's really just looking for something he can take decent pictures on, and wanted an SLR, but my funds wont stretch that far! I'm wondering if there is really much difference between the two for a complete amateur to justify the difference in price?


September 2, 2008, 3:45 am

Unlike the FZ18, the new FZ28 can capture HD videos and the optical zoom (with dual IS) is usable during the shoot. Also, the FZ28 has better automatic mode. Those are the main differences.


September 3, 2008, 8:49 pm

The FZ28 has the same sensor size as FZ18 so I think has the same handling with respect to the noise at high ISO so the increment in the nr of pixel is irrelevant.

The only major difference I see is the video size (1024x720 from 840x480) and the auto-zoom during movie.

The review is wery weak as there is nothing to mention about video resolution, video recording time on a 2GB card (about compression) as well how the camera makes pictures works the super zoom at x18 or x33(when is set at 3 mil pixels the res) or close-ups as well.

I own a FZ7 model and I am very happy at the moment with it, I would upgrade only if I would see a big improvment on these aspects I mentioned before.


September 4, 2008, 10:50 am

Dear AB,

"The FZ28 has the same sensor size as FZ18..."

NO. The FZ28 DOESN'T have the same sensor as FZ18. The FZ28 is SLIGHTLY bigger.

FZ18: 1/2.5 " (5.75 x 4.31 mm, 0.24 cm²),

FZ28: 1/2.33 " (6.13 x 4.60 mm, 0.28 cm²)

"...so I think has the same handling with respect to the noise at high ISO so the increment in the nr of pixel is irrelevant."

What you "think" is stupid and baseless. On such tiny sensors, the more the pixel count, the more the noise.

"The only major difference I see is the video size (1024x720 from 840x480) and the auto-zoom during movie...."

The proper term is "resolution" and not "size". And it is not (1024x720 from 840x480), it is 1280x720 from 848x480. And there is no such thing anywhere as "auto-zoom". The user needs to utilise the zooming controlls manually, if desired. The difference from FZ18 is that the zoom is usable during movie recording.

"...The review is wery weak as there is nothing to mention about video resolution, video recording time on a 2GB card (about compression) as well how the camera makes pictures works the super zoom at x18 or x33(when is set at 3 mil pixels the res) or close-ups as well..."

"wery"? wth is that?

"...nothing to mention..."

Actually there is quite a lot to mention. But here is very little mention.

"...how the camera makes pictures works the super zoom at x18..."

Actually he did give us quite a detailed report on that, and I think you mean 18x and not x18.

"...or x33..."

It is 32.1x

"...3 mil pixels the res..."

Now wth is "mil" pixels? It is "MEGA" pixels.

"...only if I would see a big improvment..."

I really doubt if you ever would.

Finally, sorry for sounding rude, but you do need to know what you are talking about, especially when you are critisizing an expert.


September 5, 2008, 8:11 pm

NRoy... shape up

many people on this forum are writing in a foreign language, so please do not comment on spelling.

and if you add a comment like "sorry for sounding rude" don't be.. change your attitude instead and take a coffee break..

it's easy to just ignore people with your type of approach, but if you like to share your knowledge, and I really like to take part, please shape up ;-)


September 6, 2008, 3:31 am

I WAS rude indeed. Sorry.

What pissed me off was the fact that he was commenting on the basis of 100% wrong assumption/information. Besides, I was a little drunk as well.

Anyway, sorry again. I will be carefull in the future.


English isn't my native language either ;-)


September 9, 2008, 3:28 am

NRoy made some good points about the video - I will take that into consideration, though I like the fact that you can zoom during video. I had heard good things about the video on the FZ18, but perhaps that user wasn't concerned with the audio quality.

The problem with Canon is that they don't make a 'super' zoom with a wide angle lense. For me, that removed Canon from any consideration, Sony as well. Which narrows my choice to the Nikon and the Panasonic (Olympus gets dinged for poor menu design in all the reviews I have read).

The review confirms what I've heard about the Panasonics, that they have one of the best quality lens but are somewhat lacking in the processing area, though it looks like they are at least as good in that area with this model. I'll wait for some more reviews to come out (and hopefully for the price to come down).


September 9, 2008, 7:13 am

Good wide angle, ~18x optical zoom with IS, minimum noise (at ~400 ISO) and purple fringing at telephoto, good dynamic range, and smooth video with GOOD AUDIO is all I want. And working zoom with IS during video recording.

Canon has a reputation for "quality". But like MurSki said, the zoom ranges are ... terrible. Similar arguments hold for Sony/casio/Kodak etc as well. The only ones with decent wide angle (~27/28mm)and whooping 18-20x zoom are Panasonic, Nikon, Fujifilm and Olympus. Now, although Olympus has outstanding zoom range and a host of other attractive features, the one thing I don't like is the overal slow responsiveness of the olympus cameras. The time to actually take the snap after clicking the shutter button is very slow, and most of the time the image gets blurred unless used by someone who knows exactly what/how to do. And I'm not sure if a opportune snap of a fast moving object would be possible with those. Some critics say that olympus/fuji are basically same. Nikon(P80) has nothing noticably attractive. And the ONLY one camera out of these which can use the zoom during video recording is the Panasonic FZ28. And it (as well as FZ18) has the least purple fringing at extreme telephoto end. And the FZ28 also takes 1280x720p videos. All these good things puts the FZ28 ahead of the competition. I just wish it had the bigger sensor without the unnecessary increase in resolution. It only increases the noise - not image quality. I wonder if an updated version of the FZ28 would have better audio. Anyway, new things are coming up (like the micro four-thirds etc) and we can only hope for the better. The manufacturers should concentrate more on the lense, sensor and AUDIO QUALITY. Some cams do have good audio, but lack the ~27-486mm or ~28-504mm zoom ranges etc. Let's see what Photokina 2008 brings us. Canon is deaf and dumb, so I'm not holding my breath for any S*IS...

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