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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
The last Panasonic camera we had our hands on - the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 - left us thoroughly impressed by its image quality and reasonable price. Their new superzoom offering - the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 does the same, here's why...
118 x 75 x 89mm in dimensions and with a weight of 417-grams, the FZ28 is amongst the smaller superzooms. Its body's made of powder and smooth finish tough black plastic, that feels good to the touch.
Its textured rubber handgrip is well contoured with an indented groove for your middle finger, that lets your hand rest perfectly while your index finger's independent to hover around the shutter release and zoom toggle. The top of the camera contains the Shutter release, zoom toggle, auto focus toggle and macro mode buttons, placed along side a mode dial.
The back of the camera has the flash button on the extreme left, and the EVF toggle, AF lock, Q. Menu, display, delete buttons, alongside a navigation D-pad and a standard 2.7-inch screen that features 230,000 pixels. While the FZ28 might seem cluttered up with buttons, once you use it you realize how easy it is to access most of the camera's functions through the shortcut buttons rather than navigating through the menu. The camera's designed for those who want control at their fingertips, and that's evident in its build.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28's CCD sensor can take pictures of up to 10 megapixels. Image quality is decent - pictures taken were sharp and details were well preserved.
The camera's capable of 18x optical zoom, and the image stabilization is pretty impressive. The shot below was shot at 18x zoom, without a tripod, and with dual image stabilization on (mechanical + digital). As you can see, details weren't lacking and the image isn't blurry, even in rather low light conditions.
The camera takes shots of ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which might seem like a smaller range than most superzooms, but its performance is brilliant, and pictures were usable right up to ISO 400, which is better than most superzooms out there.
The night mode though, wasn't the best, and while it captured details pretty well, the dimly lit areas in our test were completely dark.
Auto-white balance was spot on most of the time, but in a few isolated cases it ended up looking like a few shots were shot in tungsten mode. Color reproduction was vivid and impressive, while macro performance was good too.
Lastly, the camera features 1280x720 (720p) video recording at 30FPS, at rather good quality. Also, the inclusion of RAW support is a big boon.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 impressed us with its great ISO performance, image quality, image stabilization and what we think is a reasonable price tag for such quality and over-all performance (Rs. 22,500 street price). If you're looking for a reasonably priced superzoom, with fantastic performance, the FZ28 certainly fits the bill. Just bare in mind that the night mode isn't impressive, and keep an eye out for any auto-white balance anomalies.