Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28

While the silver mode dial is attractive, it's highly reflective, and under sunlight, the individual icons are difficult to see. Fortunately, the modes are visible on the LCD as you cycle through the options.

The rear of the camera is well-organized with an EVF/LCD switch, flash open button, AF/AE lock, and a new, helpful record/playback switch. A joystick calls up a quick menu for easy access to most-often changed settings.

The four-way controller with a center set button has a little more depth to it than most. The up arrow, when pressed multiple times, provides access to exposure compensation, bracketing options, and flash output adjustments. To change flash settings, press the right arrow when the flash is popped up. The down arrow can be customized to access ISO, white balance, metering mode, AF mode, intelligent exposure, or as a review button. The left arrow accesses the self-timer that includes a 10-second/three-picture option. The center Set button also calls up the easy-to-navigate main menu.

Notable features include 30fps 720p movie recording, in clips up to 2GB, which it saves using the Motion JPEG codec as a QuickTime MOV file. You can zoom during capture, as well as use the OIS. It also offers two custom white balance settings, a Kelvin temperature WB option, and the ability to tweak the white balance by adjusting amber, blue, green, and magenta points. Always a plus is having the option to set a maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed, which earns the FZ28 a few extra points.

Although not the fastest camera on the market, the FZ28 is fairly zippy for a megazoom and can certainly hold its own against the competition. It powers on and shoots in 2.3 seconds, and focuses and shoots relatively quickly under good and low-contrast conditions--0.6 second and 0.8 second, respectively. Its 1.8 seconds between shots is pretty good, and the 2.4-second flash shot-to-shot time is pretty typical for this class. While its burst performance may seem fast, it's limited to three shots at full resolution and quality, which makes it less than useful. In its infinite burst mode we expect performance to be about the same as everyone else's. But I never felt that the FZ28 was sluggish, and autofocus felt very responsive in bright light.

The camera's new AF tracking feature worked relatively well, as long as the subject was well illuminated and didn't move too quickly. And, of course, Panasonic's optical image stabilization did a good job when shooting at slower shutter speeds.

Image quality is solid but not outstanding. It produces natural-looking colors (shoot in RAW or RAW + JPEG or use the saturation adjustment to pump up vibrancy if the colors aren't vivid enough for your taste). And exposures are generally even and accurate, especially outdoors. As is typical, macro shots are especially sharp, as were those from wide to about the midrange of the zoom. Telephoto shots were a little soft, even at lower ISOs. However, as with many Panasonic cameras, you can see noise artifacts even at its lowest sensitivity of ISO 100, particularly in shadowed areas. In part, this seems to stem from more poorly executed noise suppression in the blue channel than most. There's visible softening as low as ISO 200, and by ISO 800 you lose a significant amount of detail. Sensitivity is best kept at ISO 400 or below, but you'll be able to get decent prints above that setting. Just try to keep the noise reduction set low in order to avoid softer images.

Panasonic delivers a solid megazoom in the Lumix DMC-FZ28. Though it's not particularly outstanding in any particular area--its image quality is its weakest link--a well-thought-out and robust feature set plus above average performance help it rise above much of the competition.

Shooting speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
2.3 
1.8 
0.8 
0.6 
Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
1.5 
2.1 
0.8 
0.6 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50
2.3 
1.8 
1.3 
0.7 
Olympus SP-570 UZ
3.3 
2.5 
1.8 
0.8 

Typical continuous-shooting speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 (Silver)

Part Number: DMC-FZ28S Released: Aug. 31, 2008
MSRP: $399.95 Low Price: $958.79 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Aug. 31, 2008
  • Digital camera type Full body
  • Optical Zoom 18 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical (MEGA O.I.S.)
  • Lens 27 - 486mm F/2.8
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.33"