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Panasonic's latest megazoom goes wider

Though it keeps the same 18x zoom as its predecessor, the FZ28 starts at a 27mm-equivalent focal length instead of 28mm.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28

It's not only compact cameras that are embracing the wide-angle views this fall; even the megazooms are getting in the game. Panasonic's replacement for its Lumix DMC-FZ18, the FZ28, maintains its 18x zoom range, but backs off on the telephoto to provide a slightly wider 27mm entry focal length compared with 28mm previously.

In many ways, the specs of the FZ28 bear a striking resemblance to the Nikon CoolPix P80's:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 Nikon Coolpix P80
Resolution 8 megapixels 10 megapixels 10 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.5-inch 1/2.33-inch 1/2.33-inch
Lens f2.8-4.2 28-504mm f2.8-4.4 27-486mm f2.8-4.5 27-486mm
LCD 207,000 pixels, 2.5 inches (4:3) 230,000 dots, 2.7 inches (4:3) 230,000 dots, 2.7 inches (4:3)
Raw format supported Yes Yes No
Max ISO sensitivity at full resolution ISO 1,600 ISO 1,600 ISO 1,600
Movie capture 848x480 30fps 1,280x720 30fps VGA 30fps
Pricing and availability $349.95; now $399.95; late August $399.95; now

Like the rest of Panasonic's fall models, the FZ28 incorporates Venus Engine IV, the latest version of the company's image-processing algorithms. These include tweaks to the company's family of Intelligent Auto technologies. Burst performance increases to 2.5fps, and Panasonic adds a new high-speed burst mode, which it claims delivers 13fps, albeit at a reduced resolution.

Like the FZ18, the FZ28 will come in black and silver when it ships in late August.