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Panasonic improves on FZ28 for new megazoom

The Lumix DMC-FZ35 updates the FZ28 with more pixels and improved OIS, among other things.

Panasonic overhauls the insides of its popular FZ28 megazoom with the Lumix DMC-FZ35: higher resolution, improved optical image stabilizer, faster AF, and a new movie codec.

In addition to the same 1/2.33-inch 12-megapixel sensor found in models launched this spring, such as the TS1, the camera uses the new Power OIS, optimized for low-frequency handshake, which, according to Panasonic, adds 2 stops of shake reduction and is most effective in low light. There's also a new high-speed AF system that is twice as fast as the old, according to the company. The lens is the same 18x f2.8-4.4 27-486mm-equivalent as the old model.

Though the FZ28 supported 720p movie capture, the FZ35 updates it to use the more efficient AVCHD Lite codec, which also supports stereo sound. Like the GH1, and unlike many competitors, the FZ35 will let you adjust shutter speed and aperture for movie recording.

Oddly, Panasonic makes a big deal about the FZ35's "extended battery life of approximately 470 pictures"--but the FZ28 is CIPA rated at 460 pictures, a pretty trivial increase.

Slated to ship in mid August, the Lumix DMC-FZ35 will cost $399.