What camera should I buy? (I got the FZ28)

Photography Don't you just love it?

Like a lot of people these days photography, is a hobby of mine. The age of the digital camera lets us snap away to our hearts content. A year and a half ago though I made a jump from a simple point and shoot camera up to a Bridge Camera. It was a slightly late birthday present for myself. I went and picked up the FZ28 … I did the usual research online hummed and hawed over this camera and that camera … over a proper DSLR or just another point and click type camera. I hadn’t actually tried out the Panasonic DMCFZ28 Digital Camera beforehand so when it did arrive it was a bit of a shock at how small it was. I had assumed it’d be of a similar size to normal DSLR’s I quickly got over that as I started to get snap happy with it.

The following was one of the first shots I took with it and it really blew me away

Squishy in front of the mirror
Squishy in front of the mirror

So for me what makes it so special?

FZ28 from Panasonic

  1. The size. It’s small. (Its somewhere between a point and shoot and a proper DSLR)
  2. The lack of all these extras (huge camera bag with 3 extra lenses a tripod and god knows what else). This is really great for travelling. Most people I know with DSLR’s end up bringing another 2 lenses / backpack and so on with them. Thats just not for me.
  3. The battery life on it is amazing I can get 350 – 500 shots on the one battery charge
  4. The Zoom … its got 18X optical zoom which is pure madness. Now when I handle a normal camera its like … oh .. thats nice but I want to be able to zoom on things :D
  5. The inbuilt flash is quite good
  6. 2.7inch Viewscreen
  7. Video Quality is excellent
  8. Image Quality is excellent at 10 MegaPixel camera
  9. The controls are very nice once you get the hang of them

Priced at around the €340 mark if I had to buy one again I probably would. Though I’d more than likely look at the updated model the Irish / UK ModelPanasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. US ModelPanasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35. 12 MegaPixel and various other updated features as well as being at a lower price range the €300 / $300 mark.

Below you can see a small selection of shots I took with it. Obviously I’m rather biased in thinking they are nice :) but the main thing is that I like them. It is my hobby after all :)

A Leaf in Autumn
A Leaf in Autumn
Piano Cat
Piano Cat
Blackhorse Avenue
Blackhorse Avenue taken from across the road
Damien Mulley
Damien Mulley giving a talk at Dublin City Hall on Social Media
Close up shot of sheepy
Close up shot of sheepy
Shot of a friend in Paris
Shot of a friend in Paris
Ted my nephews trusty steed
Ted my nephews trusty steed

And there I’ll leave you … my experiences with my little bridge camera have been amazing. Its a great little bit of equipment. I picked up a spare battery and I can basically leave the charger at home when I’m on holidays. All in All 10/10 for this camera.

Of course if you’re after a DSLR you probably know a hell of a lot more about photography than I do :D but for me this camera is perfect for now. (I do have camera envy though when I play with friends DSLRs at times)

Irish / UK Model – Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. US Model – Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35.


  • I have a canon 350D and you’re pics are miles better than mine, I really should learn how to actually use the bloody thing, f-stop and iso are alien to me :)

  • The F what and the aliens ? :D (The automatic mode on the camera is pretty good … burst shooting is very handy as well for the cat who zips around)

    I generally just point and click … play with a few of the settings but there are so many on there. I just really like having the one lens that I don’t have to change all the time :D

  • Aperture is your friend. The smaller the number(f1.4, f2.8, etc), the faster the shutter speed is and the more out of focus your background is. The higher the number (f.7.1+), the more in focus the whole image is but your shutter speed starts getting slow. Looking at your stuff, you should be using the manual settings as much as you can. It’s not that hard once you start using it and it will open up a whole new world of creativity to you.

  • Thanks Jim :) out of focus backgrounds sound very interesting :D Quite like the bokeh effect on photos I must admit though I’ve not tried it that often.

    Big problem I’ll guess is I’m shakey don’t have the steadiest hands in the world (caffeine doesn’t help either) so it could lead to a fair bit of jitter on the images.

    Going to be in Morocco on Friday so I’ll have to have a plan with things then. Really looking forward to it as from a friends photos before the colours can be completely breath taking :)

  • @James
    Hi James, thanks for the super post!
    You’ve inspired me to look into getting a new camera (something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time now).

    For anyone else looking for a new “bridge” camera I (following a lot of research tonight) recommend either the Panasonic Lumix FZ38 (your recommendation) or the slightly larger Canon PowerShot SX10. I still can’t decide between them, I think I’ll see if I can try them out at a camera shop first.

    Once I’ve got my new camera I’ll put a full review on my site for anyone who’s interested.

    Thanks for that explanation, I’ve never really understood it before, but it makes a lot more sense now.

  • Thanks Dónal its most definitely a bit dated now at this stage but if you transfer over my thoughts to the FZ38 I think they probably get better. I’ve not played with it yet but I will hopefully in about a month.

    I’m hearing really good things about this little puppy Panasonic Lumix GF1 via davymac on http://twitter.com/davymac

    He linked me to this Great review http://craigmod.com/journal/gf1-fieldtest/

    Unfortunately I think I’d need to get another lens with it and its kinda a bit out of my price range for the moment (basically it + another lens and I’m easily over the €1k mark I think)

    I love my little lumix though (getting ze missus to get a point and shoot lumix as well this week for our trip)

  • That Canon PowerShot SX20 gets some pretty nice reviews there I do like the idea of the swivel LCD display as well though its using AA batteries ? not too sure if I’m that keen on that. The 20x zoom sounds pretty good as well though with the FZ38 its 18x .. (and that is expandable to 32x I do believe though I’ve not done it with mine )

  • I read about the GF1 a while back. Apparently many professional photographers use it for some things instead of lugging an SLR everywhere.

    From what I’ve seen the difference in zoom between the SX20 and the FZ38 is negligible.

    These reviews explain it all:

    I’m not gone on the idea of AA batteries either. The swivel LCD is super though!

  • Hey Jim. Do yourself a favor and get a tripod. Even a cheap tripod is steadier than your hands. As a rule of thumb, your shutter speed can’t be slower than your focal length or you will get blur. So if you are shooting at 85mm then your shutter speed should be faster than 1/85 of a second. If you are shooting at 200mm then 1/200 of a second. Personally, I overcompensate by about 20% or so. 85mm and I am never slower than 1/100.

  • I actually have one in Ireland but I won’t be back for a few weeks. Might pick something up before I go though I’d feel a bit silly with a bridge camera and a tripod :D

    That said I’m imaging some nice night shots … and long exposure shots ( had been taking a lot before at the flickr group on best way to go about it)

  • Hi – Love your photos, especially the one of the cat and the piano! I just bought the FZ38 a few months ago and i love it!

  • I have a Canon Powershot x20 SI. Nice to find other people who are also working out how to use cameras and their quality, talking about it in an easy way to understand.


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