I really try to look at it objectively - hard to do since I own one, but I don't see why anyone would even consider a different digital camera other than the Panasonic Lumixes, unless you're looking to buy a DSLR or must have the RAW format. Best optics of them all with their 12 optical zoom with IS - no other manufacturer touches these specs and zoom range yet (curiously), responsive, innovative processing engine, good ergonomics, feature-rich, manual control, priced right, and great image quality. Hell, they're even sexy lookin'. The new line, it seems to me, mainly exists to overcome the "too few megapixels" marketing-induced, "more is always better" missperseption for US "Supersize Me Bebe" consumers. Pana would be the market leader if cameras weren't one of the last bastions of fierce brand loyality in the consumer markets. It's a no-brainer. The lower end of the line even blows away much more expensive cameras. I wouldn't trade an FZ-3 - even an FZ-2, for a Nikon Coolpix 5700 or even the 8700. I was thumbing through some of the deluge of digital photography mags at a local B&N and found it curious how so little ink is spilled on these cameras. Pana's PR dept needs to get with it. It almost seems like they're trying to keep them a secret. You have to go out of your way, almost, and do some homework to even know they exist, and the two (worthless) local chain photog stores in my area don't carry them. So another issue seems to be a weak distrubution channel. Perhaps the Canons and the Nikons have a lock here?
Good reviews, as always, from Steve but seemed a little "cut-and-pastey" between the FZ-3, 20, and previous reviews of the FZ's. And it was a long time comin'!
PS Fine quality TIFFS are 14+ megs? Geez! Wanna use Fine/Tiff on the FZ-20, guess you'll need to run out any buy a 15 gig SD card. That's why I don't miss it and will stick with lossy JPEGs and convert to PSD or TIFF in Photoshop. Don't get why peeps insist on the TIFF format produced in-camera. Though "loss-y" what you lose by opening up a JPEG once and converting it is imperceptable. (Actually, I like the lossless STNG format best...) It's an extra step that only takes a few minutes. The Venus engine on these cams seem to have a mini-photoshot session goin' on before writing the image to the media, I doubt Pana will ever produce a camera that does RAW. No loss (and no pun) imo.