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sdromel May 1, 2009 4:01 PM

It seems that this particular model is becoming more difficult to find. Is it in the process of being phased out for an update?

rfdandrea May 2, 2009 11:19 AM

The FZ28 was announced in June or July and shipped in August of last year, I think.

Most speculation on an upgrade is around the same time frame this year--maybe a July announcement and August ship date. It's only speculation.

All gear is eventually upgraded. You can miss a lot of shots worrying about it. Buy one now if you can find one and enjoy it all summer. It's a great camera as it is.

Don't know why they're drying up. Maybe because there's a global recession going on and vendors don't want to be stuck with inventory?

penolta May 2, 2009 6:53 PM

I counted 58 of them offered on ebay today. Google Shopping will bring you lots more.

RConsonni May 4, 2009 7:42 AM

The fact that it's becoming hard to find should make you more confident in its capabilities.
Two months ago, it was almost impossible to find this camera here in Brazil - the only ones in the market were smuggled, so no one would give you any kind of warranty on them. I asked my parents to bring me one when they traveled to the US to visit my sister.
Nowadays, many stores carry this model, and the salespeople say they are very popular, and sometimes are on backorder.
Maybe, if you order it online, it will be easier to find. Don't give up! This camera is well worth it!

Lazy Lens May 4, 2009 9:40 AM

rfdandrea wrote:

The FZ28 was announced in June or July and shipped in August of last year, I think.

Most speculation on an upgrade is around the same time frame this year--maybe a July announcement and August ship date. It's only speculation.

All gear is eventually upgraded. You can miss a lot of shots worrying about it. Buy one now if you can find one and enjoy it all summer. It's a great camera as it is.
From what I've read, the FZ28 audio was supposedly upgraded (to 16kHz from 8kHz, to 16bit from 8bit).

I think rather than a couple of minor improvements on the existing model, it's more likely Pan will put their energy and R&D money toward an all-new model as a direct competitor to the Canon SX1, with a similar price tag.

Unfortunately, Pan will probably also include a chipped battery as part of any "upgrade". Overpriced chipped batteries cause me to favor the competition.
If ALL manu's start using overpriced, chipped batteries (that can't be hacked by 3rd parties) I'll just forgo new models altogether. If enough consumers did that, manu's would learn a valuable lesson.

rfdandrea May 4, 2009 10:33 AM

I think you might be confused, but maybe not depending on how I read your comment.

The manual says, "Due to implemented sound quality improvements, motion pictures shot using this unit cannot be played back on Panasonic digital cameras (LUMIX) sold before August 2008."

It does not say FZ28 cameras.

Panasonic's press release announcing the FZ28 is at:

It says, "The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ28 will be available in silver and black in August 2008 for a suggested retail price of $399.95."

Therefore, the audio had been upgraded pre-production, and was part of the package of upgrades from the FZ18 to the FZ28, which included lots of things--a different sensor, a different Venus processor, etc.

Or maybe that that's what you're saying. I read the original poster's question to be whether there would be a replacement for the FZ28. Why would a new FZ in the 8, 18, 28 family tree not be a competitor to the SX-1 at the $400 price point?

Lazy Lens May 4, 2009 11:13 AM

Sorry if I wasn't clear on that point. I did d/l the pdf manual and have engaged in other discussions re: the audio, both online and with Pan tech support. While the manual does not say the FZ28, it also does not specifically exclude it.

I conclude that some "pre-enhanced" units did, in fact, reach store shelves. I base this conclusion on two things:
1) the refusal (or inability) of Pan tech support personnel to give me a straight answer re: FZ28 audio
2) anecdotal testimony from users who have tried different FZ28's and found some to have absolutely horrible audio, while other FZ28's were deemed "much improved" audio-wise. How can you have two different FZ28's with such wildly varying audio quality in the same scene, recorded by the same individual with the same camera settings, unless they are... different units internally (i.e., one is an updated unit).

I haven't had the opportunity to personally try FZ28's, so I can only go by what I read online (and what Pan does and doesn't tell me) at this point. If that info is wrong, so be it.

You're right in that I meant the next "upgrade" would be a new FZ (38 or whatever). However, I do believe a direct competitor to the SX1, with the same features, will have a SRP similar, not identical, to that of the SX1 (which according to Canon's site is $599.99). I do not believe Pan will price this new SX1-equivalent at $400 SRP. I'm sure they could, but they won't.
I further believe that Pan will incorporate their chipped battery design into this new model. This would be a bad move, since many people will prefer the SX1's generic battery compatibility (or even a proprietary battery with 3rd-party alternatives). If Pan's chipped battery scheme is some day hacked, it'll be a moot point, but until then these batteries are a little more than a price gouging tool.

rfdandrea May 4, 2009 12:49 PM

If the manual says that audio of Panasonic cameras prior to August 2008 is different, and the FZ-28 did not ship until August 2008, what more information do you need? FZ28s were not available prior to August 2008. End of mystery.

I bought my FZ28 early on--ordered it in first week of September and received it about September 16, plus or minus. It was certainly early production based on the purchase date. Near as I can tell, the serial number is low, but who can decode serial numbers? The audio is 16-bit 16kHz. I really don't think the FZ ever shipped with the 8kHz audio. That was prior models.

I saw an earlier post from you worrying about how to tell an FZ28 with the lower-quality audio. It's easy. Slip into a camera shop with your own SD card, shoot some video, and slip it into an editing program. It will tell you. I bet it's 16-bit 16 kHz. Another way is to look at the manual, page 75. If it talks about Panny models prior to August 2008, you can be pretty sure the manual was printed after that. Otherwise there's no reason to talk about it.

I've read the same anecdotal reports from people who complain about their audio. I have a hard time deciphering people's personal tastes. It's hard to know their expectations. 16-bit 16Khz audio will give you frequency response up to 8 kHz, which is fine for voice, not fine for music. Voice is all I want out of it, as all I shoot on video is my grandkids and my dog and an occasional interview for my blog. I don't shoot music videos, but if I did, I'd record on a different device and sync the audio in postprocessing like you're supposed to.

If you've never handled an FZ28, that's part of the problem understanding other possible reasons for disappointing audio. The camera is quite a bit smaller than, say, a Canon ultrazoom. The microphone on the 28 is located about 2/3 of the way up on the left front of the camera, near where someone with big hands and who is used to another form factor might place his left hand. That would block the mic. (I place my left hand under the camera, but that's a habit from the old manual-focus, manual aperture 35mm days. That's where you had to put your hand to reach the aperture and focus rings and still support the camera.) How do you know that people blocking the mic isn't what's responsible for their disappointing audio?

I hope Panny does not implement ALL of the features of the SX-1. The purple fringing in the images is something I could do without.

RE the chipped battery, I agree with you. I got my spare FZ28 battery for about 10 bucks. I do not care to spend 20 percent of the cost of my camera on a spare battery. On the other hand, and this is something else you'd appreciate had you ever handled a 28, it's quite light and the lithium battery is part of the reason. I wouldn't like the extra weight of four AAs. The battery life with the Panny battery and the generic replacement is great--I routinely get more than 400 shots per battery on a charge, and the charge time is quick, only two hours or so. If I leave the house with two fully charged batteries, I know I'm good for quite a bit of shooting. The spare is quite a bit smaller and fits into my case better than a bunch of spare AAs.

Lazy Lens May 5, 2009 1:10 AM

I suppose some of those who experience audio differences between test units could have partially covered the mic during one video and not the other. It's also possible that the phenomenon isn't caused by mic-blocking or differing circuitry, but instead by poor quality control -- e.g., the mic supplier provided a substandard batch. And a "corrected" batch of parts could be considered an "improvement" to those who favor Bill Clinton's utilization of the English language. Panasonic might! ;)
I know, I know. Street date vs. manual date...

Ideally, I would have tried the 28 out in a local shop. To my knowledge, there isn't currently such a shop with available demo units within a reasonable distance. True, that would reveal the specs of the file, and if there were a difference between two units with identical file specs, it would add fuel to the QC theory. Heck, there may not even be a difference in quality between units for all I know, but numerous people perceive one.

At any rate, I'll soon discover the characteristics of one FZ28K, as I ordered it yesterday from BuyDig.
The story if anyone's interested:;forum_id=87
(bottom posts).

As alluded to in that forum, prices are on the rise and dealers are quickly selling out. I hear Pan won't be producing any more runs of this model, as they're concentrating on a successor (FZ38?) to answer the SX-1. I haven't gotten confirmation from Pan on this, though. Still, anyone seriously considering the 28 might be well advised to buy one now.

stevemona May 20, 2009 10:40 AM

I bought a Panasonic Fz28 and for me the audio was shameful, I cannot believe they released a camera like this with 720p video and worse audio than that on a mobile phone. I promptly sent mine back for a refund to Amazon after i'd tried it for a few days. I can't fault the photo quality on the camera for stills as it's quite good with little noise although you can only take 3mega pixel images on burst mode. This isn't much of an issue for me as I rarely use burst. The video is nice and clear although it does seem to go in and out of focus easily when you are zooming. Audio is terrible though, I mean really terrible I also tried to enhance it by extracting the audio channel and attempt to enhance it with only minor success. I need good video and audio to take family clips and didn't want to have to lug around a camera+camcorder I've now replaced it with a Canon Sx1 which has far better audio, holds focus better when zooming on video and photo quality is pretty much the same although the Sx1 is slightly bulkier and a bit heavier it feels like a more solid camera for a little bit more money.

Panasonic SHAME ON YOU! I will never buy a panasonic again after this experience.

I also bought mine just a couple of weeks ago so any audio improvements should have been in my model!

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