Went to London today (well, yesterday, it's 4am now - I blame Nico for messing up my sleep patterns, haha!) and well may I just say there's a lot of interesting smells as you walk around! Was good to see my London friends again - but there's a lot of things I don't like about our city... especially it's centre... you want a list ok: too crowded, ugly, smelly, bad architecture, crappy street pavements, unclean, smelly, over priced, smelly. So yes, not a big London fan, and I prefer most places, the Isle of Wight (where I was last weekend!), Windsor, even Bracknell!
Anyway, onto the camera...
The new camera Panasonic FZ28 with it's massive 18x, 28-470mm lens is stunning. It's a good third heavier than it's baby brother, my old FZ5 which I sold onto my dad for the knock down price of £50. Ok it was 3 years old - but these cameras just NEVER seem to go wrong (touch wood!). They are built so well, and engineered so perfectly. The high ISO setting can't rival a SLR but if you don't want to carry around 5kg of camera and accessories these "bridge cameras" are the best way to go.
The lens of course is the best thing about this camera. It powers on and extends in under 2 seconds. It zooms from super wide to telephoto in 3 seconds. It is super steady with its optical image stabiliser (allowing for ridiculously slow shutter speeds (1/80th at 18x zoom and not blurry)), has no "purple fringing" on high contrast scenes (google it to see what some bad lenses will do with bright light), and focuses in a split second.
The Fstop will only go as low as 4.4 at 18x zoom, but will actually go as low as 3.7 at 17x zoom so I've found it's best to go only close to max zoom if it's dark and you want lots of light in the lens (the lower the F number the more light the lens lets in ... eg. A telescope for instance being long and narrow would have a high F number and be rubbish for photography).
The manual focus came in useful for bees and anything airborn and is really easy to use with the baby rocker button which i'm still getting used to.
The high detail in 10 megapixels means shooting at ISO400 and 800 means you're still going to get a very good picture at typical viewing resolutions (1280x1024).
Oh, and the new lithium battery is amazing - I've taken as many as 950 photos on one charge (taking most on burst mode and shooting pretty fast, but 950 is an incredible amount on one battery charge). I bought 2 batteries - but I can go out for the day shoot for ages, and still use only one.