Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 Review

July 27, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Ludwig

Thanks for your very prompt review!

5:33 pm - Monday, July 27, 2009

#2 gabes

yes thanks, i want to buy fz28 in the next day… will no wait this model realeased

8:32 pm - Monday, July 27, 2009

#3 Ron

Thanks for the review.  I’m not interested in video so I’ll keep my FZ28 and forget the FZ35/38.

11:29 pm - Monday, July 27, 2009

#4 Tom

I have been waiting for this camera to come out. But now I am not so sure I want it. It has all the features i was hoping for but oh the look of the new one.

I thought the las FZ-28 looked really good, but somehow this new one has one major flaw for that is really distracting me.

What is up with the bling? I mean that chromed thick shinny cock ring thing on the lens? Lol

I mean before on the FZ-28 it was nice little touch. It was just a a very thin small add on put on the very end of the lens surround.

But now it’s like
“Hey everyone look at me I’m taking pictures in the bright sunshine. I’m sorry if I am blinding you with my reflection off my camera That’s just giant shinny cock ring on my long lens.”

Well, i better snap up a Fz-28 before they are gone.

11:54 pm - Monday, July 27, 2009

#5 Iain

I bought a FZ28 3 days ago. Really love it. Paid 460 CHF for it which is probably cheaper than the FZ38 will be.  I didn’t know there was a new model coming out. If the price is the same, I might sell it and buy the FZ38 but only if I don’t loose money. The faster focus is interesting and the better mic with the video but thats all….no big deal.

3:39 am - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#6 Fred

Rivals page doesn’t include the Canon SX1???

That is THE main rival.

And only GBP260 in Hong Kong.

5:02 am - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#7 David Wilson

Not worth the bother if you’ve got an FZ28, which I have. I also have a new Canon SX1 IS and so I’m selling the Panasonic - enough said!

3:03 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#8 Erick

This looks like the same thing Panasonic did with the FZ28 release.  Just a slight bump in resolution and a few little, but important features/upgrades.  I’ll keep my FZ28.

3:10 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#9 Steve

The frustrating thing about the Lumix line is how quickly your current model becomes obsolete. I’ve been thrilled with my FZ28, purchased last November for trekking and hiking (see One spec I’ve really appreciated is how light it is compared to other bridge cameras.

3:28 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#10 Chaz Gray

Great review.  I really appreciate it—especially since the camera is so new.

Based on what I read and saw here, I’m definitely keeping my FZ28! The picture quality of the FZ38 (FZ35 in my area) is only negligibly better (if at all) than the FZ28—and I believe that purple fringing is worse on the FZ38.  My FZ28 has virtually no purple fringing—unlike the Canon SX 10 IS, which seems to treat abundant purple fringing as one of its best features.

4:21 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#11 Aj

Thanks for the wonderful review.. i am very much impressed by FZ38 i will wait for sep to grab this one.. 12MP with 18X zoom well its worth for the price tag around 390$.i am also planning to buy a Tele Photo lense for FZ38 under 50$ can any one tell me which brand i should go for?

5:54 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#12 me

“Rivals page doesn’t include the Canon SX1???”
Or Sony hx1.

7:11 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#13 Eugenia

could you please answer some questions about the video portion of the camera, since you didn’t elaborate in your review?

1. Is there exposure compensation support in this model in video mode?
2. Is there a way to change contrast, saturation, sharpness in video mode? In other words, to make it less punchy?

Also, I analyzed your sample movie, apparently the container claims that the video is 50 fps, but in reality, it’s 25 fps. The video has every other frame duplicated, which is kind of phony. In my opinion, Panasonic should not have done that.

10:54 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#14 David

I wouldn’t really consider the fact that in video mode, the shutter can “only” be set to 1/30 second a negative.  That would be a pretty impressive camera if it was longer than 1/30 second shutter speed at 30 frames/second.

I don’t see many people needing to replace their FZ28s, but for those looking for a new camera that haven’t upgraded in a while, it definitely looks like a great choice.

1:45 am - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#15 pankaj

Any online store accepting pre-orders?
I have been researching cameras in this category for a month now. Ordered SX10 IS which is arriving tomorrow. Now this announcement. I think I will wait for FZ35 and return the Canon. Not even a single professional review said negative about Panasonic. So its worth the wait. The only problem is, I am going for a vacation between now and September :(

3:32 am - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#16 lab Brazil

Im considering many options to substitute my Canon S5

Sony HX1 : 720p video, swivel LCD , panorama mode
Canon SX1 : 1080p movies, great scene modes

and now this one. I dont want to buy a Sony ! And Canon is very expansive with terrible reviews regarding photo quality !

Maybe is time to shift to another brand ....

6:51 am - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#17 Joel - Sedona

I’ve owned every Panasonic Limix in the curret series - from the FZ10 to the FZ50 and now the FZ28.  I also own the Canon 50D with L series lens’ - I must say that the FZ28 produces images as good as any SLR that I’ve owned.  I just shot the American Idol concert with the FZ28 and the images are amazing:

I just pre-ordered the FZ35 from Amazon - I’m sure this camera will be as amazing as its predecessors.

4:47 pm - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#18 Steve

One big problem I’ve had with my FZ28 is that it refuses to focus on a red subject which was torture when trying to capture flower closeups. Am i the only one experiencing this? is there a workaround? Thx.

6:26 pm - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#19 Steve

BTW, I got 550 images (in one morning) on a fresh and new battery on the FZ28 at pretty high resolution.

Also, the lens is threaded and takes 46mm filters that don’t cause vignetting at full wide. Since I’m generally hiking with the hood on—which prevents using the lens cap—this is great insurance.

To protect the camera while hiking, I use a small silnylon dry bag that slips over it. It’s protection not just from the elements but from my own sweat. I have a fitted neoprene case that protects the camera when packed.

6:33 pm - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#20 Gem


Is this camera any good at taking picture’s of planes? Or at an Air Festival/Show????

8:44 pm - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#21 Iain

Its pretty good at aircraft photography. Helps if you get nice and close to the action and you need a bit of practise at panning shots but its not bad.  I use mine for some shots near Zurich airport.

8:54 pm - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#22 Cédric

I contemplated to buy the fz28 and understood that the successor would come

and I’m glad to have waited!

7:07 pm - Thursday, July 30, 2009

#23 John Davey

Started to get very bexcited reading about this camera as an upgrade on my 2005 FZ30 but where oh where is that fold-out viewing screen?  I bought the FZ30 for that feature more than any other.  If that’s gone I shan’t be buying the 38.

8:23 pm - Thursday, July 30, 2009

#24 Jan

Thank you for a fast review ! I am interested to know how the TZ 38 will perform with the Panasonic teleconverter. Not often the use of teleconverters is included in reviews of the superzooms. A pity indeed.

10:24 am - Friday, July 31, 2009

#25 Cosimo (Italy)

Thanks for the very positive review.

I was actually wondering whether to buy that camera or not, and I read that the official release date for this particular camera should be September.
However whilst surfing the net, I found this web site in GB which already seems to be selling the camera, at 319.99 GBP (approx. 534 $)—black?gclid=CL2YhqWpgJwCFdIUzAod12ynzw

Is this at all possible, or are they some preproduction models. It’s quite strange, isn’t it?

10:16 pm - Friday, July 31, 2009

#26 pankaj

Really. These guys have the camera in stock?
Did panasonic mean “Available in August”?? :-)
I have Canon sitting right in front of me in the box. Mr Editor, should I wait for Pany or just go ahead with Canon SX10 IS. The main difference is HD Video. I am not going to take a lot of videos anyways. Please suggest before I return.

1:38 pm - Saturday, August 1, 2009

#27 Aga

There is information:

11:19 pm - Saturday, August 1, 2009

#28 Mansour

Thanks for the quick review.
Just if they’d also added an articulated lcd, what an amazing p&sh; camera it could be!
by the way Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR is a rival as well, right?

12:42 pm - Sunday, August 2, 2009

#29 Barlo

When you write things like “Panasonic have tried” or “We’re a little disappointed that Panasonic haven’t extended”  you lose credibility.

You must know that Panasonic, a company is an it,
therefore it should be, Panasonic has tied, and Panasonic hasn’t extended etc.

Time to grow up and write like an adult.

8:35 am - Monday, August 3, 2009

#30 Dave

Barlo - it’s perfectly acceptable use of English to use “have” in this context, for companies, staff, etc.  Maybe it’s time you stopped making pointless snipes at worthwhile output such as this excellent review.  And, incidentally, I think you meant to type “tried” rather than “tied”.  Attention to detail is clearly not your strong suit.

10:31 am - Monday, August 3, 2009

#31 Gil

I see that the FZ28K takes RAW images - can someone tell me if the images can be manipulated in Photoshop CS3? or does one need CS4?

More so, what about this same question for the FZ35?


2:06 pm - Monday, August 3, 2009

#32 Romano

I’m new to photography and want to invest in a decent super-zoom camera but I’m completely stuck on what to choose. I can get a Canon SX1 IS for the same price as the FZ38, both new, which one would you recommend I buy?

1:40 pm - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#33 Ahriman

Panasonic FZ38 - 9 points, CanonSX1 IS - 7 points, Sony HX1 - 6 points

2:19 pm - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#34 labalbi

I have a Canon S5. Good camera. Now I want a new one capable to recording movies in 720p at least. Finally, I got into 3 models :

Sony HX1 , Canon SX1 , e this new baby FZ38. After reading a lot (keep reading yet )I have no conclusion . All of the cameras aboves have great unique features alongside huge drawbacks too.

Lets see :

Canon SX1 :
Pros :
- Movies in 1080p , full hd (you can use the creative scene modes , like Color Swap or Color Accent too when recording movies )
- Swivel LCD ( I have this in my S5 and yet not indispensable its a great feature)
- Hot shoe for flash ( I didnt buy any for my S5 so I think I wont buy one for the next camera regardless the model )
Cons :
- Heavy
- No 720p movies . 1080p movies are huge in Canon.No easy editing (if any required) in Windows
- Image Quality. Many, many complains here . Its almost unanimous that Canon SX10 with CCD have better images than CMOS SX1.

Sony HX1 :
- Panorama mode for still subjects ( not too good for moving ones)
- Movies in 720p with great sound quality
- Very good reviews at Amazon with people generally satisfied with image quality.
- Burst mode ( but not that good as Sony advertises )
- Swivel LCD ( not the same usability like Canon’s)
- 3 pictures can turn in one with great quality (forget the name of this feature !!!)
Cons :
- Well, its a Sony ! I can say the camera will last long.
- Uses of Memory Stick (why, why ?)
- Proprietary battery
- No 1080p movies
- Difficult to focus in low light

Panasonic FZ38
Pros :
- Built in to fix the problems of the acclaimed FZ28.
- Great quality in pics given Leica lens
- Light
- No useless 26x zoom
- 9 point of focus
- Creative mode when recording movies (lets see how this works in day by day situations )
- Recording you face for future portraits (its a really good feature?)
Cons :
- No Swivel LCD
- No hot shoes for flash
- No 1080p movies…

Well, of course there are much more to use when comparing those cameras. Everytime I think of it I incline to buy either the Panasonic or Sony. Although Canon and its swivel LCD took my heart a long time ago with Canon S1.
In October Ill make my decision.
Ah…there is Casio FH20 too…hehe

3:40 pm - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#35 Ahriman

dpreview: Canon SX1 IS:Build quality     8.0
Ergonomics & handling   8.0
Features   8.5
Image quality   7.0
Optics   8.0
Performance (speed)    8.0
Value 7.0 ; Sony HX1 : Build quality     8.0
Ergonomics & handling   8.0
Features   8.5
Image quality   7.5
Optics   8.0
Performance (speed)    8.5
Value   7.5

3:53 pm - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#36 tom boycott

how do you edit video with FZ28 if you don’t have a mac? anyone know?

3:57 pm - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#37 wayne

And soon to be released is the S200EXR from fuji replacing the S100FS

1:00 pm - Thursday, August 6, 2009

#38 Lazy Lens

Tom Boycott:

QuickTime movies are time-consuming to edit, but it’s not that difficult.  Check my posts in this thread for freeware and pay-fer options:

2:40 am - Wednesday, August 12, 2009

#39 Jimmy Lee

Please add comparison with sony hx-1 and canon sx1

10:30 am - Wednesday, August 12, 2009

#40 Chris K

I bought my FZ20 around 4 years ago and now am thinking about upgrading to the FZ38. Is this camera a giant leap from the one I have?

12:47 pm - Wednesday, August 12, 2009

#41 Regor (France)

Thanks for your review.Sorry for my english!
I can’t open the samples raw images.
I try with camera raw 5.4, but camera raw refuse
Can you help me, please?

3:45 pm - Thursday, August 13, 2009

#42 Bec

Hi - I had pretty much decided in the FZ28 until I heard the audio quality - awful! It’s the camera I want in all other respects. I record family moments (my daughter singing etc) but also my partners gigs and other concerts. Is the FZ38’s improved audio going to handle this?

9:55 am - Friday, August 14, 2009

#43 ginnym

I’m stuck deciding between the Canon SX10 and the Panasonic ZX38 - I can currently get them for the same price so that’s not a factor.  Decisions, decisions .........

4:06 pm - Friday, August 14, 2009

#44 ginnym

or even the Panasonic FZ38 (too many Z, Xs and Fs around!!)

4:08 pm - Friday, August 14, 2009

#45 Lazy Lens


I have the FZ28.  Returned the first one (not because of audio) and both sound alike—I had heard reports of wildly varying audio quality in the same scenes with two different Z28’s.  I really do not know why everyone rags on the 28’s sound quality.  Of course it’s not on par with high-sample-rate Dolby Digital stereo units, nor should one expect it to be.  But it’s entirely usable and can be cleaned up some with a parametric EQ, proper filters, etc..

The FZ38 audio should be on par with the Canon Dolby Digital models, and most Canon users seem happy with theirs.

Having said that, since you’ll be recording concerts and it seems audio is very important to you, you might want to consider investing in a good field recorder.  These offer much higher sample rates and external mic inputs to let you plug in pro mics for better quality and tremendous separation.  Some even offer surround sound in a package smaller than the camera you’ll be using.  Joining the audio/video streams on the pc is a simple, though not completely painless, task.

6:50 pm - Friday, August 14, 2009

#46 Ghazala

@ labalbi:

I think you got something wrong with the video resolution on the FZ35/38.

It is able to record in AVCHD with 1.280 x 720 pixels :)

I bought it yesterday for 399 euros incl. two 4GB SC-cards & a bag. Can’t wait for it to arrive (been using the Cyber-shot DSC-H3 from Sony).

Thanks for the review guys - was a lot to read but very informative!

8:11 am - Saturday, August 15, 2009

#47 Neill. UK

Bought my FZ38 yesterday.  Looks good, but I turned the image sharpness down by one stop, as it appeared grainy at default setting.

Certainly faster to focus, and the image stabiliser allowed me to take a shot at 1/10 sec!  Not every time, mind you!  Had the FZ28 for a year, and took over 11 thousand pics with it.

Not shooting cars any longer, just flowers and insects, and the great asset of the FZ 28/38 is that the close-up goes to infinity, which allows one to forget to take it off close-up!

4:48 pm - Saturday, August 15, 2009

#48 Bec

I’m so jealous! Have you tried the video yet - is the audio of ok standard. I guess you guys are in the UK - does anyone know when we’ll get them in Australia?

1:20 am - Sunday, August 16, 2009

#49 stef

Just got it and testing it.
Very good quality all around. rw2 (raw) files can be manipulated with the included Sylkipix software which is really good. The captor seems to have quite a good dynamic range allowing you to actually get all the details back from your overexposed areas.
video is great quality and you can use any mode as described in the review.
Very happy with it so far.
My only advice would be to really use the raw format as soon as you want to do a little bit of fine detail work with your stills, as most of the time I really dislike the way the internal processor denoises images.
But, don’t worry too much, it’s a great camera

12:56 pm - Sunday, August 16, 2009

#50 Kishen


I was wondering if someone could help me, I am really stuck on picking between in HX1 and the FZ38.

I am looking for a camera which will give me high quality pictures in low light as well as normal light. That is why i am tilting towards the HX1, but then ive been told, the picture quality is a lot better on the Lumix.

The tilt screen is also a big plus on the HX1 as is the CMOS sensor and panorama mode.

The major yhing for me is the night/low light mode, how does the FZ38 compare.

Which one would you go for? (not taking into considerstion price)

12:25 am - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

#51 Lazy Lens


Since low-light performance is paramount and price is no concern, the answer is simple:  get a dSLR.  No zoomer is going to match a dSLR’s low-light capabilities.  Some dSLR’s do HD video, and you can buy zoom lenses for them…

4:26 am - Thursday, August 20, 2009

#52 Bjorn, Sweden

I have the same interest in low light performance as Kishen, but price IS also important. I also know that a dSLR would be superior, but that is of no help. I would like to know if the FZ38 is better than other super zoomers and if anyone with experience can tell if it is reasonably useful in low light.

8:45 am - Thursday, August 20, 2009

#53 kishen

I meant that price was not an issue between the hx1 and fz38 (about £30 difference)

10:51 am - Thursday, August 20, 2009

#54 Lazy Lens

I’ve no personal experience with the Sony HX1. 

However, since the FZ38 uses the same lens as the FZ28 and I do own that model, I can tell you this Leica lens is relatively fast for a zoomer and the FZ28 is a good low-light performer.  The shutter can be slowed down to 60 seconds as well.
The FZ38 adds millions more pixels on the same size sensor as the FZ28, which generally tends to reduce light gathering ability per pixel, but they’ve lowered FZ38’s minimum ISO to 80 vs. FZ28’s minimum of 100, which could mean it’s low-light performance is on par with FZ28. <shrug>

It’s tempting to assume CMOS sensors are superior, but I’ve from some Canon SX1 owners who claim they obtain better images with their SX10’s.
As usual, I suppose YMMV, as the skills of the photographer also come into play at some point.

Maybe these will help:

Or, go search a site like flickr for night shots from the two cameras of interest.  There will doubtless be many pics available and they may help you decide.

Good luck.

4:39 pm - Thursday, August 20, 2009

#55 Agnieszka

But FZ38 has new image stabilistaion which is said to be more effective than the previous so FZ38 should perform better in low light than FZ28.

9:32 am - Friday, August 21, 2009

#56 Lazy Lens

Improved stabilization will be more helpful at longer focal lengths, but it’s meaningless when using a tripod, which should be used for all low light shots w/o a flash and in many cases w/flash.  Indeed, I disable stabilization when I use a tripod for added insurance against the camera deciding to move the optics.

8:46 pm - Friday, August 21, 2009

#57 Agnieszka

I’m an amateur and prefer to use a camera without tripod when taking photos on holidays.

10:50 pm - Friday, August 21, 2009

#58 EBL

I would also like to see the SX1 compared to the
FZ35/38.  Both have some interesting advantages.

11:44 pm - Friday, August 21, 2009

#59 camera_buff

The real cometitor to this camera is the newly announced canon SX20IS which has very similar specs but uses 4 AA batteries instead of rechargeable

12:54 pm - Sunday, August 23, 2009

#60 Agnieszka

But it weights 560g !!! without batteries which are very heavy for me (I use 2700 mAh rechargeable).

5:19 pm - Sunday, August 23, 2009

#61 Guest

Compare this with the Canon 1D and I think one would be quite surprised at the difference.

Pity Panasonic did not do hdtv full in this but would have meant loss of sales in their video mkt.

12:57 am - Monday, August 24, 2009

#62 Techmine

For those who are looking for better low light performance should buy an entry level DSLR coz P&S won’t give you the best low light performance. I have an entry level DSLR - D40 and Just bought SX10 IS from Canon and Canon being built on newer technologies still cannot beat the D40 in low light. I love both the cameras.

3:31 am - Monday, August 24, 2009

#63 TucsonMTB sent me an email earlier today announcing that they have product in stock. Yes, it is full retail price at $399, but will be probably be worth it.  I’ll know later this week after mine arrives.

1:42 am - Tuesday, August 25, 2009

#64 Sandeep

hi i am interested in buying a fz38 but really confused by these reviews. I compared this one with sony hx1 and cannon sx10 IS but this one sounds far better. but thing is that I am confused with the real time reviews reg fz38.
can any one suggest me which one is better in the above ones. I want both image and video quality. please tell me that if i go for a nikon d60 slr will there be a better video quality as i know that for image it is great.

4:38 pm - Friday, September 4, 2009

#65 Sandeep

SX 20 IS also goin to be realesed at this time so give a suggestion for finding a good cam with image and video quality(stereo sound).

7:18 pm - Friday, September 4, 2009

#66 labalbi

Today we have :
Canon Sx1
Canon SX20
Pana FZ35
Sony HX1
Casio FH20

All with at least HD video and good pic quality.
Theres a new Samsung too…

10:05 pm - Friday, September 4, 2009

#67 labalbi

Correction : Casio FH 20 doesnt record in stereo .

10:14 pm - Friday, September 4, 2009

#68 Sandeep

Canon SX20
Pana FZ35
Sony HX1
please suggest which one is better for picture and video.

4:33 pm - Saturday, September 5, 2009

#69 katarn

No official review of SX20 so far, so thats hard to say.
Video in SX1 is simply great , so we expect the same with SX20 . The FZ35 is reported to achieve great results in video too with good sound capture (the main drawback in Fz28).

Lets wait a little more to final judgment , ok ? But, if Canon SX20 keeps the same SX10 quality with the added SX10 I think we’ll have a winner here…

11:17 pm - Saturday, September 5, 2009

#70 AJ

Pana FZ35 is the Best in Video..

6:11 am - Monday, September 7, 2009

#71 Amit

Howdy guys, the SX20 review is out.
Personally, I’m going to opt for the Panasonic, given it’s better quality with stills.
What’s your verdict everyone?

7:48 am - Wednesday, September 9, 2009

#72 AJ

SX20 little bulky and Heavy compared to FZ35 and The Menus are not easily accessible compared to FZ35 bcz to take a good photo you need to be quick with the settings. and chk out one more review of FZ35

6:06 pm - Wednesday, September 9, 2009

#73 Sribash

They just posted a complete review of the Canon SX20 and it got blasted, scoring only a 3.5 out of 5 in Image Quality.  Plus, the SX20 uses 4 AA batteries, which is a real turn off for me.  That’s it… the final straw… can’t rely on Canon anymore.  I am seriously thinking of getting a Panasonic FZ35, if not an entry level DSLR.  Don’t know too much about Panasonic cameras, though a close friend of mine has the LX3 and swears its the best camera he has ever owned.  Any comments?

6:31 am - Thursday, September 10, 2009

#74 Luke

@ Sribash

After testing and shooting with the entire range of Canon’s (s1-is,s2-is ... sx1) I can say that I have tested some stuff.
One thing is for sure! I will not return to Canon for now and I don’t regret going to Panasonic at all.
I own a FZ28, and today hopefully the FZ38, and it is the best allround camera by far for me.

- weight
- batt pack
- size
- lens

The 4 things above are just not minor point, they are huge advantages over the Canons that I have tried.

12:47 pm - Thursday, September 10, 2009

#75 Harsha

wanted to learn photography… had canon and sony in mind… started my research… was fascinated by 24X’s and 26X’s .....but then… FZ28 emerged as King everywhere… took my heart away…ordered it on one website… was out of stock .. then tried another… no luck there as well… by that time had gotten my accessories and other stuffs, as I ordered them from Amazon… knew that FZ35/38 would be in market soon…  but all these delays here and there actually made me see the “launch date” and then ... finally went ahead and decided to spend some extra and get this one… u can’t imagine how happy am I with all these happenings… was a windfall… second all the reviews about this great camera… one advice to everyone whoever is venturing into this category of superzooms…look no further and don’t zoom too much… ...this 18X is enough and the best….

8:41 pm - Friday, September 11, 2009

#76 Harsha

forgot to mention… was not very much interested in the HD VDO ... but started smiling after watching a test .....superb…. proud of my choice…

Harsha-the tyro, the fledgeling

8:53 pm - Friday, September 11, 2009

#77 Thomas

My wife and son wanted to get me a dSLR for my birthday and I was excited when they told me their intentions.  Knowing their limited budget and the model they had in mind, a Nikon starter set, I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied until I forked out a lot more $$$ for a decent zoom lens. So, did a reality check and know that photography is just a personal hobby and I am not likely to turn pro in this lifetime, I settled on a megazoom and started trawling the web for good reviews.  Most agreed that the FZ35/38 is an outstanding choice.  Started calling the shops in my area and finally got me a good deal yesterday.  I am extremely happy with the results so far.  A really outstanding camera!

4:53 pm - Sunday, September 13, 2009

#78 Ivo

Thank you - this is the best review on FZ38. I’ve just ordered this camera and I have no patience to get it as soon as possible.

6:53 pm - Sunday, September 13, 2009

#79 Bjorn, Sweden

I too own a FZ38 since a few days and I am certainly impressed by many of its qualities. Unfortunately, there is a big dark cloud totally overshadowing my joy and that is low light performance. There is of course noise, but it is not what I call “normal noise” I am talking of. Dark and sometimes even midtone areas on ISO 400 shots are covered all over by big size, clearly visible yellowish stains, more or less ruining the pictures. I am not talking night scenes but low light, like unlit indoor scenes.

I have never seen anything like it before. I do not know much about CCD sensors, but is it possible that I have got a bad unit?
Has anyone of you observed anything like I describe?

7:27 pm - Sunday, September 13, 2009

#80 Eph

I have noticed that the FZ35 movies lose focus while panning and zoooming.  Some of the sample videos on you tube don’t show this problem.  Has anybody seen this problem or know how to avoid it?

7:36 pm - Sunday, September 13, 2009

#81 Sandeep

Thaks for the review…. I will go for a FZ35/38. But any one please tell me whether fz35 and FZ38 are same models or different.
If so what are the differences between 35 and 38?

9:21 pm - Sunday, September 13, 2009

#82 Sharon

With regard to the question as to whether the DMC-FZ35 and DMC-FZ38 are the same model, the answer is YES.  The FZ35 is the U.S. model number; the FZ38 is the European model number.

I purchased the Canon SX20 IS due to good results with other Canon digital cameras.  I found the image quality to be poor with the SX20 IS, so I took it back and exchanged it for a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35.  The DMC-FZ35 produces absolutely crisp, stunning, vibrant photos, and the video clips are also very good.  I am very happy with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35.

6:54 am - Monday, September 14, 2009

#83 Sandeep

Thanks for the reply.
I am very thankful for PB and all of u for ur valuable reviews.
I am going for FZ35.

10:02 am - Monday, September 14, 2009

#84 Sean

Thanks for all the valuable comments. I was considering the sx20is, but from all the reviews led me to the FZ35. It is cheaper and seems to have more positive feedback. I found it at for $333

9:17 pm - Monday, September 14, 2009

#85 Betmar England

Hello Bjorn, Sweden.
Have read you remarks etc., ref: FZ38, seems to be a few queries, that need explaining…I tried a FZ 28, and took approx 6 Photos Stills, and they were brilliant, very sharp,bright, & true colours.  I then heard about the FZ38 , took exactly the same 6 Photos, same subject matter,same lighting conditions, same F stop, and speed.  Could not believe it, when I viewed them, Images NOT sharp, DULL, with lots of GREEN CAST. Very dissapointed.  anyone with similar experieces, as Bjorn, and myself.(FZ38 now gone back)

11:23 pm - Monday, September 14, 2009

#86 Nicole

OK .... Driving me nuts at the moment!

Also tossing up between the SX20IS and FZ35…

Which is the best camera for the price? Anyone know this answer?


5:04 am - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#87 Harsha

@Nicole : i was in the same quagmire a month ago. So, I can very well empathize with you. In my case, I had actually set a strict budget constraint of $300. As I have said in my previous post, found FZ-28 to be the best in the lot…decided to buy it… but then in all the websites given to me by google shopping, price grabber and shopzilla… “out of stock” was the only response which I got… decided to raise the price bar a lil bit.. added 100 more… then started my research again from the scratch… what happened here was ... the competitors now became SP-590UZ, SX20IS, SX1 IS, HX1 and FZ-35….dpreview, dcview, trustedreviews and 100s of others, endorsed what is said here..pana performs “slightly” better if you see the overall picture… no doubt that others too are a great piece of equipment. still, be it a slight is better ..... i bought it giving 400 you can find it for 60 bucks less… my advice ...go for it… u won’t regret a single penny spent on this one…“look no further, don’t zoom too much….pana is ur answer” ;)

1:37 pm - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#88 Nicole

Hey Harsha….

I was leaning towards FX-35 in the end as I am yet to see a good review on the SX20IS which is the one I really wanted.
Thank you for response.


8:34 pm - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#89 Dick

I am leaning toward the FZ35 after missing the 28.  Canon 10 or 20 is my next choice.

If I go with the FZ35, what extras would be best- battery,memory, cables, filters, etc.?

8:50 pm - Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#90 Peter Biddlecombe

Extras: In decreasing order of importance, based on a week or two of ownership:
* Memory card(s) - for filming, Panasonic say you need SDHC Class 6.  SD cards can be used for pictures. Without it you’re restricted to something like 8 pictures unless you reduce the file size of the images.  I found a 16Gb SDHC Class 6 for about £25 and this can take over 2000 full-size JPG images, or about 800 RAW+JPEG combos.
* A good bag - I’ve just given up on film SLR, so I’m used to just putting a camera and a lens or two into an ordinary daypack rucksack and getting away with it.  Here you’ve got about 5 square inches of scratchable screen, so you need a bag into which the camera fits well.
* Spare battery - the FZ35/38 does not have the ability of some Panasonic cameras to recognise third-party batteries and refuse to use them.  Working out whether to buy third-party is your problem - needless to say, Panasonic recommend that you don’t.  If you’re sure of being able to recharge every day you can probably leave this for a while, but having a spare seems wise.
* Filters: A circular polarizer is the most useful, as you can’t fake this one with image-editing software or in-camera options.  If you believe in “protection” filters, a UV or skylight too.  Filter holders of the Cokin type seem not to be an option because the lens retracts into its housing at various times.  The Cokin filter adaptor ring then jams - unjamming it wasn’t something I’d want to repeat on a regular basis.  So for graduals or wacky artistic filters, you’ll have to use software versions.
* Support - tripod or similar.  Even the tiniest table top one can make the difference between getting a good shot and relying too much on image stabilisation.
* Cleaning stuff - blower brush and/or lens tissues, which seem fine as LCD tissues too.
* The necessary cable if you want to show movies on a TV using HDMI. (You get one TV cable with the camera, plus the USB one.)
* If you want more macro or telephoto facilities there are fairly pricey Panny converters which screw onto the lens with an adaptor.  Panny make a wide-angle converter too but it seems incompatible with this camera - not mentioned in the user docs or offered as a Conversion option in the menu.  So for wider angles than 27mm you have to try the panorama assist facility.

10:57 am - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#91 Betmar England

Hello everyone,  I was hoping for a couple of replies, etc., to my comment/queries, posted Monday 14th., (Bjorn Sweden) and myself, cannot be the only persons,  having had a faulty/dodgy? FZ 38, but not a single reply, plenty of (do I or don`t I buy this or any other. but thats about all) and only about the same two/three names involved. Anyway best wishes to all.

1:46 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#92 Peter Biddlecombe

There are always more readers than writers in places like this.  I haven’t said anything about these problems because they don’t match my fairly brief experience with the FZ38.  My guess is that anyone else who’d noticed them would be disappointed enough to say so, so my conclusion would be that of the unknown number of people who’ve come here, only the two of you have had this kind of problem.

I’ve certainly managed to take some bad pictures as I try things out, but so far I’ve thought the problems were my fault.

1:57 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#93 Betmar England

Thank you Peter, for your prompt reply, I acknowledge what you say, about more readers, etc.
also about taking bad pictures, but in this particular case, both cameras 28 & 38,  the 28, were brillant, and the 38, were as I previously mentioned in my first post, identical details, as I tested them. I only wish I had made a mistake, it was a great dissapointment to me, and as I realised I probably was`nt the only one,thought it would be interesting, to see how many other people had the same type of problem. Once again thenk you for your reply.

3:30 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#94 Carlcall

Well after several months of trawling through these pages of Super-Zoom bridging cameras and getting totally confused I have now decided to bite the bullet and get an FZ38 over all the other cameras I have read about.

Fingers crossed its as good as all of you that own one say it is!

I basically want to know what size thread is the lens so that I can order a UV lens to protect it.

4:36 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#95 Betmar England

The Answer to your question, “CARICALL”  re size of Filter thread, is:46.  Hope this helps.
All the best.

6:03 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#96 Peter Biddlecombe

The filter thread is 46mm.

Suggestion (ideally just before you buy): look at the detailed Operating Instructions in PDF format, at
(you may as well get used to the PDF now as you don’t get this information in print!)

I had much the same superzoom review headache too.  I went for the Panasonic as it was relatively cheap, had good reviews, and I’d seen one in the hands of a retired TV cameraman on holiday and thought he’d know which one to buy.

The main possible reasons for getting one of the others instead seem to be: you really want 24/26x instead of 18x, you want a movable LCD screen, you want a flash hotshoe.

6:04 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#97 Peter Biddlecombe

When looking for that PDF, you need to search for DMCFZ38 not just FZ38.

6:06 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#98 EBL

On the US web page there are in fact two manuals:

The DMCFZ35-ADV.PDF - Advanced Features
The DMCFZ35.PDF - Basic Operating Instructions

If these are only available as PDF’s and not hard copy, we will all want a mini-notebook laptop to carry with us to read the manuals….

Betmar, I was also disappointed to hear about your experience “...Images NOT sharp, DULL, with lots of GREEN CAST. Very dissapointed.” in comparison with the FZ28.  If others are having similar experience it would be very nice to hear from them as well.

I am also looking into the Canon SX1 IS….

9:42 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#99 Luke

Hi Betmar and Bjorn,

I had a FZ28 and now the FZ38. I don’t see anything that is strange on my end

9:51 pm - Thursday, September 17, 2009

#100 Peter Biddlecombe

On the two manuals: “Basic Operating Instructions” comes printed with the camera (for the FZ38 at least).  It tells you how to charge the battery, insert your memory card, set the date and a few other start-up bits.

It’s the advanced stuff that’s only on PDF - “Operating instructions for advanced features”.
It’s a subject close to my heart as I’ve written user guides myself, and studied user interface design.  There should be a more complete printed guide, but there should also be more help in the camera’s own user interface.  When the UI is done well, the manual is short because you can effectively say “follow the instructions on the screen”.  It’s when you have to explain things that the UI doesn’t explain that you start building up dozens of pages.  Both guides and UI could be better, but about 90% of Panasonic’s effort on the two should be on the UI.

9:27 am - Friday, September 18, 2009

Entry Tags

hd video, review, 720p, movie, 12 megapixel, super-zoom, 2.7 inch LCD, Panasonic, Lumix, 18x, dmc fz38, fz38, DMC-FZ38

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