byDarren Murph||September 9th 2006 at 2:26pmSeptember 9th 2006 2:26 pm
While the DMC-FZ50 was never intended to be a complete overhaul of the well-regarded DMC-FZ30 it replaces, it seemed that Panasonic was trying to address the gripes on the prior model, as well as toss in a few unexpected niceties to boot. Apparently the upgrade was a success, as the folks at DPReview found a lot to love about the evolutionary camera, especially for the price. Sporting the obligatory 12x zoom, 10.1 megapixels (up from 8), a TTL flash hot shoe, SDHC support, 16:9 movie / still mode, Venus III Engine (upgraded from the Venus II), and an Intelligent ISO that adjusts up to 1600 on the fly, this hybrid megazoom packs an impressive spec list. Reviewers were quick to praise the high-end feature set, and felt that it outpaced the competition in terms of amenities, but did point out that image quality suffered due to the small sensor used to compensate for all those megapixels. The biggest digs came from the added noise and bleeding colors found at any ISO above 100 (like many Panasonics), but these qualms were quickly solved by downsizing the images for normal viewing / storage. Overall, DPReview slapped a "Highly Recommended" tag on the FZ50, and apparently weren't too dissatisfied with the image hiccups, as they pronounced it "the best equipped, best specified, and best handling bridge camera on the market today." With a claim like that backing it up, dropping $650 on this shooter doesn't seem all that painful.