The improvements to Panasonic's DMC-FZ8 over its FZ7 predecessor are minor but welcome. The extra megapixel (up to 7.38 now) is of course the most noticeable change, and not a perfectly popular one, given the fact that it's just more pixels on the the same sized 1/2.5-inch sensor, but perhaps even more controversial is the Venus III image processor, which has gotten a bit of a mixed reception. The well-loved FZ7's main failing was its terrible noise reduction and the damage it did to images. Venus III doesn't seem to change that at all, but luckily the camera now outputs RAW image data, giving you more control over the image in the long run. Other notable improvements are an excellent electronic viewfinder and a higher resolution LCD screen. RAW mode naturally slows down the camera a bit -- 3 seconds shot-to-shot instead of 1.3 for JPEG -- but otherwise the shooter is amazingly responsive for its $50 cheaper pricepoint and convenient size. Most of the major wins of the FZ7 like build quality, the great lens and image stabilization have remained unchanged, and it's a bummer that Panasonic wasn't able to do much about its noise and noise reduction problems, but overall it sounds like the FZ8 is a worthy successor to the FZ7, and should do many a photography enthusiast / prosumer quite well, 'cause as far as DP Review sees it, "no one else is doing it any better."

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Panasonic's DMC-FZ8 with 12x zoom reviewed