By today's standards, this is no marvel because it "only" has 8 megapixels and only zoom out from the not-so-wide 35mm (equivalent) while it goes…
1. Exposure bracketing (hear that, Nikon?)!
2. Front and rear dials!
3. Sharp images throughout its zoom range and you don't have to stop down!
4. Its contrast detect kicks DSLRs' ass.
5. Articulate LCD! This one's been having it over the years before DSLRs even dreamt it.
6. Internal zoom and focus mechanism - lens does not extend out!
Some glaring downside of this camera:
1. Noise, noise, noise and unusable maximum ISO 400.
2. Autofocus definitely can't beat phase detection ones but still fast compared to compacts.
3. Dated EVF and LCD.
The FZ50 was less successful but I can't understand why Panasonic wouldn't want to come out with an updated version of this camera. It's awesome!