Myself, I would not lump superzooms together with compact cameras. I tend to think of superzooms as "bridge" cameras between compacts and DSLRs. I see the choices before the prospective camera buyer not as a dichotomy (non-DSLR vs. DSLR) but as a spectrum of options (compact, bridge, DSLR). I feel very enthusiastic about the superzoom/bridge category in general (and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
I believe bridge cameras offer a "best of both worlds approach" which deserves serious consideration by anyone in the market for a new camera. Bridge cameras offer lower cost, smaller size, lighter weight, and greater convenience and ease of use than DSLRs, while at the same time providing better optics and a larger focal range than compacts, along with DSLR-like features such as full manual control and RAW files, which most compacts do not have. (High-end compacts like the Panasonic LX3 and Canon G9/G10 are exceptions, but these are in the price range of an entry-level DSLR.)
I used to think that I would start with a superzoom like the FZ28 and eventually "grow into" a DSLR. With the advent of Micro Four Thirds (e.g., the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
), I now seriously doubt I will ever get a DSLR. I am philosophically opposed to putting "new wine into old wine skins." I think the optomechanical system at the core of the SLR was a clever idea in its time, but that time has passed. I believe Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lens (EVIL) cameras, hopefully based on the M4/3 standard, will ultimately replace DSLRs. If the M4/3 standard catches on, I believe that's what I'll get if I ever outgrow a superzoom/bridge camera -- I just don't see a DSLR as a desirable part of my future any more!
Fred "Superzoom/Bridge Camera Evangelist" Chapman
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA