If you always wanted an SLR but were daunted at the prospect, the Lumix FZ-35 may be your cup of tea.
Reassuringly for those who want point-and-shoot simplicity, it shares many of the same controls as the previous model FZ-28, as well as most menu functions in common with other Lumix compacts.
The sensor has been increased from the 10mp of the FZ-28 to 12.1mp, and the FZ-35 features the latest processor engine.
This helps improve startup time as well as providing faster shutter speed - around 2.3fps in continuous shooting mode at full resolution. There's a high-speed mode that shoots 3mp or less at 10fps, too.
There's a number of advanced controls for those who like to tinker, such as 18x zoom and RAW capture.
It shoots AVCHD lite video in 720p, recording up to 15mins at 30fps, and allows for a range of functions in video mode including aperture and shutter speed settings.
Intelligent auto adds advanced face recognition - letting you ‘register' up to six faces of friends and family. Improved Image stabilization proved especially helpful for shooting at night.
Images were natural with lots of detail, though highlights in sunny conditions were often blown out. Close-ups and zooms were pleasingly sharp, and all up this is a great camera.