I have finally found some reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18. Here, and here. I am sold. I am ordering it as soon as I can from the US, together with a DMC-TZ3 for my lady. I still can't understand why prices in the EU are so outrageous, with the TZ3 costing 400 Euros and well below 300 US$ on the other side of the pond. Even counting in taxes, it still makes no sense.
Stay tuned for my next pictures, probably starting with my trip to Rwanda at year's end.