settings on your panasonic
Personally use an Olympus sp500uz 6.1MP 10X opt zoom. Used it in the bright lights of Mauritius and have excellent quality A3 photo of an emus head taken from 50 mtrs, it all depends on whether you use the cameras automatic settings or use manual settings as with a dslr. website I belong to are shocked by quality of shots I get, but again its how you set up your equipment.
Agree DSLR is the best but the super zooms if used properly can be just as effective. Personally don't have the budget for dslr at present and am upgrading my Olympus.
If had the budget would definitely take the step to DSLR.