After a month of use with my Panasonic DMC-ZS20, I've taken several thousand pictures, and I'm amazed at the number of "keepers" I've gotten.
Some usage notes. The ZS20 doesn't have the same sort of settings as the FZ series -- things like noise reduction, contrast, sharpness, and saturation. It has something called i.Resolution. This is supposed to boost the sharpness in the detailed areas while reducing noise in the softer areas. I've tried it, and it does seem to give the sharpness a little boost, so I've left it on.
It should be noted that there are small cameras like Panasonic's LX series and Sony's RX series, that are meant for more "serious" photographers. After all, they shoot raw, and have larger sensors for higher quality images, and they have a price tag to match, costing a great deal more than the ZS series. On the other hand, most of these fancier pocket sized cameras have zoom lenses with a limited range, while the ZS20 has a 20X zoom. And believe me, if your camera has a lens that goes from 24mm to 480mm equivalent, you're going to use it. Score one for the ZS20.
In the end, I find that the ZS series has a lot more of what I need than the fancier (and more expensive) models. And, yes, they require a real lens cap as compared to the ZS20's "eyelid" that automatically protects the lens. I feel that the ZS20 makes a better go-anywhere, shoot-anything camera than its more expensive kin.
The pictures here should give you some idea of the ZS20's capabilities. Most of the pictures were taken within walking distance of where I live.
Some technical notes: All shots were taken with my Panasonic DMC-ZS20. They're all JPEGs. Post processing was done with LightZone 3.