i Had an FZ30 (all but identicle to the FZ50 but for 2mp) until recently - they are an excellent allround camera. Its lightweight has a great lens and takes a very good picture in good light conditions. I'd buy another simply for convenience, ease of use and gauranteed good result nearly every shot.
However in replacement and wanting to taking photography a bit more seriously I got a Canon EOS400D with a 28-200 Ultrasonic lens. The results in comparason blow the Z30 out of the water and the focus speed is incredible. I ony have one lens, as above and since selling the FZ30, to be honest I really haven't noticed any loss of zoom - In general the noise levels on the 400D are so much lower at greater focal length than the FZ's that anything small is so much clearer making for a sharper picture.
If you want a pocket camera, I'd go for that Panasonic Lumix they've been advertising on tv lately, the TZ3? if you want something that is a brilliant at nearly everything go for an FZ50 and if you want out and out quality then go a for an EOS SLR with a decent canon USM or stabilized lens!
May the force be with you. But mostly with me.