If the waterproof/shockproof factor isn't something you need, the DMC-ZS5 or DMC-ZS7 is much better.
And if you wanna get into serious photography but don't have the money to dish out for a DSLR, definitely get a Cannon Powershot (the most expensive within your budget). It has a Manual mode which allows you to adjust aperture and shutter-speed priority (the Lumix is fully automatic, which really pisses me off).
also exists, which unlocks tons of super cool features. For example, it allows you to shoot in RAW which, believe me, will reduce the risk of you having a stroke* (the Lumix only shoots in JPEG, which compresses the shit out of any photo, and results in me wishing the camera was alive so I can murder it). Also, it allows for motion-triggered shooting. Pretty neat I'd say.
*These statements have not been approved by the FDA