Bridge/superzoom cameras

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dhbebb, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. My wife has just dropped a hint that she would like to upgrade from her present Kodak Easyshare camera. She does not want a full DSLR, so a bridge camera would seem in order. Looking for example at a Coolpix L810, I find it features a 26x optical zoom NIKKOR lens (22.5 mm wide-angle to 585 mm 35mm equivalent). My reaction - a lens with this extreme zoom range must be a joke, with a maximum aperture of f32 or so at the tele end and awful performance). Is there someone with experience of bridge cameras who can tell me about potential performance? (My wife prints mostly 5x7 inches but does like to blow favorite shots up to 11x14 or so).
  2. I use a Canon Powershot SX40 HS. I was glad to have it with me on a recent trip when my DSLR broke down. The results are good, certainly no joke. The limitations will be clear, all due to the smaller sensor and the lack of RAW but when the exposure is good the results are good too. Only at longer lengths (500 mm and up) the result tends to be a bit soft. I don't know yet whether this is due to the camera/lens or to my technique. In the end I'm still a (D)SLR guy but the superzooms are impressive, given their size and price.
    You can also consider a more compact camera, like the Nikon P7700, Canon G15 or G1X, Sony RX 100 or similar offerings. These cameras are more aimed at serious hobbyists.
  3. Personally, for a bridge camera, I would start by looking at Panasonic and Canon mainly, rather than Nikon. For DSLRs I am a happy Nikon user, but their compacts just leave something to be desired and never really top of the heap. Fuji has nice bridge cameras too, though from all I've seen the Canon and Panasonic are more consistent in getting it right.
    Otherwise, I fully echo what Jos already wrote. Especially outdoors in good light, these cameras can yields really good results, even if they seem to defy all physics lessons in doing so.
  4. I've not done any searching on reviews yet, but you might take a look at the new Panasonic FZ200.
    It's got a constant f/2.8 aperture over it's entire 24x zoom range (25mm to 600mm equiv)
  5. Sony makes good super zoom (large compact) cameras.
  6. My problem with so called bridge cameras is that by the time you get to something that has any decent quality you're spending as much as a low-end DSLR $400 to $500 and up.
    For my money, I would buy her a low-end DSLR (Nikon if that's the brand you use) and set it on Program mode. Once you do that, it is basically just a fancy point and shoot and not necessarily much bigger or heavier than a bridge camera, so what is there for her to object to? But you have the option of setting it on manual and making serious use of it, or having it as a backup.
  7. Panasonic makes a fine camera in their bridge cameras. I shot with a DMC-Z50 for 3 or 4 years before I bought a Nikon D-5000, now I am using the D-7000. I could find nothing wrong with the Panasonic, but I paid about 700.00 by the time I bought what I thought I needed. My Son is using it now and he also likes it. It had 2 auto modes and screen modes , but I liked the P A S M modes on it. You could buy a D5100 or a D3100 kit for that and she could shoot in many different modes to learn the camera.
  8. Nikon now appear to have dropped the NEF file option from all their bridge style cameras, which IMHO is a big backward step in quality. I recently bought a 26x zoom Coolpix P100 and now regret it. The lens isn't too bad to be honest, but the awful JPEG quality and overprocessing of sensor noise makes lens quality pretty much a moot point. Another gripe is that "macro" is only available towards the wide end of the zoom, which kind of defeats the object of having a close-focus facility.
    I also have a little Kodak Easyshare Z8612 and far prefer it. Although it has less pixels than the P100, the amazing Schneider 12x zoom is more than good enough to cover most situations. I prefer the colour rendering and simple PASM controls of the Kodak as well, although its ISO range is limited and it has slightly less dynamic range than the Coolpix. No EVF though, and that makes it difficult to use in bright light. I guess if someone did make a "perfect" bridge camera we'd all be using one.
  9. +1 for Panasonic "bridge" cameras. I shot for years with an 8MP FZ30 and printed some nice (I thought) 8x10's. What drove me to buy a d5100 was the Panny's slow autofocus speed and excessive noise at any ISO above 100. I'm sure noise is better handled by the FZ200 but wonder about the focus speed.
    What does your wife like to shoot? If she doesn't need the superzoom's range of focal lengths she might be pleasantly surprised by the d3100 or d5100, and you could share lenses.
  10. Well the review isn't SO bad:
    I wouldn't touch this with a barge pole but that's just moi...

    What's telling is you haven't told us what she likes to shoot, nor have you provided us with a breakdown of her EXIF data - - the missus only shoots at 37mm - THAT's it! But we want a 24-5000mm bridgecam... (what Jim said, cept he was sobre...)
    Actually if you look at the high res version of the not too shabby blonde photographed in the review you will see its mush. Really sad. But if you can live with that...
  11. Actually if you look at the high res version of the not too shabby blonde photographed in the review you will see its mush.​
    ? Didn't look like mush to me, I bet it would make a nice 8 x 10.
    Plus, you can get "mush" out of any camera if you use it wrong...
  12. Thanks to all for their views. Having thought about things a little more, I have concluded that a bridge camera is maybe not the answer - it seems that, compared with a compact, bridge cameras have bigger sensors, maybe IS and a longer zoom range.
    My wife, on the other hand, insists on a camera which just needs to be switched on and runs on full auto (partly because she does not like wearing eyeglasses, which she would need to make settings on a camera). She takes pictures mainly with a slightly wide/standard focal length, and her present camera (6 Mp sensor) seems to give good results in medium to bright lighting conditions.
    I think the main area in which she is dissatisfied with this camera is for shooting movies in poor light, in which the camera presumably ramps up the ISO and shoots with its zoom at or near full aperture. It would seem that the easiest way to solve this problem would be to buy her a reasonably light Canon DSLR (this is the only digital system I have, although I have a lot of manual focus Nikon film SLRs). She could then borrow a 35mm f2 lens I don't use much, which would be great as a standard lens for movies with an APS sensor.
  13. [[My problem with so called bridge cameras is that by the time you get to something that has any decent quality you're spending as much as a low-end DSLR $400 to $500 and up.]]
    This is only true if you ignore the costs it would take to achieve the same field of view.
    In the case of a bridge camera that goes to 600mm you would need to spend over $13,000 and that's at f/4.
    A bridge camera is not in competition with a DSLR, it's a supplemental camera.
    Take a look at the reviews of the new Sony RX100. While a bit expensive, it's got a very large sensor for a small point and shoot. It's small enough that it will be something your wife would probably want to carry everywhere.
  14. I wanted the ability to shoot airshows with a lens capable of about 600mm. Any more would have been overkill. The lens specs of the FZ200 looked promising and, since I already thought highly of the IQ of my Panasonic LX5, I decided I would go with it.
    I have to say the FZ200 is a mixed bag for me. Using the Initlelligent Automatic mode tends to introduce odd sharpening and and compression artifacts - much more annoying than the LX5. I did, however, find that if I shot RAW with the FZ200, turned down the noise reduction and turned off the Intelligent zoom, the camera output was more predictable without the artifacts - even allowing me to crop.
    It took me awhile to figure out Silkypix to convert the RAW images but the batch capabilty makes it manageable.
    All in all a good shoice for me.
  15. Oops, typo, meant to suggest turning off Intelligent Resolution.

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