Which BRIDGE camera should I buy?

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by dougr, Nov 7, 2012.

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  1. dougr

    dougr Member

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    Hello, I am a Newbie to this Forum and I am looking for a Bridge camera and do not want to spend more than around $300. Refurbs seem to be a good value from the manufacturer from the websites? Mostly, it will be used for wild life-birds- and occasionally the family including grandkids. Mostly my subject matter will be for the birds, around 20 - 400 feet. We live on a salt water river in the Hilton Head, SC area. The flash will not be needed except for holiday pictures of family as they live a long way off and are in the military. After reading way too many customer reviews, my confusion brings me here to ask for your advice and experiences. I am older and do not want to go through a severe learning curve although many years ago my experience with SLR PENTAX was good for an amature. So, my skills are a small step up from a point and shoot and love the telephotos if they are reasonably bright and detailed within reason-not blurred.

    Below are the cameras under consideration and the Nikon L810 digital is at the top of my list to buy. The Factory refurbs are way under $200 and I can get an extended warranty for $20. Does any one have experience with the choices below or thoughts about a recommendation? It would be most appreciated. Doug

    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ48 12.1 MP digital camera
    Nikon Coolpix L810 Digital Camera Kit16.1 MP
    Fujifilm FinePix S4000 / S408014.0 MP Digital Camera
    Fuji FinePix S3200HD 14.0 MP Digital Camera with 24xOptical Zoom
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS19 Digital Camera/or, ZS20-(GPS is not needed)
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The Panasonic FZ48 is the best of the lot as it has the best low light image quality, has the speediest performance and the most manual controls. The Panasonic ZS19 is a good camera but it's a different class than the others - a pocket-sized compact - whereas the others are SLR-like ultrazooms.
     
  3. dougr

    dougr Member

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    Andy, thanks and I just returned from Best Buy where they had several of these models. They use a wire connection with power which is cumbersome and does not work well with some models like the Canon and Nikons. The picture playback after taking the pictures was better on the Z19 than the Nikon L810 which was a serious looking camera. The Z19 looks like a point and shoot but has a lot of options and seemed to be easier for me to use and focus on zoom. BB did not have any of the others to try but had several of the new Canons with 50x and 30x zoom.
     
  4. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Best Buy is a good place to look at cameras but you can usually get a better price online. Looking at Amazon.com, the best long zoom cameras for $300 and under are the Fuji HS25EXR (30x), Panasonic ZS20 and ZS19 (20x), Panasonic FZ47 (24x), Panasonic ZS15 (16x) Sony HX10v (16x), Canon SX260HS (20x) and Nikon L810 (26x),

    The HS25EXR, FZ47 and L810 are SLR-like cameras. The others are pocket-sized cameras.

    Among the larger cameras, the Fuji HS25EXR is the largest and heaviest. It and the smaller Panasonic FZ47 are both very good. The Nikon L810 has great outdoor image quality but only fair indoor image quality.

    The pocket-sized Canon SX260 HS, Panasonic ZS19, ZS20 and ZS15 and Sony HX10v are all high quality cameras and selecting one would be difficult.
     
  5. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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  6. dougr

    dougr Member

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    Thanks Andy, I just found the Pana ZX19 for $169 shipped...refurbished with 90 day warranty-extended warranty available. The Canon SX 260 is $247 new plus shipping. Any thoughts about a factory refurb at half of the new price? Doug
     
  7. dougr

    dougr Member

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumix_global/sets/72157628229405427/with/6439145519/ This photo of an ibis is taken with a DMC FZ150 which may be a little too much camera for my needs. I just had to point this out and cannot believe the clarity, color richness, and zoom quality. Look at his feet underwater, his eye, and other definition of feathers and beak. Thanks again Andy as it took hours for me to come back out of this maze. Are you a professional photographer?
     
  8. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I reviewed the FZ150 for this website and I agree, it's an awesome camera. Here's a link to my review. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Review It's quite expensive, though, and it does have features that you may never use, like a flash hotshoe and RAW shooting ability.

    The ZS19 for $169 and SX260 for $247 are very good deals. Between the two the ZS19 is the faster camera but the SX260 has better low light image quality.
     
  9. dougr

    dougr Member

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    Andy, do you know anything about the Sony NEX-F3K/B 16.1 MP Compact System Camera with 18-55mm Lens? There is a nice deal on them right now, $400, and it looks like the same basic camera as the NEX -5.
     
  10. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The NEX F3 is a new NEX camera which replaces the NEX C3. It's an improvement because it features a flip-up LCD plus a built-in flash. It has the same excellent image quality of the other NEX cameras. The standard price is $600 so I'd be concerned that the $400 price you've found is legit. There are a lot of electronics websites that are shady.
     
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