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Bridge Cameras

24 Jul 2013 7:38AM
Hello Smile I am buying a Bridge camera for my GCSE Photography course and is wondering about suggestions of good cameras, I'm looking for maybe a 30x zoom with standard modes like Auto, M, A, P, C etc and very good image quality so when blowing pictures up to big sizes the quality of image isn't effected and is still clear. My price range is between 200-350. Thank you Smile

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sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2013 8:10AM
Hi Amy,

Bridge cameras are very versatile, and there are many on here who would vouch for them. However, they can be somewhat limited - they are after all a compromise - a one stop shop.

For the budget you indicate you could consider a really good second hand DSLR and kit lens, or a 4/3 system - like the Olympus PEN. These are likely to give you more creative options.

For what its worth - I have always liked the Fuji bridge camera systems - especially those with the manual zoom and focus rings for the lens (this is much quicker than a motored zoom and saves a lot of battery power).

Good hunting,

Ted447 Plus
5 213 1 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2013 8:32AM
Hi Amy, I have the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 which has 25-600mm zoom and is F2.8 right through the range I think it is the only bridge camera that has this,the lens is Leica and you can switch to macro and manual focus via a switch on the left hand side. Good luck Ted.
maudev 4 1
24 Jul 2013 11:26AM
A bridge camera is essentially a compact camera in a bigger body, with a high magnification zoom lens. The sensor is the same size as a typical compact camera's sensor, so the image quality will be broadly similar. (The size of a camera's sensor, and the density of the pixels on it, is the biggest factor determining a camera's image quality). However, it's that small sensor that makes possible the bridge camera's secret weapon...

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50, whch also has its zoom collar around the lens rather than on the body, offering a more DSLR-like experience than some other models.

The Panasonic FZ200, which is the first and the only bridge camera with a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, which is over two stops brighter than many competitors. See this site for a great price on the FZ200

The Nikon Coolpix P520 is one of the smaller bridge cameras of the group. Have a look here

Pentax was last to join the bridge sector and its 16MP X-5 undercuts its rivals quite significantly. Although it offers a much more stripped down feature set by comparison it still has everything you need

Hope you find what you need

weseeyou 7 112
24 Jul 2013 12:57PM

Quote:Hello Smile I'm looking for very good image quality so when blowing pictures up to big sizes the quality of image isn't effected and is still clear. My price range is between 200-350. Thank you Smile

I'm afraid that you are basically asking for a miracle at that budget level to be brutally honest.

If you could buy a bridge camera with all the features you ask for that would give you a good quality image at big? sizes from a small sensor for 300 then it would put every other camera manufacturer out of business over nightWink

The reason toggers spend upwards of 2000 for a single lens is to try an achieve exactly what you are hoping for at 300.Smile

We have no idea what type of photography course you are following but its likely that you are going to be required to explore every aspect of photography from wide angle to portrait to long focal lengths to macro and super macro. You are never going to achieve that with a DSLR camera and multiple lens for your budget so I would suggest that you should concentrate on the bridge cameras.

The latest technology can be found in the recently introduced Fuji HS50 EXR camera which is just within your budget at 299 Amazon.Its a top of the range bridge camera simulating DSLR in operation and will do everything you are ever likely to need on your course . Its arguably the best out there at the moment at that price level l

It has manual zoom , manual focus , 0.5 second startup time 0.5second picture to picture time (which is faster than you can press and release the shutter button)!and a near instantaneous auto focus with phase detect. It has a 11 frames per second continuous shooting rate at 8Mp and more features that you are ever likely to use.

That would be my recommendation but It has to be said I am strongly biased towards Fuji Grin

There are many other bridge cameras on the market some at a lot less money but I would start with the best quality that you can afford otherwise there is a risk that once you get into your course you are going to be dissappointed to find your camera is not up to the course requirements .

Here is a link to my Flickr photostream to give you an idea of the sort of image quality you can expect from the HS50 . None of the images have any post post processing done except some cropping so bear that in mind if you view at larger sizes.
good luck on your course
ikett 7 545 England
24 Jul 2013 7:21PM
Hi, you could take a look at the Canon SX50, a good review here .

Bear in mind the reviewer is internationally renowned and is more usually seen using cameras costing many thousands of pounds.

Seems every now and then something good escapesSmile
mshulver1 7 20 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2013 10:54PM
I've got the canon sx50, it's a good camera for what it is, maybe look at an entry level dslr, can be a bit more versatile canon 1110d, Panasonic are releasing a new bridge camera soon looks good, don't know the price yet though
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
24 Jul 2013 10:59PM
weseeyou 7 112
24 Jul 2013 11:03PM

Quote:A little over budget but it should cover your needs.


now thats.... quality ! Wonder if Fuji will upgrade the X-S1?
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
24 Jul 2013 11:30PM
No, its a one of a kind with the larger 2/3 sensor, I can`t see them up grading this one.

If you don`t need a camera with quite as long reach, there are still a few Fuji x10`s about.

I good alternative would be one of the twin lens compact system camera`s sets that can still be found for less than 300

dcash29 12 2.3k England
25 Jul 2013 12:29AM
Don't worry about image quality as I'm guessing you mean around A3 size as big prints.

Forget the crappy electronic zooms unless you're wishing to make videos that zoom backwards and forwards throughout.

Plain and simple - Buy a Fuji HS50. It will do everything you wish and more.

25 Jul 2013 1:42AM
I can only join the choir and simply summarise what has already been said bay a few other guys:
-If you need a camera that closely resembles DSLR by ergonomics - Fujifilm HS50 or X-S1 are the best choice. The difference between them is a little bigger sensor for X-S1 ( means better quality image) and longer zoom reach together with quicker focusing for HS50. Both cameras also produce RAW images, but you may have trouble handling them in Adobe programs.
-If you are after trouble free camera with exceptional optics ( but somewhat limited zoom) - Panasonic Lumix FZ200 is just the thing for you. Capable of taking RAW, with trouble-free processing in most image editors.
- Canon CX50 and Samsung Coolpix P520 are great consumer cameras and capable of very sharp images, but if your course includes image processing techniques you better leave them off. They shoot only in JPG, and manual mode shooting is a bit of pain with them as well.
Image quality wise all bridge cameras are generally equal, with tiny bit better here or there for particular models. On the internet you will easily find full resolution sample images from all of them - so go from them and judge if this quality level satisfies you. The progress in image quality for compact sensor cameras was amazing in last few years.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
25 Jul 2013 2:53AM

Quote:but you may have trouble handling them in Adobe programs

Some people do have problems and these are largely due to using the adobe default profile.
25 Jul 2013 10:41PM
Thank you all for the comments! I am looking at either a Fujifilm Finepix S8200 or a fuji hs50. Also im going to try some out tomorrow so hopefully that'll help Smile
weseeyou 7 112
25 Jul 2013 11:08PM

Quote:Thank you all for the comments! I am looking at either a Fujifilm Finepix S8200 or a fuji hs50. Also im going to try some out tomorrow so hopefully that'll help Smile

looks like the S8200 would be a fine choice and well within your budget too, There is a review on dpreview and probably more on the tube.
It does have a motorized zoom which would be slow for bird ,wildlife and action shots perhaps but your course work is probably going to cover lots more than action shots so it shouldn't be a hinderance.

if you are looking at the S8200 you might also consider the Fuji SL1000 which is pretty similar with a 50x zoom .

Fuji Finepix S8200 review

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