Superzoom Handling and Size

Started Oct 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
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John Miles
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Superzoom Handling and Size
Oct 26, 2012

I have seen across many threads over the last few months some thoughts to gather together here.

The subject of small sensor image quality is always forefront in the discussion between superzoom and DSLR plus lenses. Cost is perhaps the next factor discussed. But it is to the next important consideration that I discuss here: - size.

Whilst we have often witnessed here a preference by those of small hand for the compact superzoom camera, there is a great deal of advantage to be had by reducing camera bulk. For a start the lighter camera gets carried longer and further. It packs away more efficiently and handles well in one hand.

There are other physical considerations also. Moving objects create momentum, and a will to travel in a straight line. So turning around with a heavy camera, or turning back and forth with one, is a much more energy draining experience. In terms of supporting the heavier camera, initial benefits of mass, in holding a camera steady, are quickly overwhelmed by user fatigue and the onset of the shakes.

There remains in this world the inaccurate inversion of the concerns over camera use in public. Officials and people in public are still more concerned about a brandished DSLR taking their photo than a camera phone. Yet throughout history spies and the generally sneaky have always tended toward the miniature. So in these crazy times the smaller the camera the less attention it seems to attract. Camera colour comes into play here also, with black appearing more sinister than other colours.

As the saying nearly goes enough space is one in which one may swing a cat. Well candid work, to the inclusion of street photography, favours the smaller camera. Constant moving around, especially on a busy street, creates opportunities for the larger camera to be greeted with less than a favourable response from passers by. The more expensive gear becomes the easiest to knock and damage. It also, importantly, carries the greater potential to injure others.

With larger cameras everything else has to be bigger as well. There's the camera bag, the tripod and the shoulder strap. With camera size there is an overall expansion in general bulk around the place. Hanging the camera with your coat becomes putting the camera bag down on the floor over there. At home there is suddenly the Lens Drawer. And before long the equipment is being cleaned more than used.

For the entire history of the camera the bigger ones have taken the better photographs. But there is a modern age to consider here; one in which the bigger cameras don't get the chance to take the better photographs. Either the bulkier equipment is still at home, or it isn't nippy enough to get to shot in time. The Spanish Armada was famously routed by the much smaller and agile ships of the British Navy. Look at one ship beside the other and the Spanish capital ship is a most impressive vessel indeed. Big truly is beautiful. But in function, and in getting the job done, agility won the day.

Modern digital photography has changed the way we all take advantage of the camera. How many of us have snapped a price tag to save writing the details down? OK so right there the use of cameras has changed forever. But far more importantly for the world or photography, it is now more accessible than ever to the young. A child of four can, and has in this house, taken stunning photographs off the back of a young mind and a child like freedom to explore the unconventional. Smaller cameras help in this, and the eventual careers in photography, that blossom from this early start, retain much of theĀ inspirationĀ from those informative years.

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The FZ50: DSLR handling of a bright Leica 35-420mm lens that's this good: http://www.flickr.com/groups/panasonicfz50/pool/show (some real gems in there). With the FZ200 performance so good, I live in hope that Mr Ichiro Kitao has triggered the update to the FZ50. Our desire for IQ was taking us in the wrong direction. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1033&message=42366095

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