Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200

Started Sep 19, 2012 | Discussions
Thom_vee
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Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
Sep 19, 2012

I'm looking to buy a bridge camera for work to use mainly for wildlife photography. The budget is around $200 and the conditions are that it should be compact, have good zoom (about 20x).
A quick look turned out the following models:
Nikon L810
Fujifilm s4000
Olympus SP 810UZ
Panasonic DMC-FZ47

Please could you folks recommend the best buy?

Nikon Coolpix L810
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davids8560
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 19, 2012

The FZ47 is the only one IIRC that provides manual controls as well as scene modes. I tend to lean more towards cameras that give me control over exposure. Good luck!

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PHOTOJOE55
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to davids8560, Sep 19, 2012

Thom_vee,

$200.00 is not enough to get the camera you describe. You have to go at least $350.00

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Thom_vee
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to PHOTOJOE55, Sep 19, 2012

PHOTOJOE55 wrote:

Thom_vee,
is not enough to get the camera you describe. You have to go at least

Thats not true. All the below cameras are around that mark, except for the Lumix which is slightly higher - Amazon prices:

Nikon L810 - $199.00
Fujifilm s4000 - $172.93
Olympus SP 810UZ - $204.95
Panasonic DMC-FZ47 - $264.99

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Heie2
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 19, 2012

While a bit more expensive, the new Pentax X-5 looks to be extremely promising in this segment, and is the cheapest superzoom released recently (Aug 2012):

  • 16MP 'Bridge' Digital Camera

  • 26x Megazoom Lens, 22.3-580mm Equivalent

  • Large 3.0" Tiltable LCD Screen

  • 260K Dot Electronic Viewfinder

  • Full HD 1080p Widescreen Video

  • Triple Shake Reduction Technology

  • Super Macro Mode Focuses to 1 cm

  • Auto Picture and Fast Face Detection

  • HDMI Output for HDTV Screening

And I know this is not in English, but should give a good overview to its size and external features.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpwmJ8e8gHY

Good luck

-Heie

$279 @ B&H
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Thom_vee
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Heie2, Sep 19, 2012

Thank you for that

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PHOTOJOE55
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 19, 2012

I've never heard "Wildlife Photography" and "$200.00" used in the same sentence before. I guess we all have our own standards. I wonder what kind of quality shots you can get with that. Isn't it better to apply that $200.00 toward a $300.00+ camera and have pictures that you can show people?

I have a few Bridge cameras, The Fujifilm HS20EXR (in your case, the newer HS30EXR) is selling now for $320.00 at B&H. I just did the homework for a guy on photography blog, he is extremely happy with it, but he was looking for the EXR mode and some high quality HDR and he wanted RAW, so that's what he got.

I have a Panasonic DMC FZ100, that, when new was about $350.00, but newer models have come out like the FZ150, and now the FZ200. But the FZ150 is still on the shelves and sells for about $325.00 It's ratings were quite high for the money. By the way, when the bill comes, is $300.00 that much different than $200.00?

There are other models of the DMC FZ Line, like the one you mentioned but they are a little higher on the performance scale. I have others, but I think you get the idea. I would have to say, trying to save the extra 30% or so, what you will soon have is a $200.00 paperweight. I really wouldn't think someone would look for that advice here on dpreview. Well, no hard feelings, I do wish you Good Luck and as for the "Wildlife Photography" Happy Shooting" ... PhotoJoe

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Thom_vee
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to PHOTOJOE55, Sep 19, 2012

Photojoe,

I myself have a Sony A500 and own a 500mm for birding, 100mm f2.8 for insects and several zooms for a range of intents. I work for an organization that woks with human-animal conflict and most of our work is on the fringes of two tiger sanctuaries. In spite of my SLR and variety of lenses, I've found that to suddenly switch between an elephant and say , a mongoose there's nothing more convenient than a bridge camera.

I agree a more expensive one like the Canon SX30IS would be an ideal choice, but buying one for the organization, there are budget constraints and recording sightings are more the priority than photos for exhibition, so a $200 camera with the features mentioned will actually be more than adequate. Thank you for the inputs anyway.

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YoHahnMD
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 19, 2012

Thom_vee wrote:

I'm looking to buy a bridge camera for work to use mainly for wildlife photography. The budget is around $200 and the conditions are that it should be compact, have good zoom (about 20x).
A quick look turned out the following models:
Nikon L810
Fujifilm s4000
Olympus SP 810UZ
Panasonic DMC-FZ47

Please could you folks recommend the best buy?

Of the cameras you mentioned, the Panasonic FZ47 is the best of them.

That Leica lens can't be beat!
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Dr JLW
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to YoHahnMD, Sep 19, 2012

I agreee the Lumix is a great performer but yuo might alos consider a used camera.

I have and very much enjoy my Fijifilm HS 10 with a 30:1 starting at 24mm. At least in the US it sells well below $200. It goes out to 720mm and also does Raw and fast bursts. It has manual zzom and focus, although the manual focus is hard to use.

On the basis my one sample, an HS-10 has a lot of life in it so a used one well treated shoudl hold up well. Its a very competitive market so I am sure its

You might also consider other used ones. The superzoom has seen a lot of rapid deveoplment with models getting obsoleted quickly, putting a lot of very fine camera on the used market.

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PHOTOJOE55
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 19, 2012

The Canon SX30 is two versions back now, but the SX40 can be bought at B&H for $349.95 Brand new. Of course once they're gone.... The new model is the SX50. I do think you're going to spend more time looking than it's worth.

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tkbslc
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 19, 2012

I would discard the Nikon and Olympus because they do not have viewfinders and I think you will appreciate that for telephoto shooting or anytime you are in the sun.

Between the Fuji and the Panasonic, the Fuji has a little more reach and is cheaper, but the Panasonic is a little bit higher end model and has a sharper lens. So it depends if you favor 20% more zoom or sharper images and more advanced manual control.

Definitely check out that Pentax X5, too.

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PHOTOJOE55
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 20, 2012

My son wants to know if he can post questions on here, to see if he can get other people to do his homework too!

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ISO_800
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Re: Best Bridge camera with greater than 20x zoom for under $200
In reply to PHOTOJOE55, Sep 22, 2012

I don't care for "AA" battery powered cameras - takes too long to change batteries, and if the SD card is contained in the same cover as the batteries (usually that way), the batteries too often fall out when changing the SD card.

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John Koch
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Wildlife photography under $200
In reply to Thom_vee, Sep 22, 2012

You can find budget cameras that boast > 500mm equivalent zoom.

However, with a small sensor and an aperture that narrows to f/6, the shutter speed must be slow, which means that even the tinniest wobble will cause blur. Optical image stabilization helps a bit, but only if the light is very good and you hold the camera very steady too. If light is dim, or your hands tremble a bit because of excitement or fatigue, that rare bird or UFO will look like a blob.

Most demonstration shots one sees seem to be of creatures that are relatively close (eagle on a perch in an exhibit) or semi-tame (ducks in a park pond). Yes, it is hard to standardize "real life" shots for a review. But a hand-held shot of a distant billboard on a cloudy afternoon (or of a building) might be a suitable constant.

Trouble is, you can push the price ceiling up a bit without yielding a lot of improvement. The latest Panasonic super-zoom with a constant f/2.8 aperture might be worth a test, though.

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