Decision on Bridge Cameras for Safari

Started Aug 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP bloke91 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Decision on Bridge Cameras for Safari

bloke91 wrote:

Hi everyone

After doing some research and seeking some advice, I have come to the conclusion I have the following actions in referance to buying a decent camera for a Safari I am going on this September.

  1. Buy a Canon SX50 or HX300V with a great optical zoom, however from what I have read on here due to the apture it would be rubbish for low light and therefore insufficent for early morning or evening game viewing. Along with this I have an exsisting Sony HX20V compact camera I can take with me.
  2. Purchase a Panasonic ZF200 with an 24x otpical zoom, from what I have read this is the best Bridge camera around for low light. However due to 24x optical zoom, also purchase a Canon XS50 or Sony HX300 so I have got a fantastic optical zoom as well.
  3. Last choice purchase a Panasonic FZ200 and take that to the Safari along with my exsisiting Sony HX20V compact.

I feel ideally I need the ZF200 for low light and a SX50 or HX300 for the optical zoom, so I can obtain the best of both worlds. Whats everyone thoughts??????????

These purchases would only be for the safari, so if I purchased two cameras I was thinking of selling one of them after.

I am also aware that I could purchase the Panasonic FZ72 which is due out at the end of August, this looks like alot better than the SX50 and HX300 but I could be cutting it fine due to my Safari being in September.

Look forward to your thoughts.

Thanks in advance.

If I were carrying two cameras, only one would be a bridge, preferably one with a long zoom. For the second camera I'd get a compact with a bigger sensor and faster zoom that would be much better for lower light situations and easier to carry. It would be always available for casual shots that didn't require a lot of lens. If you want to carry one camera, the FZ200 is a reasonable compromise. If you expect to be shooting a lot of wildlife in low light it would be attractive, but remember that in the tropics the sun sets and rises quickly. There is not the extended twilight of the temperate regions.

What I would get is an SX50 for the daytime wildlife shots. Its image quality is very nice and the 50x lens will rarely leave you wanting more. When the sun sets, just put it away. For a second camera I'd get an advanced compact, anything from the Panasonic LX7 up to the Sony RX100 (or its M2 variant). The Sony is the champ for low light performance in a compact, while still being easily pocketable. The LX7, Olympus XZ-2, Canon G15, or even the slightly cheaper Canon S110 or Nikon P330 would also do nicely for shots around camp and in the towns and cities. They aren't truly great low light cameras, but they're far better in low light than any bridge (and that includes the FZ200). That's because most have sensors about twice as big as a bridge's and somewhat faster lenses. They're also a lot more compact, so in the evenings they'd be easy to carry without feeling encumbered, but handy for any shots that presented themselves. They're all small enough they also can be carried easily as a second camera during the day, making them available for higher quality shots whenever the bridge's big zoom lens isn't needed. Or for shooting video, something bridges aren't very good at.

Hope this gives some more ideas. Bridges have a lot of compromises. So do other compacts, but different ones, so you end up with a complementary pair instead of two cameras with similar weaknesses.

Another possibility for the second camera (if budget is not a big issue) is something like the Ricoh GR or Nikon Coolpix A. These have fixed wide angle lenses and very good image quality. They have big sensors and fast lenses so give legitimately fine low light performance for evenings in camp or town. To me one of these would be an excellent complement to a bridge, still decently compact, very good in low light, and well suited for landscape and street shooting, kinds of shooting a lower performance bridge isn't great at.  Higher cost is the main negative, and the Ricoh's price isn't too bad given its strengths.

So you would favour the SX50 over the Sony HX300?.

I believe on Safari the sun rises at 0530 just in time for morning safari, how ever it goes down at 06:00ish, so I would need a camera thats good in low light for then.

If i brought the sx50, would my Sony HV20v be no good as a second camera?

I don't want to be spending lots on a third camera on top of my exsisiting Sony hx20v and potentially buying a SX50.

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