Now-a-days when I am on vacation, I am feeling the weight of my camera bag. With a DSLR, two lenses, charger, filters and other accessories, it has started to get me so much so that I feel I should just walk out without a camera. But I can’t do that – I have to have a camera with me. For me a vacation isn’t complete if I don’t get pictures and be able to look at them in the future. The photos are talking points many times and having all memories in my mind doesn’t serve any purpose other than my own. So if I take my camera, I have to select between the two lenses or take my smaller G12. The problem with the G12 is it’s zoom is 5x and I can’t get the reach I need. Of course, I can crop out photos, but a good zoom can’t be beat. So I thought of getting an all-in-one camera. A recent event prompted me to look at this seriously. I found that bridge-cameras are best suited for this purpose. A bridge camera is one that sits between a compact camera and a DSLR. It has a fixed lens but that which has a range. Range can be anywhere upto 60x, which translates to about 1200mm of length. These are termed super zooms and if you google the term, you will find that segment to be saturated. I narrowed down my choices to the following
– Panasonic FZ200
– Panasoic FZ1000
– Sony RX10
– Canon sx50
The Canon sx50 was the first super zoom with an optical zoom of 50. This is a bit dated but at about $400, it is a good if not a great all-in-one camera. It is one of the most popular camera in that segment. The Sony RX10 doesn’t have that much reach (24-200mm), but has stellar image quality. However, it rips you off by a grand!! The FZ1000 was released yesterday and is also very pricey at about $900. The FZ200 is the best bet; it has a constant 2.8 fixed aperture giving you better low light capabilities. At about $450 and with a zoom factor of a whopping 60x, it is the best bet. After much research, I thought what I really wanted was a small camera with a lot of zoom. Well, at least a reach of 200mm. The smaller the camera, the smaller will be its sensor and the image quality starts to degrade. That is the reason why an SLR is preferred by the professionals. The Canon 700HS has the reach, but picture quality is so-so. Net-net, I couldn’t get what I wanted. So I thought out my problem at a much basic level. I was tired of carrying around the luggage, right? So what if I could ease my load a bit? I will have to carry a body and two lenses (or even one), but it won’t be a small camera. So, instead of a backpack, I found some bags that go over the shoulder and are a little less bulky like the one accompanying the post. It will certainly lighten my load and until I find the perfect compact, super-zoom (which will probably never be, given the optical limitations), I might have to live with this new buddy of mine. At least my budget lessened from $500 to about $35, how’s that for savings?