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Sky737 Apr 24, 2015 6:31 PM

Please Help Me Find The Right Camera!
So here's my issue: I'm trying to find the perfect camera for me at the moment. I'm sure that there are multitudes of others like me.
At first, I thought that an entry-level DSLR was good for me, they were within my price range. But when I added lenses that I knew were good quality and that I wanted, it ended up being a bit more than I wanted to spend.
So now I am turning my attention to DSLR-Like "bridge" cameras. They offer more optical zoom as well - something I need. And they are significantly cheaper as well. I am not looking for compact-ness whatsoever - I am fine with a large camera. The camera I use at the moment is a Canon PowerShot S3 IS, a very old camera in P&S terms. And I am open to any brand.
With this in mind, please help me find my optimal camera with these stats below. I am aware a camera will not have all of these features, but just for general purpose I am listing them I have categorized them into Most Important, Important, and Least Important. THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE FOR ANY RECOMMENDATIONS :D

Most Important:

Image Stabilization - I have terribly shaky hands for a young person and I am working on strength a bit to hopefully increase steadiness
Over 30x Zoom - I take a lot of wildlife photos - the Canon camera's 12x zoom isnt cutting it right now. I am aware of canons 65x zoom camera, but from reviews I have seen it doesn't have great image quality.
GPS - I travel a lot - having GPS geotag my photos would be ideal.
Greater than 12 MP - Canons 6 MP is great, but for printouts I could really use much better.
Auto mode as well as Manual Controls (M,A,T, etc) - I admit to still being a newbie - As I learn and play with manual controls getting ready for my future DSLR I would like to have a good AUTO option for quick photography
Great Macro Photography - Macro is probably my utmost favorite type of photography and a lens that takes good macro shots is essential - sadly, in P&S cameras generally you have to get super close to the subject - something that both scary (if it is an insect like a spider) and annoying if you cannot shoot without blocking sunlight or casting a shadow into your shot. [Anyone have any suggestions?] Is there any P&S that allows you to take close up macros from far away like the Canon EF 100mm L Macro Lens?


Greater than (or less than , depending on how you look at it) f/3.2 - Would like to shoot night scenes once and a while
Decent Sensor Size - According to P&S of course - I'm not asking for full-frame, too expensive anyways.
EVF - an EVF is much preffered than other VFs

Least Important

Decent performance at high ISOs - A lot of cameras fail in this category, again with wanting to play with manual settings and taking night shots and even general shots with minimal to no noise [or grain] would be great. I think this one is quite obvious though.
Filter Acceptance - I believe some P&S cameras accept filters, this is one of the least important factors in my buy, I will be fine without it, but i would love to play with polarizer filters and such as well.
Fully articulated LCD screen - again, not a necessity, just a preference. Its nice to be able to face the camera from the front and see what you are doing - also great for awkward shots. I will buy a camera with just a tilt-screen though if it has all the main things listed.
Ability to take short time-lapse videos - This would be the only form of video I would ever do. I could care less about video options in cameras. And the time lapse would be short, max 5 days. Again not a necessity whatsoever.
Long-exposure captures - not sure if the correct terminology is long exposure or long shutter - I need at least 30 minutes to take, for example, a star photo with earth's rotation affecting it.
WiFi/NFC - not a necessity, only it would be nice to have.

Any suggestion is welcome. Again, I am aware I will not find a camera with all these specs but a good camera with most of them would be great. :D:D:D

TCav Apr 24, 2015 6:42 PM

What do you want to shoot?

rudimaes Apr 25, 2015 12:54 AM

There are not many superzooms with GPS. The Nikon P610 seems to be the best. But the small sensor will not be that good in low light.

A camera with larger sensor, will give you a shorter zoom. The best bridge nowadays is the Panasonic FZ1000. But no GPS and 16X zoom (wich could be doubled by using iZoom, without noticeable detoriation)
Good Leica zoomlens 25-400mm eq. FZ2.8-F4. Works very fast, excellent 1" sensor(20mp), 4K video. 5-axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer. You can take close up pics in Tele from 1m (3.3 ft).

The most versatile camera I ever worked with. Apart from GPS and long zoom, it has all the features you ask for.

Sky737 Apr 25, 2015 8:42 AM


Originally Posted by TCav (Post 1389323)
What do you want to shoot?

Generally wildlife; birds, various animals.
Also macro flowers, possibly a few non-living objects such as watches. I have an instagram @/pix.elz if you want to view what I generally shoot.

Sky737 Apr 25, 2015 8:43 AM


Originally Posted by rudimaes (Post 1389335)
The best bridge nowadays is the Panasonic FZ1000.

The most versatile camera I ever worked with. Apart from GPS and long zoom, it has all the features you ask for.

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into it.

TCav Apr 25, 2015 1:55 PM

For action/wildlife shooting, a Phase Detection AF system is faster and more accurate. For the most part, that limits you do a dSLR. There are bridge cameras that have hybrid AF systems where the PDAF sensors are embedded on the image sensor.

I suggest that you look for one of those.

rudimaes Apr 25, 2015 2:45 PM

Panasonics "Depth from Defocus" is as fast as the "Phase Detection AF" on low end DSLRs.

pcake Apr 26, 2015 2:27 AM

i've been trying long zoom bridge cameras as i shoot birds in flight, and haven't found any interchangeable lens camera delivers what i need at a weight i can carry. my favorites so far have been the FZ1000, but it's not as long a zoom as you want, and the nikon P900, currently the longest zoom available on any megazoom. they're both large cameras with wide lenses. both have really good stabilization, are easy to use in manual, aperture priority and shutter priority modes, and both lock focus well. no idea if they have GPS, sorry. they have auto, although i never use it so i can't say how good it was, however program was pretty good on both cameras. i sent back the FZ1000 with great regret, as it was fun, versatile, and the bigger sensor meant decent lower light pics. the P900 was fun due to being able to shoot far away birds. both had awesome focus, which i suspect i already mentioned, but it is worth repeating.

pics i got with my rented FZ1000

pics i got with my rented P900

it's likely at times you're going to block light shooting macro with a huge lens, camera and EVF lump in front of you. you can often sort that out by changing positions. i find that shorter long zoom cameras tend to focus closer when zoomed out, so there may be a magic combination for some cameras, but unfortunately i use my A6000 for macros, so not sure.

the FZ1000 and P900 are both f/2.8, but while i did okay at night with the FZ1000, the P900 did acceptably at best. the FZ1000 has a significantly bigger sensor than any other megazoom around, but that makes it a much heavier camera and is also why the lens has less zoom equivalent on the long end. both had good EVFs, in good light image quality was good with both, although the P900 doesn't shoot raw, which is a shame.

i tried a canon SX50, but the lens was slow, and i could tell that even in broad daylight. it also had a jittery EVF which made framing birds in flight pretty much impossible, and besides, the autofocus almost never locked when shooting birds in flight. it might do well for daytime shooters mostly looking to shoot slowly moving subjects as the image quality wasn't bad.

the FZ200 and the FZ70 also spring to mind. both shoot raw, which i feel is necessary in some cases, and the FZ200, while having less zoom than you want, has a constant 2.8 aperture. the FZ70's image quality isn't great, but i'm considering it as i'm currently on a budget and it has a decent EVF, long zoom and decent stabilization. probably no GPS at its price point.

haven't been able to find a P610 to rent, but the slower aperture did catch my attention and some users report slower autofocus than with the P900. while i am planning to rent a stylus 1, i don't think the zoom would be as long as you'd like. there's the fuji X-S1, which i don't think they're selling new, but you might find if you look. i hear it's got a dandy EVF, too.

Sky737 Apr 26, 2015 5:10 PM

Thanks so much for this awesome and detailed reply! I will definitely check all the cameras you mentioned. And I appreciate the sample photos, you take great pictures! I specifically like the one of the seagull taken from the FZ1000. Again thanks so much :D

Sky737 Apr 26, 2015 5:11 PM

Thanks for the suggestion :D

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