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ankur_india Mar 24, 2011 3:49 AM

Travel zoom or bridge camera??
Hi all! I have been really going on a wild goose chase in selecting which digicam I should buy. No decision on purchase of any electronic goods has perplexed me as much or taken so much of my time and efforts. I have been searching the net for the past one month now without being any wiser on what my purchase should be! I request the experienced people on this forum including FiveO and Sarah Joyce to pull me out of my dilemma!

I am from India where digicams are priced a lot higher than the U.S. Here, there is no return policy if I choose one and do not like it. And I would not buy from the grey market. Incidentally, I have never used a digicam before. The cam will be for the entire family (my parents and my sister included, besides myself). This is the only cam I intend to have. And this should work fine for the next 3-4 years at the minimum.

I saw the Canon SX130 and loved the effect of the 12x zoom. I would like to have a good zoom – 12x or higher. 10 MP or higher. The cam would be used to shoot all kinds of pictures and once in a while, videos too. Normally, I do not think low light pictures would be very many in number. Hence, low light capabilities should be there, but need not be excellent like those of Canon S95. I would not know much about ISO, aperture, etc. Though I have been reading on the net about things to understand photography related glossary. Some of my friends have been saying that it pays to invest in a DSLR as those are the only ones which will give you good images. However, I am hesitant towards DSLR’s. They cost a lot, are very heavy and I am so much into photography to be spending so much of money in them. Also, DSLR wouldn’t be useful for others in the family. I therefore want a point and shoot camera which would have program mode for easy shooting (so that I and others in family may easily capture pictures without bothering too much with settings) as well as having PASM feature – manual options (to give me that extra to explore photography and give me nice pics to capture some special scenes/moments). GPS isn’t required. Neither is it necessary to have 1080p video shooting. But it should be able to use zoom during recording videos. I am confused if I should go for CMOS lens (I have been told they are better than CCD ones) or whether my sense of photography is so low that I wouldn’t even notice the difference!

I am willing to stretch my budget to $450/- for my digicam. I am looking at the travel-zoom category and the bridge camera category of digicams. The models I have been contemplating in these are:
Canon SX 130 IS – very easy on the pocket ($265) and adequate features including manual mode.
Samsung WB650 – Read good reviews about this one. About $375.
Panasonic TZ10 – Read good reviews on this one too. About $390.
Canon SX 230 – Newly launched. CMOS sensor. About $395
Bridge cams:
Nikon P100 – Haven’t read too many nice reviews on this. I read one post where FiveO did not recommend this model at all. Costs about $390.
Panasonic FZ40 or FZ100 – FZ100 is a bit expensive though for me ($470)! But if you feel this is the one. I will go ahead with it too! FZ40 costs about $390.

As you may see, bridge cams and travel-zooms are in same price range. Thus I was wondering if it makes sense to upgrade to a bridge cam and sacrifice the size of cam for better picture taking abilities (I look up to you people to tell me if that indeed is the case!!).
If you have any other model, do let me know about that too!

Thanks a lot, friends, for spending your time reading and answering me. I look forward to your esteemed views and feedback!!


mtclimber Mar 24, 2011 10:33 AM


Firstly you do not need a DSLR to get good photos in a normally lighted photo environment. A DSLR does not seem very well adapted to your needs, in as much as many people will be using the camera. For you a DSLR camera is too physically large and expensive.

The Canon SX130 would be a good choice, and its automatic mode would make it easy for many people to use the camera rather easily. The manual controls on the SX130 would allow you to personally expand your own photo knowledge.

Another option that brings with it a lot of ease and simplicity would be the Kodak Z980 or Z981 that has both auto and manual controls and 24X optical zoom while providing a lower purchase price. Either of those cameras could both serve your own and your family's needs.

Sarah Joyce

Photo 5 Mar 24, 2011 10:52 AM

I wouild agree with everything Sarah said

But...... if you can expand your budget the Fuji HS10 or the forthcoming HS20 would give you everything your looking for (30x zoom, various video modes, a program mode for ease of use... ability to use other various modes as you learn) and its been a real work horse for me at nearly 31,000 images with not a single problem. Its also been used around firefighting scenes and when it is used in high heat areas their are no issues. Actually a Fuji HS10 maybe with your reach since the HS20 is due to be shipped very soon and prices have been dropping. Also from what I have heard and have not seen this first hand the HS20 seems to be everything the HS10 is and then some with reported better results in many areas..... So an HS20 maybe even better than the HS10 but then again the price is over your budget. Just something to consider since you want to keep the camera for a long time.


ankur_india Mar 25, 2011 4:01 AM

Thanks, Sarah and Dave for your replies.

Just a little point about the camera usage. I have mentioned it will be used by the entire family. However, predominantly my sister and I would be using it. My parents will use it only when a picture of me and my sis is to be taken!! My sister is quite better than I in using gadgets.

Sarah mentions SX130 as a good choice. I agree it is a nice cam at its price point. However, for someone willing to spend higher, is it still a good choice, considering that TZ10 and WB650 (among others) are seen as better in terms of features and picture quality?

Same about Kodak Z981. I understand it is a bridge cam at a good price point, but again, when I have the budget to accomodate a Nikon P100 and Panasonic FZ38/45, would going with Kodak seem an optimum decision?

Dave has recommended Fuji HS10 or even HS20 if the budget may be stretched a bit. As I mentioned, I am willing to spend INR 20,000/- ($450) for the cam. HS10 and FZ100 are about 10% above this price point at $490. Add to this some investment on carry bag and SD card as well (Some select models include offers of including them in the price itself.). I may even stretch myself to this extra 10%, provided it is money well spent. Dave certainly feels so, I think, that it indeed will be! Out of HS10 and FZ40 / FZ100, which one should I go for (that is if you feel I should rather invest in a bridge cam rather than a travel-zoom)? FZ40 is about INR 18,000/- ($400).

Also, could you kindly explain the difference in image quality, video capabilities, control mode, auto mode, etc between a bridge cam and travel-zoom? Is it that bridge cams are better than travel zooms? These points might make it easier for me to atleast narrow down into which category of cam I should go for.

Have fun,

peripatetic Mar 25, 2011 4:54 AM

In your shoes I would also look at the Canon G12 or Nikon P7000, for the reason that I expect their durability to be somewhat higher and therefore to last longer.

The price may be a little higher than you want, but I really do think the G12 in particular has an all-round ability and versatility and general quality to be a camera to last for many years and give quality results throughout.

gjtoth Mar 25, 2011 7:34 AM

While there is a lot of good advice given thus far, I can second what Dave has said about the HS-10/HS-20EXR. I have owned the HS-10 for the past year and, while it took a little time to learn, it is a solidly-built camera that produces outstanding images. I am so impressed with the HS-10, I just upgraded to the HS-20EXR. I don't upgrade unnecessarily. While you will hear some noise from the detractors of this camera regarding how difficult it is to learn, you're going to have some learning time with ANY camera you get. The results you achieve are directly proportional to the time you spend in getting to know your camera's capabilities and limitations and working within them.

mtclimber Mar 25, 2011 8:14 AM


Thanks for the clarification regarding the fact that basically only you and your sister will be using the camera. That will make a big difference, as I had previously been facing the need to plan for a camera that was very easy for each and every family member to use.

I had suggested the Canon SX130, based on everyone having to use the camera. So things are much clearer now. Thank you. The Panasonic FZ100 has turned out to be a rather limited camera, based on user and professional reviews. The basic limitation is that the camera is ISO limited, thus reducing the usefulness of the FZ100.

If you do not need a lot of zoom the Canon G12 is a good suggestion, but I think it is beyond your budget range just as the Fuji HS10 is. The best compromise from the list of cameras you have supplied is, I believe, the Panasonic FZ40 camera. It is a top quality camera with very good image quality and can be used initially in its automatic mode. Then as you and your sister learn more of photography, you can transition over to the manual controls, also found on the FZ40.

We have a large and active group of Panasonic FZ users in our Panasonic P+S folder who are a very friendly and helpful group. That would give you a "support group" to help you as you progressed with the FZ40.

Sarah Joyce

ankur_india Mar 25, 2011 2:17 PM

Hi there!!

Many thanks to gjtoth and Sarah. I shall pay a visit to the electronics store and will check out both HS10 and FZ40. Will see what the best price and offers are. I'd love to be able to lay my hands on the HS10, provided the price seems good to me for the cam. One query regarding battery used in these. HS10 uses 4 AA batteries while FZ40 uses lithium-ion battery. Second, HS10 is about 150 grams heavier than FZ40. Are these two points negative for HS10? And I hope both of these have good, adequate auto/program modes as well to enable faster and easier capture.

Will update you soon!! Till then, do keep your thoughts and opinions pouring in.


gjtoth Mar 25, 2011 3:24 PM


Originally Posted by ankur_india (Post 1212319)
Hi there!!

Many thanks to gjtoth and Sarah. I shall pay a visit to the electronics store and will check out both HS10 and FZ40. Will see what the best price and offers are. I'd love to be able to lay my hands on the HS10, provided the price seems good to me for the cam. One query regarding battery used in these. HS10 uses 4 AA batteries while FZ40 uses lithium-ion battery. Second, HS10 is about 150 grams heavier than FZ40. Are these two points negative for HS10? And I hope both of these have good, adequate auto/program modes as well to enable faster and easier capture.

Will update you soon!! Till then, do keep your thoughts and opinions pouring in.


Both cameras do, indeed, have adequate auto/program modes. The plus to having AA batteries is that they are readily available anywhere. Thus, if you forget to charge your spare LIon battery or forget to bring it with you, AA batteries can be found easily. The cost of the HS-10 will be dropping a little more in the VERY near future as the HS-20EXR has been released and will drive the price down. You might also want to consider a used HS-10. The extra weight you mention is hardly a factor worth mentioning.

Photo 5 Mar 25, 2011 10:04 PM

I am using Sanyo eneloops AAs in my Fuji HS10 and get amazing battery life out of them. Much more power than any off AA rechargeables I have used in the past. The xtra few bucks per set is well worth it. I used to carry 5 sets of spare AAs now I only carry 3 spare sets and have never had a situation where I came even close to running out of battery power.

Use the Fuji HS10 is a little heavier as you mentioned but it is solidy built with a 30x zoom.


ewern Mar 25, 2011 10:53 PM

I've had a Canon A620 for several years along with a SLR. I've had good experience with it's still and video. I need to upgrade and for the price the SX130IS with it's wide and long zoom and 720p video. I use rechargeable AA batteries and like this model also uses them. I've seen good images from it at all the web review sites. Lots of scenes modes, and manual options when/if you need them.

ankur_india Mar 27, 2011 12:13 AM

Thanks to all the people out there who helped me make a decision on my first digicam. I happily state that I have just bought a new Fujifilm HS10. It cost me $494. For that price I got the digicam, 8 AA (including 4 rechargeable ones) batteries, battery charger, 4 gb SD card, camera pouch and a tripod which has an extended height of 135 centimeters. Don't know how much use I'll have of the tripod though.

I know I went over my budget on this one. But I sensed that this extra money is well worth it. At the end of it all, I know you helped me reach my decision and I am extremely satisfied that you all helped me out of my misery:-). Thanks are due to Sarah, Dave, peripatetic, Gjtoth and ewarn for their guidance.

I hope to understand photography and will seek your guidance as I go on this journey.


mtclimber Mar 27, 2011 11:38 AM

Congratulations on your new camera, Ankur.

Sarah Joyce

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