DSLR to a bridge camera. Good or bad idea?

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
I'm seriously thinking of selling my DSLR and lenses. I love the camera and the quality of the photos but due to the inconvenience of having to cart around the camera and lenses, it's hardly being used.

My current set up is

Canon 550d
18-55mm kit lens
50mm F1.8 ii prime lens
Canon 70-200m F4 L lens

I'm thinking of getting shut and buying the new Panasonic FZ200 bridge camera. I know the image quality won't be as good, but will it be a huge difference?

The main reason the Panasonic FZ200 is appealing to me, is the fixed aperture of F2.8 across the entire focal range. It's the only bridge camera (as far as I know) which offers this, so it should perform very well in low light and achieve shoots with a good shallow depth of field. It also has a fairly powerful sensor, shots in RAW, a viewfinder (albeit electronic and not a mirror) and has manual controls for the aperture, ISO and shutter speeds. The auto focus is also supposably the fast for a camera class.

So, on paper, the FZ200 sounds a decent bit of kit. It's only just been released so there isnt many reviews available. I feel the smaller form factor and not needing interchangeable lenses will mean I will get to use the camera more. I generally only use it for snapshots on days out with my young children.

I am willing to accept a drop in image quality, but I still want good quality shots. I also want a decent zoom so I wouldnt consider something like a Canon S100 or the like.

So, would I be stupid selling my DSLR kit and buying bridge camera? How big a drop in image quality should I expect? Would the convenience be too much of a compromise for quality?

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/pan...umix-dmc-fz200

The Nikon P510 also appeals to me due to the cheaper price but mainly the rediculous zoom :laugh: But, from what I've read, the photo quality is disappointing. The 42x optical zoom on the P510 makes the 24x zoom on the panasonic seem inadequate. This video made me laugh but at the same time makes me want a P510

 

Rich Marshall

Well-known Member
I had the same issue, I loved my 40D but never took it anywhere due to the size.
I looked at bridge cameras but they are still quite bulky so opted for an additional G12, since then I just stopped using the 40D so sold it and haven't regretted it.
Yeah I've had to compromise but at least now I actually take a camera with me and the IQ is more than acceptable.
 

watkins101

Novice Member
There seems to be a trend of people downsizing their kit, there are loads of threads about it. It seem the consensus is that the sensor size is the major issue as you go down the digital camera hierarchy. I havent seen a thread where bridge cameras are recommended but there are some good fixed lens camera with APS-C sized sensors and a few more with slightly smaller ones again but still bigger than the standard compact camera sensor. All the major manufacturers make these sort of cameras.

You should be looking to spend £300-400 to get an acceptable replacement and upto £700-800 to minimise
the difference.

I sold my Nikon kit and brought a Fuji x10 and really couldn't be happier with the choice ( and managed to make a few hundred quid extra).
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
The Canon G12 and Fuji X10 are great camera's but I would miss not having a zoom. 99 times out of 100 I had my 70-200 lens on the camera. Something like 4x optical wouldn't be sufficient for me unfortunately.

I should add that a micro 4/3 system doesn't interest me either as I want to get away from interchangeable lenses.
 

Bagger

Well-known Member
The main reason the Panasonic FZ200 is appealing to me, is the fixed aperture of F2.8 across the entire focal range. It's the only bridge camera (as far as I know) which offers this, so it should perform very well in low light and achieve shoots with a good shallow depth of field.
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Just so you know, due to the crop factor (5.5x as far as I can find out) the f/2.8 aperture on the fz200 would offer the same DOF as about f/10 on your 550d.
 

shotokan101

Distinguished Member
Why not just get a Tamron 18-250mm for your DSLR - IQ will be better than a bridge and no real need to swap lenses.... ?
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
Bagger said:
Just so you know, due to the crop factor (5.5x as far as I can find out) the f/2.8 aperture on the fz200 would offer the same DOF as about f/10 on your 550d.
Are you sure. I've been looking at a few sample photos taken using a FZ200 at F2.8 and you get way more bokeh (spelling?) than you would at F10 on my 550d.

I was always under the impression the crop factor only effected the focal length?

Shotokan - The thought of changing my 70-200mm to a 18-250 tamron just doesn't sit right with me. The Canon is a far superior lens, and I'd still like a smaller form factor. A bridge would fit in my jacket pocket at a squeeze.
 

Bagger

Well-known Member
I may be wrong on the crop factor of the FZ200, I only had a quick look round.
But DOF definitely alters with sensor size.
I found this out a long time ago myself, but the other way round. I needed more DOF ( macro ) and I went from an S1IS to a canon 300d. Even though the 300d lens would stop down further than the S1IS I ended up with less DOF.
Any way have a read here Scroll down to "DOF and sensor sizes"
Or just google "crop factor effect on dof "
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
Are you sure. I've been looking at a few sample photos taken using a FZ200 at F2.8 and you get way more bokeh (spelling?) than you would at F10 on my 550d.

I was always under the impression the crop factor only effected the focal length?

Shotokan - The thought of changing my 70-200mm to a 18-250 tamron just doesn't sit right with me. The Canon is a far superior lens, and I'd still like a smaller form factor. A bridge would fit in my jacket pocket at a squeeze.
The depth of field is technically a function of the focal length rather than the sensor size although in practice it generally means the smaller the sensor size, the shorter the focal length to give standard zoom ranges. The far end of the FZ200's zoom range is 600mm equivalent but it's actually just 100mm and while 100mm F2.8 would be good for shallow depth of field on an SLR and a practical portrait focal length on the FZ200 it's very long and very difficult to use for portraits. It is possible to get shallow depth of field but it's much more difficult to get the sort of 'casual' shallow depth of field you can get on a DSLR with ease, photos from bridge cameras showing shallow depth of field have usually been carefully organised to get the effect.

On the RX100 review, DPR have a little table which shows the comparative focal lengths and equivalent apertures:

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 In-Depth Review: Digital Photography Review

John
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
Thanks for that.

I'm starting to think I should go for something like an X10 for the quality, but I really don't know if I could put up with such a restricted focal length.

This is hard. I want the impossible, a DSLR with a fixed lens, decent focal range that will fit in my pocket. That isn't available so I need to figure what I'm willing to lose as a compromise :(
 

Strobe

Well-known Member
Nothing exists yet to do exactly what you want; however, the new Sony RX100 comes close if you can do without a mega-zoom. It does have 20 megapixels so latitude to crop in digitally. The RX100 sensor size is 1" which falls in between titchy sensors of your average compact and micro 4/3rds. If you want a fixed lens with mega-zoom then currently the only option is to compromise on the sensor size. In the Fuji camp there is also the X-S1, same sensor as the X10 but with a 26x zoom ...
X-S1 Pro / Enthusiast digital camera | Fujifilm United Kingdom
 

watkins101

Novice Member
This decision isnt one to be taken lightly, at the far end of the zoom range most bridge cameras will disappoint compared to your cannon and a 200mm L lens, You will have to accept some compromise thats for sure but in reality what use is a zoom lens if its at home in your kit bag. Im lucky I have a good friend who lends me his Nikon DSLR and associated stuff if I want it.

I found that the best fun for me comes from working your gear to get the most out of it and the number of pleasing shots I have that would normally have been missed as my camera would have been at home outweighs the limited zoom range.

As Strobe said the RX100 with its massive images gives great scope for cropping if needs be. Albeit at a cost.

I will say you will find getting great shots out of something that sits in your pocket or a wrist strap very liberating and that your subjects will react much more naturally to a compact sized camera than a big lump of DSLR.
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
Ok a bit of an update.

I've now sold all of my DSLR kit. I've also been to my local wilkinson camera's armed with my SD card to take a look at the FZ200. First impressions of the camera were it was fairly large but far more portable than my DSLR kit. The ELV worked ok but horrible compared to a mirrored system and zooming using buttons ment I didn't feel in total control. Changing the aperture in aperture priority mode worked well so using the camera as i normally would was fine.

I took some indoor shots and the assistant (who was very helpful) even allowed me to take the camera outdoors to get more shots using the zoom. I was very impressed with the IS when the zoom was extended fully, much better than expected. Overall, the camera seemed cheap but operating it would be fine.

When I got back home, then dragged the images onto my computer (both jpeg and RAW) to see the results. Hmmm... Now I wasn't expecting to be wowed, but I didn't want to be disappointed either. The shots weren't bad but they wasn't as good as I had hoped.

For a £450-£500 camera I would expect better quality images. I'm now favouring getting something with a much bigger sensor but that only really leaves me with the RX100 and G1x.

The size of the RX100 is perfect but the main things that are putting me off are

Hardly any zoom
No view finder
No manual control wheel. I don't want to go through loads of menu's to alter aperture and shutter speed after each shot.

Then you have the G1x

Looks very big and for a compact
Again, hardly any zoom
I've read it has slow auto focus
I've read macro shots need to be taken from 40cm+ away

Non of those camera's get me excited and I kind of feel they are the only two which would do. The X10 is another option but the small sensor and I've head it has slow focusing aswell is putting me off. I have two young toddlers who don't sit still so a fairly decent speed auto focus is essential.

I need to go back down to wilkinson cameras and fire some more shots off using the above cameras I think but I still need to think if such a limited zoom would work for me? Cropping is an option but that would get on my nerves if I was having to do it more often than I'd like.

Is there any rumours of any other camera's which would fit my needs anytime soon?
 
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watkins101

Novice Member
Like I said there will have to be some compromise. I dont think the zoom issue will be as much as you think, in a lot of instances you could always move closer ;). You should try the x10 if you can I love mine, sure I miss the 300mm reach of my old Nikon kit but its F2 lens is a dream for natural light shots and as Ive said before on these boards its re-energised my love for the hobby.
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
How do you find the auto focus on your X10 when shooting moving subjects like children or animals? When shooting stills, video isn't a concern.

I prefer the size and layout of the X10 to the G1x and RX100 plus it's much cheaper.
 

shotokan101

Distinguished Member
I've never really bought in to the "oh you can always crop a high res. image to replace missing optical zoom" TBH - yes I've done it on occasion as required BUT I find that you actually need the zoom to help compose and actually "see" some of the shots as it's pretty hard (for me at least) to visualise the composition I want to get later on after cropping in PP to get the equivalent of an 18x zoom while working with 5x optical zoom....

BTW - did you have a look at the Fuji X-S1 that Strobe mentioned earlier ?

JIm
 
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DanTheManc

Well-known Member
shotokan101 said:
I've never really bought in to the "oh you can always crop a high res. image to replace missing optical zoom" TBH - yes I've done it on occasion as required BUT I find that you actually need the zoom to help compose and actually "see" some of the shots as it's pretty hard (for me at least) to visualise the composition I want to get later on after cropping in PP to get the equivalent of an 18x zoom while working with 5x optical zoom....

BTW - did you have a look at the Fuji X-S1 that Strobe mentioned earlier ?

JIm
That's what I'm thinking with the zoom. Hmm..

The X-S1 totally slipped my mind. I clicked the link but forgot about it. That's one I need to check out too :)
 

shotokan101

Distinguished Member
BTW - have you done a quick scan in LR of your DSLR shots to see what focal ranges you actually use regularly ? - can be quite an eye opener and should help you decide on how long a zoom you really need :)
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
I'm still very undecided about what camera to buy. I'm starting to think a bridge camera won't give me the type of manual control and photo quality I would like. The front runners are

G1x
RX100
Fuji X10

Now, I know I said I wasn't interested in a mirrorless 4/3's system camera but I'm finding it hard to ignore the Sony nex-5n + 18-55mm. The reason being it can be had new for £349.99 from wilkinson camera's so much cheaper than the G1x and RX100. It just seems a bargain given the spec. Would this give better results than the G1x and RZ100 using the kit lens? Would it fit in my coat pocket with the lens fitted? The inly problem is, I would just have to resist buying addition lenses

Sony NEX-5N Black & E18-55MM F3.5-5.6 OSS
 

lersince1991

Active Member
I had this problem but bought a ramrod 18-250 as previously suggested in the thread. Use that as an all in one in the day and then a 50mm at night. It's quite heavy though but so much more convenient!

How about a Leica compact? They do some really nice ones even at their low end. And normally have larger sensors
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
lersince1991 said:
I had this problem but bought a ramrod 18-250 as previously suggested in the thread. Use that as an all in one in the day and then a 50mm at night. It's quite heavy though but so much more convenient!

How about a Leica compact? They do some really nice ones even at their low end. And normally have larger sensors
I've sold my DSLR now so need a new camera. Which Leica would you suggest? Budget is upto £600 but I'd prefer to spend £300-£400 if possible.
 

_Sion

Novice Member
I'm still very undecided about what camera to buy. I'm starting to think a bridge camera won't give me the type of manual control and photo quality I would like. The front runners are

G1x
RX100
Fuji X10

Now, I know I said I wasn't interested in a mirrorless 4/3's system camera but I'm finding it hard to ignore the Sony nex-5n + 18-55mm. The reason being it can be had new for £349.99 from wilkinson camera's so much cheaper than the G1x and RX100. It just seems a bargain given the spec. Would this give better results than the G1x and RZ100 using the kit lens? Would it fit in my coat pocket with the lens fitted? The inly problem is, I would just have to resist buying addition lenses

Sony NEX-5N Black & E18-55MM F3.5-5.6 OSS

The 5N and a relatively compact lens like the sigma 19mm, 30mm or Sony 16mm will fit in your pocket . The kit 18-55mm lens does make the camera little bulky but I often carry mine in my coat pocket. The long zoom lenses (18-200mm or 55-210mm) would probably make them a bit large for the coat pocket.

Sony are going to bring out a smaller lens covering a similar range to the kit lens soon.

I love my 5N and have no problem with it's size, if size is an issue look at the olympus and panasonic 3/4 systems their sensors are slightly smaller so use smaller lenses and have some great small lenses.
 

DanTheManc

Well-known Member
I went back into town today and ended up coming home with the nex-5n. My biggest concern was that I wouldn't be able to fit it in my coat pocket. It is a little chunky with the 18-55 fitted compared to a normal compact, but it fitted fine and is still tiny compared to the DSLR. They had a RX100 in the shop which was a much smaller size but it wasn't charged up and I was finding it difficult to justify the extra cost when compared to the nex.

I paid £350 from wilkinson cameras, which given the APS-C sensor, I think it's a bit of a bargain. It's on charge at the moment so I can't comment on how it performs, but I'm expecting it to be much better than the FZ200 bridge camera I tried and was disappointed with a few days ago. I had a play with one in the shop and first impressions are positive :)

Thank you everybody for your advice, I'll let you know how I get on
 

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