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Best pocket bridge camera/ super zoom?

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Old Tuesday 20th October 2015, 12:19   #1
Jhanlon
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Best pocket bridge camera/ super zoom?

I've been looking to get a bridge camera for a while but have decided most of the popular models would be impractical as I want something that can fit easily into a coat pocket.

If it can also double up for digiscoping at the low end of the range that would be ideal.

Any ideas? Thanks.
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Old Wednesday 21st October 2015, 21:07   #2
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I've been happy with the Panasonic TZ 70, a 30x pocket zoom with a RAW and a viewfinder.
The camera has lots of capabilities but they are buried deep in the menus, so the default is to just leave it in IA(automatic) mode. Fortunately that works well and the camera performance is pleasing.

The user manual is not much help. Only a summary booklet is supplied with the camera. The full version, available for download from the Panasonic site, is no prize either, with tight format and terse explanations.

Digiscoping with the TZ 70 is no problem, provided there is a positioning aid to keep the camera in the right spot. The lens is 1.5" diameter and has no lip, so some tube fitting adapter should work. I've only used it hand held, which works marginally.
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Old Thursday 22nd October 2015, 16:05   #3
Jhanlon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
I've been happy with the Panasonic TZ 70, a 30x pocket zoom with a RAW and a viewfinder.
The camera has lots of capabilities but they are buried deep in the menus, so the default is to just leave it in IA(automatic) mode. Fortunately that works well and the camera performance is pleasing.

The user manual is not much help. Only a summary booklet is supplied with the camera. The full version, available for download from the Panasonic site, is no prize either, with tight format and terse explanations.

Digiscoping with the TZ 70 is no problem, provided there is a positioning aid to keep the camera in the right spot. The lens is 1.5" diameter and has no lip, so some tube fitting adapter should work. I've only used it hand held, which works marginally.
Great thanks, I'd been thinking about that model. I figured the Canon SX50/60 would be too bulky for me. I haven't yet been able to find out if these too can be used for digiscoping.
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Old Thursday 22nd October 2015, 19:09   #4
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Great thanks, I'd been thinking about that model. I figured the Canon SX50/60 would be too bulky for me. I haven't yet been able to find out if these too can be used for digiscoping.
The big bridge cameras will digiscope just fine, but resolution suffers if you zoom the scope. In effect, their capabilities are redundant if you have a scope.

Nevertheless, imho the big zoom cameras are the wave of the future.
Nobody wants to schlep a tripod and scope across the weary miles for a 5 second view unless there is no alternative.
The megazooms show that there is an alternative, a pretty good one already and one that is getting better all the time. My guess is that for most birders, big zoom cameras with stabilized optics will replace scopes within the next 10 years.
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Old Thursday 22nd October 2015, 19:57   #5
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Wow, that's a ringing endorsement. I guess by big bridge cameras you're not including your Panasonic. Will you keep it or get something bulkier with a bigger zoom?
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Old Thursday 22nd October 2015, 22:53   #6
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Wow, that's a ringing endorsement. I guess by big bridge cameras you're not including your Panasonic. Will you keep it or get something bulkier with a bigger zoom?
Sadly it will need to be a biggie, simply because a good 40x view from a small objective lens only happens in Hollywood.
While waiting for the proper system, I'm still dragging a 60mm Fieldscope/monopod combo, plus the TZ 70.
Sony with their DEV 50 stabilized recording binoculars is on the right path I believe, but they are still two or three iterations away from where they need to be.
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Old Thursday 24th March 2016, 14:02   #7
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Point and Shoot suggestions

Going on a trip in late June. Don't want to lug my Canon SLR gear as I will be in class most the day. Want a small or easy to pack in carryon camera.
Was just looking at Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 on B&H. Price is right probably because it looks like it's been out a few years. Any other suggestions? Will use primarily to photograph butterflies and maybe an occasional bird.

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Old Thursday 24th March 2016, 14:40   #8
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Originally Posted by Pauhana View Post
Going on a trip in late June. Don't want to lug my Canon SLR gear as I will be in class most the day. Want a small or easy to pack in carryon camera.
Was just looking at Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 on B&H. Price is right probably because it looks like it's been out a few years. Any other suggestions? Will use primarily to photograph butterflies and maybe an occasional bird.

Randy
Slightly larger and probably more expensive, with a larger sensor: FZ1000. If you need extra reach, the mode for in camera crop allows for using a smaller part of the sensor bringing it closer to the small sensor cameras in reach.
Disclaimer: I own neither (now use a m4/3 setup) but I have read most of the relevant threads here.

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Old Thursday 24th March 2016, 14:48   #9
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I bought a Lumix TZ70 ln October 2015 and only used it from the house. I was disapointed with sharpness and noise at full zoom, and put it away. Last week I tried again but the camera would not work because of a focus error. I had it back yesterday, repaired. I only ever shoot raw so I that have a better chance at recovring highlights.

I have lost confidence in it. I bought it as a pocket zoom. I have two FZ150s and have been thrilled with them. For birding I see no advantage in the FZ200s.
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Old Thursday 24th March 2016, 17:50   #10
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I bought a Lumix TZ70 ln October 2015 and only used it from the house. I was disapointed with sharpness and noise at full zoom, and put it away. Last week I tried again but the camera would not work because of a focus error. I had it back yesterday, repaired. I only ever shoot raw so I that have a better chance at recovring highlights.

I have lost confidence in it. I bought it as a pocket zoom. I have two FZ150s and have been thrilled with them. For birding I see no advantage in the FZ200s.
Wow, that is disappointing. I hope the repair was done under warranty.
I've had my TZ70 for about as long and it has held up well thus far.
It is a travel zoom for me, so I'm content with ID quality shots, no RAW, as I lack the dedication needed to rework my photos.
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Old Thursday 24th March 2016, 18:04   #11
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Etudiant,

Yes, apart from shipping, it was.

I bought a Panasonic DVD recorder awhile back and that has never worked well. Panasonic is now on my avoid list, including many other manufacturers too numerous to mention.
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Old Thursday 24th March 2016, 19:30   #12
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oops........didn't mean to hijack someone elses thread.
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Old Thursday 24th March 2016, 21:04   #13
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oops........didn't mean to hijack someone elses thread.
Please, we're all looking for better tools, so your thoughts are valued.

The big sensor compact zoom category seems now to be getting support from Canon and Nikon, so there will be more choice.
No BF feedback yet on the TZ100 or the Nikon DLs, but some positive experiences with the Canon G3X.
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Old Sunday 27th March 2016, 20:11   #14
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Originally Posted by Jhanlon View Post
I've been looking to get a bridge camera for a while but have decided most of the popular models would be impractical as I want something that can fit easily into a coat pocket.

If it can also double up for digiscoping at the low end of the range that would be ideal.

Any ideas? Thanks.
I bought the Panasonic DMC-TZ70 with the same intention as you,
portability,
and mostly for documentation purpose,
at low ISO (80-400) the IQ is good, much better than a mobile phone cam,
in theory it has 720mm in 35mm format but to me it seems more like you get what you see with 8-10x bins, when comparing resolution,
but still useful for documentation, and the video feature with stabilization works good even at the long end.

Digiscoping works at the short end but when zooming in there is too much vignetting, but it might depend on what scope you have. But to me it does not seem to be optimal for digiscoping.

Overall a camera that does the job, being portable and taking OK documentation pictures.

Another thing is the build quality of these types of cams,
the zoom lens seem a bit flimsy and of course it's not water proofed in any way.

For occasional use when portability is an important factor it's a good choice.
For more frequent bird photography I would go for a DLSR.
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