Why I chose superzoom bridge cameras

I had the post (below) already written when I bought a DSLR this month.
I know, gasp, right? I never thought I’d buy one.

A Nikon D3500 with 2 kit lenses to be exact. I’ve been trying to win a DSLR by entering contests for years. I just wanted to know that I knew how to operate one. My first impression of my new Nikon D3500 was boy, it’s light. With the 18-55 lens on it, it seemed to weigh less than my Pany’s. Typically DSLR’s are bigger and heavier.


Right off the bat, I didn’t know how to focus or change focus modes, how to change settings, where bracketed exposure compensations was, and so much more other than the on and off button! I also tend to reach for that on and off button every time I go to zoom. Wonder how long it will be before I use my left hand for that without doing it wrong the first time? At the moment I’m frustrated because I don’t instinctively know where the buttons are to make it do what I want it to. I do like that I can get to the battery and SD card with my tripod QR plate on.

Both of my Pany’s (fz300 and fz1000) sense if you’re using the LCD or the Viewfinder automatically. The Nikon D3500 does not.

My Pany lens caps came with a little notch cut out that you could put a nice thin cord through and attach to the side of your camera. The Nikon lens caps have no such cutout. The lens cap size is also different from the 18-55 and 70-300, 55mm and 58mm. You can buy a little stick-on cord you can stick to the cap, and lens clips. I’ve already found myself searching for where I put the loose the lens cap. That would also mean 2 sizes of filters (CPL, ND, GradND, etc)  or one set with drop-down rings. Of course, my 2 Pany’s are 52 on the fz300 and 62mm on the fz1000.

I quickly learned the 18-55 lens has a lock. Until you unlock and zoom it out none of the other settings matter. A Nikon friend offered to help.  When I was holding it and talking to her, I finally saw the live view mode. Live view is WAY SLOWER than what I’m used to. In having this for about a week now, I know that I will never invest in a camera without a fully-articulated screen. For pet photography, it really is a  must for me. The shutter is also quite loud as that mirror slaps. I miss the silent shutter on my bridge Pany’s. I turned off all the beeps. I was in the kitchen shooting a bluebird through the widow, that I really wanted to also shoot with my Pany’s but it didn’t stay long enough. My hubby was in the living room and said: “what is that sound?!”

The first thing I tried to photograph was close-up of the frost. I’ll be spending lots of time on YouTube that’s for sure, and I’ve reserved a “For Dummies” book from our library.

In the field at the end of the driveway, I saw the white squirrel. Of course, the wrong lens was on. I am just so used to being able to shoot what I want without changing lenses. I also don’t see that this camera has bracketed exposure settings, HDR, double exposure, time-lapse, focus peaking, highlight warning, or, the biggest issue for me, is the ability to quickly switch focus modes/spots. My Pany’s have a button right on the back that changes from single, multi or tracking. I can also use the single, half-press with it on my subject then move the lens just a bit to get the compensation right after locking the focus with the half-press. I’m pretty sure either the VR or anti-shake is not on both Nikor lenses OR I don’t have the AF set right to use it with the half-press lock. I think I’ll look into the back button focus.

I have found the manual focus ring but I don’t think it has focus peaking so with my eyes, I can’t see what is in focus. Also, I have not found the highlight warning flash.

I do like the recent settings window, but you can set the Pany’s to open to the last window.

Here’s another biggie. My older Adobe products can’t see the RAW NEF files.  I have to convert them to DNG.  It can see my RW2 Pany RAW files, but not the Nikons. I am not upgrading to rented Adobe software. On1 does see the NEF files, but I don’t want to try to learn the new camera and my updated On1 all at year-end, with all the extra things that ‘year-end’ entails with both of us self-employed.

Right now I see the shot I want to take, take way to much time figuring out how to get the settings right or change lenses and it seems like a lot more work to capture what my vision was.  I expected as much. I’ve been shooting with bridge cameras for so long. As soon as I make the time I do want to try to shoot the type of things where my Pany’s fell short. High ISO’s, bulb mode longer exposures and some landscapes / sunburst with the an f-stop that my Pany’s can’t reach.

I am right back to wishing the bridge super zooms had a larger sensor and did better at high ISO’s. So far, everything else I like better on my Panasonic bridge cameras. Plus I don’t want 3 cameras.  Even having the 2 Pany’s when you switch back and forth the settings are not cemented in mind like they are when I’m using one camera. I could operate my fz200 in the dark with no problems. Not so when I have 2 or 3. I am very grateful to my hubby for letting me buy it especially after what I spent on the barn tour.

After I work with the Nikon D3500 for a year or so, I think it will be the first one I sell. I will sell my Pany’s only after I can find one camera that can replace them both.  I did just learn the fz1000 does come in a 2nd model, the Fz1000M2 that combines some of the features of my 300 and 1000, but the sensor is the same 1″ size and it’s not worth the upgrade at this point to me.  A good friend shoots with the Sony Rx10 IV that is a lot like my 1000.  I just keep waiting for the features I want and can afford.

At least the cell phones are starting to come back in a smaller size instead of only getting larger. My Samsung S4 from 2013 is getting replaced this Black Friday. I know I’m pretty much the black sheep in the products I choose, and I don’t mind one bit.  #BeYou.


[orginal post]

Why I chose superzoom bridge cameras!

Superzoom bridge cameras
Pros. No lens changes. Big Zoom. Quickly go from a few centimeters to 600+/- mm out, ie the macro to mountains I’ve referred to before. Lighter/less to carry. Sensor is sealed.  Almost all or more settings than entry-level DSLRs. Most have hot shoes. Live View. Silent shooting. Great image stabilization. You might add filters and such but you have the ONE lens it comes with. Done. No buying extra lenses or having to carry them around.
Cons. Noise at higher ISO, Smaller sensors. On mine, there is no true bulb mode.
Note: In my experience, they are more menu-driven even though there are plenty of buttons and dials. EVF’s are often a tad slower/lag but show more info than OVF but use more battery power. My pany’s allow me to shoot with mechanical or electronic shutters. Some of the newer models can charge the battery with a cell phone charger. 

Mirrorless and TMT Translucent Mirror Technology
Pros Smaller and lighter than most DSLRs. Some adapters let you use some DSLR lenses. Silent shooting. Great image stabilization.
Cons have to carry around multiple lenses to shoot varying distances. Battery life is not typically as good as a DSLR. Sensors are exposed when you change lenses on most.
Note: EVF’s are often a tad slower/lag but show more info than OVF but use more battery power. Some of the newer models can charge the battery with a cell phone charger.  I am not stuck on any one brand but, I’m pretty sure Sony would be at the top of my list here.

DSLR Digital Single-Lens Reflex (huge range of price from entry to pro)
Larger sensors, better aperture range, some have faster AF on fast-moving objects and are better in low light. Probably the largest selection of lenses.
Cons Mirror slap sound, have to carry around multiple lenses to shoot varying distances, not geared toward video on most. Less frames per second. Less area covered in-focus points and more in the center area.
Note: EVF’s are often a tad slower/lag but show more info than OVF but use more battery power, and you have blackout between shots.

Point and Shoot ([‘ve only ever considered one with PASM modes and good zoom)
Pros Small and lightweight.
Cons Small sensor

Just using your phone
Pros Always with you and some still actually fit in your pocket.
Cons Primarily it’s a phone so small sensors and most have little to no optical zoom.

Here’s a great place to do a little comparing in specs!

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2 thoughts on “Why I chose superzoom bridge cameras

  1. Kate Crimmins

    This certainly isn’t a positive review for this camera. My camera is much simpler Sony. My biggest beef with it is that there is so much stuff (icons that I don’t understand) I don’t know how to work but then again, I’ve only had it for about 3 years. I can do what I need effortlessly but some days I long for my old Pentax Spotmatic minus the film of course.


  2. KiM Post author

    The Nikon? There are pros and cons to all of them. I should’ve waited more than a few weeks, at least after I’ve had time to get in the manual more. 🙂 Also I am coming from someone who loves the superzoom bridge cameras that I’ve been using for years, and I know how to use them. I’ll update it after I’ve made it thru the manual and the D3500 for dummies book. I’m guessing a big part of it can change in the settings. What model Sony do you have?



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