Choosing a new bridge-style camera

  Rodders 21:12 01 Jan 2010


I've been using my excellent Fuji Finepix 2800Z for over 6 years but sadly it's nearing the end of its life - the battery cover is hanging off, the Smart Media cards aren't reading properly and corrupt images, the lens cover is broken and the strap eyelet on one side fell off.

So it's soon time to replace it.

I'd like an SLR (I think) because I enjoy taking photos. But, they tend to be too pricey and I also fear that I'll not have the time to learn how to get the best out of it.

So I think I want to go for another bridge style camera.

I want:
- a good zoom because I want to start taking photos when I go bird spotting.

- something that can be used as a point and click indoors and outdoors. i.e. it is quite quick to turn on and get a shot taken.

- some manual control so that I can try and improve my camera skills. Adjusting the light settings might be useful.

- it must use a widely available memory card format. The Fuji used Smart Media which seems to be long forgotten.

- video recording. If I can get reasonable quality movies from the camera then that would be an added bonus.

Budget-wise I'm not sure. Probably sub £150.
There's a deal on ebay for a refurbished Kodak Z1012 with bag and 4GB card for £125 which really appeals. However, I read some reviews and the picture quality isn't amazing and the lens is apparently not that great. But I suppose I have to accept some negatives in that price range.

I think the Kodak allows other lenses to be used which is a nice bonus.

I'd opt for another Fuji but can't work out which of the many models fits my requirements best.

So, I'm looking for suggestions and guidance.

Has anybody got hands-on experience of this Kodak, a Fuji in this price range, or something completely different like the Lumix or Olympus models.


  skidzy 13:28 02 Jan 2010

Rich, i got into dslr just about a year ago now and cannot believe the difference it makes over a point and shoot.

There are others here at PCA who are way more advanced than me, but this is my input.

I entered the dslr world with a Nikon d40, ive since bought different lenses for different types of photographer but tend to stick with my birding lens Sigma 120-400mm os apo.

Your budget is not going to allow you into dslr or the the top end telephoto compacts...well not a new camera.

I would suggest to you if a used model to go for the Nikon P90 or as a cheap startup option the Nikon Coolpix 5700, one here in budget on Ebay click here

We could write endless recommendations, the sky is the limit really.
I would never go back to a point and shoot as my main camera...but thats just me.
Im still learning and enjoying it evry day that goes by.
If interested what a beginner can do with a dslr, have a look at my photostream over at Flickr click here though i would warn you that lenses are what makes this so special and come at a cost...

If you would like any more advice , i am more than willing to try and help.

  skidzy 13:36 02 Jan 2010

Just had a quick look around and this seems to suit you just about right...obviously there are other cameras but this is a start.

The Nikon coolpix L100
With 15x optical / vr = vibration reduction (needed) lots of specs and just over budget. click here

From the Nikon website click here

  Rodders 19:10 02 Jan 2010

Thanks skidzy.
Are either of those cameras DSLRs?
Do they allow alternative lenses to be attached?

  skidzy 19:28 02 Jan 2010

Im afraid not Rich.
Your budget is not going to allow you to buy a camera that will take extra lenses.

The Nikon p90 looks a lovely piece of kit with a great zoom, low iso and ED glass.
The ED glass is just about the best glass in the business for lenses and to be incorporated into camera at this price is very good indeed.
Though over budget, im sure you will get a good camera without the extra costs.

Me, well i would personally save my money and enter the dslr world if you really wish to photograph birds and especially if at distance.

I am a little bias as i use Nikon, though other brands out there are good also.

  Mike D 13:07 04 Jan 2010

I have had a Fuji SD2000 for the last 6 months and cannot fault it. Now sub £200

  HondaMan 14:01 04 Jan 2010

SO, I would suggest a good look around here click here

  Rodders 14:05 04 Jan 2010

Thanks again for the responses.

I'm leaning towards the Fuji S2000. It just about fits my budget, is from a brand that I know and like, and has most of the features I want and probably all that I need.

As much as I would really like to get a DSLR I suspect I won't get the benefit from it and will be wasting money.

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