Encounter at Peebles Island

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    The phone rang Saturday morning. My brother-in-law was wondering if my wife and I would like to join him and his wife for a stroll with cameras on Peebles Island. Sounds like a plan, I said.

    When we were unloading from the van, Kyle pulled his Nikon 3100 with kit zoom from the bag, and I unholstered my Panasonic FZ150. I was immediately struck that the two cameras were virtually the same size. I had always assumed that my bridge camera was significantly smaller than an SLR, but it simply wasn't so. The two cameras were so close in size, that it wouldn't be a stretch to say that I could mistake one for the other in low light.

    So I got to thinking about the differences. The Nikon has slightly better dynamic range (.4 ev), 2 bits more color depth, and more than 800 ISO better low light sensitivity. On the other hand, if my brother-in-law wants more reach than his 18-55 kit zoom, he needs another lens (which he left in the camera bag in the van).

    For my part, with my FZ150, I get lots more focal length flexibility (25-600mm equivalent), but I sacrifice in technical image quality, particularly if I want to make big prints or shoot in low light. Ultimately, it comes down to: how much are you willing to sacrifice for the convenience of not having to lug around extra lenses?
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  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Agreed, IF you want/need that overwhelmingly wide focal range. There's a lot more telephoto horsepower at the long end of your bridge camera that many of us never use, or use soooo rarely that its better to have a separate lens for it that mostly stays at home. At which point its very possible to shoot with a much smaller setup. Using a camera like the Oly EPL5 or Pany G3 or GX1 and a lens like the Oly 14-150, for example, you still get a very very wide zoom range with much less size and weight and need to carry additional lenses. Or, the same very small body paired with just 2-3 prime lenses may be all that many of us would ever want, at which point you're dealing with a MUCH smaller camera / lens combo with just a couple of very small additional lenses to carry.

    You present a very specific comparison and its a good one if you really want the sort of focal length flexibility you have now. But there are a lot of other options that allow for a lot less size/weight and a lot better technical image quality (not to mention much faster lenses) if you don't require quite as much flexibility in the level of "super" in the super-zoom lens you're using...

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  3. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY

    Thanks for the kind reply.

    You did say the two magic words that get my juices flowing: "faster lenses."

    Who wouldn't like a nice f1.4 something-or-other with decent reach? Or a Noctilux? (In which case, I say, "the heck with the reach, I want to be able to shoot a black cat eating licorice in a coal bin at midnight during a total eclipse . . ."

    Still, there are times you simply cannot "zoom with your feet." Like at the shoot event I covered this summer for ShootingSports USA magazine or the example below.


    In any event, beside shooting photographs, isn't it fun thinking about cameras? Thanks again for your reply.
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