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Current Recommendation needed for a "Bridge" Camera

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#1 BarrySimon615

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 10:23 AM

What I mean by "bridge" camera is one that covers the gap between a dslr and a cell phone camera.  For what I do in astrophotography my Canon 60D, 5D, 20D and 20DA do just fine with the 60D getting most of the assignments due to it's articulating screen.  My current point and shoot, a Canon SX260HS is getting a bit long in the tooth having been acquired back in 2013 and now frequently displaying an E32 error which shuts it down, requiring a restart.  (This indicates a slight misalignment due to a hit, dirt, etc. in the cog which extends the lens.  This seems to happen at the most inopportune times.  My cell phone camera is very versatile but does not have the pixel count/resolution for great pictures.

 

The Canon SX260HS is my family vacation camera and if working properly would be a good one for an anticipated African safari type vacation about a year from now.  Additionally if a current camera has some capability for relatively short Milky Way single shots that would be great too.  The Canon SX260HS at 15 second duration shots automatically only allows ISO 100 shots.  For everyday use, and especially outside a long zoom is preferred.  The 260SX has a 20X optical zoom.  I do not think I need something that long, but a 3x to 4x zoom is not enough, so in short is there any point and shoot that is relatively compact meet the following specifications -

 

1) a zoom ratio from wide to low/moderate telephoto up to about 8 to 10x zoom

2) a bulb setting, or at least a long exposure of at least 30 seconds

3) an articulating screen

4) fast lens when at widest setting, f/2.5 or better

 

Looking at several now but none seem to offer quite what I want.  Willing to spend up to about $800.00

 

Thanks for any recommendations!

 

Barry Simon



#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 11:15 AM

The market for cameras is pretty thin, since most people just use their phones.

 

So manufacturers have moved away from classic bridge cameras.  They tend to have flashy things like mega zoom ranges.  Compact size to compete with phones.  So, slower lenses.  Compact size and fast lenses are _really_ hard to find.

 

The Panasonic FZ1000II is an older classic "bridge" camera, still available new.  I have the original model.  The 1 inch sensor is very nice, sensors tend to be smaller these days.  A bit clunky.  Great picture quality.

 

https://www.bhphotov...ii_digital.html

 

Shot the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn with it.

 

https://cdn.astrobin...x0_geWv75G7.jpg

 

There may just not be anything that's just what you want anymore.  I believe you're going to have to compromise in some way.


Edited by bobzeq25, 28 November 2022 - 11:51 AM.


#3 EsaT

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 11:19 AM

If you mean actual bridge camera with controls and not Point&Shoot with with longer zoom, se called 1" sensor cameras would be good choises.

 

Though Sony's RX10s are very expensive.

And people have been expecting new model to be released into serie for multiple years...

Panasonic FZ1000 II would be around that budget.

Though none of these are even semi pocketable, but more replacement for big and heavy system camera bag.

 

While there are usual tiny toy sensor cameras with longer zooms, those don't do well in low light, or really outside bright light.

(microscopic pixels don't tolerate closer examination)


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#4 vidrazor

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 04:33 PM

Your SX260HS is what's known as a point and shoot, not a "bridge" camera. Real bridge cameras are large, essentially the size of a full frame DSLR due to their typically long zoom range lenses.

 

If you want something along the lines of the SX260HS, the 1 inch sensor cameras are the closest, with better performance than your old Canon. Most of these are now discontinued, as their sales have been killed by cellphones. However there are still some available. The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is available at B&H for $600. It has a 24-100mm full frame equivalent zoom, and a flip-up/down screen, but no EVF. The slightly larger, but still compact $550 Canon G5 X has a similar lens, a fully articulating screen, and an EVF. The $448 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 gives you a 25-200mm equivalent zoom, although it doesn't have an articulating screen, but it does have an EVF. So if you want a camera as compact as your existing SX260HS, you may want to consider these cameras.

 

If you don't mind the larger, true bridge cameras, the aforementioned FZ1000II, as well as the original FZ1000 (which has a better lens, actually) is game. Both of these are also 1 inch sensor cameras. Other than the more expensive Sony 1 inch, the rest of the bridge camera lines use a smaller 1/2.3" sensor like the one in your SX260HS, and are not really recommended. The nice thing about Pannys (and Olympus) is that they can give you up to 60 second exposures versus the typical 30 second limits you see in Canon and Nikon cameras, and they have built-in intervalometers that can time up to that limit.

 

If you don't mind going a little larger (but smaller than a bridge), you may want to consider a Micro Four Thirds body, which gives you interchangeable lens capability which, besides giving you a range of lenses to work with, allows you to attach it to a telescope. The Panasonic Lumix G7 2 lens kit can be had for $500, and has a fully articulating screen and an EVF. The Olympus models are more expensive, but the E-M5 Mk II and onwards model bodies are one of the few MFT bodies that can be computer controlled in Ekos, if you wanted to go down that route.


Edited by vidrazor, 28 November 2022 - 04:43 PM.


#5 HenryYuen

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 08:33 PM

Hello to all.  I currently own a Fuji Finepix S9200 bridge camera as well as a Canon EOS SL2 DSLR.  I found the former to be a very versatile camera for traveling and the later better suited for astrophotography.  If I want dark skies and deep space objects, I have to place my DSLR, lens, star tracker, tripod, laptop computer, etc into a backpack and walk/hike a mile.  Deep space objects require both long focal lengths and long exposure times, hence the star tracker.  The last time I weighed by backpack, it was 30 pounds.  Sometimes when I cannot carry a star tracker, I then choose to photograph the Milky Way with just a tripod, short exposures, high ISO and a fast f/2.8 50mm lens.   And then there are times, for example when traveling, when I cannot afford the luxury of 2 cameras, never mind a star tracker.  That is when I wish I had a better bridge camera suitable for astrophotography.  Therefore, what I am looking for in a bridge camera are:  (1) manual focus i.e. infinity, (2) raw output, (3) and electronic view finder as well as manual settings for (4) exposure time, (5) ISO, (6) aperture.  I think the latter 3 is found on most bridge cameras.  The EVF is more for travel pictures than astrophotography (keep in mind I am looking for camera that can do double duty).  Raw output is becoming common among the newer bridge camera but was not available in my older Fuji S9200.  I don’t know who, except the Canon SX70, has manual focus.  And that is why I am interested if anyone knows which bridge cameras has the option of manual focus.  Except for the moon, autofocus does not work for astrophotography.  To keep things in perspective, remember that if I am using a bridge camera, I don’t have my star tracker or DSLR, only a lightweight tripod.  The zoom lens will be set at 25 or 50 mm focal length, the rule of 500 will determine exposure times, 20 or 10 seconds respectively, and the camera will be aimed at the Milky Way or a constellation that I cannot see at home.



#6 Hesiod

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 01:53 AM

Panasonic have nice models: personally have the fz300 which is rather cheap, shot .Raw, has full manual control, a decent fast lens (2.8 across the whole range) and is fully tropicalized (that' the reason why I got it in the first place as use this camera to shot lightnings).
Overall is a very nice and handy camera but the sensor is small and rather old so its performances on Milky Way/starscape shots are very disappointing

#7 archer1960

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 10:23 AM

I have a Canon SX50HS which I love; even at 50x zoom (1200mm ff equivalent) it's quite sharp. It was replaced by the SX60HS a few years ago. I don't know if the SX60HS is still in production, but if so, it would be a good choice. Or maybe find a used one.



#8 HenryYuen

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 02:05 PM

I did more research by downloading camera user manuals and this is what I found.  Keep in mind that I am looking for a bridge camera with (1) raw format output so I can stack images in order to improve the signal to noise ratio and (2) manual focus because autofocus does not work with stars.  

1” sensors

     Panasonic Lumix FX1000: manual focus
     Sony RX10:  raw output and manual focus

1 / 2.3” sensors

     Canon SX70:  raw output and manual focus
     Nikon P950:  raw output and manual focus
     Panasonic FZ300:  manual focus



#9 Hesiod

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Posted 01 December 2022 - 05:58 AM

In your situation I would limit the research to 1".

The fz300 has both raw output and manual focus (its autofocus however works on stars, albeit not every time) but its tiny sensor has very obvious limits when used in low light


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