Sarah and I have dreamed for years of owning a “better camera”; one that could zoom past the end of my arm, take photos in anything other than a perfectly lit room and generally produce photos that we would be proud to display.
A few weeks ago we decided to take the plunge, but if you are anything like me major gear purchases require extensive research; intense scrutiny of both professional and amateur reviews (to see what the camera *might* be able to do, and then realistically what I might be able to do), interacting with the technical forum wizards to ask untold questions and generally be met with an equal mixture of fanboying and snorts of derision, and then finally assessing every offer going to find the best value for money.
I eventually decided that we would be best off with a bridge camera… neither of us wanted the hassle of changing lenses to suit the circumstances and the endless need to upgrade which ruled out a DSLR, and even the best point and shoots couldn’t give us the results we wanted. With a relatively large sensor to improve performance in less optimal situations, the Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000 quickly stood out from the crowd and showed promise.
A few phone calls later, we were in John Lewis trying to test it without freaking out other shoppers in shot. This is where the 16x zoom comes in handy; large enough to pull things in and give decent image sizes, even for relatively distant objects, but nowhere near the size or inconvenience of the mammoth 60x lenses that are now available. After making sure Sarah could comfortably hold it, we headed home to order online, taking advantage of John Lewis’ price match promise and a Panasonic promotion to score the lowest price, £50 cashback and a five year warranty. I was very pleased at having gotten all my ducks in a row!
Since getting the camera, I have been amazed by how well it works; plonking it in ‘Intelligent Auto’ mode delivers pleasant if not ovation worthy prints and allows you to use it like a top end point and shoot camera if you feel like being lazy or need to take a photo quickly.
Despite never having used a manual camera before, I have found it very intuitive to use and am relatively comfortable adjusting the aperture, shutter speed etc. As you will see from the photos dotted around this site, it consistently gives a great depth of field, allows you to focus quickly on moving planes and even takes 4k videos if you are trendy enough to have the one of the latest televisions.
Now, I feel like I am missing out if I don’t bring the camera along with me, and we have found ourselves slowing down to look at even everyday objects with a new sense of perspective, noticing details that we would previously never have considered.
In conclusion, all of the research paid off and I think we got a great deal on the perfect camera for us. Yes we might get better quality images on a DSLR but we would be just as likely to leave the wrong lens at home on the wrong day and end up with no photos at all.
Do you make snap decisions or do you take the time to focus? Either way, I’d love to hear about your pre-purchase rituals and preparations.