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There's a new sheriff in town . . . and he's been sent packing

Discussion in 'Superzoom Salon' started by tonyturley, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Like Jock and Sue, I have joined the bridge camera brigade. I found a store demo Panasonic FZ2500 from Adorama (with a warranty) at a significant discount from the new price, and it is arriving tomorrow. I think many of you have heard me mention off and on about the yearning for a single “do it all” camera. I know there is no free lunch – physics is physics. An APS-C fixed lens camera going from 24-480mm and f/2.8-4.5 would be enormous, heavy, and expensive. Even such a camera with a micro 4/3 sensor would be unwieldy. Heck, even the 1” sensor RX10 i-iv are massive, expensive beasts.

    This idea has been floating around in my head for a while, but what really helped solidify the idea was buying Stephen Ingraham’s “Point and Shoot Nature Photography” book, and finding Prof. Bryan Pfeiffer’s Field Naturalist site. Those are guys who are prolific naturalists, photographers, and writers, and their tool of choice is the RX10iv. While there was no way I was going to pay that kind of coin, I began researching suitable alternatives. I knew I didn’t want to go smaller than a 1” sensor, so the FZ300, Nikon P900 and similar cameras were out. Many people like the FZ1000, and I knew there was an FZ2500, although I don’t recall anyone on these forums using one. I dug for all the information I could find on the FZ2500, and uncovered a fair number of sample images. If I can produce the same quality images, I will be pleased.

    I’ve typically been carrying two MFT cameras when I go bike riding or hiking: one with a telephoto zoom, and one with a prime or shorter zoom. The arrangement has worked and I’ve gotten a lot of great images, but it is not optimal. I also didn’t want to go back to carrying a single camera and swapping lenses back and forth, like I did when I was carrying Fuji gear. The writings of Messrs. Ingraham and Pfieffer showed me that a fixed lens bridge camera can be used to produce quality work. Like them, I’m trying to establish myself as a free lance writer/photographer, at least as an avocation. A bridge camera has worked very well for them.

    Some of my MFT gear has already been listed for sale on Amazon, and the rest will follow shortly. Several years ago I got the idea that I needed to have a backup body. Other people manage to get through life with a single camera; I should be able to do the same. In closing, here’s the FZ2500 next to my current E-M10 II and 75-300 II. The Lumix has a shorter lens, but is heavier at 966g vs 813, with a taller and thicker body. It will take some adjustment, but it is my hope this will be the best camera for me at this stage of my journey.

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  2. Bobby Tingle

    Bobby Tingle Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Best of luck on this next leg of your photography journey. Given your work, I'm sure you will be able to produce great images with this camera.

    For the topic of backup gear. I always give the rule of thumb, if you are shooting something that you can't stop shooting because you have an equipment failure. Then you need backup gear. For the stuff you are doing currently, a good phone camera would work well as an emergency backup.
     
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  3. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I look forward to your findings and your photos. I'm no member of the lighter camera is better club. I understand that may change as I get older. But I think the primary weight savings of not hauling around 3 different lenses allows one to carry around a heavier superzoom without penalty. I just sold off my E-M5...not because it was dated (relatively), but because it is smaller than I prefer. My hands always felt a little cramped. That FZ looks like it would feel good to hold. And I tend to use superzoom with a sling, so the weight is never even a consideration.
     
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  4. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Thanks guys. Bobby, I do have a Canon S95, and I may start carrying that as my "just in case" camera. Luke, I do like my MFT cameras, but I often find myself fumbling for buttons. It could just be that I haven't developed the proper muscle memory yet. I used to have a Pentax K30, so here's the FZ2500 compared to the K30 and 18-55 kit lens:

    Screenshot3.png

    I am finding as I experiment with various platforms and attempt to refine my gear, that there are always compromises. To get 400mm+ reach and large aperture on a DSLR size body requires size, weight, and $$$. Same for MFT, on a slightly smaller scale. If the FZ2500 turns out to be a reliable camera, my gut tells me it will be a good balance between size, lens brightness, reach, and IQ. To me, that would be a win.
     
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  5. john m flores

    john m flores All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    FZ2500 + S95 sounds like a potent combo. Honestly, cameras are so good these days that I could submit a travel story to my publisher with that combo and they’d have no clue.

    Good luck with it!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  6. Matero

    Matero Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    717
    Jan 28, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Good luck, I definitely hear what your saying. And as said above, cameras are so good that it’s more question of ergonomics and habits than image quality when one have enough skills, as you surely have.
     
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  7. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    I can relate entirely with my RX10 iii and X100T. Selling my GR to welcome the Fuji. I'm 72 next week, and with PD fixed lens is the way to go and a bit of heft reduces the wobbles.
     
  8. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Sounds like a great combination, Bill. I used to have the original X100. I never found it too slow, but then I'm a rather deliberative photographer, too. I had a lot more gear at the time and thought I needed to clear some stuff out, but that old X100 is a camera I wish I'd kept. I'm 59, and though I don't have PD, I find I'm not as steady as I used to be. I'll often use my bicycle or a tree as a handy steadying device, if I'm not in a spot where I want to pull out my tripod.
     
  9. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Arrived a few minutes ago (am I the only one that photographs their cameras?). Battery is charging now. The adventure begins.

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  10. bluzcity

    bluzcity Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    829
    Jul 24, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    Brent
    Congratulations Tony. I shoot a Sony RX 10 bridge about 60% of the time and am very satisfied with it for all but low light handheld. Certainly it does well in low light and night shooting with a tripod. Hope you like it as much as I like mine!
     
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  11. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Thanks Brent. I'm looking forward to seeing what the camera can do.
     
  12. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Well folks, the journey with the FZ2500 was brief but enlightening. The camera was packed and sent back to the vendor this morning. I had to pay return shipping, but even with the extra signature delivery fee I added, the venture cost me a lot less than a 10 day rental would have cost.

    Until yesterday, I had every intention of keeping the FZ2500. There were things about it I liked a lot. The IQ ranged from decent to great, depending on the conditions. A 24-480mm equivalent lens with f/2.8-4.5 aperture for any other system would be huge and expensive. My Olympus 75-300 II is f/6.7 on the long end, so I'm going to miss that extra brightness. I also loved that the FZ2500's lens didn't pump in and out while zooming. The convenience of the camera was a plus. I spent as much time as I could every day exploring and experimenting with the FZ2500, getting to know it and pulling the best from it that I could.

    What turned the tide was going out with the FZ2500 and its cousin, the GX85 + 12-60 kit lens. I set up shots from the same spot, on a tripod, attempting to get the settings as close as possible. Both cameras did well SOOC. I was impressed that the FZ2500 seemed to fare so well in the dim morning lighting conditions. Then I viewed the images on a larger monitor, and was immediately struck by the difference in clarity between the two platforms. Even after some light PP to try to even things out, the GX85 images, to my eyes, had more snap, for lack of a better word. The difference was even more clear when shooting some images with blue sky and clouds after the fog burned away. The 12-60mm kit lens seems to be Panasonic's answer to the Fuji 18-55mm . . . and the 12-60 is weather sealed. It may be a stop slower, but it is an excellent little lens.

    I'm not dissing the FZ2500 at all. I was torn whether to return it or not. It's a good camera, and for the right person, it would be a fine EDC. I just came to the conclusion I'm not that person. I also tend to like my cameras to be a bit smaller, although not necessarily miniscule. I'm hoping to sell off what little bit of extraneous gear I have left and get a Lumix G85, the weather sealed sibling to the GX85. I do a lot of winter hiking & biking, as well as the occasional waterfall shoots, and I'd like to have that peace of mind in my camera again.
     
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  13. Bobby Tingle

    Bobby Tingle Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    At least you have had a great learning experience. And now you know the next direction for you to go in.
     
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  14. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    It was a great learning experience, Bobby, and I don't regret trying at all. I hope my posts about the FZ2500 help anyone who might be on the fence about buying one. It takes some effort and practice to get the best from the camera, but it's capable of producing good work.
     
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  15. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Well, whatever you spent (not lost, really) was well worth it. You got more good shots with that kit than I've gotten in this calendar year. You gotta be shooting to get the shots. You may not have been happy with all of them, but you also enjoyed the experience.

    And you probably have a better idea of what you are looking for now.

    Thanks for sharing your images and thoughts.
     
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  16. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran

    862
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    Tony I have been following along and must say this has been an education for me as well. At first I was totally against it and then came back to somewhere in the middle. While I was cheering you on, and I know you gave it your best shot, I was never able to get fully settled with the images. My eye kept going to the busy background and the birds, which to me the camera could not resolve totally. I am relieved you sent it back although I was pulling for it to work for you. You have great skills my friend and I always admire your work. Shoot sharp buddy.
     
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  17. bluzcity

    bluzcity Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    829
    Jul 24, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    Brent
    Tony I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. What I noticed in your samples with the M4/3 vs the FZ was a bit of resolution difference but mostly I saw more contrast in the M 4/3 samples, likely what you call 'snap'. Trying different options is part of and what makes the hobby enjoyable. I'm glad you had a big adventure! Good luck on acquiring the weather-sealed Panny! And thanks for taking us on the ride.
     
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  18. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Thanks Brent.
     
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  19. I'll save some Fuji stuff for you. You'll be back!
     
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