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The Ultra Bridge – Panasonic’s FZ100

In 2004 I bought a Nikon Coolpix 8700, which was one of a flurry of ‘Bridge camera’ releases by various manufacturers that year. That segment of camera wasn’t new, but was taking off in a much bigger way than ever before. How you exactly define a Bridge camera isn’t an exact science. There are differing opinions. The loosest, but most accurate, definition is ‘a camera that bridges the gap between a DSLR and a point and shoot camera’.

I prefer to think of Bridge cameras as being advanced, high end units with full manual control, superzoom lenses, and a DSLR styled body. Some people might agree with me. Others, who would want to include cameras such as the Canon G11 in the Bridge category, won’t agree with me. It doesn’t really matter.

The Nikon 8700 I bought, and it’s rivals, had reasonable success. But for a while it looked like the category would die out. The 8700 was released at a time when DSLR’s cost a bomb and a Bridge camera made a good value alternative. With the decrease in DSLR sizes and prices, the death of the Bridge camera was widely predicted. And yet, a couple of years ago, there was an explosion of new models. Nikon even managed to finally bring out a successor to the 8700/8800 with the P80.

I happen to like Bridge cameras. Ultimately, a DSLR is a better camera with substantially better image quality. But a Bridge camera has it’s advantages. It’s usually smaller. And lighter. And it comes with a fabulous lens with ranges these days of 25mm-600mm or better. And it’s much cheaper.

Before anyone pipes up that you can get a DSLR to match the Bridge camera for less than the camera I’m going to mention in a moment – I’d just like to point out that actually, you can’t. Not with the lenses needed to match the range of the new Panasonic included in the price, anyway. So there. And much as I’d love a DSLR, I have my budget!

Anyway, what was I saying. I like Bridge cameras. I owned a Nikon 8700 for four years. Earlier this year I bought a Panasonic FZ35. And a couple of weeks ago I replaced that with the new Fuji HS10. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned all this. But I have camera lust once again. Panasonic have just announced a handful of new cameras, including two new Bridge cameras.

The FZ40 (FZ45 in some markets) is the direct replacement of the FZ35. But what really tickles my fancy is the FZ100. It’s an FZ40 on drugs. With ‘Go Faster’ stripes. I wish it had a zoom and manual focus ring, which I have on my Fuji. It doesn’t, but it does have some killer features of its own.

Starting with an all new 14mp MOS sensor using tech derived from Panasonic’s high end MFT range.  Then there is the top quality 460k variable angle 3″ LCD screen. I like. You can attach an external microphone, and that is a serious plus – I like taking videos. Talking of videos, full 1080p HD video is there. The lens has grown to 24x, and there are some impressive fps figures. Plus lots more.

I have camera lust indeed. Now to find someone in Mexico who wants to buy my Fuji HS10! Maybe. I’ll have to think about it! I have time. It won’t hit the shelves for another month or so.

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11 thoughts on “The Ultra Bridge – Panasonic’s FZ100

    • I’m always tempted to buy something. Far more often than I have ready cash to live out my technological urges! Really, I’m very happy with my HS10. But that’s not to say I won’t keep looking at the latest goodies…

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  1. I really have you to thank Gary for keeping my Fz35 and not jumping into the s.l.r. world. (s.l.r. – three letter when separated by periods means – “heavy camera bag – light bank account”)
    The Lx5 looks very interesting to me as I miss my Lx3. Still, it is fun to dream!

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  2. I like the LX5 too. It’s a great camera, and the image quality much better than most compacts. But I just don’t think I’d be tempted to sacrifice a huge zoom lens now that I’ve sampled the delights and extra opportunities they offer!

    The FZ35 is a great camera. It actually beat my new HS10 in a recent superzoom review on DPReview. Beat off all comers, more to the point.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q110superzoomgroup/

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  3. Ed says:

    Well it’s too big for my messenger bag. :p

    Every time I think about upgrading I go out there and do research — and nothing suits me. So I stick with my little Sony.

    Hope you are well. Noticed you stopped by the blog. Still have you on the friends list — for some strange reason. LOL

    My best to Senora Denness and the turts.

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    • There’s nothing wrong with sticking with what you know and love Mr Ed!

      I still read you blog, fear not. It’s just I read it through Google Reader most of the time, so I guess my presence doesn’t show up!

      Always friends, señor! The turts send their regards. The Mrs is busy Cloroxing stuff…

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  4. Kim G says:

    So does this mean I’m going to buy yet another camera on Amazon soon?

    I’ll probably be in DF sometime in September.

    Save your pesos.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where little did we know that someday we’d be creating a narco counter-flow with cameras. LOL

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    • Kim G says:

      P.S. It’s listed as $499 USD on Amazon, but not available yet.

      P.P.S. This could be the bridge camera that weans me off the 12-Lb DSLR.

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      • It needs to come down a few dollars if it wants to come live with me!

        But funnily enough, when I saw it, I did think you’d like it, given our previous conversations.

        And Mr K….Flickr! Where are you, amigo?!?!

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    • Heh heh! You’re reading my mind! Except, to be honest, I really don’t know. Of course I’d like it! The specs are fantastic, and if I know Panasonic, then this camera should be a cracker.

      But it’s a dinero issue. If I can find someone to pay up enough to cover the cost then maybe, but Liverpool just put the HS10 through a sale at 7,600 pesos.

      And I’m still really happy with my HS10. I have some pondering to do!!!

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  5. Pingback: Blog Review 2010 | The Mexile

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