The Camera Cartel Conspiracy

I’ve been casting a green eyed look over some of Sony’s latest offerings in the photographic marketplace. Two compacts in particular. The HX100 bridge camera and the HX9 travel zoom. Which to choose? The bridge does have a faster lens at the wide angle and a longer 30x zoom. The HX9 has a wider 24mm lens though and fits in a pocket. Both have gotten rave reviews though.

Is it time to trade in my Olympus PEN? No, I still love the E-PL1. This is simply a case of wanting what  I haven’t got. Something I tend to do from time to time. But what I really want is a camera the size of the HX9 with a nice bright f1.8 lens, 20x zoom and, most importantly, a full sized sensor. It’s the sensor size that counts most of all.

There are a few compacts around with a slightly larger sensor. Canon’s S95 and G12, Olympus’ XZ1 and Panasonics LX5. But the sensors are only slightly larger. And none of those are bridge cameras. What’s holding these companies back from dropping a big sensor in a bridge camera? I”m far from convinced that there is a problem marrying the two from a technological point of view.

I suspect, although cannot prove, that a bridge camera with a huge lens and huge sensor would knock a big hole in the much more profitable DSLR market. Who’d go and spend $1200 on a DSLR with a range of lens that need a big bag to carry all that gear around in, when you could get something pretty much just as good for a third of the prize in one sensibly sized package?



6 thoughts on “The Camera Cartel Conspiracy

  1. Kim G says:

    I have been hankering for a Canon S95 for a while now. Last time I was with F I said I really needed to get a lighter camera as I was tired of lugging the 30D (which, with lens must weigh several pounds). He said I’d been saying that for a while now. One of these days I must make good on the threat.

    As for the bridge camera with a big sensor, it would certainly take some steam out of the DSLR market, but are bridge cameras as fast as DSLRS? I mean with respect to focusing and then snapping the photo the instant you press the shutter. I think that speed is one of the big advantages of DSLRs. It’s very frustrating to use a point-and shoot and miss shots because the camera is still trying to decide if the image met its own standards for focus and quality.

    How’s P liking London? Any immediate desire to return to DF?

    Hoping you all are well.

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we have never seen any kind of sample video taken under such gloomy circumstances.


    • You’ve been complaining about the weight of your kit for quite some time! The S95 is nice…I was considering it at one stage. Have you seen Olympus’ new XZ1? I think that would be my choice now.

      I know what you mean about speed, but I think that’s less of an issue these days, especially with the CMOS sensor equipped bridges. Did Sony boast a time of 1sec from start to photo? That would be good enough for me. For the non bridge compacts, it could also be said that any time lost in start up is made up for by not having to physically remove a lens cap. It’s also fair to say that, for a bridge, the time from start up to reaching it’s 800 odd millimeter limit is substantially quicker than a DSLR owner changing his lens.

      But then there’s the one big trade off – low light level performance. Compacts are getting better, but still can’t match those big sensored DSLRs. And seeing as there doesn’t really seem to be any hope of a bridge with a decent sensor in it making it to the marketplace anytime soon, what I will probably do, eventually, is just go get myself a new lens.


      • Kim G says:

        That lens, which surely has its charms, isn’t particularly fast at f4.0, so I’m not sure it’d solve any low-light problems. One of the problems with genuinely fast lenses is that they are large and heavy. Like the lens on the camera I keep complaining about. But despite the whining, I am pretty happy with the pictures it takes, especially those taken with that particular big heavy lens.

        As for the speed I was referring to above, it wasn’t start-up time as much as shutter lag. At least the D30 snaps the photo when I press the button, in focus or not. My old G3 (which I still like) isn’t at all good for taking photos of fast-moving subjects like children, animated adults, etc.

        So is P enjoying London?


        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where we’ve just spent the afternoon driving around the New Hampshire countryside with the top down. Fun!


        • It’s not a fast lens, no. But it does start at 40mm equiv, so you wouldn’t expect a fast lens at that price. That price, importantly, might be within my budget.I was impressed with the photos you take as well. The ones I’ve seen, anyway. I’d like to see more, but I’ve given up trying to convince you to embrace Flickr 🙂

          I do remember getting a little frustrated from time to time with my old Panny TZ5 from time to time as far as shutter lag goes. The FZ35 had its moments too. The Fuji HX10 less so. In fact I don’t remember that being an issue. Whether that’s my poor memory, or the CMOS sensor at work, is open to debate.


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