Good 'Bridge' camera?

    Hi, noticed there's a lot of keen photographers on this board, i'm looking for a 'bridge' camera, i can't afford a full DSLR but would like some versatility with shutter speeds etc. so i can take it a bit more seriously.

    Firstly, is it worth it? will i notice a difference between one and the compact camera i've got?

    Secondly, what would be a good model to go for? i've seen the Fuji S5700 at for £105 delivered, seems to get good reviews and is a good price. I wouldn't want to spend much more than that. Ideally with an SD card slot as i have lots of those!!!

    Thanks in advance, perhaps if someone has the 5700 they could post a picture?



    I have made the progression from a Compact to a Dslr... and i play around wiht bridge cameras all the time. I guess it really depends on what you want to do with it. One of the limiting things with Bridge camera's is they are still esentialy borderline Compacts, whihc means some of them will only go up to F/8 appature. What type of photography are you in to?

    Panasonic Lumix FZ-50

    The Fuji cameras are good bridge cameras - great value for money - but it's worth looking to see if you can stretch to a F6500 or even 9600 - these are older models but have much larger lenses and handle more like a regular DSLR (you rotate the lens barrel for zoom rather than pressing buttons etc). Definately worth the step up over a compact if you are interested in more creative photography by adjusting aperture/shutter speed...

    That said, DSLRs are available well under £300 now and are a definate big step up from the bridge cameras, and for a lot of models you can get very good value second-hand lenses off ebay (especially if you get an adapter letting you use M42 maual lenses from the 60's and 70's - I bought 5 lenses for around £20 covering a wide range of focusses and apertures...)

    Great website if youre willing to spend some time reading the reviews...…ws/

    I have the S6500, very pleased with it, takes fab photos, you can get extra lenses to fit on it as well but the one on it doesnt come off.

    If you want to learn a bit more, then you should get better results with a bridge than with a compact, but only if you learn to use the manual settings.

    I bought a Canon Powershot S2 IS, thinking that I would like to learn a bit more about photography, but due to circumstances, just haven't had the chance to use it to it's full potential so far. As a result, I find myself using my tiny Canon Ixus most the time, as the conveinience of being able to carry it around in my pocket and the speed with which I can take photos without having to mess with the case/lens cap, etc., outways the advantages that the S2 gives me in everyday use, especially as the automatic settings give a similar result.

    ]Imaging Resource - Another good site for reviews.

    The S5700 has a lot of good reviews; apart from the S5600 deal posted the other day at Tesco (probably all gone now) it's the cheapest of it's type around. This ]review at DCRP has some good pics and a good example of the excellent video it can take. You can also search for S5700 (or it's US name S700) on You Tube to see some online reviews and examples of pics and videos from users.
    If you 'd consider a ]fuji refurb you can get the S5700 at £89.99, S6500fd at £119.99, S8000fd at £141.50 etc. (all plus about £5.00 postage).

    Original Poster

    Thanks for all of the replies, i really can't justify spending £250-£300 on a camera, at the moment i would say i'm completely a novice at photography, but like pictures and think i can 'see' a good picture, close up with macros i like, as well as scenes, everything i suppose.

    I suppose i want something to 'try' if you like, without having to spend a fortune. I know a little about shutter speeds and apperatures etc. from my GCSE photography, but it is something i would definitely like to know/learn more about, might even consider doing a course. This is why i'm looking at a camera such as this, there is only so much you can do with a compact camera!!

    The 5700 seems to be getting good reviews, might go to a camera shop and tap them up for loads of information and have a play with one.

    Your better getting the information from the internet and online reviews really - tend to be more impartial (ie they won't try and sell you what they need to get rid of!). Good to have a look and feel of the cameras in store mind - you might find you prefer the bulky, tactile S6500 over the smaller S5xxx...

    Original Poster

    I like the idea of twisting the lens to zoom rather than buttons, also is it common to have the viewfinder as a mini LCD rather than a proper view?

    Yes, thats called an EVF and in many ways is better than the alternative (having an optical viewfinder). The biggest differences between SLRs and conventional cameras (along with the interchangable lenses) is the fact on an SLR the view finder is actually the light travelling through the lens redirected by a mirror (hence single lens reflex) - this is the best option as you get closest to the image that would be captured by the lens (including its focus etc). EVFs are the next best option as they should include some idea of focus and depth-of-field which you wouldn't get using a conventional optical viewfinder, along with extra control information.

    Original Poster

    Ok, narrowed it down to either a s6500fd or a s5700, really can't decide, lots of places say different things, like the face detection is just a fad etc, can't seem to see the difference. 6500 has less megapixels, i know that doesn't necessarily mean worse, but it's something i could use to decide!!!

    Fuji has the 6500 for £119.99 refurbed, which seems a good deal, i don't really have a problem with a refurb, presume it still comes with a guarantee etc. 5700 is £105, and also accepts SD and SDHC which are cheap and i have a couple of 2gb ones already.

    Arrrrggggghhhhh!!!! decisions decisions!!!!!

    My gut instinct is despite being a generation earlier (hence less megapixels) the added build quality of the lens and other features more than makes up for it in the 6500's favour, provided you don't mind lugging around a substantially bigger camera with you...

    Remember difference between 6mp and 7 or 8 or 10mp isn't much (eg 6mp = 2800x2100 ish, 10mp=3600x2700 ish) and the underlying image quality is more dependant on the quality of the lens etc.

    Original Poster

    Have decided to go for the 6500fd, now just need to find a 'hot deal' for it.......... found £140 from amazon, £120 fuji refurb, anybody used fuji for refurbs? Would rather it be spanking new, but want to pay as little as possible!!
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