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best bridge camera for a beginner and night sky photography

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by LouLou87, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. LouLou87

    LouLou87 New Member

    Hi everyone and merry Christmas, its my birthday in a few days and my lovely mum told me about bridge cameras after looking around to buy my a new camera for my birthdaym she discovered bridge cameras and has told me to pick one for myself with a rough max cost of 150, she was going to get a DSLR however upon reading all about the fancy extras they come with she wasnt keen on splashing out incase i struggle to use them and lose interest, at least this way i can play with a bridge camera, really see and gage just how good my apparent nack for taking good pictures really is without the big risk price tag.

    My main focus when taking pictures are dramatic landscapes, i live in the west highlands of scotland which produces some amazing sights for photo opportunities, sunsets, bad weather, views from up high, views acrosa lochs and wildlife. Im also a keen night sky enthusiast and tend to spend most of my winter nights out up the glen with the telescope. Many a time i have tried to out my camera lense uo against the scope eyepiece to capture what im seeing but the only thing that works when doing that is the moon and even then its pretty pants. I need a camera thst will capture the real beauty of thw area and also something that will double up for taking pictures of the night sky such as the northern lights and the moon, ive been told for this to happen i need a camera with a minum 30second shutter, something with a bulb setting and low ISO. Is this correct? He has also offered to take me on his shoots to teach me how to use a bridge camera to the full. Please could you give me the names of the cameras best matched to my needs, this is something i am extremely keen on exploring and dont want to cock it up by getting something that is of no use and waisting money, my budget is 150 with a small amount of wiggle room so any help with this would be hugrly appreciated.
    many thanks, louise xx
     
  2. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    Merry Christmas! I am no expert on bridge cameras but with compacts and superzooms I usually prefer Canons with HS in there name. I, friends and family have bought few models and they have all been suprisingly good.
    the HS stands for a CMOS technology that Canon uses to get better low light performance but I find that it gives better quality all around compared to the nonHS models, there is a bit of a price difference but imho I think ot is worth it.
    Then you will need a tripod, for what you are planing you will soon run into problems trying to handhold the camera. If you go down the compact/superzoom/brige route you might want to look at a GorillaPod from JOBY I got one with me on my travels as it is great to save me when "I really should have brought my tripod" dilema sets in ;)
    But take your time, try them out even buy a good memory card and use that in the store to take test pictures and look at them at home. Cameras are very personal thing so it pays to spend some time to get the right one. After all you are parting with some hard earned £. :)
     
  3. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    What snorri said above. I'd also look to see if you can find a bridge camera with a filter thread on the lens so that you can buy a polariasing filter, grads etc if you think that you may get seriously into this hobby. Not sure that Canon's bridge cameras feature a filter thread, but also look at Fuji and Panasonic. As with most cameras, it's always best to try before you buy to see what feels right in your hands
     
  4. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Welcome to the forums!

    I'll second Snorri & Ivor's comments, and add that I think Fuji are the only maker of bridge cameras to have a filter thread on the lens. Unfortunately, I think they only do this on their higher end models, which are rather over your budget, unless you consider second hand. I see that Ffordes, near Beauly, have an HS20 EXR for £119. This was class leading in its day, and not too bad compared with many current models.

    http://www.ffordes.com/product/14110416394131

    Detailed review:

    http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/fujifilm_finepix_hs20exr_review/

    I must admit to being a bit of a fan of Fuji bridge cameras, my first proper digital camera was an S9500, which I still use occasionally.

    To answer some of your points - for Highland landscapes, you'll find being able to go as wide as possible at the short end of the zoom range useful - sometimes it's just not practical to get further away from a mountain! 24mm equivalent is probably your target maximum.

    Shutter speeds - 1/4000s to 30s is typical of most bridge cameras, some have a "B" (brief time) mode which is supposed to keep the shutter open for as long as you hold the button down, but this is often limited to no more than 30s anyway. The camera will probably do long exposure noise reduction, which will lock it up for an additional time as long as the original exposure after the shutter closes. You'll probably want some form of remote release to avoid shaking the camera when its on the tripod for long exposures, though sometimes you can improvise by using the delayed action self timer.

    Low ISO is usually 100 or less for bridge cameras, and helps reduce the noise (coloured speckles) in the picture, or increase the dynamic range (range of brightness - darkness that can be represented between bright white and total black). It also helps make it possible to use long exposures for star trails. The Fuji EXR system, as used in the HS20 mentioned above, has some clever tricks you can play to get it to "double up" the pixels on the sensor to get less noise or extended dynamic range.

    As mentioned in another thread, you can sometimes improvise by hand holding a filter in front of the lens, or even by using BluTak or similar (with care to avoid getting it on the glass!)
     
  5. J H Foto

    J H Foto Well-Known Member

    Expensive but I can recommend the Panasonic Lumix FZ 1000..Excellent camera
     
  6. Xenol

    Xenol Well-Known Member

    150 (£s or $s?) Its a huge ammount, but you might be able to pick up a Fujifilm HS30EXR (or the HS20EXR if the 30s too expensive) I had one of these before I went with a DSLR and got some amazing photos with it. Manual zoom as well which is a surprisingly nice thing to have.
     
  7. LouLou87

    LouLou87 New Member

    Hi all, thank you very much for all the great advice, I managed to settle on a camera last night, it's a FinePix S200EXR however before purchasing this one I came across a Pentax x5 which seemed to be exactly what I needed, I made an offer of £100 being extremely cheeky and not thinking it would have been accepted considering the price was starting £155. Anyway he accepted the offer a second after I completed the Fuji purchase and I'm having a real fight with myself that the Pentax is the one however the Fuji and the pictures uploaded on an Amazon review were just beautiful, some night sky ones, close ups of a fly with a water bubble on its mouth macro style, the full moon etc but I just can't shake off that the Pentax is the boss out of the two cameras. The Fuji does have a bit more going for it etc so I'm really hoping I've made the right choice and can get outside soon to start snapping many thanks for all the input and unconfusing a very confused lady!!

    I'll second Snorri & Ivor's comments, and add that I think Fuji are the only maker of bridge cameras to have a filter thread on the lens. Unfortunately, I think they only do this on their higher end models, which are rather over your budget, unless you consider second hand. I see that Ffordes, near Beauly, have an HS20 EXR for £119. This was class leading in its day, and not too bad compared with many current models.

    http://www.ffordes.com/product/14110416394131

    Detailed review:

    http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/fujifilm_finepix_hs20exr_review/

    I must admit to being a bit of a fan of Fuji bridge cameras, my first proper digital camera was an S9500, which I still use occasionally.

    To answer some of your points - for Highland landscapes, you'll find being able to go as wide as possible at the short end of the zoom range useful - sometimes it's just not practical to get further away from a mountain! 24mm equivalent is probably your target maximum.

    Shutter speeds - 1/4000s to 30s is typical of most bridge cameras, some have a "B" (brief time) mode which is supposed to keep the shutter open for as long as you hold the button down, but this is often limited to no more than 30s anyway. The camera will probably do long exposure noise reduction, which will lock it up for an additional time as long as the original exposure after the shutter closes. You'll probably want some form of remote release to avoid shaking the camera when its on the tripod for long exposures, though sometimes you can improvise by using the delayed action self timer.

    Low ISO is usually 100 or less for bridge cameras, and helps reduce the noise (coloured speckles) in the picture, or increase the dynamic range (range of brightness - darkness that can be represented between bright white and total black). It also helps make it possible to use long exposures for star trails. The Fuji EXR system, as used in the HS20 mentioned above, has some clever tricks you can play to get it to "double up" the pixels on the sensor to get less noise or extended dynamic range.

    As mentioned in another thread, you can sometimes improvise by hand holding a filter in front of the lens, or even by using BluTak or similar (with care to avoid getting it on the glass!)[/QUOTE]
     
  8. salcensr

    salcensr New Member

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    hi, i have a fuji finepix f31fd and a 30fd for night sky even though they are old models and almost impossible to find they are excellent and match or better any of the new models if used with a tripod , telescope and adapter which you can find on ebay..
    if you use a so called bridge camera you still need a tripod,maybe not a telescope if the zoom is powerful enough,the best of this class is the nikon p900 with a 83x zoom and it works pretty good with the moon and planets.
    if you are going to use slr's go with canon, best in low light night sky,but be advised that whatever camera or brand you choose the iso for the night sky has to be very high,you might get away with low iso 100 or 200 with the full moon,but if you are photographing planets ,star clusters , constellations,nebulas etc you need a very high iso, the higher the better to capture as much light as possible in the least amount of time ,most of the cameras have a maximum shutter time of 30 seconds,but even with 30 seconds you need automatic tracking, i find that more than 5 seconds there is too much movement that leaves a streak and photos don't come out clear, with a very high iso,12,500 and up you don't need automatic tracking, with 2 to 5 seconds exposure you can make a fairly clear shot of mars saturn or jupiter, camera must be on a tripod,firmer the better and also very important, a remote control to avoid vibrations which more times than not will spoil the picture. hope this helps, have seen that jupiter is awsome currently in the night sky! good luck.
     
  9. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    No, don't. Certain Canon dslrs are good in low light (the full frame ones), others aren't. But they are nowhere as near as good as the best from Sony and Nikon. Some Canon dslrs are downright awful. The Canon APSC range performs worse than its rivals for noise.
     

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