The Lumix shootout – bridge vs micro 4/3
This whole diary is all about whether a bridge camera can be an effective replacement for a heavy DSLR rig for safari wildlife photography. But this post is a little aside: How does the bridge camera compare to a lightweight interchangeable lens camera?
My favourite camera for field use is my micro 4/3 Panasonic Lumix G7. It is small, light and has a great control system.
I’m primarily a walk around short-to-medium tele shooter, as I like to stand off my subjects for the compressed perspective look. I rarely shoot at wide angle. I love the little Pany 45-150 zoom. It’s small, light and image stabilised (important as there is no IBIS in the G7). I usually do all my shooting with that lens but I carry the Olympus 17mm pancake (barely heavier than a lens cap) as my emergency normal-to-wide lens. It weighs about 70g, so not a bother to carry.
Focal lengths between 25-90mm equivalent are not as important to me as they would be to a lot of people. It’s mainly the tele focal lengths that I’m interested in. In a way this means 1/4 of the focal range of the FZ1000 is not that important to me – but I still need to carry it around as it’s a fixed lens.
How do the two cameras compare for bulk and weight? The FZ1000 weighs about 900g fully loaded whilst the G7 + 45-150 is just a smidgeon over 600g.
For the weight conscious, the bridge camera is actually worse than the m4/3 camera in this scenario! However, you do gain an extra 100mm of zoom (equivalent), a stop wider lens and better image stabilisation (plus an extra 4MP if you shoot in the native 3:2 aspect ratio). And, of course, the 25-90mm range is there at your disposal at a flick of the zoom ring, no lens changing required.
I did a quick field test of the handling of these two cameras in my back garden (I was stuck at home as the cat needed to ferried to and from the vets and then pampered a bit). So what did I think?
Well, 900g is not a lot for the lens range on offer but compared to the G7 combo, it felt quite heavy to me when carrying the camera one handed. Need to hit the gym, maybe? The weight difference is not massive but it is noticeable as is the fact that the weight is in the lens, not the body. This tends to create a lever arm twisting movement where the front of the lens wants to drop and you have to constantly correct for this. It is also quite noticeable on the neck strap. I can carry the G7 around my neck all day without noticing it. The FZ1000 isn’t a problem on a neck strap but I am conscious of it hanging there and bouncing around in a way I don’t with the lighter G7. There is a certain joy of a long lens with a small diameter front element – the weight is further back towards the body and the camera is more stable as a result.
My initial feeling, then, favours the G7 over the bridge camera. But, of course, this completely ignores the benefits of the bridge camera, the all in one versatility and freedom from the need to pack additional lenses and constantly chop and change (which gets wearisome when it interrupts the flow of shooting or makes you miss the shot altogether in between lens changes). I still prefer the lighter weight but that has to be offset against the versatility.
Index to FZ1000 articles
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 diary: Image quality @400mm wide open vs Fuji X-E1 (APS-C)
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 diary: Image quality @400mm wide open vs G7
- Taking the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 for a walk in the park (Beckenham Place Park)
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 handling part 2: shooting at 300mm (equivalent) vs G7 plus 45-150mm
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 handling test
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 set up – Part 2
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 – first stab at set up
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Day 1 – First impressions
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 1″ type sensor superzoom bridge camera now £428