My Camera – A Love / Hate Relationship


I love my annoying Panasonic DMC-LZ20 camera. That sums up how I feel about it.

The DMC-LZ20 is a ‘bridge’ camera. That means it’s not quite a full, proper camera (a DSLR) but it’s slightly more tweakable than your normal digital camera. It bridges the gap between the two different types, hence the name.

365-camera

Now, if you’re looking for a massively technical explanation of the features of this camera, you’re in the wrong place. Plenty of people with far more knowledge of such issues will already have written about this camera. This is a layman’s exploration.

Firstly, the big pro of my camera – the control over shutter speed. You can leave the shutter open for up to 30 seconds. I wanted to take photos of the stars and this is the minimum you need to leave your shutter open for star pics. You generally don’t get an option to have the shutter open for this long on a ‘normal’ digital camera.

There are two noticeably big negatives to this camera. The first is the decline in quality when you go to a higher ISO. Woah – that got technical. Let me explain.

The ‘ISO’ is a measure of light sensitivity. The lower the ISO, the lower the sensitivity to light. So, when it’s dark, you’ll need a high ISO. This camera has an ISO range from 100 to 1600. The problem with the higher ISO is that the pictures get very noisy.

This photo, for example, has an ISO of 1600 and a shutter speed of 30 seconds. That’s the highest light sensitive setting. See all the dots and the noise in the sky? That’s the disappointing mess.

365-camera-noisy

I’ve seen other cameras with ISOs up to 6400 and 12800. Wow. That idea pleases my simple mind.

The second big issue I have with this is the focus. There’s no manual focus option. You can choose to auto-focus in the centre, or by selecting an option to look at 9 different spots and focus from that. It’s not good.

I’ve been frustrated many times by taking what I thought would be a good pic only to find the result is out of focus. Sometimes you end up giving up because the camera just isn’t interested in looking at your chosen subject.

When it does work, though, it’s fun. Sometimes experimenting with lights leaves you with some pretty results. With this shot, for example, I left it on a low light sensitivity but left the lense open for 2.5 seconds.

treepic

The low light sensitivity with the 100 ISO meant that you got a glow from the bulbs without it  over-exposing the pic. A nice pic for entering Christmas Tree pic competitions, although it didn’t win me anything! :/

One day, I’d like to step up to a proper DSLR. The bridge camera has served it’s purpose – it’s introduced me to the various advanced camera / film variables (focal length, ISO, shutter speed). When you reach limits, however, or when you’re looking for a better performance from certain aspects of your camera, then perhaps it means you’re ready to get to the other side of the bridge….

13 Comments

  1. 25 May 2016
    Reply

    Great review! I couldn’t cope without a manual focus, that would drive me crazy!

  2. 25 May 2016
    Reply

    Great review I have a Canon camera which I love but would love a dslr or bridge camera though.

  3. 25 May 2016
    Reply

    I am a complete novice with anything but automatic cameras so found this information really useful x

  4. I had a bridge camera some years ago but my dslr camera is the best.

  5. 26 May 2016
    Reply

    My mummy has no real idea about cameras but was treated to a fool proof DSLR camera at Christmas which she loves! She’s yet to master photography 😉

  6. One of the reasons that I bought the Canon 6D was that it is fantastic in low light. Really really amazing. At ISO 12800 there is an appreciable amount of noise but the autofocus is pin sharp in low light, even near darkness.

    I also want a bridge camera for travel, as the 6D is SO heavy.

  7. 27 May 2016
    Reply

    My photography skills are atrocious, my boss will verify that as whenever I am out reporting on something my photos are not great. I really need to go on a course or something I think. I love the picture of the christmas tree. xxx

  8. 27 May 2016
    Reply

    We had a bridge camera for a while and it is the perfect trainer for getting a DSLR.

  9. So much of this went way over my head – I really need to make an effort to understand photography a bit. Mostly I just point and shoot with my phone camera like a philistine! 🙂

  10. 27 May 2016
    Reply

    Great review! The pictures look great, I have never owned a camera like this and would love too.
    http://mariesbeauties.co.uk

  11. 27 May 2016
    Reply

    Love your photo for the competition, really should have won ???? I’ve got a normal digital camera but Im rubbish on it, somehow take worse photos on that than my phone. Would love a proper camera one day x

  12. 27 May 2016
    Reply

    I’ve had my Nikon camera for a couple of years and I’m still trying to work it out!
    http://lilinhaangel.com/

  13. 28 May 2016
    Reply

    I am still trying to figure out my own DSLR so don’t worry about your bridge cam. Thanks for teaching me about ISO though!

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