My quest for that value-for-money digital camera led me to explore the bridge models which they say are suited for the “budding pro photographer.” They’re called bridge cameras basically because they’re designed for those wanting to transition from using compact digital cameras to DSLRs. They’re larger and heavier than your “fits in the palm of your hand” compacts and even sport the “DSLR look.”
I’m not new to photography (which btw doesn’t mean I’m actually good at it), whether film or digital. My mother taught me the basics of composition when she bought our first zoom camera back in my early grade school days. We love taking pictures of ourselves and the places we visit. I realized this when I tried to collect my and my husband’s photos for our wedding AVP and the number of my photos is grossly disproportionate to his.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been using my mother’s Sony Cybershot DSC-S40. It’s one of the earliest cybershot models and takes satisfactory pictures point-and-shoot. But when you start taking photos of children, hyperactive toddlers in particular, Auto settings in a digital camera will never do. Manually adjusting the camera’s settings will help to a certain extent, but with an old model such as the one I’m using, exposure and speed settings are limited and the zoom is hardly usable because of the observable decrease in image quality.
I was wanting to buy the Canon SX200 IS mostly because of its 12x optical zoom lens and HD movie recording capability. But based on product reviews it doesn’t seem value for money at P20k++.
Macro capability is one of my bigger considerations. My children love love being photographed (I wonder who they got it from). The moment they realize their photos are being taken, they smile, pose and poke their heads at the camera.
A classic example. I was trying to take a photo of Uri playing with his toy turtle with the sleeping Kuya Ari in the background. My intent was to capture their usual afternoon routine, Ari takes his nap and Uri plays by himself. But thanks to my “photo-sensitive” son, this was the photo I got.
And he stayed there until I tucked the camera away.
Although these actually ended up to be nice photos, I’m not so lucky all the time. It would be nice to take candid shots of them zooming in from a few meters away (without them knowing they’re being photographed) and still get acceptable image quality.
I found the Fujifilm FinePix S8100. It has an unbelievable 18x optical zoom plus 2x digital zoom for instant crops. It has the most natural looking flash on photos taken posted in product reviews. I love using flash, even in daylight, because it brings the color out of the subject. But most cameras have flash that are way too “flashy” and make subjects appear to have been dredged in flour.
Being among the bridge models, this camera is far from compact. But its design seems to provide the user with a firm grip, hence, more stable shots. It’s also the best looking among the Fujifilm S-series which all look like the film SLR cameras of 20 years ago. It’s made of heavy-duty plastic that could mean it’s not so heavy as steel-cased DSLRs.
Internet reviews say the Fujifilm FinePix S8100 is affordable at half the price of the likes of the Canon SX200. But I have no idea how much it really costs locally although this model and other Fujifilm cameras seem to be available in YKL Color stores. I guess I need to visit one of their shops one of these days.