The digital camera I’ve been using since 2003, an Olympus C-730, has served me well, and taken thousands of great pictures, but at times I ran up against its limitations, too. It has a 10x optical zoom and 3.2 Megapixel image size, and has been great for a point and shoot camera. A few weeks ago I noticed that there was debris inside the lens, some of it on the lens surface, creating blurry spots in my photos. I had no way of getting it out, and didn’t think it was worth having it professionally cleaned. I decided it was time for a new camera. I spent about a week reading up and shopping online and settled on this Panasonic Lumix FZ150. It’s what’s called a “bridge” camera, meant to bridge the divide between point and shoot cameras and full-fledged SLRs. It has a single non-changeable lens, but what a lens! It zooms from wide angle to 24x optical magnification. Picture size is about 12 Megapixels, so four times more detail in the images than my previous camera. And it has lots of other features I thought would be handy, including a large LCD screen for shooting or viewing photos and videos (it does that, too) as well as a viewfinder, image stabilization, a top-rated automatic mode and lots of manual options. The camera arrived yesterday, and today I spent some time using it.
This morning I went out birding and picture-taking first in Belleplain State Forest, and it was a beautiful sunny morning. I was hoping for some good birds to test the abilities of the camera, and I found a few.
Here’s a Summer Tanager shot at full 24x zoom, then cropped to make the bird appear even larger.
And here’s a Worm-Eating Warbler at much the same settings. These are two birds I could never have captured this well with my old camera, so I’m very pleased. Of course, the opportunities to get good photos of small songbirds are always rare, so there were plenty I missed because they were moving to much, hiding too much, or just plain invisible!
As far as wide angle shots, the camera does great with those as well, with East Creek Pond, above, as an example.
I then drove to Beaver Dam Road for another birding spot and found this Snowy Egret, a much larger bird, and one that’s much easier to photograph.
Butterflies are smaller than birds, but usually easier to photograph because they sit still for a while. This Spicebush Swallowtail posed helpfully in the sandy road.
Some butterflies are quite small, like this Red-Banded Hairstreak, and they’re more challenging, but the zoom on the new camera made it pretty easy to get this shot. Compare the size of the sand grains here to the picture above to get an idea of the size difference.
Back home I tried out the flash on our older cat, Katie.
And took this of the boys, Tigger and Leo, on our screened porch.
I took lots of yard pictures, but I’ll show just this one, which I like the best, of a Bumblebee on an Azalea.
I’m very happy with the camera, and you can expect lots of pictures from it here in the future. And if I can figure out how to get video onto my Mac, maybe some of that, too, we’ll see.