The Camera That Killed My Curiosity

From around mid-2012 to mid-2020, I had a great thirst for new (to me, but old) cameras.

This desire certainly dropped off in latter years, as I stopped shooting film (mid-2017) and then realised further that once you’ve discovered even a couple of digital cameras you love, there’s little point in keep trying out more and more, for any potential, incremental benefit.

But apparently, I still had a void to fill, and overall last year (2020), I bought around 15 cameras.

However, of these, about six were in two bundles I bought just for one specific camera in each and gave away the rest.

Another three were old film cameras I bought just for the lens attached to them, and again immediately donated the cameras.

Which leaves just six cameras I bought intentionally for that camera.

The last of these, was the Panasonic Lumix FZ38, bought in September, and the only camera I’ve bought in the last seven months.

And whilst, as explained, my curiosity for new cameras was well on the wane by then, it could be said that the Lumix was the one the killed it.

Why? I think there are a few factors.

First is that it’s arguably the most balanced camera I own.

The Lumix has a winning combination of the small size, portability, and low weight of a digital compact, plus a larger lens, substantial and very comfortable grip which means it handles more like a small DSLR.

For a few years I’ve flip-flopped between the two main types of digital camera – compact and DSLR – and found wonderful examples of each.

But both styles have their limitations.

A DSLR can be overly weighty after a while, and of course gives you the eternal dilemma of which lens to choose each time you go out.

Whilst I favour older, simpler DSLRs, they can still be more complicated than necessary, almost over engineered for my needs.

And a digital compact can be so compact that their too fiddly and awkward, and their smaller sensors and lenses don’t give anything like the options and control over depth of field, for example, as a DSLR.

So the Lumix FZ38 promised to bridge that gap. There’s an obvious reason why these types of cameras are called “bridge cameras”.

Without wanting to muddle my metaphors, with any bridge, there’s a danger of falling between two stools.

Being such a compromise of both types of cameras it’s trying to fit between, that it fails at being even a reasonable attempt at emulating either.

This doesn’t appear to be the case with this Lumix.

Of course it’s not as compact as, well, a compact, like its sibling the titchy XS1.

Nor does it have the ability to mount one of my favourite M42 lenses like a Helios 44 or a Takumar.

But no camera can cover that many bases, it’s physically impossible.

Now, me of perhaps five, or even three years ago, would have seen the discovery of this new genre of camera not as an end point, but the start of a new quest, to find the “best” bridge camera.

I would have likely started with Panasonic Lumix, FujiFilm, and Sony. And spent the following weeks, months, and even years, researching, seeking out, buying and testing dozens of highly similar cameras to find the king or queen of them all.

But I have no stomach for that kind of adventure anymore.

I’m tired of seeking, of being in that mode of perpetual dissatisfaction with what I have right here in front of me.

So the Lumix it seems is my first foray into Lumix bridge cameras, with no interest in extending it any further.

If I too get tired of its compromises, I have excellent options either side to fall back on and rediscover.

How about you? How’s your camera curiosity these days?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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8 thoughts on “The Camera That Killed My Curiosity”

  1. I’ve checked the references you mentioned but I’ve only found secondhand items. Do you buy them new or pre-owned? The combo Panasonic Lumix FZ38 and XS1 seems like a perfect pair but although I’m a big fan of buying second-hand stuff, I still hesitate…

    1. Ha ha, thanks VO, that’s cracked me up! You’re obviously quite new here – most of my writing is about using old cameras! Check out the Digital Classics page (link in menu top right) which tries to gather together my experiences of many of these old digital cameras (but need updating!) –

      The FZ38 is from 2009, the XS1 is newer – and newer that nearly all other cameras I’ve had – from 2013.

      My favourite era of digital is this –

      1. Hi Dan, yes I’ve noticed you talked about old cameras in general but wondered about these two specific references BECAUSE they were recent.

      2. No, recent (ish) purchases, but not recent cameras. The only camera I’ve ever bought new (aside from camera phones) was my Nikon Coolpix P300 in 2011. Since then they’ve tended to be between five and 20 years old (digital – I’ve had film cameras from the 1950s).

  2. I think that these days, we are spoiled for choice if you ask me… with most people being satisfied with their smart phones, all those older cameras keep getting sold for such a small amount of money.
    But I personally just can’t really get used to phone photography. I need that experience of having physical controls and grabbing a lens…
    I think the K-S1/K10D combination kept me satisfied for about 5 years, and had the K10D not started to have electronic gremlins (which are probably my fault for letting humidity into the interior of the camera) and the K-S1 had not experienced aperture block failure, I might still be completely happy with them. As it is, I got the K200D for a song, and at the end of last year, a K-3. That pair should be my combination going forward for as long as they last… and I have plenty of lenses to keep me happy.

  3. I’m happy with my Fujifilm X-T2 When it breaks, I may upgrade to the X-T3 but I don’t have an urged for that now.

    My curiosity is around lenses and film cameras. I want a macro lens and a super telephoto. I want one super sharp prime lens. I want a Minolta CLE for casual photography. I want to adapt vintage film era lenses to my X-T2.

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