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.
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).
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