Christmas in July
It's now August, obviously, but I did celebrate Christmas in July just a little. Ok, more than a little. I bought a "real" camera for the first time in my life. I grew up in the era of film cameras, briefly had a digital camera in the 2000s, and then jumped to a smartphone and never looked back. I take decent pictures with my smartphone, but I definitely wanted a better camera for outdoor and travel photography. So one night when I couldn't sleep, I started researching cameras and took the plunge. I rarely make impulsive purchases and can't remember the last "object" I splurged on. My mantra is "collect memories, not things", but this purchase is directly related to that!
I ultimately ended up buying a Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80, which is an interesting because I never would have thought to consider a Panasonic camera. It's not a all-out DSLR but it does have a lot of manual control. I read a lot of information online and for the cost/features/quality, it won out. I've been really pleased with a few features, so I'll highlight those now. Disclaimer- I am a social worker not a photographer, so this might not be the most technical description and I am judging this from a very amateur lens (pun intended).
- Viewfinder- having a viewfinder is non-negotiable. The viewfinder got some poor reviews online because it does not have an automatic eye sensor, but I have had no issues using it.
- Superzoom lens- for what it's worth, this camera has a really decent zoom. I use it to some extent nearly every time I take the camera out. It's great for wildlife, which I see quite often while hiking. It's relatively quiet, but does make some whirring noises which can scare off the critters.
- Built in Wifi connection- I suppose this is standard on most cameras now, but again, I'm a little behind on technology. There is a smartphone app to support transferring photos and I'll use it to transfer a few to phone to post directly on social media. It is fairly slow and not ideal for large amounts of photos, so I just use the SD card to transfer large batches onto my computer.
And now, I'll talk about some of the features I was drawn in by but have actually not really used. That being said, there may be room to use them in the future.
- 4k video- OK, it's amazing quality. I love it, but you can't view 4k on smart phones so for social media posts it's pretty useless. Sucks because I like to shoot videos of outdoor scenery for social media, especially in my role as an Atlanta Trails ambassador. But if you want to come watch it on my tv, it'll look great!
- Raw shooting- This may be unnecessary on a lower end bridge camera, but it is good to have the option. Raw files allow for extensive editing and greater control over the image. At this point, I don't really have time or knowledge to spend on editing extensively.
- Post-focus stacking- I just haven't put an emphasis on trying this out yet. It allows you to manually select the focus or multiple focal points after taking a picture. I'm not sure what to try it out on. Perhaps a stunning mountain with a lake and a field of wildflowers in front of it (find me that in Georgia, please).
So after using the Lumix for about a month now, I've had pretty good experiences. I really only have a few objectives for my photographs- to enjoy taking them, to look decent for my friends and family viewing, and to do minimal editing on them. I have zero skills with editing. So far, aside from minor cropping and color correction, I have done very little editing with my pictures and I am pretty happy with the way they are turning out.
I have tremendous respect for those who are professional photographers. Sidenote- My uncle is actually a professional photographer based in Florida (I particularly love his vintage surf photos), so go check him out! I am just a hobbyist and see photography as a way to supplement my enjoyment of the outdoors. So far, this camera seems to fit well for me. So the bottom line is, sometimes you just need to treat yourself!