Camera with Optical Viewfinder
My partner would like to replace her Fuji Finepix S5700, (bought primarily for its 10x zoom) which has developed a fault and is probably not worth repairing. Top of the list of criteria is an optical viewfinder Ė seems very few cameras have them these days. She also wants a big zoom (at least 10x) for taking pics of small animals (well, wildlife generally) and for it not to be too heavy. Whilst on holiday, she used my Sony A200 which she liked for its fast response and manual zoom; however the size and weight were minus points. Any ideas? Wondered if going secondhand might be an option. Price up to around £300. Shame the new Fujiís (S2500) have EVFs.
Unfortunately you're not going to get a 10x plus zoom in a camera with an optical viewfinder unless you buy a DSLR. Compacts with 10x zooms tend to have either no viewfinder or an electronic one (in the case of bridge cameras especially).
Even with compact system cameras such as micro four thirds you'll only get an EVF at best, so a DSLR is your only option.
There are some smaller and lighter DSLRs than your A200 out there, such as the Nikon D3000 / D3100 and Olympus E420, though it won't be cross compatible with your A200. If that's not an issue look at the Nikon's in particular, with an 18-200mm lens. This won't be as compact as she's probably looking for and will set you back at least £600 (eg. http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-...-body/p1522130plus http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-...n-fit/p1031627).
If you're prepared to compromise and consider EVFs that does open up a world of other options.
Thank you, Nigel - it's just as I suspected! So, assuming a compromise, which bridge cameras have the best EVF's? The image quality of the only one I looked at (somewhat hurriedly I must confess) was awful. Do all manufacturers give a pixel count for their EVFs?
Sadly no EVFs are yet anywhere near as good as an optical viewfinder, though they're better than what you'd have had with the Fuji S5700.
The highest resolution EVFs currently on the market are found in the latest gereration of compact system cameras such as the Samsung NX10 and Panasonic G2, but there isn't yet a 10x zoom option for either of these, you'd have to do it in two lenses (eg 18-55mm plus 50-200mm).
The best current bridge cameras are the Panasonic FZ100, Sony HX1, Canon SX30 IS and Fujifilm HS10 (though that one has an awful EVF).
I suggest you go somewhere where you can try them all and compare. All are fairly small compared with a DSLR and have monster zooms that would be ideal for wildlife.
That's really helpful, Nigel - many thanks for your advice.