Upgrading cameras


Replacing one’s camera is almost as difficult as upgrading your car. However, cameras are much cheaper than cars!

A couple of weeks back I received a very nice letter from one of the readers, and it was very pleasing to read that someone does actually read the column. The letter was as follows:

Dear Mr Flashman,

Firstly, I would like to say how much I enjoy your weekly articles in the Pattaya Mail. Please keep up the good work!

Secondly, I am writing to you in the hope that you can give me some advice and guidance.

I currently have two cameras. One is a Sony DSLR A300 (with two lenses). One being a Sony SAL 55200 (55-200 mm lens) and the other a Sony 3.5-5.6/18-70 mm lens. This camera is a few years old now and I tend not to use it that much as it is quite heavy & bulky to carry around. For the last couple of years I have tended to favor my other camera which is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 with Leica lens. A compact camera that takes quite good pictures and is easy to carry around.

Lumix FZ1000.Lumix FZ1000.

However, I am thinking to trade both these in and upgrade to a Nikon D5200.

So firstly, what do you think of my decision? Secondly, could you recommend a retail outlet in Thailand that could accommodate my request? If you have an idea of trade-in values that would also be helpful. I suspect that somewhere in Bangkok would be my best option although I live in Pattaya.

Thank you for taking the time to read my mail and any alternative ideas and options that you may have would be much appreciated.


So what should I be advising Barry? The first piece of information I really needed, unfortunately Barry didn’t include with his email. Just what does he want to photograph? Action? Landscapes? People? Glamor? Macro?

Looking at his DSLR Sony he has lenses covering 18 mm through to 200 mm. This is limiting his options. Definitely not the camera to use for shooting tigers! The other end of the scale at 18 mm isn’t bad, but this is also not the camera to use for dramatic landscapes.

Like many photographers, Barry has become tired of lugging the DSLR around and backed up the Sony with the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ 20, one of the early Bridge-cameras with the non-removable Leica lens. With a range of 35-410 the Lumix gives an enormous range and is much lighter to carry.

For me, I would forget the DSLR with interchangeable lenses and the attendant weight problems. With today’s compacts/bridge cameras, the image quality is perfectly adequate, unless you want enlargements the size of a barn door.

I agree that trading in both of his current cameras for something newer makes sense. But I don’t agree that the Nikon D5200 should be the next step as this is back to weight and bulk.

A Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 would be my choice, and has received very favorable reviews. For example, the verdict from E-Photozine:

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is one of the cheapest 4K video recording devices available, and offers an array of impressive video features. However, if you don’t want to record 4K video, and just want a camera capable of taking excellent photos, with a good zoom lens, then the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 certainly delivers here as well. With a relatively large 1 inch 20 megapixel sensor, a bright Leica 16x optical zoom lens with f/2.8-4.0 aperture, and full manual controls, the camera is capable of producing excellent image quality. Build quality is very good and the camera has a lot in common with the Panasonic Lumix GH4, the top of the range Micro Four Thirds camera from Panasonic. There are numerous external controls and buttons, as well as full manual controls, but you can also use the camera in auto mode, or one of the scene modes and still get great shots, as well as high quality video.

Trade the two cameras on a Lumix FZ1000 at one of the camera stores in MBK Bangkok would be my advice. (And yes, I use a Lumix as my camera of choice these days too.)