Q. Years ago I followed your advice and bought a Panasonic DMC-FZ35 superzoom camera, and I have never been sorry. I recently went to a discussion about wildlife photography and the speaker said he was using a $1,500 Sony DSC-RX10 Mark IV. He said the Mark III is similar, but costs substantially less. I checked and there is only a $300 difference. What I found most intriguing about the camera is the zoom, which goes out to the equivalent of 600mm.
What are your thoughts about this? I can’t really afford more than $800. What should I do to find a good used one?
— J.M, Minneapolis
A. Answering your last question first, if you want to find a good used camera I would try dealers like keh.com, bhphotovideo.com and usedphotopro.com. All three dealers check their used equipment and offer warranties and a return period. I personally have had particularly good luck with the selection, prices and service of usedphotopro.com over the past year.
Your camera zooms out to 486mm and the Sonys are 600mm. Despite a difference of 114mm, the real world difference is not that great. There is a much bigger perceived difference at the low end of the scale, for example comparing a 20mm lens to a 24mm lens, than comparing extreme telephotos like 500mm to 600mm.
You said you took my advice before and was never sorry. I hope you take my advice again, because I think it is time for you to outgrow your fixed-lens superzoom camera and get an interchangeable lens camera, which will offer much better image quality and flexibility while giving you room to grow. You can currently get a brand new Panasonic DMC-GX85 with both the 12-32mm and 45-150mm zoom lenses for $497, which is 50 percent off. That gives you an equivalent zoom range of 24mm to 300mm.
Now we will bring in the used equipment part of the equation. Panasonic makes a 100-300mm lens which can be purchased for as little as $325 used. This will get you the 600mm reach you crave, all for around $800.
I would also check the Certified Refurbished department at getolympus.com. They have a text alert service for sales and I highly recommend it. I have seen high-quality cameras with lens there for as little as $300.
A great dashcam
I don’t get a lot of questions about dashcams, but they do come in from time to time. If a dashcam is something that you have thought of trying, it may now be time to make a move.
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