120studio.com
November 3, 2014



Intro


Sometimes you just want to shoot wide-angle.  The altered perspective, the enormously sweeping landscape... you just can't do this with a telephoto.

Once you start getting into wide-angle shooting, you can become addicted.   You start trying to find ever-wider lenses, until you get one that's so wide you can see behind you. 

Well, maybe not that wide, but...

OK, maybe you just want to take a picture of something around the house, and you want a different perspective.  Wide-angle lenses are cool.

Bridge cameras usually have pretty ample wide-angle, but some are better than others.  This is a brief comparison. 


A Quick Note


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In This Article

Comparison of Wide Angle Specs

Other Features


Winners





Brown Eggs

See how that brown egg in the foreground looks bigger than the others?  Wide angle will do that.
The wider the lens, the more you can get this kind of effect.
You can put the lens so close that it's practically touching. 
The more you do that, the more the perspectives will distort.

Canon SX50 at 24mm equivalent
ISO 200 @ 1/13th sec, handheld




Comparison of Wide Angle Specs



A 120studio.com
Camera Guide

Widest Angle

Longest Telephoto

Comments

MSRP

rounded to nearest $1 US

Canon SX50 HS
24mm
1200mm
The superzoom by which all others are compared.  Probably the best image qualty in the 1/2.3 sensor class.
$429
Canon SX60 HS
21mm
1365mm
Image quality ever-so-slightly less than the SX50, but greater zoom range and better EVF
$600
Fujifilm Finepix S1
24mm
1200mm
Weatherproof!
$500
Nikon Coolpix P600
24mm 1440mm
I never got too much into Nikon bridge cameras.  Long story.
$500
Olympus SP-100
24mm 1200mm
Not a bad choice.  Eagle-eye sight could be useful.
$400
Panasonic FZ70
20mm
1200mm
If you want wide-angle, get this camera immediately.  Great image quality, too.  My overall favorite in wide-angle superzooms.
$400
Panasonic FZ200
25mm
600mm
Allows constant f/2.8 across whole zoom range.  A great camera;  read the full review here.
$600
Panasonic FZ1000
25mm
400mm
1" sensor;  4K video!
$900
Samsung WB2200F
20mm
1200mm
Would be awesome, but image quality not quite as good as the Canon, Panasonic, Sony, etc.  Definitely passable for Web / Facebook resolutions, though.
$450
Sony HX400
24mm 1200mm
Sony managed very good image quality with 21 megapixels on a tiny sensor.  Lock-on AF is a good feature to have.
$500
Sony RX10
24mm 200mm
1" sensor.  Allows constant f/2.8 across whole zoom range
$1300
 






The Panasonic FZ200 and FZ1000 are actually the poorest in the wide-angle department, although 25mm is still quite a bit wider than the 28mm that many DSLR users carry. 

The Canon SX50, Fuji Finepix S1, Nikon Coolpix P600, Olympus SP-100, Sony RX10, and Sony HX400 all have what I consider to be the standard in wide-angle for a bridge camera:  24mm equivalent.  Though 24mm is not ultra-wide, it's still quite respectable.

At 20mm, the Panasonic FZ70 and Samsung WB2200F have the widest-angle lenses of any of the current bridge cameras.  The new Canon SX60 is close, offering 21mm.

If you want serious wide-angle and don't want to spend a ton of money, I'd go for the Panasonic FZ70.  It has better image quality than the Samsung WB2200F, which also offers 20mm.    For wide angle the FZ70 takes first place, even above the Canon SX60.

I really wanted to like the Samsung here, and it's not a bad camera.  However, Panasonic has the edge when it comes to getting the best images from a small sensor.  Perhaps this is an outgrowth of all the R&D they've put into the Micro Four-Thirds form factor.  Whatever the case, I'm really impressed with the image quality of Panasonic bridge cameras. 

I wish the large-sensor FZ1000 offered 24mm or better;  in a pure contest of wide-angle, I'd go for the Sony RX10.  However, the FZ1000 offers more zoom on the telephoto end. 



Other Features

One word of caution about bridge cameras:  there are many of them, and the features are numerous.  There could be one, seemingly insignificant feature that you either really like or dislike. 

That said, don't knock yourself out debating forever about features.  The biggest considerations in a bridge camera are (or should be):

1. Image quality
2.  Zoom range
3.  Major capabilities such as RAW, custom shooting modes, color rendition

I tried to keep all these in mind when choosing the....


Winners

Mind you, this was mainly a wide-angle contest.  As far as I'm concerned, though, image quality takes precedence over pure wide-angle.  That's why the Samsung didn't fare better than the Canon SX60 HS.

Small-sensor (First Place)Panasonic FZ70

Small-sensor (Second Place)Canon SX60 HS

Small-sensor (Third Place)Samsung WB2200F

The WB2200F's useful grip design would make it even more attractive if the camera had slightly better image quality than it does.  I'd like to see Samsung release an improved version with a better sensor, better image processing, or something to get better image quality.  Maybe give it a wide-angle equivalent of 18 or 19mm while you're at it.  With the same ergonomics of the WB2200F, it would be a stellar camera.

    


Large-sensor (First Place):  Panasonic FZ1000

Even though the FZ1000 doesn't go as wide as the Sony RX10, it's less expensive and offers much greater telephoto range (400mm as opposed to 200).  Like I said, wide-angle is only one criterion.  If Panasonic makes another 1" sensor bridge camera, they should widen the wide-angle a bit, even if they can't add to the telephoto end. I'd love to see a 1"-sensor bridge cam with 20mm equivalent.  As it stands, though, 25mm is not too bad.



The Panasonic FZ1000 is probably the best bridge camera for image quality, combined with a fairly healthy zoom range (25 to 400mm equivalent). Even so, there is something to be said for the host of small-sensor bridge cams that can do, say, 24 to 1200mm. For landscape and safari pictures, that's a good range to have. Widen it to 20 or 21mm on the wide end, and you have a real winner.


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