Looking for a Bridge camera (very specific need)

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Hello, I've been working in a home for adults with learning difficulties for a few months now and recently I was made a key worker for one of the resident there. As my responsibility is to look after the individuals needs I have been asked to try and interact and do activities that can stimulate the resident. He enjoys the outdoors and nature, and because I have photography experience and interest my thinking was to try some wildlife observing (given the Covid19 restrictions we are limited to the, pretty gigantic, garden of the premise).
There are a large quantity of squirrels, small and medium size UK birds, badgers and on rare occasions deer and foxes. We have a few local wildlife and birds book that we used to spot and check what birds we can see. And I'm thinking of adding binoculars to the mix to help spot them in detail.
But a birthday is coming up in 3 weeks and I've been thinking of getting a camera so he can make pictures. (It will be from his own budget but I'm not sure how big the budget is... Yet, I will update when I can find out).

The needs are simple:
*Enough reach for small birds up to 50 meters,
*Decent macro capabilities for the focus on flowers,
*OK wide angle for occasional landscape when we can start traveling,
*Up to A4 prints but it doest have to be the highest quality, just for self use and display,
*JPEG will be the main form of media for easy printing and sharing, no editing at all,
*Simple design and controls as possible
(Because he has learning difficulties he has the understanding of about the age of 8 years old, so the camera will be used is the most point and shoot mode as possible)
While I will be with him most of the time when doing outdoors activity it's best to make the process as simple as possible to give him the feeling of independence and achievement. He will be assisted with printing as well.
The camera will be 2nd hand (if I can find it in stock in UK) and the budget shouldn't be more then 400-500 £.

I haven't read up on bridge cameras since the early 2010s and there's a lot of models and information to sip through in not a lot of time (to do it manually). Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Mike Wingate

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Well, I have. Panasonic Lumix FZ80/82 bridge camera as well as my GX80 with a variety of lenses. The FZ82 is my holiday/bad weather/walkaround camera. It is inexpensive. Capable od decent photos if there is light, simple to use, has iA mode, so. Pretty automatic settings. Not too large or heavy.it works for me.
 

BosseBe

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I was going to suggest asking Mike about it as I know he uses a FZ82, guess he beat me to it.
There are similar models from Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm.
But since you are the one going to help out, maybe a Panasonic is better. (You will be more familiar with the menus.)
The FZ82 is even good for moon shots with its 60x zoom as Mike has demonstrated.
 
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I'm still using my old FZ30, which is capable of outstanding results.
I agree with Mike's choice of the FZ80/82, but if the budget doesn't run to one (currently around the £300 mark) I would suggest any older models from the FZ range.
Good luck and well done for your new project Ovidiu.
 

BosseBe

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It seems the FZ82 can be had new for£249 (most prices around £299) in the UK, so a used one should be well in the price range.
But a new one is maybe more fun?

Maybe you can put a want to buy add in the Buy and Sell forum and get a good one that way?
 
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Thank you so much for all of the advices, I will look up all of them on availability and price.

As much as I tried to justify going with mountable M4/3 I think it's just to much to fallow to swap lenses (I know it's one of the simplest tasks for us) and the added cost of having a long enough lens like Oly 75-300mm or Panny 100-300mm. The Panny GF series would have been a great option in terms of simplicity but very hard to balance with the Panny lens.
 

Mike Wingate

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Noo lenses to swap, no time lost between shots. Easy controls. Works well with the app on smartphones or tablets. When I shoot indoors, I replace the standard battery with an ac powered dummy, from mains or battery pack. Macro to moon.
 
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I finally got the budget limit, which is not all that good (or news) because it's only 200£. So I may have to look at older generation. I think a higher priority then it should be on a decent or above quality for the back screen since I don't expect the EVF to be of helpful quality pre-2015 era.
 
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Reading up on Imaging Resource review of the FZ300 it looks to be a great paring for him. The added weather resistance is helpful, the improved EVF and Screen are nice additions and the touch screen could be helpful (not sure, it might add complexity to the task/activity).
I do see the influence of Panny G5 and the "new" (at that time) Leica font in the redesign of the camera.
The 4K Burst and Post Focus should be helpful as well.
 

Brownie

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The camera arrived today, at work, I set it up and realized it's an s%&$ metric ton of camera for just 200 £. The sheer amount of features and capabilities is amazing for being 5 1/2 year old but only 200 £, though I did not get to test its AF performance or IQ. I tried to simplify the camera as much as I could, set it in iAuto Plus, JPEG only at 3:2 to make it "plug & play" for printing (no need for cropping or moving the picture around for framing on paper).
The one thing I wish I could do but could not disable the FN buttons, like ALL OF THEM, to simplify the UI and process of making images. But the camera wouldn't let me, it's only in Playback mode that it lets you disable buttons. What I might try is to try to find the least consequential functions to assign ... in case the button is pressed it does not change the way the camera works or it makes pictures.
 
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