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When the latest thing that you bought is no longer the latest thing

Earlier this year, I bought myself an FZ150. But now there’s an FZ200.

And the torture begins:

While in 2002 the 12x FZ10 had a maximum aperture of F2.8 across its entire zoom range, the 24x FZ150 in 2011 only offers this setting at its wider zoom positions. At the long end of the lens the maximum aperture is reduced to F5.2 which, in combination with the limited high-ISO capabilities of the small sensors typically used in superzooms, makes shooting at long focal lengths a difficult task in anything less than perfect light.

Now they tell me.

However, with Lumix DMC-FZ200, Panasonic has executed a veritable engineering coup by creating the first Lumix superzoom since 2004’s FZ20 to come with a F2.8 maximum aperture across the entire zoom range. And, unlike the 12x, 36-432mmm equivalent range of the FZ20, the FZ200 maintains F2.8 on a 24x, 25-600mm equivalent lens.

In combination with the newly-developed 12MP MOS sensor, this makes the FZ200, at least on paper, by far the best choice in the superzoom segment for low light shooting. That large aperture allows it to offer faster shutter speeds at the same ISO settings as its peers, or use lower sensitivities at the same shutter speeds as the competition.

Is this why some people hate progress?

The thing is, my FZ150 is the best camera I’ve ever owned.

And now there is a better one.

10 comments to When the latest thing that you bought is no longer the latest thing

  • jsallison

    I bought a Canon AE-1 because it was the same camera I’d been trained to use on the inner german border (IGB) back when there was one ’85). And I was quite happy with it’s output until Kuwaiti dust finally managed to muck it up beyond repair(’97)(so saith the repairman, I ‘spect he didn’t want to be bothered with trying to clean it.)

    Anyway, while not being a professional photog my needs are not quite so exacting and I find my Kodak Playsport to be reliable, tough enough and has an output ‘Good Enough’ for my needs (recommended by the Instadude, don’tcha know?). It provided product quite comparable to that of the hired guns of the Holland America cruise line during a recent trip to the Panama Canal, and for way less price.

  • At least with cameras performance seems more absolute than relative. Your camera will take pictures just as good as it does now forever. I have a Nikon D90 which is a few years old and feel no particular need to replace it even though there are better cameras and I am prone to upgrading things.

    With computers and phones, the pressure to upgrade is higher because software needs to be updated (often it will stop working otherwise) and software expects to run on modern hardware.

  • Back in the days of analogue photography, it was quite normal to buy a camera with the intention of using the same one for decades. And a “good camera” might well still be a good camera compared to current models twenty years later.

  • RAB

    Yes, It’s a real pisser isn’t it Brian. I too bought an FZ 150 around the time you did, and like you I think it’s brilliant. So I have decided to be stoical about it. As the wife and I have yet to explore even half of what it is capable of, I’m going to just shrug and say… This’ll do us nicely for now.

  • RRS

    Is this a case of the slightly “more perfect” being the “enemy” of the really, really good?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I’m still using my old manual Minolta 35mm system, which has fine lenses and accessories (like right-angle viewfinders) that just don’t exist in the digital camera world. What would interest me – and a lot of other stick-in-the-muds – would be a digital body with no automation beyond, maybe, exposure, a 24×36 sensor, lots of pixels, and adapters to fit it to a number of older cameras’ lens and viewfinder systems.

    Somebody, somewhere, is missing a bet.

  • Laird

    I never buy “the latest thing” on anything, so this is never an issue for me!

  • I thought the same reading the review of the Canon 5D Mk III against the Mk II, which I have.

  • Alisa

    What Laird said. I usually like getting something that is more or less the next-to-latest. I’d rather leave guineapigging one’s money to people who have a greater excess of it than I do.

  • PeterT

    I’m with Laird and Alisa. I even went one step further and recently bought my Dad’s 30 year old amplifier (Harmon Kardon) off of him as its pretty good.

    Admittedly I didn’t pay very much.