Camera choice advice - what to replace my old ones by?

Hi all! Happy
I'm new here, so short intro Happy
I'm Kaliya, i'm (almost) 27, i live in Belgium; i *love* nature and wildlife, and that's also my main attraction photography-wise (natural landscapes, macro bug/plant shots or bird close-ups, action shots of flying birds.... i have pet birds to help me practice ^^)

So, my reason for signing up here: both my cameras i've had for ages have recently died, so i need a new one Sad (well, i've had both for, i think, about 6-7 years, so it's understandable they ended up dying...)

what i previously had:
- a 'bridge' camera (Kodak EasyShare P850)
- a 'compact' camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30)
((side note: i was Really happy with the lumix! and everyone i know who has one of that series is too. great little cameras!))

what i used them for:
- the lumix was pretty much always in my bag or pocket! on a daily basis, whenever i'd see something i wanted to remember, found pretty, needed a reminder of (bus schedules for example ^^). "tourist" photography, lol. also for macro shots, as it was pretty good at those!.
- the kodak, being bulkier, i would pretty much only take along to "photo excursions" (spending the day at the zoo or bird park, going out for a walk after fresh snow, that kind of thing). took good pics, but in the last years, started "lagging" - would take too long recording the pics, or getting ready to take some, to be useful. i did get to take some cool close-ups of snow crystals though Happy

what i mostly photograph:
- animals, especially birds. both in action (flying!), and close up. lots of bug/flower macros too. love playing with field depth (blurry backgrounds or foregrounds). for the animals, i avoid using any Flash (they don't like it) and i have the Burst mode activated almost continuously ^^
- sometimes landscapes
- point-n-click "tourist" shots (not as important)

what (i think) i absolutely need:
- small size (compact)
- a good macro mode
- a fast-reacting camera
- burst mode!
- hopefully, will last me years of intensive use, like my last 2 cameras did
- NOT a touchscreen Sad just don't like those things.

i would of course *love* to get both a nice compact, and a good reflex camera; but as my budget doesn't allow that at this moment, i was wondering if there was anything interesting out there that could be a nice compromise (i've heard of some new compacts, that you can add big lenses to? potentially interesting?)
my budget i would say is about 300$, but feel free to suggest above that range, as i would have some leeway if the "perfect camera" pops up...

looking forward to your suggestions! Happy

Thanks in advance for your help!! <3

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Clarification Request

oh, also (i didn't find the Edit button, if there is one?),
I do tend to stay away from brands who don't use standard material (for example those who don't take SD memory cards), because i don't want to have to re-buy material i already have, that is perfectly good, just because the new item isn't compatible..

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SD Cards

You do not need to worry about buying a compact camera that won't accept SD cards; they all do now.

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About that. What I'm buying now.

As I want to hedge my bets a little when I bought my last 2 32GB cards it was not any more for micro-SD sizes which came with a full size SD card adapter. Not only that but this was a class 10 card so 2 bonus points.

It appears we recently crossed the (US) dollar per GB (not British pound) line.

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Re: About that. What I'm buying now.

that's an interesting idea. are there no downsides to doing that? ie, are micro-SD cards as 'fast' as normal SD? i always thought they weren't "competent" enough, for some reason ^^

(and, i could've written in GB or euros ^^ doesn't matter to me, but i find that online most ppl talk in US$, so i adapt ^^)

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Re: SD cards

oh they do? i thought there were still some brands (olympus? or maybe canon? don't remember for sure) that used their own thing

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Sony, Olympus

Sony used to use their proprietary Memory Sticks, but all their current cameras also accept SD cards. Olympus and Fujifilm were behind xD cards, but they have abandoned that format.

About the only exception to SD card use are a few high end DSLR's which use CF cards, and I believe there may be a few ultra-compacts that only accept micro-SD.

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Travel Zoom, Mega Zoom

Under budget, the Panasonic ZS15 travel zoom would give you most of what you want.

The Panasonic FZ200 would be much better for birding, with a longer and brighter lens. But it is definitely not compact, and it is nearly double your budget.

Note that with compact cameras, playing with depth of field is more about technique. Generally speaking, the cameras themselves have too small of sensors and lenses to provide shallow depth of field images easily; it is more the purview of large sensor cameras and wide aperture lenses, i.e DSLR's.

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Re: Travel Zoom, Mega Zoom

yes, i know it can be more technique; but some cameras make it easier for you to control whereas others give you no possibility of doing so ...

thanks for your suggestions; off to check them out! Happy

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