What camera should I buy?

If you can find which Leica compacts have a Panasonic version - the Panasonic version is same glass (lens) but you aren’t paying for the name and the UI software is a bit different otherwise it is the same camera

Ex: Panasonic ZS200 is 'the same" as Leica C-lux, offering a 24-360mm equivalent lens in a tiny package. New about $600, used around $200-$300. The Leica version? $1200.

All the Lumix cameras I have loved were Panasonic branding of the high quality Leica cameras :)

Do you know if that’s true for the fz-80 (or 82) cameras?

FZ80 is not leica at all; I dont know about the 82.

I kinda figured, judging by the ticket price.

It sounds like you’re stuck in a very tricky user group: people who need a ‘reasonably affordable’, rugged, compact bridge that can handle near microscopic with a full range (true) f-stop lens.

Or maybe the ‘lensless’ camera is closer than imagined? (Of course, you’d need a bigger, faster processor…

For myself; I adore my Lumix LX100 (and prior to that, LX3). These are based on Leica but I personally do not need zoom for birds; the OP wanted that :)
I need wide angle mostly, and hotshoe, for cave photography (sunguramy.com) that has macro ability for the bio work; which the LX100 is perfect for. Sadly it isn’t weather sealed…I keep hoping for sealing on future models. The LX3 actually holds up better to cave environ; but the IQ is much less than LX100, being so old and a much smaller sensor.
I dipped into the olympus tg6 for having a good macro when the caves are particularly muddy & wet & crawly, which is more often than not for the cave bio. If the lx100 came in a sealed version that would be idyllic! Or I would absolutly love to find a panasonic GM5: the smalled m4/3 system camera ever made <3 it is so teeny but all the packed features and I could throw a wide angle macro on it and it would still be smaller than my LX100!

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Thank you so much for all of the replies everyone!

An example of what kind of camera’s is used in iNaturalist you can find Excel document with list of camera’s used in iNaturalist:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fliiB5RgbYx9-N88R-xPMsUfDVjfnLLo9p_tKERKJrQ/edit?usp=sharing