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Author Topic: Which Camera?  (Read 2573 times)
Greg
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« on: April 29, 2013, 03:05:11 AM »

OK, all you pro's and camera savvy folks out there, I have a question.  I am trying to decide which "all-in-one" digital camera to get.  You know, one of those with the super zoom lens.  Nikon has one, the Coolpix 520 with a 42X zoom, which looks good, with image stabilization and manual control for when it's needed.  But the reviews I've read say it's a bit slow to focus, especially at full zoom and feels "cheap."  I don't know that's it's cheaply made, it may just be light.

Then there's the Canon SX50HS with a 50X zoom (1200mm equivalent) which gets good marks and does all the same things the Nikon does.  Reviews rate it a notch above the Nikon.

Both these cameras are decent cameras, just not at the professional level.  Which I'm not after anyway.  But I can't decide which one is the better camera to get, given that they are roughly the same price.

Now for the reason why I'm after one of these cameras.  I have a Nikon D90, which is a great camera.  However the 70--300 zoom lens I have for it comes up rather short for shooting birds.  Often there are great shots to be made provided one has the proper lens for the job.  The next step up in a lens is a fixed focal length 500mm lens, but they start at $900+ and go up from there.  I can't afford that, and besides, I like the versatility of a zoom.

So, I'd sure appreciate any input and guidance.
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 03:25:47 AM »

Have you considered a teleconvertor for your exiting setup. It can double your focal length without a huge reduction in quality, depending on which one you get.

Superzoom quality can be a bit of a disappointment, especially after getting used to SLR quality.

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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 03:26:23 AM »

Several months ago I ran across a man at our neighborhood lake shooting with a really long lens, something like 600-1200, and it was in the $300-$400 range.  No electronics, completely manual focus and aperture, but he was shooting birds from a long way off and the images weren't that bad.  It came with a doubler so it went up to 2400.

At the time I found it on BnH, and when you asked that question I went back to BnH and thought I remembered the brand name, Optica, but that didn't produce any good results when I tried tonight.  It's just a thought, but if you found something like that, it might go on your current camera.
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Robin
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 03:40:36 AM »

Dave hit 'post' first.  I second the idea, I have a 2X teleconverter that has worked nicely on those rare occasions I need to shoot really long - on a tripod of course.  And it does reduce your aperture capability by about the same amount as the multiplier (2 in my case, a f2.8 becomes f5.6).  Except in bright daylight I don't get autofocus because there's not enough light for AF to find its target.  Still, it's cheap and small, turns my 18-270 into a 36-540.  And, manual focus isn't that difficult.  I did some manual focus (not using the doubler) last night in a theatre (okay, some of y'all eat your hearts out) at the Prairie Home Companion show in Lubbock Tx    Hmmm.  Probably should post a pic in the appropriate thread...

A super-zoom would be a lot more convenient of course, but the one I had was really difficult to do manual settings with.  I ended up leaving it on P or I mode.

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Greg
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 03:44:09 AM »

You all have me re-thinking things now, regarding the lens doubler.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
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Robin
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 03:51:25 AM »

That teleconverter will probably cost almost as much as a superzoom camera - around $300.  It allows you to use your existing camera.  Tough choice, but I'd probably buy the superzoom and keep my other camera too.  Those superzooms are quite nice, the biggest limitation is the small sensor, usually the same size as a PnS.  That's how they get those huge superzoom capabilities with such short lenses.  And, of course, they (at least the one I had) are difficult to go manual with.

Confused yet?   
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 03:57:10 AM »

Just to add more confusion;D

What about an m42 mirror lens and adaptor. Manual only and fixed aperture, but good quality and pretty cool 'bokeh' (i hate that word, let's say flare highlights)

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Robin
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 04:28:13 AM »

I like "bokeh", it makes me sound intelligent.



Hey, Robin, great bokeh!!!

Yeah, thanks,.  but did you like that blurred stuff in the background though?  I thought that was kewl, wha'cha think?

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davemac
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 04:35:15 AM »

I'm old school. These days my 'weapon' of choice is a 10x8 sinar.
Lens flare of any description is not acceptable considering how much an individual frame costs.

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Greg
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2013, 05:00:44 AM »

That's a fantastic shot of the goose with the blurred background.
And I never heard of the term "bokeh."  What is that?
And yes, I remain confused.  But a lens doubler, if one is available for the D90, would probably make more sense, if not cheaper, er, less expensive.  Holy Smokes!!!
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Robin
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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2013, 05:32:52 AM »

The word seems to have comes from Japanese.  In my goose-shot, all that stuff in the background that's flared out is bokeh.  Whatever that means, I don't speak Japanese.
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2013, 06:22:23 AM »

When I want to know what's what with digital equipment I run over to www.dpreview.com where I found the Canon to be given a 72% and the Nikon to be too new to have a review as it was only released in January. That said.... The Nikon telecoverter (refurbished) can be found here for $400 at http://shop.nikonusa.com/store/nikonusa/pd/productID.213477000 and here's a bit of a review http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/tc17e.htm . Make sure to check your lens type to see if it fits. If this works with your lenses then I'd go with it over the 2ed camera just for convenience sake as the prices of the two are only $20 apart.

There's a lot of bad-mouth around about telecoverters but, truth be told, the good ones only claim the light required to make the extra focal length work. I used one all the time back in the 35mm days with great success.

-- A couple of hours later --

I was at the electronics store when I noticed that they had the Nikon P510 (42X) so I thought to give it a try. The 1st time I zoomed it out it focused. A bit slow but acceptable. After that I zoomed in and out on the same subject and got real spotty results on the full zoom focus. The VR seems to work well, though.
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2013, 12:58:18 PM »

Beautiful shot, Robin!
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2013, 02:40:08 PM »

I bumped my head.
My title suggestion.
You are making some great images Robin.
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Robin
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2013, 03:56:21 PM »

+2 or 3 on dpreview.com
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Greg
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« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2013, 03:41:04 AM »

Well, new camera or lens purchase is on hold.  Looks like the hot water heater needs something done to it.  It's making roaring sounds like I've never heard before.  Got a guy coming out tomorrow morning to take a look.  I hope it won't mean a new heater, as these on-demand water heaters aren't cheap.  Would be about %1500.00 to replace, and the one year warranty on the new house expired in March.  Grrrrrrr!
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« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 03:45:12 AM »

Well, new camera or lens purchase is on hold.  Looks like the hot water heater needs something done to it.  It's making roaring sounds like I've never heard before.  Got a guy coming out tomorrow morning to take a look.  I hope it won't mean a new heater, as these on-demand water heaters aren't cheap.  Would be about %1500.00 to replace, and the one year warranty on the new house expired in March.  Grrrrrrr!

You live in Alaska, what do you need hot water for?   
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« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2013, 04:47:25 PM »

Strom:
If I recall correctly, the D90 gives you a built in 1.6 multiplier effect due to the smaller sensor, so when shooting with a 300mm lense you are effectively using a 480mm lense.  Then if you add a 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverter to that you will effectively have either a 672mm (with the 1.4) or a 960mm lense (with the 2.0).  This should work quite well for bird photography.  Another factor that you can use to "zoom in" is cropping the photos.  If you start with a large sized file that is very high quality (i.e. shot using high quality glass), you should be able to crop in on your subject so that it looks even closer than it does in the original file.  I use either a Canon 20D or a 5D.  The 20D gives a 1.6 multiplier due to the smaller sensor, but it is only a 12 mp sensor, so when I shoot with a 200mm lense it effectively becomes a 320mm lense and when I add the 1.4 teleconverter I get a 480mm lense (effectively). The 5D is a full frame sensor (the sensor is the size of 35mm film), so it does not give you any apparent "magnification", however is creates a 23 mp file and because of the larger file I can crop/zoom in 2x more to enlarge my subject.  So when I use my 200 mm lense with the 1.4 teleconverter I have a 280mm lense, then since my file is twice as big, I can crop 2x more so effectively it is like using a 560mm lense on the 20D.
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« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 04:58:25 PM »

Well, new camera or lens purchase is on hold.  Looks like the hot water heater needs something done to it.  It's making roaring sounds like I've never heard before.  Got a guy coming out tomorrow morning to take a look.  I hope it won't mean a new heater, as these on-demand water heaters aren't cheap.  Would be about %1500.00 to replace, and the one year warranty on the new house expired in March.  Grrrrrrr!

You live in Alaska, what do you need hot water for?   

Gotta melt all that ice and snow somehow. 
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Greg
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« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 05:07:46 PM »

Strom:
If I recall correctly, the D90 gives you a built in 1.6 multiplier effect due to the smaller sensor, so when shooting with a 300mm lense you are effectively using a 480mm lense.  Then if you add a 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverter to that you will effectively have either a 672mm (with the 1.4) or a 960mm lense (with the 2.0).  This should work quite well for bird photography.  Another factor that you can use to "zoom in" is cropping the photos.  If you start with a large sized file that is very high quality (i.e. shot using high quality glass), you should be able to crop in on your subject so that it looks even closer than it does in the original file.  I use either a Canon 20D or a 5D.  The 20D gives a 1.6 multiplier due to the smaller sensor, but it is only a 12 mp sensor, so when I shoot with a 200mm lense it effectively becomes a 320mm lense and when I add the 1.4 teleconverter I get a 480mm lense (effectively). The 5D is a full frame sensor (the sensor is the size of 35mm film), so it does not give you any apparent "magnification", however is creates a 23 mp file and because of the larger file I can crop/zoom in 2x more to enlarge my subject.  So when I use my 200 mm lense with the 1.4 teleconverter I have a 280mm lense, then since my file is twice as big, I can crop 2x more so effectively it is like using a 560mm lense on the 20D.

WOW!!  That's a lot to digest.  I'm not aware of the size of the sensor.  All I know is that it's a CMOS sensor and it's pretty fast, but I don't know its size.  The D90 DSLR is also a 12.1 MP camera, so the level to which an image can be "zoomed in" before it's degraded and no longer crisp and clear may be limited.

The big reason for the lens doubler/long telephoto/superzoom camera is to be able to get those shots that would otherwise be impossible.  You can't sneak up on birds, and other critters are wary, and sometimes it's just not possible to hike closer for a shot.  I'm still mulling it over, and am still leaning toward the teleconverter.  It's less expensive and does the same job.

I do appreciate all the good input, too.

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« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2013, 05:22:37 PM »

(A lot of info)

I'd love to spring the big $ for a full frame body.  Fortunately all my lenses are for a small frame, so I'd have to start all over there too.  I say 'fortunately' because that stops me from bleeding money in the first place.  One day perhaps...
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« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2013, 08:19:15 PM »

Back in the day I had a pair of Mamiya 645's (6x4cm). I sold both when I hung it up. Then, a couple of years ago, I was at a photo equipment show and saw that they'd made digital backs for that camera! I'm still upset!
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Greg
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« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2013, 04:59:46 PM »

Well, as I often say, things are cast in jello rather than concrete around here.  Turned out the hot water heater thing was just a small leaf that got sucked in the air intake and was resting on the air blower causing a roaring sound.  The service tech was a nice guy and offered to do a service on our water softener and furnace as well for no extra charge, so I took him up on it.

The best part is that I was able order a camera.  I went with the Panasonic Lumix FZ200.  Based on my internet research, while it doesn't have the 1000/1200mm lens that the Nikon or Canon have, (has a 600mm zoom) the Lumix comes out ahead of all the competition.  It seems to be the most highly recommended super zoom camera, with one of its best features is a lens that keeps it at f/2.8 for its entire focal length.  I read several (quite a few, actually) reviews on the Lumix and all highly praised it, while the reviews on the Nikon and Canon, generally praised them, there were also several "buts" that had me hesitating.  I didn't care for things like both having difficulty auto focusing at or near max zoom and being slow to shoot and long pauses between shots, etc..  In any case, while the Lumix is more expensive than the other two, I felt that the extra expense is justified, and I found it on Amazon for less than anywhere else.  I should have it in a few days, and if it ever quits snowing (woke up to an inch on the ground this morning--GRRRRRRRRRRRRR) I'll take it out and try to find some birds still hanging around waiting to be photographed.
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« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2013, 05:07:08 PM »

If that Leica lens stands up to its name you'll be showing us some pin feathers soon.
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« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2013, 10:20:11 PM »

Panasonic Lumix FZ200

You're really going to like that camera.

And, snow makes for good shooting, too  :D
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« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2013, 02:39:46 PM »

I have really liked my Panasonic Lumix  DMC- FZ35, it takes very good pics in my opinion. (Robin at the time pointed me to a dirt cheap deal)  I have been looking to upgrade this year so I will be interested to hear how the 200 works for you, Greg,

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Greg
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« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2013, 04:56:45 PM »

I'm looking forward to using this camera.  Now, assuming we don't get anymore snow storms like the one we had yesterday and things dry out, I just might get the chance to try it out when it gets here.  Historically, Amazon has always shipped things very quickly, even to Alaska, and surprisingly, they even have free shipping on certain items, to Alaska.  I've read a lot of reviews on this camera, and haven't found one that has anything negative to say about it.
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« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2013, 11:11:52 PM »

I have had three models of Panasonic Ultra Zoom Cameras and still carry a FZ-18 along with the DSLR. I consistently get better macro results with it than with what lens' I have for the DSLR. I should add that doesn't mean the DSLR isn't capable of doing better only that the Panasonic seems to be more attuned to my amateurish 'push the macro button, stick the lens close as it will focus and may the blind pig be with me' method. I don't have any mounted on a tripod, calculations, waiting for the wind to cease and just the right light data. When a photographer mentions bokeh I know where to look but I ain't never tried to get none. I'm just a picture taker.

A spur of the moment stick it and click it example from a Panasonic FZ-18

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« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2013, 12:14:16 AM »

a very good picture taker...
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« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2013, 01:09:09 AM »

The eye really stands out.  May I use the image on my Web site with credit to Robin?

I like "bokeh", it makes me sound intelligent.



Hey, Robin, great bokeh!!!

Yeah, thanks,.  but did you like that blurred stuff in the background though?  I thought that was kewl, wha'cha think?

---

Incidentally, my title for this image is "Omigod its Full of Stars"

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