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best camera for the job?

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Anonymous
April 10, 2005 6:27:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Hello,

As I just mentioned in a prior post, I recently purchased the Canon S1IS. I
have 30 days to evaluate the camera and to determine whether or not I'm
going to keep it. I'm not sure that this camera is quite up to the task I
had in mind. I want to photograph wildlife from a distance of maybe up to
several hundred feet. What originally attracted me to this camera was the
digital image stabilization, yet I don't see this feature on many current
digicams. Any reason why?

I am about at the limit of spending for a digicam. If this is to be the
one, I want to be sure and rule out any other possibilities. The IS seems
to work ok, but this is undermined in a way due to the inability to focus
sometimes (although according to a review I read, this is a weakness of the
camera).

Any suggestions would be appreciate for the intended purpose (wildlife).
Don't want to have to spend a fortune and if indeed this camera, especially
with the telephoto lens, is up to the task with good resolution, it's a
keeper.

Thanks,
Bill

More about : camera job

Anonymous
April 10, 2005 12:21:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Sun, 10 Apr 2005 02:27:35 GMT, in rec.photo.digital "Bill Paxton"
<billp56712we@ezx.net> wrote:

>As I just mentioned in a prior post, I recently purchased the Canon S1IS. I
>have 30 days to evaluate the camera and to determine whether or not I'm
>going to keep it. I'm not sure that this camera is quite up to the task I
>had in mind. I want to photograph wildlife from a distance of maybe up to
>several hundred feet. What originally attracted me to this camera was the
>digital image stabilization, yet I don't see this feature on many current
>digicams. Any reason why?

I'm not going to disagree with David, but try and turn your above fuzzy
requirement into something more specific.

You state, "I want to photograph wildlife from a distance of maybe up to
several hundred feet." The question is with what level of magnification or
frame coverage? For what intended outcome, prints(what size), screen
display or web pages? Under what conditions will you be taking these
pictures? Early morning and evening are times when various wildlife are out
and about more often, but the low light available here imposes the need for
fast lens and low noise-high iso capability.

The answers to these will drive the hardware requirements and see if given
your price range you need to be a bit more realistic of the outcome.

First, you looking for long 35mm equiv focal lengths. If you are going to
be pushing the 1/f sec rule of thumb for handheld exposures, image
stabilization can be a help. If you are in bright enough light where your
exposures are far shorter than 1/f sec, then image stabilization is of no
use and should be turned off. How fast an exposure you need is determined
by the amount of available light, how fast the lens is (f#), and the
sensitivity of the sensor (iso).

Once you pick a camera all you have left to vary here is the iso. How much
noisier does the camera get as you increase iso? One can use software
filtering techniques to help mitigate some of the problem, but the less you
start with the better. Again, your output expectations are important here
in regard the what is an acceptable amount of noise. Everyone has different
requirements, and this a point of frequent discussion here, to say the
least.

If you don't have enough focal length for full frame coverage, you're going
to crop. Here, all other things being equal, the higher the number of
pixels, the higher the resolution of the crop, allowing the biggest print
for a given quality at some chosen output ppi. Another possibility is the
ability of a camera to make use of a fixed element add-on teleconverter to
increase the focal length when needed. Note, the use of these may add to
the limitations of the camera while installed.

Lastly consider how much stuff you're willing to tote around with you. For
background on this I started with a 3MP Nikon 990, then added the 3x TC-3,
(http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/CP_990/Tele/3...
Also http://edwardgruf.com/Klaus_Korner/Flora_fauna/Fauna/fa...
The bald eagle here was taken from about 100 yards away and these are the
resulting 1:1 crops. Then tried a Kenko 6x,
http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/CP_990/Tele/6...
I then moved to a Nikon 5700 with 1.5X TC
http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/CP_5700/Compa...
Finally, I moved to a dslr.
http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/D70/misc/inde...

This is not to say one can not get great photos from non-dslrs, just there
are some limitations which result in the degradation of the images which
can be captured under certain situations.
----------
Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 (Usenet@EdwardG.Ruf.com)
See images taken with my CP-990/5700 & D70 at
http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/General/index...
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 1:50:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bill Paxton wrote:
[]
> Any suggestions would be appreciate for the intended purpose
> (wildlife). Don't want to have to spend a fortune and if indeed this
> camera, especially with the telephoto lens, is up to the task with
> good resolution, it's a keeper.

Bill, many will say that an expensive DSLR is the only way to do this.
If, like me, you don't want to go that route you probably need an image
stablised lens (to compensate for the lower usable sensitivity of
point-and-shoot), which gives a choice of 3MP Canon S1 IS, 5MP
Konica-Minolta Z5, Panasonic FZ5, FZ20, and 8MP Nikon 8800 in roughly
ascending price order.

The FZ20 has the widest lens aperture over the whole range, although the
FZ5 is slightly lighter and more compact if that matters to you. The
Panasonic FZ5 and FZ20 are particularly good value for money, good
performers, and hence quite popular.

By the way, the newsgroup rec.photo.digital.zlr is available for
discussions of these higher-end, nor SLR-like cameras.

Cheers,
David
Related resources
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 2:57:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bill Paxton wrote:
> Hello,
>
> As I just mentioned in a prior post, I recently purchased the Canon
> S1IS. I have 30 days to evaluate the camera and to determine whether
> or not I'm going to keep it. I'm not sure that this camera is quite
> up to the task I had in mind. I want to photograph wildlife from a
> distance of maybe up to several hundred feet. What originally
> attracted me to this camera was the digital image stabilization, yet
> I don't see this feature on many current digicams. Any reason why?
>
> I am about at the limit of spending for a digicam. If this is to be
> the one, I want to be sure and rule out any other possibilities. The
> IS seems to work ok, but this is undermined in a way due to the
> inability to focus sometimes (although according to a review I read,
> this is a weakness of the camera).
>
> Any suggestions would be appreciate for the intended purpose
> (wildlife). Don't want to have to spend a fortune and if indeed this
> camera, especially with the telephoto lens, is up to the task with
> good resolution, it's a keeper.
>
> Thanks,
> Bill

What you are looking to do is very equipment intensive. That means it
is going to be very expensive. A basic dSLR will start at $1,000 + and
that is only the beginning. You lens is going to set you back 3-15 times
that. So expect somewhere about $10,000 for your beginner camera.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia's Muire duit
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 2:57:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

(Joseph Meehan) wrote:
>        What you are looking to do is very
> equipment intensive. That means it is
> going to be very expensive. A basic
> dSLR will start at $1,000 + and that is
> only the beginning. You lens is going to
> set you back 3-15 times that. So expect
> somewhere about $10,000 for your
> beginner camera.

Is that Irish math? :) 
He could get a Canon Digital Rebel XT and an EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM
for about $2300 or so. Or he could get the Canon Digital Rebel XT and EF
75-300 f4-5.6 IS USM for about $1200 or $1300.
Or he could get the Elan 7n and EF 75-300 f4-5.6 USM for about $500, if
he wanted to shoot film.





Cody,

You will only have significant success with something that is an
obsession.

http://community-2.webtv.net/AnOvercomer02/PhotographyL...
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 2:57:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Sun, 10 Apr 2005 08:59:41 -0500, in rec.photo.digital
AnOvercomer02@webtv.net (AnOvercomer 02) wrote:

>
>
>(Joseph Meehan) wrote:
>>        What you are looking to do is very
>> equipment intensive. That means it is
>> going to be very expensive. A basic
>> dSLR will start at $1,000 + and that is
>> only the beginning. You lens is going to
>> set you back 3-15 times that. So expect
>> somewhere about $10,000 for your
>> beginner camera.
>
>Is that Irish math? :) 
>He could get a Canon Digital Rebel XT and an EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM
>for about $2300 or so. Or he could get the Canon Digital Rebel XT and EF
>75-300 f4-5.6 IS USM for about $1200 or $1300.
>Or he could get the Elan 7n and EF 75-300 f4-5.6 USM for about $500, if
>he wanted to shoot film.

Not going to be anywhere close to full frame at 300 ft, is it? That's why
I asked what the expectation was.
----------
Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 (Usenet@EdwardG.Ruf.com)
See images taken with my CP-990/5700 & D70 at
http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/General/index...
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 2:57:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

(Ed Ruf) wrote:
>Not going to be anywhere close to full
> frame at 300 ft, is it? That's why I asked
> what the expectation was.

It depends on what you are shooting. An elephant, maybe, a small bird,
no way.

Below is a shot taken with a 400 f5.6 lens on a DSLR with the same 1.6
crop factor as the Rebel XT, (I think), shot by Annika1980. View the
whole folder to see the magnification of a 400 f5.6 lens on a DSLR with
a 1.6 crop factor.
http://www.pbase.com/bret/image/24517568




Cody,

When you want something you've never had, you have to do something
you've never done.

http://community-2.webtv.net/AnOvercomer02/PhotographyL...
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 3:48:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Sun, 10 Apr 2005 10:20:17 -0500, in rec.photo.digital
AnOvercomer02@webtv.net (AnOvercomer 02) wrote:

>Below is a shot taken with a 400 f5.6 lens on a DSLR with the same 1.6
>crop factor as the Rebel XT, (I think), shot by Annika1980. View the
>whole folder to see the magnification of a 400 f5.6 lens on a DSLR with
>a 1.6 crop factor.
>http://www.pbase.com/bret/image/24517568

No need, I'm quite familiar with it as I shoot a D70, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR
with a 2x TC.
----------
Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 (Usenet@EdwardG.Ruf.com)
See images taken with my CP-990/5700 & D70 at
http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/General/index...
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 8:09:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

David J Taylor wrote:

>Bill Paxton wrote:
>[]
>
>
>>Any suggestions would be appreciate for the intended purpose
>>(wildlife). Don't want to have to spend a fortune and if indeed this
>>camera, especially with the telephoto lens, is up to the task with
>>good resolution, it's a keeper.
>>
>>
>
>Bill, many will say that an expensive DSLR is the only way to do this.
>If, like me, you don't want to go that route you probably need an image
>stablised lens (to compensate for the lower usable sensitivity of
>point-and-shoot), which gives a choice of 3MP Canon S1 IS, 5MP
>Konica-Minolta Z5, Panasonic FZ5, FZ20, and 8MP Nikon 8800 in roughly
>ascending price order.
>
>The FZ20 has the widest lens aperture over the whole range, although the
>FZ5 is slightly lighter
>

40% lighter is more than slightly.

I am conerned with reports on unacceptable and excessive NOISE over ISO
100 on the FZ5.

>and more compact if that matters to you. The
>Panasonic FZ5 and FZ20 are particularly good value for money, good
>performers, and hence quite popular.
>
>By the way, the newsgroup rec.photo.digital.zlr is available for
>discussions of these higher-end, nor SLR-like cameras.
>
>Cheers,
>David
>
>
>
>
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 9:02:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

measekite wrote:
> David J Taylor wrote:
[]
>> The FZ20 has the widest lens aperture over the whole range, although
>> the FZ5 is slightly lighter
>>
>
> 40% lighter is more than slightly.
>
> I am conerned with reports on unacceptable and excessive NOISE over
> ISO 100 on the FZ5.

Agreed on the weight - I didn't want to appear to exaggerate.

I suggest you print out (or otherwise display as you normally would) some
of the samples from the camera. All small-format cameras will have more
noise than DSLRs at higher ISO settings due to the smaller sensor area. I
don't think that the FZ5 is any worse than other cameras with the
same-sised sensor ("1/2.5 inch"), and from the DP Review samples it is
significantly better than some. The Nikon 5700 offers a larger sensor
with the same 5MP, but it has no image stabilisation.

Cheers,
David
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 9:15:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

AnOvercomer 02 wrote:
> (Joseph Meehan) wrote:
>> What you are looking to do is very
>> equipment intensive. That means it is
>> going to be very expensive. A basic
>> dSLR will start at $1,000 + and that is
>> only the beginning. You lens is going to
>> set you back 3-15 times that. So expect
>> somewhere about $10,000 for your
>> beginner camera.
>
> Is that Irish math? :) 
> He could get a Canon Digital Rebel XT and an EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS
> USM for about $2300 or so. Or he could get the Canon Digital Rebel XT
> and EF 75-300 f4-5.6 IS USM for about $1200 or $1300.
> Or he could get the Elan 7n and EF 75-300 f4-5.6 USM for about $500,
> if he wanted to shoot film.
>

Since most people who would be asking will not be shooting giraffes, but
rather something much smaller, they are going to need a lot more than that
in the lens.


>
>
>
>
> Cody,
>
> You will only have significant success with something that is an
> obsession.
>
> http://community-2.webtv.net/AnOvercomer02/PhotographyL...

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia's Muire duit
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 12:22:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bill Paxton wrote:
> ...I recently purchased the Canon S1IS.
> ...to photograph wildlife from a distance
> ...I don't see this [image stabilization] feature on many current
> digicams.
> ...Don't want to have to spend a fortune


Let's see what equipment an expert uses. This serves well as a point of
reference.
http://www.digibird.com/primerdir/primer1.htm
It's home page is full of useful information.
http://www.digibird.com/

Nikon Coolpix 990 is now discontinued, but it is interesting to note its
specs
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp990/.

Don't forget you have to factor in a good, sturdy (i.e. heavy and expensive)
tripod too
http://www.outdooreyes.com/photo11.php3
http://www.jimdoty.com/Tips/Equipment/Tripods/tripods.h...

--
Lin Chung.
[The Water Margins of Liang Shan Po were at the time of the Sung dynasty.
Replace that with "ntlworld" for emails.]
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 1:35:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Saturday 09 April 2005 19:27, Bill Paxton wrote:

> Hello,
>
> As I just mentioned in a prior post, I recently purchased the Canon
> S1IS. I have 30 days to evaluate the camera and to determine whether
> or not I'm
> going to keep it. I'm not sure that this camera is quite up to the
> task I
> had in mind. I want to photograph wildlife from a distance of maybe
> up to
> several hundred feet. What originally attracted me to this camera was
> the digital image stabilization, yet I don't see this feature on many
> current
> digicams. Any reason why?

This camera is unsuitable for your purposes. The lens isn't long enough
unless you intend to shoot your wildlife in a zoo or wild animal park.


> I am about at the limit of spending for a digicam. If this is to be
> the
> one, I want to be sure and rule out any other possibilities. The IS
> seems to work ok, but this is undermined in a way due to the inability
> to focus sometimes (although according to a review I read, this is a
> weakness of the camera).

You don't NEED image stabilization. (Or autofocus for that matter.
With wildlife, your lens is close to infinity anyway.) Use a tripod or
monopod. And put the savings into a DSLR and long lenses. The P&S
route isn't going to hack it. If you want to do wildlife photography
in the wild, it's going to cost.

> Any suggestions would be appreciate for the intended purpose
> (wildlife). Don't want to have to spend a fortune and if indeed this
> camera, especially with the telephoto lens, is up to the task with
> good resolution, it's a keeper.

If you're looking to save money, you might consider film instead of
digital. Used film cameras of very good quality can be had on eBay for
a couple hundred dollars and the almost required motordrive for less.
Take a look at the Nikon FM2n and the MD12. That's what I've used for
almost 30 years. (Well, I started with the FM model and MD-11
motordrive. And wore them out. Then got the FM2n.) Both very durable.
Will last and last. However, long lenses, even used, are still going to
cost you. The price you pay for going into wildlife work.

If, however, you're dead set on digital, get a used Canon D30 DSLR
(3.2MP but the larger APS-C size sensor gives it superior quality over
P&S's.) off eBay for $300 to $400. I suggest that you use "prime"
lenses instead of zooms. They are faster, lighter, sharper and less
bulky. And that's what you want. One (or two) with a matched 2x
extender should get you started. In 35mm, I use a 600 as my "normal"
lens. It's the focal length I shoot the most with (for wildlife
anyway). Adding a matched 2x, gives it a pretty good reach. A 200 is
a nice "wide angle" for animal group/environmental shots. You would
want the fastest lenses you can afford. An f5.6 600 is fast enough
most of the time. Adding a 2x makes it an f8.0. The 200 should be an
f4.0 or faster.

With the D30's 1.6 mulitplier, the above 35mm focal lengths convert to a
400 for the 600, and a 135 for the 200. Pick a 400 that has a
"matched" 2x extender. For a general purpose, everyday use lens get a
zoom around 18 to 50 or so.

Don't forget a good, study tripod AND a monopod for when you need to be
more mobile.

--
Stefan Patric
NoLife Polymath Group
tootek2@yahoo.com
!