Compact camera with telezoom for birds?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by photo_galleries, May 21, 2016.

  1. I use my DSLR and 200-500mm lens when I go out specifically for birding; however, as you might imagine, it's not the kind of lens one carries everyday. And that's what 'm looking for--an everyday, throw-in-my-backpack reasonably-compact camera that has a zoom that's long to capture images of smallish birds, e.g., Nuthatches, Flycatchers, Blackbirds, etc... Final output are going to be for the web and prints up to 6x9 inches. I'm currently looking at the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS. Anyone use the Canon or a similar camera? Here's an example of what I'd like to capture:
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Look at the dpreview round-up of consumer long-zoom cameras. I suggest it over their enthusiast long-zoom round-up because in the latter, the lenses aren't long enough. They rank the Canon below other cameras, in part because of the lack of a viewfinder and of raw output. Dpreview's final conclusion is the same as mine, but I should disclose that I worked for many years in R&D for Panasonic, not on photography, and still have friends in the company.
     
  3. Thanks Hector. The FZ300 is certainly an impressive camera, although it looks a little bulky for an every day body. I was hoping for one that did not have an SLR-like form factor. But all the other features may outweigh that concern. My local store should have one so I'll have to see for myself.
     
  4. There are not a lot of ways to do what you want without significant compromise. The Sony RX10III has a long, relatively fast zoom but it's not cheap at $1,500US. Granted you're not trying to make 30x40 images. Not sure what lens-camera combo you used for your example but it might be a bit over sharpened, lots of halos. The rules of physics are hard to beat. To get enough light, you need a decent aperture, to stop action you need a fast shutter speed, image stabilization does not stop the subject. Good luck figuring this out, let us know.
     
  5. Yup, most definitely over-sharpened, but my intent was to show intended subjects (smaller rather than larger birds). I am aware of the Rx10 III but that is beyond what I'm willing to spend. The search continues.
     
  6. Dunno, maybe you should try out the Canon PowerShot SX720 that you suggested. Then let us know how well it works for your purpose. It can probably do the job with good technical skills and some luck. Bird shots are tricky, especially small birds. Most people use much bigger long lenses.
     
  7. I recently sold my Pentak K-3 and Sigma 150-500 lens because I got tired of carrying that get-up around for wildlife, and purchased a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. For me, it was absolutely the right decision. I did have a Lumix FZ200 previously, which I liked a lot, but the tiny sensor did produce a lot of noise, though I printed up to 13x19 from it with nice results. The FZ1000 has less zoom but a 1" sensor, and I do find the noise much less objectionable. At the full 20mp pic size, optical zoom 'only' goes up to 400, but if you size down to 10mp, it goes up to 560, and at 5mp, it maxes out at 800mm (Note: The extended zoom at lower pic sizes only applies if shooting JPEG). There is additional 'intelligent zoom' and 'digital zoom' as well that reduce quality some, but would still be fine in many instances for what you want.
    However, it is definitely an SLR-like camera, but the bag with camera and accessories weighs a whopping 3lbs 4 oz, which is basically non-existent compared to what I used to carry around. If you want to see some pics from the camera (all with some modest post-processing), you can check out my flickr folder here:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/107794064@N02/albums/72157665343977573
    These were all taken in the standard jpeg setting and processed with Photoshop Elements. I also have an FZ200 folder that you might be interested in:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/107794064@N02/albums/72157644216394417
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Back in February, Nikon announced three DL cameras with 1" sensors and non-interchangeable lenses. The DL24-500 has a zoom that is the 35mm equivalent of a 24-500mm zoom: Nikon Introduces Three DL Cameras and Three New Coolpixes
    However, the shipment for the DL cameras has been delayed so that they are still not on the market. Potentially the DL24-500 could work for the OP's purpose. While not as expensive as the Sony, the Nikon DL is still @ $1000, not exactly inexpensive.
     
  9. Thanks Bill - nice photos. I have to take a closer look at the entire FZxxx line.
    Hi Shun - I'm aware of the Nikon DL24-500 and that is certainly a possibility, although as you said, it is not exactly inexpensive. I'm sure there will be the inevitable comparisons between the Nikon and the Sony once the Nikon hits the stores.
    I'll have to compile a list of pros & cons and decide which choices and compromises I'm willing to make (including price).
     
  10. Keith,
    Just for the record, I did a comparison of the FZ1000 and the Nikon DL24-500 prior to making my purchase, and decided in favor of the Panasonic even before the Nikon delay was announced. If I remember correctly, some of the deciding factors in favor of the Panasonic were a lower min ISO, faster max mechanical shutter, bulb mode (not used often, but nice to have), camera was out long enough for most bugs to be worked out, and price with some decent accessories was around $700. Of course, that might not negate the extra 100mm in reach for some (though again, you can accomplish that by shooting with the FZ1000 in jpeg mode at smaller mp dimensions).
    I have no doubt the Nikon will be a nice camera though.
     
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I had/have some interest in the Nikon DL24-500, but Nikon's reason for the delay is hardware/electronic issues that applies to all three DL models. If you may opt for that option, I would definitely wait for some thorough testing and review by independent reviews. The fact that Nikon is unable to ship the DL cameras 3+ months after the announcement and in fact no longer have a date for its initial shipment is clearly a concern.
     
  12. Nikon Coolpix P900.
    • 24-2000mm 35mm Equivalent Focal Length
    • 83x Optical Zoom NIKKOR Super ED VR Lens
    Monster lens.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
    • 24-2000mm 35mm Equivalent Focal Length
    • 83x Optical Zoom NIKKOR Super ED VR Lens
    And from online reviews I've read, performance is actually not as bad as one would think even at 2000mm, and yes even going out to the digital zoom up to 332x (8000 mm equivalent). That's just insane!

    For web and small prints, this may indeed be a viable candidate.
     
  13. It's nice to have a fun camera like the P900 when you are walking your dogs or doing something else and don't want to be slowed down with a bunch of gear. You are not going to capture fast flying birds. In fact, I couldn't even capture surfers on waves but it is great for capturing birds sitting on branches that you can barely see.

    http://mdougherty.com/100-THEPHOTOEXPERIENCE/120-WILDLIFE/birds/woodpeckers-parrots/00-birds-woodpeckers&parrots-intro-htm.htm
    00dxzE-563324184.jpg
     
  14. Michael Dougherty[​IMG], May 26, 2016; 06:58 p.m.
    It's nice to have a fun camera like the P900 when you are walking your dogs or doing something else and don't want to be slowed down with a bunch of gear. You are not going to capture fast flying birds. In fact, I couldn't even capture surfers on waves but it is great for capturing birds sitting on branches that you can barely see.​
    Thanks Michael - that's fair. Tracking BIF would be asking too much from a bridge camera. Your image would be the type of image that I intend to capture with a bridge camera, especially when I am out and about for a non-photography related activity and come across birds sitting in trees or on fence posts or some other structure.
     
  15. Captured with the Lumix FZ1000. No, they aren't barn swallows, but my hit to miss ratio was no worse than with my Pentax K-3 and Sigma 150-500 lens. But I imagine a Canon or Nikon DSLR would way outperform either.
    00dyBz-563360284.jpg
     
  16. And another.
    00dyC0-563360384.jpg
     
  17. Thanks Bill - great images
     

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