Photography of animals at distance

Discussion in 'Nature' started by paul_west|5, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. I don't really know anything about photography, but I travel to beautiful areas and fancy tetting into it abit.i see beautiful animals and birds etc, but dont have a decent camera to zoom in on them from distance.can anyone recommend cameras for this type of photography and price range?
  2. Hi Paul,
    From the picture you enclosed I take it that you travel by bike Please let us know what you want to photograph and at what distance. Apart from that you may look at a so called superzoom or a DSLR beginners kit (and expand from there).
  3. Paul, I am taking it that it's you on the bike, in which case I am assuming you don't want anything too big or heavy. Also if you are just starting out in photography you may not want to invest a lot until you know where you want to go with it...... my assumptions so correct me if I am wrong.
    You may be interested in something like the Canon Powershot SX50 HS which can be used from landscapes (reasonably wide angle) to wildlife shots (at high zoom). It is discussed here in this thread, and reviewed here. It has its limitations of course. If you want something with better image quality you could also look at some of the latest release by Sony and Panasonic: Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and Lumix DMC-FZ1000 but they are bigger, heavier, don't have as long a zoom and cost more.
    Alternatively you could also look at relatively compact mirrorless cameras like these with interchangeable lenses. It all depends on your needs, but my suggestion for what it's worth would be something like the sx50 for convenience and ease of use.
  4. Paul, if the animal is close such as deer, seagull, squirrel, etc. you don't need anything super special, but most wildlife tends to stay away from the people or the road noise. They are a challenge to capture and in order to get good results, the cost is usually proportional = or everyone would be doing it. Technique is equally important. Sooo, if you start with a middle-of-the road equipment, most likely you'll end up with similar photos.
  5. Look at the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000, a new model recently reviewed by and given a very high rating. A previous camera, the DMC-FZ200, worked well for a friend with a similar situation to yours: little knowledge of photography but wonderful opportunities to photograph, including animals at a distance. Either camera might work well for you.
    I believe Roger's suggestions were made tongue-in-cheek. They are highly suitable for an experienced photographer with a big budget, the ability to carry heavy equipment, and photographing with a serious tripod or monopod.
  6. Get a travel camera with a long telephoto range like this one for about $300. It's small so you won't be loaded down with heavy equipment.
    You may like this one better. It's a little bigger but cheaper around $225.
  7. The second one has a built in flash too for those darker and closer people shots.
  8. Assuming, as they are, that you are bike traveling, the DMC FZ1000 looks to be a very suitable camera. Its an all in one with a fixed zoom that the reviewers think take excellent pictures and has a very wide range. I don't know of a small, easy to carry, quality camera that has a greater reach than 400mm. I don't know if it has a long enough reach for bigger animals.
  9. The super zooms mentioned above will capture the image. You have to decide what you will do with the image. If your
    needs are just viewing on a monitor, emails, or small prints, like 4x6in or 8 x 10 in, the sensor in the camera does not
    need to be that large and the camera and fixed lens will not cost as much as a camera with a larger sensor that will
    produce more pixels per inch. Dp review will give you good info on any camera made and sometimes you can find an
    article that compares the top five cameras in a specific class. The choices already recommended are good ones. Another
    factor is how it fits your hand and does its button setup make sense to you. Unfortunately manuals have to be
    downloaded these days. For any camera you want to buy, download the manual first and look at it to see if you can
    understand it. They vary in quality and user friendliness. An experienced photographer who has been trained in
    photography can figure out just about any manual, but a beginner could have problems with some manuals.

    joe Smith
  10. How about the Sony RX10? I wouldn't mind one myself.
  11. Here's my take on this conundrum. For best image quality, you need a DSLR-type camera with a decent sensor size. The problem is that you also need a long and fast lens to take shots of wildlife, and the longer and faster the better. Long because they are usually far away and fast because you need to take pictures with a short exposure because it is difficult to get them to pose for you. These lenses are heavy, which begets another requirement for a good heavy tripod to support them. Adding to this problem is that almost all telephoto zoom lenses become significantly slower (higher minimum aperture number) as the focal length increases. That's why they are rated, e.g. f2.8-4.5 meaning they are f2.8 at low zoom but f4.5 at highest zoom. Thus they are slow at high magnification. This makes them almost unusable unless you have a tripod because it is difficult to hand-hold for even moderately long exposures (the classic rule of thumb is expose at the reciprocal of the focal length, e.g. a 500 mm lens you need to shoot at least as fast as 1/500 sec if not faster). If you are hoping to do this off your bike, then you know what limitations the weight of a heavy camera body, long telephoto and tripod pose.
    Given all of these problems for shots of wildlife I have ditched my DSLR and opted for a superzoom camera (Lumix FZ200 mentioned above). This camera has several advantages: a zoom that goes out to 600 mm equivalent (and even 1200 mm in the auto mode), a constant f2.8 lens throughout its zoom length (!), and RAW and/or JPEG option. Of course there are tradeoffs: the chief one being a small sensory (essentially the size of point and shoot cameras) and a very slow focus.
    I find it interesting that several have commented on the FZ1000 as an alternative. It has the advantage of a larger sensor, sort of midway between the P&S and a DSLR, but it has a shorter zoom (400 mm) and is not constant f2.8. The Sony RX10 would be good but it only zooms to 200 mm which in my view is too short for most wildlife situations. The Canon SX50 has a much longer zoom (1200 mm) and slightly slower lens.
    Life is a compromise!

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