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which is the best for shooting distant objects?

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Well the answer to the "bird at 50 meters" question largely depends on how large you want the bird to appear in your frame, and how big the bird is. (An ostrich wouldn't be hard - a sparrow, yeah!! :) If you're shooting a small bird and you want it to fill the frame, you're going to need a pretty good zoom lens. I doubt there are many prosumer digital cameras that would satisfy you. A digital SLR would do it. There's an interesting article in this month's issue of Popular Photography on "Mirror Zooms". These lenses aren't the fastest in the world - usually around f/8 - but they're cheap: Some 500mm lenses can be had, brand new, for not much over a hundred bucks! It goes up from there - all the way to Canon or Nikon Image Stabilized lenses that can cost thousands of dollars but can be used without a tripod and are fast - f/2.8 in some cases. Another reason to consider DSLR's - these just aren't options on most prosumer digicams. Best wishes . . .
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