Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds

Started Jan 29, 2011 | Discussions
IraHartman
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Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
Jan 29, 2011

What would be considered one of the Best super compact zoom cameras for animal pictures. distance of 300mm or greater
I would like to print 8x11 or 11x14 prints without feather degradation.
Thank you.

there was a post earlier this week that showed a Lumix FZ 100 with an 8 x 11 print with the feathers of the bird degraded. This is what i am trying to avoid.

Chris ™
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to IraHartman, Jan 29, 2011

Just open your eyes and search the forum for the SX30 to find tons of stunning examples
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B1ackhat
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to Chris ™, Jan 29, 2011

Chris ™ wrote:

Just open your eyes and search the forum for the SX30 to find tons of stunning examples

I suspect the OP is looking for more a SOOC solution than one that requires a lot of PP. I'm not terribly certain that exists within the current models though.

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ChristianHass
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to B1ackhat, Jan 29, 2011

You could look into a entry level DSLR with a tele lens instead. I'm not too familiar with Canon's DSLR line but something like a Nikon D3100 with a 55-200VR (will go to 300mm 35mm eqv because of the DX sensor) should do the trick. Or the Canon equivalent.

It's not a compact, but then again a SX30 isn't exactly going to slip into your pants pocket either

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Jerrich
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to ChristianHass, Jan 29, 2011

Low level detail, such as feathers, will require at least raw capability usually; also a good lens. As suggested, search around here for bird shots and see what you think.
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AJSAUco
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to Jerrich, Jan 30, 2011

do not be fooled by those suggesting the heavily processed SX30 images are what you can expect. It's simply not true.

The SX30 is a decent camera if you know what to expect. There are some issues with it. I doubt it fits your size needs but it may well be worth looking at or one of the other camera's in this bracket.
You can do RAW with the SX30 with CHDK.

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AJSAUco
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to Chris ™, Jan 30, 2011

Chris ™ wrote:

Just open your eyes and search the forum for the SX30 to find tons of stunning examples

Do you feel pushing someone towards samples which are almost always heavily processed is a good example of what he can expect by picking the camera up and using it? Most of those shots are in specific situations and do not represent what he will get under other conditions.

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krassphoto
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to IraHartman, Jan 30, 2011

I'm afraid, if you need a 11x14 print without feather degradation in 300mm, there is no super compact for that. You're gonna need a DSLR and post-processing. 11x14 print is a completely different thing than a great looking image on the web page.

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Cyril Catt
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to krassphoto, Jan 30, 2011

I'm not sure when you write 'super compact zoom cameras' whether the emphasis is on super-compact or super-zoom. I don't take many bird pictures, so have no examples, but I consider the Canon TX1 to be exceptionally super-compact for a camera with a 39-390 mm lens. Its very portable robust small size, 39-390 optical zoom, zero cm super macro, swivel LCD, and useful range of manual settings make it a very versatile everyday graphic notebook, recording telescope, and recording magnifier. However, to make it so small required some compromises that do not suit everybody, and the more conventional format of the current 36-360 mm IXUS 1000 may be preferable to some. See: http://www.powershot-tx1.com/...7/07/tx1-101-using-enhanced-digital-zoom.html and https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dd9hq5fr_4c4v423g2&pli=1 and the relevant sections of my gallery.
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BobT
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to Chris ™, Jan 30, 2011

Of birds, yes. But not too much of anything else.

If ever a camera was designated by what it seems to shoot the most, the SX30 IS should be deemed "The Birder's Camera". I'm not knocking it. But, just sayin'.

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Chris ™
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to AJSAUco, Jan 30, 2011

AJSAUco wrote:

Do you feel pushing someone towards samples which are almost always heavily processed is a good example of what he can expect by picking the camera up and using it?

Ira is able to read and the pros and cons of the SX30 have been discussed several times ... I see no need to repeat that over and over again

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BobT
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to Cyril Catt, Jan 30, 2011

Cyril,
That enhanced digital zoom example is quite impressive....to me, anyway.

To be perfectly honest, I knew nothing of the TX1 until reading this post. I will research it a bit more; as I liked what I saw in that sample. Thanks for leading me to it.

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Cyril Catt
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to BobT, Jan 31, 2011

BobT, you’re welcome. Although the TX1 is almost 4 years old, it is still the camera I reach for the most. That is probably due to the eclectic mix of things I snap at, using it as a graphic memory aid, rather than as an artistic tool to make memorable/technically perfect pictures.

Why use it instead of my other, more sophisticated models? Firstly, because it is versatile enough to do what I need done. I print very few of my pictures, looking at most of them on a screen, so 7MP is quite sufficient for me. In fact, I am often satisfied with stills from VGA video frames. I use them when subjects are moving a lot, or as a surrogate for a fast (30fps) continuous burst mode, when I think an interesting moment will occur, but I’m not sure exactly how soon. The TX1’s super-macro mode allows focus up to the lens, so I can photograph small details that I cannot see with my naked eye. At the other extreme, the telezoom allows me to photograph distant details that my eyes cannot distinguish. There are a reasonable array of adjustments (although no direct manual ones) that allow me to alter exposure to suit my needs, and a swivel screen to help take shots over the heads of crowds, at ground level without lying down, or around corners or over the edge of parapets where I might fear to go. Its lens is also small enough to poke through the chain link fences protecting spectators at my grandchildren’s hockey games, to get an uncluttered view....And it can be a useful sound recorder as well.

Secondly, it is robust. One poster called it ‘a tough little turtle’ after it survived a fall from his pocket. As well as the inward folding LCD that protects the display, the lens shutter is about the strongest I’ve seen, so that, if necessary, it could survive being in a pocket with a bunch of keys or small change - although I would be reluctant to scratch it in that way.

Thirdly, although it is not as small and portable as some of more recent camera models, I have not seen one of them as versatile or as robust. so its small size means that it is still the most convenient model to have with me at all times.

Fourthly, although its launch price was high, it dropped quickly - due largely, I suspect to its unconventional format. So I bought mine at half the original price, about 300 USD, and having got used to its format, controls and capabilities, bought a backup for about 200 USD. So If the worst does happen, and it breaks down, or is lost or stolen, though I will greatly miss it, I will not suffer such a great financial loss.

Nevertheless, the TX1 has several limitations due to the compromises to make it so small.
1.The controls take some time to get used to;
2. the LCD is small, has low resolution; and

3. (like all my other cameras’ LCDs) is hard to see in our Australian sunlight (though the attachment I have made from a slide viewer does provide a virtual EVF: see my gallery);

4. the lens is not wide nor fast enough for some situations (so I also have an LX3 and its 18 mm accessory lens to complement the TX1); and

5. like any other superzoom at 390 mm (equivalent) (and especially at 1560 mm) it is extremely difficult to handhold the TX1 steady on a potential subject. But if I were to carry a normal tripod for long zoom shots, it would be defeating the purpose of a having a small, very portable, camera. So I compromise with a small, pocketable, swivel headed, tabletop tripod. Attached to the TX1, the tripod can be held firmly with one hand (or a velcro strap) against any rigid object (tree, wall, post, fence, etc), whilst the other hand is used to operate the camera. If I am in an open field, with nothing to rest against, I hold the little tripod against my sternum and upper chest, and hold my breath while snapping.

FYI, A very kind user has also hosted a useful TX1 Forum at http://forums.powershot-tx1.com/
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AJSAUco
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to Chris ™, Feb 1, 2011

Chris ™ wrote:

Ira is able to read and the pros and cons of the SX30 have been discussed several times ... I see no need to repeat that over and over again

You don't see any need to be accurate in your posts as it's ok to ASSUME people don't take them at face value?

It's really not about you, it's about helping people by being honest. Not pushing them to something which may or may not be the right thing because at the moment "we" are currently a fan of it

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Cyril Catt
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to AJSAUco, Feb 1, 2011

AJSAUco wrote:

Do you feel pushing someone towards samples which are almost always heavily processed is a good example of what he can expect by picking the camera up and using it? Most of those shots are in specific situations and do not represent what he will get under other conditions.

AJSAUco, I think that is a good point to make. It seems that many people spend a lot of time tweaking photos before posting them, so that their examples are not necessarily what a newbie will get straight out of the camera.
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GeraldW
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to Cyril Catt, Feb 2, 2011

You point is well taken. I've been through a lot of superzooms over the last four years, and keep coming back to the older S5IS. Why?

The lens is fast at f/2.7-3.5.
The camera is smaller and lighter than more recent models.
It has a hot shoe,
IS is effective.
AF is quite fast.
It has the flip out LCD.
Digital zoom works pretty well at 1.6x (but not more)
With a Lensmate is can use filters, a telex, or a close up lens.

With a LensMate and a filter mounted, it uses real lens caps, and provides a sealed environment for the lens.
IQ is very good up to ISO 200, and useful to ISO 400.

Internal adjustments for sharpening, saturation and contrast allow for directly printable output to 8.5" x 11" with some cropping.
It has good ergonomics.

On the negative side, it is prone to chromatic aberration in high contrast situations.

It was the CA that let me talk myself into selling mine. I have since bought another.
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Cyril Catt
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Re: Best compact zoom cameras for animal pictures, birds
In reply to GeraldW, Feb 2, 2011

GeraldW wrote:

You point is well taken.

Sorry, Gerald, but whose point were you referring to?
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