Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)

Started 7 months ago | Questions
theClubHopper
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Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
7 months ago

I was recently looking at buying a new pair of high quality binoculars to take with me on vacations and for occasional use wildlife spotting in the backyard. While browsing online I happened to come across 'superzoom' cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix FZ70(/72), Sony DSC-HX300B and Canon Powershot SX50-HS, and having now watched a few of the have-to-be-seen-to-be-believed superzoom demonstration videos on Youtube (such as this one ), I'm thinking I should scrap the binocular idea, leave my DSLR at home, and spend the $300-$400 I was going to spend on binoculars on a superzoom instead.

I figure that not only would a superzoom allow me to see everything the binoculars could (and see it more clearly) but they could extend my visual range far far far beyond what handheld binoculars can do, and better yet - allow me to capture what I see in either still or video format.

I realize that binoculars, making use of your 2 eyes vs a camera's 1 lens, provide a perception of depth that cameras don't, and also that looking through a camera's viewfinder or at its 3" LCD screen is considerably different an experience to looking at playback of pre-recorded videos on a large computer screen or HDTV, but still, I come here for advice from those who own a superzoom camera: can a superzoom camera make binocular use obsolete?

Also:
I'm imagining me buying a superzoom camera and when I'm on vacation, me frequently saying to my wife, "Wow, look at that!" at something I'm viewing close up that is actually a mile or 2 away and her constantly saying "Pass the camera, I can't see it!"... even if she's using binoculars ---

So, I'm wondering: do any of the current superzoom cameras have LIVE video-out "monitor"-like capability? I know most cameras these days have HDMI-out or USB-out and can do *playback* of recorded video on external devices, but as I have a Windows 8-based tablet with HDMI and USB ports, I'm imagining how amazing it'd be to hook up a superzoom camera to a 10" tablet and for me use it as an ultra-large viewfinder/live LCD

I've looked online at a few owner's manuals and don't see it being currently possible.. but if anyone knows of a camera than can do this, please share!!

ANSWER:
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300
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BertIverson
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It appears to be possible ...
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago
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Michael73
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

It's not quite what you were asking about, but I remember thinking these might be fun to play with.

"optical reach out to almost 800mm, 1080P/60 HD video recording, and Active Stabilization. What would not be to like – other, of course, than the $2,000 price tag?"  Michael Reichmann August, 2013.

Regards, Michael

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Cane
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

I would suggest a gun with a good scope for the wildlife. You can see really close up to pick those suckers right off.

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theClubHopper
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Re: It appears to be possible ...
In reply to BertIverson, 7 months ago

BertIverson wrote:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41503862

I'd searched and seen that thread before positing, so Bert, can you explain for us how that thread relates to either of my specific questions?

Michael73 wrote:

It's not quite what you were asking about, but I remember thinking these might be fun to play with.

"optical reach out to almost 800mm, 1080P/60 HD video recording, and Active Stabilization. What would not be to like – other, of course, than the $2,000 price tag?" Michael Reichmann August, 2013.

Haha.. yes, I saw them previously.. right before I clicked on a superzoom camera priced at $400

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SirLataxe
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

theClubHopper wrote:

can a superzoom camera make binocular use obsolete?

In our hoosey we have a Panasonic FZ200 (600mm - more with it's extended optical zoom) and a pair of Canon binos of the 12X36 image-stabilized kind.  I can tell you that the live view through the binos is far, far superior to that through the FZ200 - until the pics from the FZ200 are put on to a 30" monitor, that is.  However, the monitor is not usually taken out into the field. 

Of course there are some superzooms with an even farther reach and better EVF than the FZ200.  There are binos a lot worse in IQ than those Canons.  Everything is relative, including their prices.  So my question to you is, how much are you prepared to spend on each of these items?  That will determine which works best for you.

SirLataxe.

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donaldsc
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

I have used the superzoom occasionally when I did not have my binocs w me.  However, no way can they replace binocs.

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Don

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justinwonnacott
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to donaldsc, 7 months ago

The optics on even half good binoculars are far superior to a superzoom zoomed out.

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Dr JLW
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

Another alternative to consider is a compact camcorders.  They are also stabilized  have immense zoom ratios and are very compact.  They also record video.  Some also have nigh vision capability which is a step ahead of all but the most expensive and powerful binoculars.

I have used my superzoom on several occasions to look at the details of something very far away.

I recently bought a used camcorder as a nigh vision alternative.

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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

As I'd expect, these are 'specialist' pieces, and here's some that are on a $600-off sale, 10x Sonys at B+H, at that price way closer to 'superzoom' price ranges:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/818031-REG/Sony_DEV_3_DEV_3_Digital_Recording_Binoculars.html

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Aberaeron
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to donaldsc, 7 months ago

donaldsc wrote:

I have used the superzoom occasionally when I did not have my binocs w me. However, no way can they replace binocs.

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Don

I almost always carry binoculars and a couple of cameras in the car. The binoculars are very seldom used these days but the cameras are indeed used instead, often taking a still or video to further study the image after the event.

My Pani G6 has a particularly good wi-fi app that links either to my phone or to my 7" screen Android tablet. Although I have not used it for this particular purpose yet, the tablet can indeed be used as a big viewfinder for the camera and any captured images can be transferred to it either in realtime or after the event, selectively.

Even my Nikon P500 super zoom is quite useful as a monocular by using the rear screen. When half-pressing the shutter release, the image seen is actually stabilised. The evf on this particular model is very poor though and the LCD is nothing special either, but it does the job, and more often than my binoculars, which tend to be left in their case.

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FrancoD
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

If I were you I would pop into a shop that has decent binoculars and high powered zoom cameras and compare the two side by side looking at some distant objects (well as distant as you can within the shop...)

The reason is very simple , you see with your eyes not mine...Ergonomics come into play too, so try holding both for a few minutes at a time.

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theClubHopper
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to SirLataxe, 7 months ago

donaldsc wrote:
I have used the superzoom occasionally when I did not have my binocs w me. However, no way can they replace binocs.

Ok, that's helpful, thanks.

justinwonnacott wrote:
The optics on even half good binoculars are far superior to a superzoom zoomed out.

.. understood, but how about when they're zoomed to approximately the same FOV or object.. like one 150 or 300 yards away?

SirLataxe wrote:
I can tell you that the live view through the binos is far, far superior to that through the FZ200 - until the pics from the FZ200 are put on to a 30" monitor, that is. However, the monitor is not usually taken out into the field.

re: the 1st part - so, it is unanimous!
re: the 2nd part - ok, I'm officially now leaning towards getting both

SirLataxe wrote:
Everything is relative, including their prices. So my question to you is, how much are you prepared to spend on each of these items? That will determine which works best for you.

Well, it was originally either $300-$400 on binoculars or $300-400 on a superzoom camera - but now I'm considering both, even though I don't think I'd be inclined to spend $800 on one (or the other)!

Actually, I've found a couple of deals.. I can get the Canon SX50HS for $300 and the Vanguard Endeavor 10x42 binoculars I was looking at for $250, so I'm thinking I might do that.

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Henry Falkner
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The Concept is valid, but the problem is...
In reply to theClubHopper, 7 months ago

Judging by the linked sample video, the video stabilisation leaves a lot to be desired. To my knowledge, all the cameras quoted still have 2-axis stabilisation only.

I have just added an Olympus SH-50  24x zoom P&S with 5-axis video stabilisation to my Olympus SZ-30 with 2-axis stabilisation. I am comparing very similar cameras, both have 24x zoom and a BSI-CMOS sensor, but only the SH-50 has 5-axis video stabilisation, and there is no comparison for long shots in both stills and video.

But I would buy another set of binoculars for the immediacy of the experience, and wait for the big names to adopt 5-axis video stabilisation in their super-zoom cameras.

I will not go here into ALL the reasons why the Olympus SH-50 24x zoom P&S has replaced all my pre-existing bridge- and long-zoom P&S cameras. It does however answer all the niggles I had with the Olympus SZ-30MR for the last two years.

The problem with this particular Olympus model is lack of publicity, and going with it inadequate distribution. I got mine after 7 days, because the parallel importer did not have actually one in stock. It is working perfectly, so I don't have to implement the overseas warranty or service.

So, if you want to replace your binoculars with a super-zoom and no supply hassles, wait for the big names to adopt 5-axis stabilisation. Olympus needs the money, so they should be inclined to sell licences for theirs.

Henry

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Aberaeron
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Re: The Concept is valid, but the problem is...
In reply to Henry Falkner, 7 months ago

Henry Falkner wrote:

Judging by the linked sample video, the video stabilisation leaves a lot to be desired. To my knowledge, all the cameras quoted still have 2-axis stabilisation only.

I have just added an Olympus SH-50 24x zoom P&S with 5-axis video stabilisation to my Olympus SZ-30 with 2-axis stabilisation. I am comparing very similar cameras, both have 24x zoom and a BSI-CMOS sensor, but only the SH-50 has 5-axis video stabilisation, and there is no comparison for long shots in both stills and video.

But I would buy another set of binoculars for the immediacy of the experience, and wait for the big names to adopt 5-axis video stabilisation in their super-zoom cameras.

I will not go here into ALL the reasons why the Olympus SH-50 24x zoom P&S has replaced all my pre-existing bridge- and long-zoom P&S cameras. It does however answer all the niggles I had with the Olympus SZ-30MR for the last two years.

The problem with this particular Olympus model is lack of publicity, and going with it inadequate distribution. I got mine after 7 days, because the parallel importer did not have actually one in stock. It is working perfectly, so I don't have to implement the overseas warranty or service.

So, if you want to replace your binoculars with a super-zoom and no supply hassles, wait for the big names to adopt 5-axis stabilisation. Olympus needs the money, so they should be inclined to sell licences for theirs.

Henry

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Henry Falkner - SH-50, SZ-30MR, SP-570UZ, Stylus 9010
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I'm puzzled. Most superzoom cameras stabilisers vertically and horizontally. The distance involved surely makes a small movement back and forth hardly worthy of stabilizing because it will surely not effect the focus, which will mostly be at infinity at the long end of the zoom.

It is possible, or even probable, that I'm missing something here.

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Leonard Migliore
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In reply to Cane, 7 months ago

Cane wrote:

I would suggest a gun with a good scope for the wildlife. You can see really close up to pick those suckers right off.

And then, off course, you can get much closer to them without their running away.

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Leonard Migliore

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chafrewil
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to theClubHopper, 6 months ago

theClubHopper wrote:

I was recently looking at buying a new pair of high quality binoculars to take with me on vacations and for occasional use wildlife spotting in the backyard. While browsing online I happened to come across 'superzoom' cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix FZ70(/72), Sony DSC-HX300B and Canon Powershot SX50-HS, and having now watched a few of the have-to-be-seen-to-be-believed superzoom demonstration videos on Youtube (such as this one ), I'm thinking I should scrap the binocular idea, leave my DSLR at home, and spend the $300-$400 I was going to spend on binoculars on a superzoom instead.

I figure that not only would a superzoom allow me to see everything the binoculars could (and see it more clearly) but they could extend my visual range far far far beyond what handheld binoculars can do, and better yet - allow me to capture what I see in either still or video format.

I realize that binoculars, making use of your 2 eyes vs a camera's 1 lens, provide a perception of depth that cameras don't, and also that looking through a camera's viewfinder or at its 3" LCD screen is considerably different an experience to looking at playback of pre-recorded videos on a large computer screen or HDTV, but still, I come here for advice from those who own a superzoom camera: can a superzoom camera make binocular use obsolete?

Also:
I'm imagining me buying a superzoom camera and when I'm on vacation, me frequently saying to my wife, "Wow, look at that!" at something I'm viewing close up that is actually a mile or 2 away and her constantly saying "Pass the camera, I can't see it!"... even if she's using binoculars ---

So, I'm wondering: do any of the current superzoom cameras have LIVE video-out "monitor"-like capability? I know most cameras these days have HDMI-out or USB-out and can do *playback* of recorded video on external devices, but as I have a Windows 8-based tablet with HDMI and USB ports, I'm imagining how amazing it'd be to hook up a superzoom camera to a 10" tablet and for me use it as an ultra-large viewfinder/live LCD

I've looked online at a few owner's manuals and don't see it being currently possible.. but if anyone knows of a camera than can do this, please share!!

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theClubHopper
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Re: Superzoom camera as alt to binoculars? (/+any with LIVE video-out?)
In reply to chafrewil, 5 months ago

An update: got the Vanguard binoculars AND a Canon SX50HS superzoom, and went on vacation.. and used both. The zoom came in handy for spotting far off things that the binoculars couldn't see but the binoculars are honestly more comfortable and more 'instant' for viewing things not quite so far away.

So to answer my own question, a superzoom can't replace binoculars but they are an excellent substitute if you have limited funds or limited ability to bring both with you wherever you are going.

I got a steal of a deal on the Canon and paid $70 LESS than I paid for the Vanguards (also purchased on sale), so I'm happy to have both.

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