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Old May 8, 2010, 7:45 PM   #1
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Default Can you hand hold and shot at 20x zoom?

I really like the Sony Hx1 but just read on another site that it is impractical to shoot anything higher than 10x zoom without a tripod. Is this true? I really like the 20x zoom but if I can't get good picture quality whats the sense?
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Old May 8, 2010, 8:04 PM   #2
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It depends on your shutter speed, if the camera has stabilization, and how steady you are able to hold it.
In bright light, outdoors, I am able to get shutter speeds fast enough at times to be able to hand-hold DSLR with 800mm lens.(this would be something like 40x or more with your camera) Most of the time, though, it needs a tripod. You can also improvise rests using sand bags, a jacket folded over a tree branch or rock, etc.

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Old May 9, 2010, 6:43 AM   #3
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VTphotog is correct, it's not impossible at all. I use the 20x zoom on my Canon SX1 lots, I also use 600mm on a crop dSLR without stabilisation, but if there isn't the light, or I need the depth of field and shutter speeds are low then I need extra support. If you are using something like a 20x zoom so approx 500mm in 35mm terms then without IS you would want at least 1/500s (depending how stable you can hold a camera), if you have IS then depending how good it is you can potentially halve that or more.

Also when talking about quality, on a superzoom then at the long end the lens is generally quite a bit softer too so you won't get such good quality there in the first place.
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Old May 9, 2010, 12:07 PM   #4
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Superzoom handling probably won't be a major problem, but the HX1 has other issues -- see dpr: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydschx1/

Some of the softness at extreme focal lengths (FLs) is fixable, some isn't. A longer FL necessarily has thinner depth-of-field (DOF), so when you have a specific subject in focus, everything around it may be soft. And if you're shooting a distant subject, intervening atmosphere will soften the image.

The trick there is to NOT shoot distant subjects at extreme FLs. An extended superzoom is NOT a long net for sweeping in distant photons, it's more of a precision scalpel for cutting away irrelevancies. Use the long FL on subjects that AREN'T far away, to isolate that subject from everything else by controlling the DOF. Make sure the not-too-far subject is well-lit, so you maintain contrast, sharpness, image quality (IQ). For distant subjects, keep the zoom around mid-range for best IQ, and include the subject's context in the shot.

If you MUST shoot distant subjects zoomed-out, expect that the images will be softer, less contrasty, etc. If the light isn't great, definitely use a tripod, monopod, bean bags, whatever. But try for the best light possible. Light is more important than camera or lens. (More on that another time.)
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Old May 9, 2010, 10:17 PM   #5
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I don't want to rain on anyone's parade. But I am a HX-1 owner, and I have no problem at all with hand held shots beyond 10X. What you heard is BS, and I do not mean Bible Scholar.

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Old May 10, 2010, 12:15 AM   #6
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Here is the big thing that one also must consider also, shooting with a megazoom. The camera is much much lighter then a dslr with something like a bigma lens. So even with say a HS10 with 30x zoom. It is in reality a 120mm+ lens only. Not allot of weight to try to keep steady when you have it close to your body when using a VF. It would a bit more of a problem if it was a pure point and shoot with a 20x zoom as you are now hold the camera away from your bode to compose on the lcd. I have tried to hand hold a 200mm lens with an epl-1 using only the lcd. As setup slight large and heavy then a megazoom. With IS on it was still not that bad. Granted I got better results with the EVF install. But at 400mm 35mm eq, you get a decent shot.

Another point, with the olympus 4/3 dslr. They make a 70-300mm lens for it with the eq of 600mm. Which is longer then a 20x zoom starting at 28mm. And none of the olympus shooters with this lens need to put the lens on a tripod, and it is a very easy to shoot hand held shots with.

So as long as you have a steady hand and have shutter speed of 1/125 or better. The lighter megazooms will have very little problem with when using their max zooms with IS as all megazooms nowadays have it. Now if you add a TC then that is a different issue.
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Last edited by shoturtle; May 10, 2010 at 12:23 AM.
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