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Old May 29, 2003, 4:49 PM   #1
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Default Can one have too much zoom?

I am looking to buy my 1st digital camera and up until last week had narrowed down my list to the Olympus C750 (10x Optical Zoom, 4 Megapixel) - due to be launched next month and the Pentax Optio 550 which has a 5 x optical zoom and 5 Megapixels.

Mostly, the camera will be used on full auto. for family pic's. (vacations, sport events, indoor / outdoor.) nothing fancy.

Is having an extra 5 x zoom (for taking pictures of little Johnny in the outfield - and too be there when needed) more of a feature than having an additional 1 or more megapixel?

I read that 10x zoom requires a tripod - something we don't readily carry around.

Am I making my decision making process even more complicated by focussing on zoom rather than megapixels?
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Old May 29, 2003, 5:16 PM   #2
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Hi,

The more zoom the better, you don't have to use it.

I use a HP850 with 8x zoom and very often I use maximum zoom, I use a Raynox DCR-1540 to get 1.54x more, and soon I will purchase the new 8x CrystalVue lens.

The 8x extra will only be used for birds by the way.

In normal use 10x is more than enough.

My experience is that above the 8x zoom you will need a tripod, I'm rather steady but with the 1.54x lens connected I find that I can see a bit of movement.

Hope this helps.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old May 29, 2003, 7:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can one have too much zoom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryks
Mostly, the camera will be used on full auto. for family pic's. (vacations, sport events, indoor / outdoor.) nothing fancy.
Zoom is a somewhat silly term. You want to look at the field of view, most commonly expressed in terms of 35mm equiv focal length. If you want to be able to get pictures of birthday parties indoors, you will want as wide an angle as you can get - 28mm equiv is as wide as any comsumer digicams get. And you will want an external flash with that. 10 times that is 280mm equiv.

However many digicams start at something a bit over 40mm equiv at their widest, 10x would be 400mm equiv.

Very different beasts though both are 10x zoom.
I read that 10x zoom requires a tripod - something we don't readily carry around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryks
I read that 10x zoom requires a tripod - something we don't readily carry around.
The problems with hand-holding become more extreme as the focal length gets longer. A 400mm equiv is more prone to shake than a 280mm - though both might be on a 10x zoom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryks
Am I making my decision making process even more complicated by focussing on zoom rather than megapixels?
In terms of resolution, a 5MPixel will be able to print 11.8% larger than with a 4MPixel camera if everything else is equal. All the other things are never equal, and you would do much better paying attention to those issues than the difference in pixel count. It is complicated, but the main things you have to figure out is how you are going to use the camera:
flash?
wide angle?
long lens?
EVF ok?
Manual controls?
....?
If any of those issues are important to you, the camera that deals with it best would be the one to go for.
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Old May 29, 2003, 8:20 PM   #4
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Same situation i am in .... i own the fuji 3800 with 230mm and past about 200mm it is tricky to not get camera shake so the OLY will be VERY tough for the last 180 odd mm without a tripod. I like the C-740 but you're paying for zoom you won't use because who the heck carries a tripod????

The Optio 550 looks good on paper but man it is so damn small .. i wish it was a bit bigger (but still smaller than 740) .. and there are severe noise issues with that camera.

I was all set to buy one but i am now in two minds ... ihad a play with one and well ... the Fuji is MUCh nicer in the hand!! But it's so damn bulky!!!!!!!!

Considerered the FZ1 by panasonic?? It has a stabalised lens ... very useful but the BIG lens makes the camera a tad awkward.
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Old May 30, 2003, 11:05 AM   #5
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A good rule-of-thumb that I've heard (and sometimes even used ) is that you're OK if the inverse of the focal length of the lens is greater than the shutter speed you're using. So if you're shooting 400mm at full zoom, any shutter speed shorter than 1/400 will not show any perceptible shake.

If little Johnny is in the outfield, or looking to score that goal at the other end of the soccer field in broad daylight, you've probably got enough light to support the fast shutter that the long zoom requires. From that standpoint, you should buy as much zoom as you think the lighting on your typically "zoomed-in" subject will support. It will also allow you a little more distance and spontaneity at family events. It's amazing what family members will do in public when they aren't aware there's a camera trained on them :lol: .
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Old May 30, 2003, 12:46 PM   #6
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You can have too much zoom but not for the reasons stated. Zoom lenses are often a compromise over prime (fixed focal length) lenses and introduce aberrations. The most common on is barrel distortion (straight lines curve outward) on the wide end and pincushion on the telephoto end.

If the aberration is acceptable go for all the zoom you can get. As noted by others wide angle is usually the deficient end. If you have a problem with camera shake at the telephoto end reduce the fl or get a tripod.
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Old May 30, 2003, 3:39 PM   #7
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No one has mentioned lens stabilization... Canon made a stabilized 10X (37 to 370mm eqivalent). The lens was used on the Canon Pro90, the Oly 2100UZ (the "Uzi") and the Oly 100RS.

I use Olympus TCON-17 teleconverter on my Pro90, yielding a whopping 646mm equivalent that I can hand hold while shooting.

These three cameras are out of production now, but are still available if you look around.

Panasonic has a new 12X stabilized lens camera (2 MP and few controls).
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Old May 31, 2003, 10:37 AM   #8
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You're getting really great answers in this thread! I agree with all that has been said. Like Bill Drew said, there are times that a 38mm lens doesn't provide a wide enough view to get everyone into the picture, and a 28mm lens is a great choice for a new camera. If you decide the long zoom is most important, you may want to consider a good wide-angle converter, like the WCON-08E for one of the Olympus models; this will give you the equivalent of about a 30mm lens, very good for indoor photos where you can't really back up far enough to get everyone in the picture with the standard lens.

And yes, as padeye and others stated, the quality of the zoom deteriorates greatly when you get above about 2.0x for a teleconverter. I'd recommend sticking with either a B-300 or the newer TCON 1.7 lenses, each of which will convert your 380mm lens into a whopping 646mm lens!

I would be remiss also if I didn't second the vote for image stabilization for long zoom cameras. While you can get perfectly acceptable clear shots at full zoom with the 700 Olympus series cameras, you'll get noticeably sharper images with the same lens at full zoom in lower light conditions due to a reduction in camera shake. With the Olympus C-2100, you do not need a tripod to take 10x zoomed shots. Consider Wildman's choices if you find this important.

The more light available, the better the ability of the camera to properly expose the image at the best ISO setting. For this reason, I second the nomination for a really nice external flash.

As for zoom vs megapixels, we all have our opinions there. You will always have great cropping options and choices of enlargements with more megapixels, but I have found the 10x zoom to be sufficient with my 2MP camera for prints up to 8x10.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 12:50 PM   #9
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Default 10X Zoom too much?

Olympus with 10X Zoom.........

Absolutely NOT too much. When you begin to gain more experience, you'll be glad for this feature. That you have it available is noteworthy, it costs zero dollars to have it and costs hundreds of dollars to add-on lenses, so I would go for it.

Read the forum section on Add On Lenses, you will see how people are forever wanting to add that which you can get right now. Wish I had what you're about to get.

Go to Steve's reviews, he is the resident expert.
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