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Old Mar 13, 2010, 2:03 PM   #1
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Default Is this the correct camera for bird taking?

Went to Walmart and they had a few cameras that interested me, one was a Canon Powershot SX 1015 Digi , 10 Megapixels and 20X optical zoom for $ 434. Canadian.
http://www.dealtime.com/xPO-Canon-PowerShot-SX10-IS

The other was a Sony DSLR a 230 L with 18-55mm zoomlense $ 488. Battery recharger dedicated Battery NA-FH50.

http://catalog.ebay.ca/Sony-alpha-DS...&_trksid=p4295

This writeup says that the frames are a bit slow but I suppose they are still pretty good for taking birds, for the price of the camera I mean.

I want a camera that I can get close to birds at a medium price. Does the Sony SLR a 230L seem to have what it takes, please? Would appreciate a quick reply very much. Thank you. Bird pictures welcome.

Calendula

Can you explain to me what the advantage is of having a Powershot camera ? What does 'powershot ' do for you? Also what does point and shoot do for you. Does it mean the camera is extra fast?
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 3:34 PM   #2
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Powershot is the brand name for Canon point and shoot (P&S) cameras. P&S cameras have non-removable lenses and do most of the creative decisions for the user.

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras have interchangeable lenses and require more creative input control from the user for best results. They may also have faster shooting reaction times than P&S cameras so may be better for bird photography. However the lens supplied in the kit you mention is good for medium to close shooting distances and may not be the best choice for birds. However you can purchase an additional lens, such as the Sony 55-200mm, that would be better suited for bird shooting. You would remove one lens and attach the other as you require.

All digital cameras should be considered as disposable, no matter how expensive they are, as within a few years you will want a more current model because of more advanced features. When you buy a DSLR you are buying into a system and while you can change the camera body you may end up with an expensive inventory of lenses and accessories that locks you into that system!
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 6:09 PM   #3
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One further question to ask yourself would be about the use you want to put your photos to. If for viewing on monitor or web, either would likely do. If you want to print large,though, the DSLR would be your better bet. Another factor in favor of DSLR is the ability to manually zoom and focus your lens. Often, when shooting birds, there are branches or other obstructions, which can make autofocus difficult. The ability to manually focus the subject can make the difference in getting the picture.

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Old Mar 13, 2010, 6:50 PM   #4
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Since birds are such a small subject, and often are up high and at a distance. You will need a long zoom to capture the shot.

The point and shoot, as mention would not be the best tool for this. A dslr would be allot better tool. But the sony A230 with the kit lens would be the ideal zoom to capture photos of birds, because the zoom range is way to short. You will want to get an additional lens with a far end reach of at least 300mm, as that will give you the 35mm equivalent of 450mm.

But depending on where the bird is, this too may be a bit short. Allot of bird shooter carry around the Bigma, a Sigma 150-500mm so they have a long zoom range of 750mm. Allot easier to isolate the bird. But this is a 1000 dollar lens.

Another option would be a 4/3 dslr, something like an olympus e620 match with a 70-300mm lens. It will give you a reach of 600mm on the long end of the zoom. This lens is in the 300 dollar range.

So if shooting birds is you major focus. The dslr with the right lens is your best too. You will find many example of bird photo in the wildlife, olympus and pentax forums. And you can get some good info on what you will need as a good set up for birds.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Mar 13, 2010 at 6:54 PM.
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 7:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
Since birds are such a small subject, and often are up high and at a distance. You will need a long zoom to capture the shot.

The point and shoot, as mention would not be the best tool for this. A dslr would be allot better tool. But the sony A230 with the kit lens would be the ideal zoom to capture photos of birds, because the zoom range is way to short. You will want to get an additional lens with a far end reach of at least 300mm, as that will give you the 35mm equivalent of 450mm.

But depending on where the bird is, this too may be a bit short. Allot of bird shooter carry around the Bigma, a Sigma 150-500mm so they have a long zoom range of 750mm. Allot easier to isolate the bird. But this is a 1000 dollar lens.

Another option would be a 4/3 dslr, something like an olympus e620 match with a 70-300mm lens. It will give you a reach of 600mm on the long end of the zoom. This lens is in the 300 dollar range.

So if shooting birds is you major focus. The dslr with the right lens is your best too. You will find many example of bird photo in the wildlife, olympus and pentax forums. And you can get some good info on what you will need as a good set up for birds.
Yes, I often say that 300mm is the absolute minimum for wildlife photography. The crop factor has some, but little impact on this question, since it's the ability to resolve detail that is critical, not the decreased angle of view. It Does put more pixels on the target, compared to the same lens on a full framed sensor, but doesn't actually increase the reach of the lens.

Whether you have 300mm, or 800mm, the art of wildlife photography is not only a skill in photography, but a skill in getting close to the target.

Point and shoots, with their built in NR, may have the reach, but they "pastel" the target to the point where the details are simply lost. They cannot out resolve a good lens on a DSLR.

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Old Mar 14, 2010, 6:23 AM   #6
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It depends if you are talking birds in flight (BIF) or birds perched. If you have good light then the SX10 can do a good job but not for BIF. The SX10 has a 35mm equivalent of 560mm which is good for about 5-20m depending on the size of the bird.

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Yes, I often say that 300mm is the absolute minimum for wildlife photography. The crop factor has some, but little impact on this question, since it's the ability to resolve detail that is critical, not the decreased angle of view. It Does put more pixels on the target, compared to the same lens on a full framed sensor, but doesn't actually increase the reach of the lens.
I wouldn't' agree with this, as long as the lens can do the business then the reduced field of view of an APS-C sensor really does help. Shooting the same lens on my Canon 7D over my Canon 1DmkIII or 5DmkII makes a noticeable difference. Admittedly this is only true at low ISO as both the 1D and 5D do a better job when it needs to be bumped. However, it still holds true that the reduced fov helps quite a bit.

As for not increasing the reach of the lens, that is partly true and partly not. All lenses have a maximum distance where they are at their most effective, this thread helps answer that http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...distances.html but with small subjects like birds you are usually well within this range so with the narrower field of view you are able to frame tighter on the subject than with a full frame sensor. Assuming the lens can resolve the required detail then you are certainly gaining. If you are using a low grade lens then it won't help as much.
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 6:36 AM   #7
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Much very useful discussion here, just want to add my "2 cents" for what it's worth...
For a number of years I was the proud owner of a Canon Powershot S3IS (a predecessor of your SX10 IS), and tried to use it for bird photography. The lens reach was OK (especially for perched birds as Mark pointed out), but the shutter lag was a big problem. Most birds are so "flighty" that, between the time I pressed the shutter button and the time the camera acutally took the picture, the bird had moved somewhere else! I think that you will find that ANY digital SLR will be much faster to respond than is the SX10, and so you will miss far fewer pictures.
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 11:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post

As for not increasing the reach of the lens, that is partly true and partly not. All lenses have a maximum distance where they are at their most effective, this thread helps answer that http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...distances.html but with small subjects like birds you are usually well within this range so with the narrower field of view you are able to frame tighter on the subject than with a full frame sensor. Assuming the lens can resolve the required detail then you are certainly gaining. If you are using a low grade lens then it won't help as much.
It's a question of math. A full frame sensor may have twice as many pixels in the sensor, but may not have as many pixels on the target even though it's the same lens. This is the beneficial efect of the cropping factor - The reach may be the same, but the number of pixels clarifies the detail. All things being equal, it's the number of pixels which count. Even so, I'd rather shoot with a real 500mm lens then a cropped "500mm" lens.

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Old Mar 15, 2010, 5:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chato View Post
It's a question of math. A full frame sensor may have twice as many pixels in the sensor, but may not have as many pixels on the target even though it's the same lens. This is the beneficial efect of the cropping factor - The reach may be the same, but the number of pixels clarifies the detail. All things being equal, it's the number of pixels which count. Even so, I'd rather shoot with a real 500mm lens then a cropped "500mm" lens.

Dave
So are you now saying that the crop factor is more important for what the OP desires than what you stated initially below?

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The crop factor has some, but little impact on this question, since it's the ability to resolve detail that is critical, not the decreased angle of view.
I think we would all rather shoot with a real 500mm lens than a 333mm lens (assuming a 1.5x crop of the majority of dSLRs), however for me I would put the 500mm lens onto a crop body in most cases when I want reach rather than on a FF.

Point in case, I've just done a comparison of my 7D (1.6x crop) and my 5DmkII shooting the same subject from the same distance using my 70-200mm @ 200mm.

OK, so it is only a globe, but if it were a bird as the OP desires to shoot I would be able to frame tighter and get more detail with the crop camera than with the FF, even thought the FF is a higher resolution in the first place.

I've included 4 shots, no adjustments made apart from sizing to fit to the web.

5D full recoded frame


7D full recorded frame


5D 100% crop (1:1 pixel detail)


7D 100% crop (1:1 pixel detail)


Not sure about anyone else, but for me, out of the last two, I would want to get the extra detail when shooting wildlife or anything else where reach is key.

For anyone pixel peeping and thinking they are soft or something, I shoot jpg, but with the in camera sharpening off so the noise is kept down and then I sharpen only pre printing/posting (apart from in these cases where there is no sharpening as they are straight out of the camera). For me this is the best way of working with jpgs.... just in case you wonder.
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 6:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
So are you now saying that the crop factor is more important for what the OP desires than what you stated initially below?

Chato said
Quote:
The crop factor has some, but little impact on this question, since it's the ability to resolve detail that is critical, not the decreased angle of view.
I think we would all rather shoot with a real 500mm lens than a 333mm lens (assuming a 1.5x crop of the majority of dSLRs), however for me I would put the 500mm lens onto a crop body in most cases when I want reach rather than on a FF.

Point in case, I've just done a comparison of my 7D (1.6x crop) and my 5DmkII shooting the same subject from the same distance using my 70-200mm @ 200mm.

OK, so it is only a globe, but if it were a bird as the OP desires to shoot I would be able to frame tighter and get more detail with the crop camera than with the FF, even thought the FF is a higher resolution in the first place.
The Mark II is the camera I had in mind for this comparison. Doing the math, my camera (Nikon D2x) has more pixels on target. Thus my decision to go ahead and buy that camera. But my statement also includes "all things being equal." And all things being equal the increased reach of a real telephoto as opposed to a cropped telephoto would show up if the match gave BOTH cameras the same amount of pixels on target. To do that the Mark II would have needed a 24 Meg sensor. And if the choice was between a full frame of 24 megs and my D2x, the ff camera would have a superior image.

I don't know about your example below. The bottom image (number 4) compared to the third is so full of artifacts as to be almost unuseable.

I will concede that my statement should have read, "The crop factor has some impact on this question, but it's the ability to resolve detail that is critical, not the decreased angle of view."

Dave

Last edited by Chato; Mar 15, 2010 at 7:12 PM. Reason: adding a point
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