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Old Jun 14, 2009, 9:45 AM   #1
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Default Waxwing, Swallow and Robin

Hi guys. Haven't been shooting much lately. Arthritis in my hands is getting real bad, and made the decision to sell off my heavy gear. Took these with the Pan. FZ30. Not a dslr, and man, is it NOISY! Had to blur and process as much as possible out without destroying the detail completely. Anyone know a good performing lightweight setup? Might switch to an Olympus with their double crop sensor and relatively light 70-300 lens. It wouldn't weigh much more than a couple of lbs compared to my old 9lb setup and would give me 600mm reach. Anyone use an Oly for birding?

....Don
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 11:17 AM   #2
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Great series, the singing Robin is very cute.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 10:53 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your problems, Don. Those Panasonic shots are nothing to be ashamed of. It is true that Panasonic's algorithms favor sharpness over noise, but their Leica lenses are superb, as you know. With the FZ18 or FZ28 you can get that reach you want, but they do tend to be noisy at higher ISOs (but they can shoot RAW which could help you get around that) something you can't totally get away from with the small P&S sensors so packed with ever smaller pixels at 10MPs and higher. The bigger the sensor, the better, so I don't favor the 4/3rds Oly sensor, either, over the APS size. You might want to look into the forthcoming Pentax K7 - if the buzz about it holds true, it is smaller and lighter and should be as capable (or more so) than what you are giving up. The Pentax 55-300 and Tamron 75-300 are quite good and fairly light and compact. Another option might be the just discontinued (but still available) Sony a300/350 with the 500mm auto reflex - a very compact and lightweight lens. The K7 is pro caliber (and those two lenses are good, but not quite up to pro caliber) - The compact Sony body is capable - not pro caliber, but way better than a point and shoot superzoom, and if you don't mind a mirror lens, the 500 AF is superb. You have seen the images I have taken with both of these outfits (not the K7, but other Pentax bodies with those lenses and the a350/500AF) - certainly not JakeTPegg caliber, but, hey, not all that shabby, all things considered (factor in the photographer as well as the equipmant, too). The a350 @ >14 Megapixels is a Pixel Packing Mama and so is noisier than the otherwise similar 10MP a300. However, if you don't want the 500AF (pricier now than when I got mine), I'd recommend that you go with Pentax - if the K7 is too pricey ($1300 body only) you could start with the small, light and very well regarded but economical K2000 or the slightly larger K200 (the K20, the present top of the line, being replaced by the smaller but costlier K7, is not huge, but probably is too heavy for your hand). The K7 is a trend-setter (I am looking forward to it for its ergonomics as well as its special and unique features), but if you don't want it or any Pentax, then I suppose you could go with some other smaller DSLR like the latest Canon Rebel which would at least keep you in your present system.

Last edited by penolta; Jun 16, 2009 at 2:28 AM.
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 5:33 PM   #4
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Don, those are very nice, not quite up to the MKII images but still extremely nice images.

If the K-7 lives up to its specifications listed so far, that an the FA*300 would be a very light weight combo and you know the lens is extremely sharp. Like Penolta, I don't like smaller sensors and APSC is as small as I am willing to go do to noise at ISO over 400, so I don't think Olympus is something you would like.

Besides, I need someone I trust to test the K-7 for me before I buy one!

Tom
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 10:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for the insight penolta and Tom. I will do something, but still not sure what. I have looked pretty hard at the Oly e30 and new 620, and they seem pretty good. Noise is not terrible, and with software, if can be handled adequately. I'm looking for something with reach and around 2-3lbs max. My hands are getting so bad, that I've been staying home instead of going out shooting. That's no good. Gotta lighten the load, and so far, I'd say that the e30 or new 620 with their 70-300 fits the bill - pretty light and long. Under 3lbs, and decent performance. It ain't a 1d series, but it won't kill me carrying it around.

The new Pentax looks interesting, but I think it's overpriced. Don't care about movies. I'll buy a movie cam if i want to do that. Their improvement with 5fps is interesting, and hopefully, they improve the CAF for tracking. I wonder if they increased the buffer size? Oh well, whatever I decide, I'm sure I'll be switching again in 6 months anyway...lol...

Cheers...Don
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 9:55 AM   #6
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Don, I can understand all too well the pain of arthritis. Mine is in the knees, limiting where I can go in the field. The shots you've posted are just a reinforcement of the truism that quality comes from the photographer rather than the camera. I'm not so familiar with the Panasonic line, thus I don't know the difference between the FZ-30 and the FZ-28, but I bought a little FZ-28 a few months ago, primarily for use those places where a DSLR is impractical, or forbidden, and for my wife to use.

We went to the zoo a few days ago, and I was extremely impressed with the quality of some of the shots she got, especially this gorilla.



Paul
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 2:51 PM   #7
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Default Sorry to hear of your troubles

I've been using Olympus equip for some time now and recently gotten serious about improving my ability to shoot birds and particularly birds in flight.

I have both the E-510 and the E-30. I find the controls, faster FPS and improved sensor as well as much improved AF system on the E-30 a pleasure to use and far better than the E-510 when trying to shoot birds.
I have used the 70-300mm lens and while it provides acceptable IQ, the lens has to have a lot of light otherwise, it tends to hunt.

I currently use a 50-200mm 2.8 ED lens in combination with an EC-14 Telecon which with the 2x factor, gives me an effective focal length of 540mm. Eventually, I think I'll get the 50-500mm Bigma-but I have to win the lottery first (or get a divorce).

If your interested in seeing a gallery of images taken with the E-30 or E-510 using the 50-200mm, here is a link:

http://www.pbase.com/zig123/50200mm


Another Olympus user, that quite frankly, blows me away with the quality her work is Laura Pipkin:

http://www.pbase.com/pipkin/image/107764398

Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you decide.


Zig
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 3:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojansoc View Post
Don, I can understand all too well the pain of arthritis. Mine is in the knees, limiting where I can go in the field. The shots you've posted are just a reinforcement of the truism that quality comes from the photographer rather than the camera. I'm not so familiar with the Panasonic line, thus I don't know the difference between the FZ-30 and the FZ-28, but I bought a little FZ-28 a few months ago, primarily for use those places where a DSLR is impractical, or forbidden, and for my wife to use.

We went to the zoo a few days ago, and I was extremely impressed with the quality of some of the shots she got, especially this gorilla.



Paul

That's a great shot Paul. The fz28 is obviously a very capable digicam. They have excellent lenses in the fz line. Might have to look at one of those too. My fz30 is a few years old, but still capable if the light is good, but it is quite a noisy camera. I think the newer versions are a little better controlled in the noise dept.

Sorry to hear you suffer with arthritis too. It's pretty well got me in all the joints unfortunately. I could be the poster boy for ibuprofen. Lol..cheers...Don
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 3:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
I've been using Olympus equip for some time now and recently gotten serious about improving my ability to shoot birds and particularly birds in flight.

I have both the E-510 and the E-30. I find the controls, faster FPS and improved sensor as well as much improved AF system on the E-30 a pleasure to use and far better than the E-510 when trying to shoot birds.
I have used the 70-300mm lens and while it provides acceptable IQ, the lens has to have a lot of light otherwise, it tends to hunt.

I currently use a 50-200mm 2.8 ED lens in combination with an EC-14 Telecon which with the 2x factor, gives me an effective focal length of 540mm. Eventually, I think I'll get the 50-500mm Bigma-but I have to win the lottery first (or get a divorce).

If your interested in seeing a gallery of images taken with the E-30 or E-510 using the 50-200mm, here is a link:

http://www.pbase.com/zig123/50200mm


Another Olympus user, that quite frankly, blows me away with the quality her work is Laura Pipkin:

http://www.pbase.com/pipkin/image/107764398

Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you decide.


Zig
Thanks for the info Zig. The e30 is the one I have my eye on. Is your 50-200 the SWD lens? Thanks for the info and the excellent images. The 50-200 lens is very capable. The detail you and Laura captured is very impressive. Thanks again for the examples. This is making my choice a little easier.

Cheers...Don

Last edited by thekman620; Jun 17, 2009 at 4:06 PM. Reason: add to my reply
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 4:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekman620 View Post
Thanks for the info Zig. The e30 is the one I have my eye on. Is your 50-200 the SWD lens? Thanks for the info and the images..

Cheers...Don
No, it is not. It's the orignal ED version which I picked up used at KEH.com.

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