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What’s the best bridge camera for birding?

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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 07:18   #26
HermitIbis
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Originally Posted by Neil G. View Post
i also own a nikon d7200 with a nikon 200-500mm lens and im afraid that there is no comparison.....the slr with its big bulky lens will better a 1 inch sensor bridge camera in every respect.
The Nikon D7200 + 200-500mm costs Euro 2000. Do you really get better photos, say, of birds in flight than Thomas Stirr with the Nikon V2 (810 mm equivalent, 1 inch sensor) that costs only Euro 800 and weighs 970g? Also, the charm of the V2 is the simplicity of handling, I found it even easier to use than the Canon SX50.

Other DSLR problems: adjusting lenses, shutter breaks, high costs if you fall into a pond... ;-)

Edit: Sorry if the above sounds like trolling. I've seen phantastic shots with a D7200, e.g. this thread. In particular non-flying birds. The V2 with its AA filter has limits. - Still, it seems counterintuitive to suggest a heavy DSLR to a Canon SX60 user. It's not the "logical next step" as an upgrade. Just my 2 cents.

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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 12:03   #27
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[quote=Neil G.;3638445
Ps,
Ken,if you are satisfied with the level of quality in your sample photos,a bridge camera is all you need.[/QUOTE]


Ouch!!!!

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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 12:27   #28
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Yeah I think derailing this with "what is best" misses the point of "they want what they want."

DSLR may be best photos, but weight-vs-reach requires a gym membership, for example. I've swung-around a D700 with a fixed-aperture NIKKOR 70-200 and while the photos are gorgeous it's really a challenge to go for a two hour walk swinging that beast around for birds in flight. And yes, we do that with some regularity, my girlfriend with her D700 + 70-300 and me with my SX60.

Bridge/superzooms have their place if you know your compromises well. You can get good, even great, photos but will generally require you to work outside the Auto mode. Now if you ask for everything to be perfect in auto mode and have long reach, I'm afraid then bridge cameras will disappoint.

My 2¢ worth for Fugl's friend is to learn to work outside Auto with the SX60 they have unless they have some specific issue that some other bridge camera can specifically solve. If they are looking for less range, there are likely are better bridge cameras.

You can check my gallery to see what the SX60 is capable of with even some basic, amateurish tweaking. Photos out to 50m, 80m, even past 100m including birds in flight are possible. It just depends on your friend's goals. Happy to share my settings and techniques, such as they are.
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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 15:21   #29
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It's not necessarily saying wonderful results can't be obtained with many different types of cameras, from superzoom small sensors to high-end bridge cameras to mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras to APS-C DSLRs to full-frame pro body DSLRs.

But if you had to decide overall based purely on the maximum diversity and availability of lenses, reach, focus speed and performance, tracking ability, low-light IQ, high-ISO performance, low-light focus ability, control over DOF, and so on, that the top system would be a full-frame DSLR with high res and advanced focus, followed by crop body DSLRs and APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras, then by full-frame mirrorless (only ranking below APS-C mirrorless because of less lens adaptability and focus only a match or exceeding on 1 current body), followed by Micro4:3, followed by 1" sensor cameras, followed by smaller sensor bridge cameras. Taking all into consideration.

In perfect conditions, perfect light, the right shooting distance, there's precious little difference in overall IQ between a wide range of cameras. And the photographer's skill and experience can make a massive difference - ie: an unskilled newbie with a D850 and top of the line 500mm lens can still get worse results than a highly-experienced birder with a 1" sensor camera.

I've settled on an APS-C sensor, mirrorless interchangeable lens camera as my absolute favorite birding and wildlife rig, having shot through various smaller sensor superzooms to larger sensor bridge to DSLRs over the years. I still have a DSLR system with lenses from 300mm primes to 150-600mm zooms. But my mirrorless system is the right size, right design, right sensor, right focusing ability and speed, right tracking, and right lenses to work for me 99% of the time. While I know I might get better results with a full-frame DSLR and top of the line lens in some conditions or situations, I can get good enough in those situations with the system I have now, excellent in all other areas where I most commonly shoot, and have a system that's relatively affordable and decently light and portable (relative of course to what you're used to), so for me, it's the best choice. For someone else, a bridge might be the best mix of compromise vs desires...others, only a full-frame DSLR with $10,000 lens will make them happy. It's all OK.
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Old Sunday 5th November 2017, 23:48   #30
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I think your order of preference is debatable. For general use I would not take a full frame with me if I had an apsc for bird photography (assuming top of the line of both). I would like to have a full frame also for certain types of bird photography but not if I had to do without an apsc.
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Old Thursday 9th November 2017, 15:44   #31
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Hey fugl, let us know what the final choice was and why, as I'm curious.
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Old Thursday 9th November 2017, 16:12   #32
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Originally Posted by CalvinFold View Post
Hey fugl, let us know what the final choice was and why, as I'm curious.
Will do. . ..
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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 18:34   #33
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Best is too subjective IMO as we all favor certain color palettes, focal lengths, looks/feel, etc. I have a few bridge cams including a Canon SX40, Canon SX50, Fuji X-S1, had/sold the Fuji S-1, had/sold a Nikon P530, but my favorites the past 3 years have been my Kodak Pixpro zoom cameras. Their recently released Kodak Pixpro AZ652 (65x optical) and AZ901 (90x optical) perform very well and are priced under the competition. I have a mix of images on my Flickr site below.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
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Old Tuesday 20th March 2018, 06:46   #34
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Originally Posted by jimx200 View Post
...my favorites the past 3 years have been my Kodak Pixpro zoom cameras. Their recently released Kodak Pixpro AZ652 (65x optical) and AZ901 (90x optical) perform very well and are priced under the competition. I have a mix of images on my Flickr site below.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
Hi Jim - interested on your thoughts on the AZ901. Your Flickr images look pretty good to me. I'm intrigued by this range. The AZ901 was seemingly announced back in 2016 but in the UK at least it's never appeared AFAIK. The 90 x optical zoom sounds very compelling but of course that's only a number and it's all about the real world quality one can expect from such a massive zoom on a small sensor. Particularly like to see some low-light samples and your thoughts on the effectiveness of the image stabilisation at such monster zooms.

As yet, I can't find a UK retailer but judging by recent posts it does seem to be becoming available worldwide now and judging by the B&H dollar price should be circa £400...
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Old Tuesday 20th March 2018, 10:03   #35
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Kodak has a new one that goes to almost 2000 mm and its less than $500 there are pics on DP Review's Kodaak forum.
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Old Wednesday 21st March 2018, 06:48   #36
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Kodak has a new one that goes to almost 2000 mm and its less than $500 there are pics on DP Review's Kodaak forum.
Steve
Just a word of warning you can no longer have confidence in something just because it carries the Kodak name, it's a branding exercise most of the time and nothing to do with Kodak, not saying this is the case with this but check carefully.
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Old Thursday 29th March 2018, 17:53   #37
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A friend is seeking advice on a replacement for her c. 5-year-old Canon SX60 HS. She’s dissatisfied with its performance at full zoom and is willing to sacrifice some focal length for better image sharpness at maximum extension. She uses it almost exclusively for birding and wants to stick with the bridge camera format.

So, money not necessarily being an object, what would you folks recommend?
So Fugl, did your friend ever pick something?
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Old Thursday 29th March 2018, 19:06   #38
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Yes, she did, another SX60 HS. I tried to steer her towards one of the newer alternatives suggested here but she was adamant.
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Old Thursday 29th March 2018, 19:40   #39
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I'm biased, and had very, very specific needs when I purchased my SX60, but I've long since learned few share my specific needs and that honestly does put the SX60 farther down the list, generally.

What was her reasoning to get another?
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Old Thursday 29th March 2018, 20:02   #40
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What was her reasoning to get another?
Posts #9 and #17 above pretty much say it all. . ..
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Old Sunday 15th July 2018, 09:44   #41
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Maybe you will also be interested in this camera http://fixthephoto.com/blog/tech-tip...ra-review.html
Unless ime missing something i don't see it for bird photography,in fact, i don't see it for anything
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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 21:38   #42
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Interesting variety of resposes to her request for a better birding camera than a SX60. My wife's songbird shots with an SX50 have been pretty good but somewhat lacking in resolution at times. Also no fading out of back ground is possible. She asks is there a better bridge camera with a very good viewfinder for shooting birds in flight?

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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 21:54   #43
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Hi Robert,

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Originally Posted by robertredstart View Post
She asks is there a better bridge camera with a very good viewfinder for shooting birds in flight?
The Panasonic FZ1000 is good for shooting birds in flight.

The quality of the viewfinder in my opinion would depend on the resolution. If another camera is the baseline, you could look up the resolution of its viewfinder, then compare it to the target camera's.

For birds in flight, you might be more interested in update rate than in resolution. I'll admit that I didn't see data on that, but in practical use the FZ1000 does pretty well in my opinion.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 15:24   #44
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Originally Posted by robertredstart View Post
Interesting variety of resposes to her request for a better birding camera than a SX60. My wife's songbird shots with an SX50 have been pretty good but somewhat lacking in resolution at times. Also no fading out of back ground is possible. She asks is there a better bridge camera with a very good viewfinder for shooting birds in flight?
The top spec bridge-type camera is usually determined by majority consensus to be the Sony RX10IV right now - as the one most capable for birding INCLUDING bird-in-flight and fast action - it uses the same PDAF (phase-detect autofocus) system as DSLRs and high end mirrorless systems. The focus system is extremely capable in regards to tracking flight, and the viewfinder is very good. The body is very well built, weather-sealed, and has a very good 600mm optical reach, stabilized. It's pricey, though for what it is capable of and how it's built, many consider it very reasonable.

The Panasonic FZ1000 II would generally be considered the next most capable - it has less reach at 400mm vs 600mm, but is one of the only other 1" sensor bridge cameras with focusing that would be reasonably capable with birds in flight and action - it uses a specialized contrast-detect focusing system called DFD (depth from defocus) that's faster and better than most consumer cameras' standard CDAF focus systems. It's cheaper than the Sony, though the build is a little less robust, the reach is less, and no weather sealing. At almost 1/2 the price of the Sony, that could justify the lesser feature set for some.

Really any other bridge camera wouldn't be reliably capable of focusing continuously on a moving subject and tracking - so if birds-in-flight is important, those are your two best bets. The RX10IV is the pinnacle, but expensive and larger, and the FZ1000 a cheaper, slightly smaller alternative step down.
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