Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Camera advice

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Monday 29th April 2013, 13:35   #1
davids
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: England
Posts: 245
Camera advice

I would welcome advice on whether a micro4/3 camera would be suitable for my needs and if so which one.

I currently own a bridge camera (Canon SX30) which I am disappointed with. Much of the problems probably lies with the photographer but some is definitely the camera. The EVF is poor, it goes blank when taking photographs. Manual focusing is also virtually impossible resulting in some wonderful shots of branches with a blurred bird in the background.

I have thought about going the DSLR route with a 100-400mm lens but am reluctant because of weight and cost grounds.

I know very little about micro 4/3 cameras but they seem to offer the potential to produce good quality pictures with the panasonic 100-300mm lens and if I have read other threads correctly can be good digiscoping cameras. Rather than make any large investment I am considering buying a secondhand camera body and have been looking at the panasonic g1, g2 and g3. Secondhand lenses seem to be in short supply.

Any thoughts on likely problems or shortcomings with these cameras particularly in relation to the EVF, focussing and quality would be very welcome.

Regards

David
davids is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 29th April 2013, 14:16   #2
highendofthelow
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: stoke-on-trent
Posts: 38
You can buy a dslr camera and 70-300mm lens for less than the g series.

My dslr is a canon1100d. Its nothing special but it does the job it needs to. I had in a couple of xmas's ago and for the body and a 18-55mm is lens and a tamron 70-300mm was about 450 with a basic bag and uv filters etc. As for the weight. I agree sometimes it gets old carrying them around, but you get used to it. I now have a lowerpro sling bag and i carry 5 lens and body around with little issue. An investment into a bag does help a lot with this issue.

Just my opinion of course, im sure others will both agree and disagree with me.
highendofthelow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 29th April 2013, 17:29   #3
kNikS
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Posts: 40
David, G3 is only ~250$ + 100-300mm for ~500$, and/or ~20$ adapter and all sorts of cheap but optically quite good legacy lenses available - without autofocus and stabilization of course, but this could be alleviated with tripod or monopod.

Also, It might be worth waiting a bit for G5 (newer sensor than G3, focus lock, electronic shutter and better ergonomics), with G6 announced price may drop even further.
kNikS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 30th April 2013, 00:46   #4
Jim M.
Choose Civility

 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 6,898
Quote:
Originally Posted by highendofthelow View Post
You can buy a dslr camera and 70-300mm lens for less than the g series.
Because of the 2X crop factor on micro 4/3, a 300mm lens on a dslr isn't the equivalent of a 300mm lens on micro 4/3rds. You'd need a 400mm.

Jim
__________________
My Micro 4/3 birds, insects, & other wildlife photo gallery:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums

Last edited by Jim M. : Tuesday 30th April 2013 at 00:54.
Jim M. is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2013 2016 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 30th April 2013, 01:11   #5
Jim M.
Choose Civility

 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 6,898
Quote:
Originally Posted by davids View Post
Any thoughts on likely problems or shortcomings with these cameras particularly in relation to the EVF, focussing and quality would be very welcome.
Hi David,

I made the switch a few years ago from a superzoom (Panasonic FZ 18) to the G3 with the 100-300 mm lens and have been very happy with the upgrade. Image quality, especially in low light, is definitely superior. With the significantly larger sensor a micro 4/3 is going to beat out any superzoom in terms of image quality. EVF is quite good. I rarely use manual focus, so I can't comment on that. But one thing I have found very useful is manual zoom on the barrel--very useful for finding the bird first--just as with a scope.

Weight is about the same as a superzoom, and magnification approaches that of the low end of a spotting scope (1200mm equivalent) if you enable the 2x teleconverter setting which does not degrade image quality (though it requires the small picture setting and use of jpeg only).

You'd get a little better image quality with the Olympus or GH3, but those are a significant step up in price as well.

Hope this helps,
Jim
__________________
My Micro 4/3 birds, insects, & other wildlife photo gallery:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums
Jim M. is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2013 2016 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 30th April 2013, 01:45   #6
njlarsen
Opus Editor
 
njlarsen's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: St. James, Barbados
Posts: 22,202
I have a GH2 that I have used for a while with the 100-300. Using the smallest focusing area significantly improves the probability of getting focus on the bird and not on nearby branches. Having said that, I frequently (especially on more distant small birds or birds with very complex branches) shoot a couple of shots with autofocus, half-press and manually focus for another couple of shots, and repeat that process a couple of times (if the bird will remain in place, that is). Autofocus on my copy of the 100-300 could be smoother, but it definitely works.

My reason for upgrading from a superzoom was especially the low light capabilities (since improved at least on the pana range of superzooms) but the ability to easily focus manually was a definite pleasant surprise once I got into the habit.

Niels
__________________
Support bird conservation in the Caribbean: BirdCaribbean

Just moved to Barbados
njlarsen is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 30th April 2013, 07:07   #7
davids
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: England
Posts: 245
Thanks all for your replies and help. I am favoring the G3 at the moment

Regards

David
davids is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 1st May 2013, 19:52   #8
Winterdune
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 922
I went the micro four thirds route but eventually I bit the bullet and bought a DSLR and 400mm lens. I wish now I had done so years ago. I'd have saved a lot of money! If you are remotely into birds in flight I think you should consider it. The weight of a canon DSLR with the 400mm f5.6 is fine for walking around all day with bins as well.
Sean
Winterdune is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 1st May 2013, 21:02   #9
Jim M.
Choose Civility

 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 6,898
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanofford View Post
The weight of a canon DSLR with the 400mm f5.6 is fine for walking around all day with bins as well.
I must be a wimp. I find even my light micro four thirds setup causes me some muscle aches carrying it all day.

I think I see about 50-50 posts of people saying they finally bit the bullet and went for a DSLR and don't regret it, and others saying they just sold all of their DSLR equipment for something light weight because they grew tired of lugging it all around. Think some times you don't know how you fit in until you've tried it.

Jim
__________________
My Micro 4/3 birds, insects, & other wildlife photo gallery:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums
Jim M. is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2013 2016 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 2nd May 2013, 06:50   #10
highendofthelow
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: stoke-on-trent
Posts: 38
I think some of the hassle with dslrs its that your lens collection grows, at least mine has and now i lug 4 lenses extra around. However a decent bag helps so much. If you carry all that i can understand why some people want to go "lightweight".

The best thing to do is to go into a camera shop and ask to hold a dslr and a 400mm lens to gauge weight. It will be heavier than a bridge, but photo quality will probably be better and more often than not more vesatile.
highendofthelow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 2nd May 2013, 16:07   #11
davids
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: England
Posts: 245
Thanks all for your advice. The more opinions the better.

David
davids is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 12:58   #12
davids
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: England
Posts: 245
Quote:
Originally Posted by davids View Post
Thanks all for your advice. The more opinions the better.

David
Just to an update. I went for the G5. The decision was made when I saw John Lewis were doing a twin-lens kit for 629 less 150 for trading in an old camera (any camera will suffice). The additional lens was the 45-150mm so I will have to save up for the 100-300mm.

I have not had much opportunity to use the camera but my initial results are very positive. Even with just the 150mm lens I was getting better shots than with my bridge camera. The viewfinder is excellent, blackout doesn't seem to be a problem. Manual Focus much better than my bridge camera but not as simple as on a DSLR. I have taken a few digiscoped photos handheld against my scope and was surprised with quality of photos and I am sure with a bit of practice results could be improved.

Thanks for your help in my choice.

David

Last edited by davids : Wednesday 22nd May 2013 at 15:05.
davids is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 14:40   #13
njlarsen
Opus Editor
 
njlarsen's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: St. James, Barbados
Posts: 22,202
Quote:
Originally Posted by davids View Post
Just to an update. I went for the G5. The decision was made when I saw John Lewis were doing a twin-lens lit for 629 less 150 for trading in an old camera (any camera will suffice). The additional lens was the 45-150mm so I will have to save up for the 100-300mm.

I have not had much opportunity to us the camera but my initial results are very positive. Even with just the 150mm lens I was getting better shots than with my bridge camera. The viewfinder is excellent, blackout doesn't seem to be a problem. Manual Focus much better than my bridge camera but not as simple as on a DSLR. I have taken a few digiscoped photos handheld against my scope and was surprised with quality of photos and I am sure with a bit of practice results could be improved.

Thanks for your help in my choice.

David
I don't know the menu of the G5, but on my GH2 I had to activate an AF+MF option before using manual focus became easy.

Niels
__________________
Support bird conservation in the Caribbean: BirdCaribbean

Just moved to Barbados
njlarsen is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 19:11   #14
Roy C
Occasional bird snapper
 
Roy C's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Barnstaple,North Devon,UK
Posts: 16,294
Quote:
Originally Posted by davids View Post
I currently own a bridge camera (Canon SX30) which I am disappointed with.

David
I would not write off these so called 'superzooms' quite as readily if I were you David - they have come on leaps and bounds in the past year or so and the SX50 is light years better than the SX30, absolutely no comparison. Shutter lag has been considerably reduced and of course you can now shoot in RAW up to the optical max of 1200mm.
I have shot with several of Canon's top lenses (inc the 300/2.8 IS) and still have several lens and a couple of DSLR cams but I picked up a little SX50 as a lightweight walkabout recently. Obviously not up to a expensive DSLR set-up but for less than 300 (I paid 239 for mine) they are a very useful tool, especially if you are reach limited. The ability to shoot hand held up to 2400mm (full frame equivalent) is a heck of a bonus as it brings so many more birds within range. Obviously the AF system is not up to a good DSLR set-up and so they are not good for Birds in flight shots but for shooting non flyers from range they are amazingly good for the money.
Attached are a few shoots taken at 1800mm handheld as examples, a lot of the shots I have got with this little cam I would not have even bothered trying for with something like a 400-600 mm lens.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	swallow2_1800mm.jpg
Views:	84
Size:	150.3 KB
ID:	444326  Click image for larger version

Name:	dunnock1.jpg
Views:	77
Size:	217.6 KB
ID:	444327  Click image for larger version

Name:	shelduck1.jpg
Views:	76
Size:	158.1 KB
ID:	444328  Click image for larger version

Name:	stone4v2.jpg
Views:	89
Size:	176.4 KB
ID:	444329  

Last edited by Roy C : Wednesday 22nd May 2013 at 19:36.
Roy C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2007 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 19:17   #15
Roy C
Occasional bird snapper
 
Roy C's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Barnstaple,North Devon,UK
Posts: 16,294
Here is a sample of the SX50 at 2400mm again hand held that I took on Satuirday. The shot was taken from around 500 feet.The first shot was the same target from the same place but at 27mm, the second shot was taken at 2400mm. You may be able to get similar results by cropping a long lens DSLR shot but even with a top set-up costing many thousands of pound I doubt if you could do any better. How the heck you can get this amount of detail from that distance with a sensor just 1/4" across is beyond me.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	land1.jpg
Views:	97
Size:	187.6 KB
ID:	444331  Click image for larger version

Name:	corm1.jpg
Views:	99
Size:	190.9 KB
ID:	444333  
Roy C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2007 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 19:30   #16
davids
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: England
Posts: 245
Roy

Those are great shots and as you say much better than I could get with my SX30.

David
davids is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 23rd May 2013, 09:59   #17
davids
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: England
Posts: 245
Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I don't know the menu of the G5, but on my GH2 I had to activate an AF+MF option before using manual focus became easy.

Niels
Niels

Thanks for that tip. I am still working my way through the instructions manual and hadn't spotted that setting.

Does the GH2 have an electronic shutter setting. If so do you use it? The default setting on the G5 is for it to be set to off but given it can reduce camera shake and shutter noise there seems to be benefits in using it. (although it can't be used for slow shutter speeds, high ISOs and SH burst).

Thanks

David

Last edited by davids : Thursday 23rd May 2013 at 15:13.
davids is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 23rd May 2013, 13:41   #18
njlarsen
Opus Editor
 
njlarsen's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: St. James, Barbados
Posts: 22,202
The GH2 does not have an electronic shutter, so no, I have no experience with that.

Niels
__________________
Support bird conservation in the Caribbean: BirdCaribbean

Just moved to Barbados
njlarsen is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 23rd May 2013, 17:26   #19
kNikS
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Posts: 40
David, AF+MF is at 5th page of Custom Menu, as well as MF Assist and MF Guide. Also, when shooting without the lens (Custom menu, 8th page, Lens OFF) - with non-native lens that is - Manual focus assist is activated via left cursor and (digital) zoom level of the assist is controlled with the rear dial.

I was always intrigued how people with new cameras don't post on the first day - now I know. Although I figured out most of the relevant settings in an hour or so, for over a week I have this camera I barely had time or light or subjects to even try to shoot. Hence a couple of extremely uncooperative (and distant) collared doves in very dull weather and near-storm-wind, and a ridiculously far white-tailed eagle perched on an power line pole, both with hand-held 30 years-old Russian 500mm f/8 3M-5CA mirror. The lens is impossible to hold steadily; except high magnification it's extremely short which doesn't help either. So considering all that, and the fact that this is my very first camera which isn't point-and-shoot (not to mention manual focus lenses), I hope the pics aren't too terrible.

Doves - 1/800, ISO 1600, cca 20m, cropped to 3:2 and resized to 21%.

Eagle - 1/1000, ISO 1600, probably over 200m or even more, cropped to 16:9 and resized to 34%.

... and an obligatory moon shot (for Russian catadioptric lenses) 1/40, ISO 160, electronic shutter.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Picture 047.jpg
Views:	71
Size:	106.3 KB
ID:	444469  Click image for larger version

Name:	Picture 103.jpg
Views:	71
Size:	341.6 KB
ID:	444470  Click image for larger version

Name:	Picture 009.jpg
Views:	67
Size:	94.6 KB
ID:	444472  
kNikS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
camera advice The Pawesome Birds & Birding 1 Sunday 7th April 2013 15:59
Looking for camera advice Paul Brooks Digiscoping cameras 2 Wednesday 14th November 2012 16:42
Advice on new camera set up huma11 Cameras And Photography 8 Wednesday 27th October 2010 00:25
Camera Advice MLoyko Birds & Birding 14 Friday 22nd February 2008 16:47
advice on camera POP Digiscoping Adapters 2 Thursday 6th March 2003 05:52



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.31209302 seconds with 34 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 16:01.