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request advice upgrading from bridge camera to DSLR

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Old Tuesday 6th August 2019, 23:57   #1
Earnest lad
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request advice upgrading from bridge camera to DSLR

Please can anyone advise a non-photographer but keen birder.
Thus far, I have been using a Fujifilm Finepix S8500 bridge camera for my birding. The optical zoom is 46x. I just use the camera for record shots and identification purposes.
Readers will immediately be aware that although the camera is quite good for getting close in, having powerful zoom, the quality is often very poor. Not that I am criticising Fujifilm. It is just an inherent limitation of the camera. I usually manage to take the photo but later when I look at the image of the bird, the detail I want to look at is often blurred.
I have thought about upgrading to a Nikon p900 to get greater optical zoom, but I read that the Nikon p900 and other similar cameras have just the same sensor to that of my camera. I am therefore not convinced that particular upgrade would make a vast difference in quality.
Therefore I am contemplating making the leap to DSLR. I have read I can get better quality with DSLR because the sensor tends to be bigger.
I dont want to spend too much money but I would like to improve the quality just a little bit.
Please therefore can someone recommend what kind of camera I can go for that would not break the bank. It wouldnt have to be a state of the art model and I dont mind second hand. Obviously I would need a lens. Please can one advise which lens would I need that is not too dear and gets me just as close up to the birdies.
Your kind help would be appreciated, but can you keep it simple as I am not cogniscent of photograghy terminology.
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Old Wednesday 7th August 2019, 01:00   #2
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One of the important aspects is how much you want to spend, and equally important, how much do you want to carry when you go out into the field? Would your purpose be equally well served by learning more about how to get closer to the birds so that you can get more out of what you already have?

Do remember that a lens giving you the same reach does get increasingly heavy each time you increase the sensor size.

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Old Wednesday 7th August 2019, 01:35   #3
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Basically, your options are another bridge camera or an APS-C ILC with a 600mm lens. Your current camera is 24-1100mm (35mm equivalent). An APS-C with a 150-600mm zoom would be 225-900mm (35mm equivalent), but you should be able to crop to at least 1800 - 2000mm without much loss of quality. And the action shots should come out great.

I think your choices would be the P1000, which has an active thread in the Nikon forum, or something like a d7200 or d7500 plus the Tamron 150-600G2 (or sigma 150-600 C). I think you'd be around 1900 GBP for the 7200 + 150-600 G2 or about 900 GBP for the P1000 (all new pricing, you could of course save on used). An upgrade would be the Nikon d500. You could also go Canon with a 7d or 7d mII plus the same lens.

A nice camera with great video is the Sony RX10 IV. It goes out to 600mm (35mm equivalent) and has a decent sized sensor for excellent image quality. It will be on a the more expensive side, around 1500 GBP, and has less reach.

Another option is the Sony A6400 (830 GPB) and the new Sony 200-600 (1800 GBP) for a total of 2630 GBP. That would be an awesome mirrorless system. I believe Sony will be announcing another APS-C sports camera soon too. You can also do the A6400 with the 150-600 plus an adapter, but I don't think it gives great performance for action.

The current crop of bridge cameras in the ~1300mm range are also pretty good. Thinks like the Panasonic FZ80 or Canon SX530/SX540 or Sony HX400 or Canon SX70 (there's an active thread about this camera in other forum). These will all be much lighter and less expensive, but not as great for action or image quality (especially if you want to crop or are in low light).

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Old Wednesday 7th August 2019, 01:57   #4
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In between superzoom and the APC cameras you also have the micro-4/3 cameras, from Olympus and Panasonic. I love my pana-leica 100-400 (which gets you about the same field of view as you would get on the d7200 or d7500 plus the Tamron 150-600G2 (or sigma 150-600 C).

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Old Wednesday 7th August 2019, 04:11   #5
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In between superzoom and the APC cameras you also have the micro-4/3 cameras, from Olympus and Panasonic. I love my pana-leica 100-400 (which gets you about the same field of view as you would get on the d7200 or d7500 plus the Tamron 150-600G2 (or sigma 150-600 C).

Niels
Yes, I have the E-M5 mark 2 that I use for macro. I wouldn't use that one for birds in flight, but the E-M1 mark 2 is pretty good. The 100-400 lens is 200-800 equivalent and works very well. The kit will come in around 1050 GBP for the OM-1m2 plus 1100 GBP for the 100-400, so 2200 GBP total. But it will be much more compact and lighter than the DSLR + 150-600 lens. You can find those item used too.

The micro 4/3 sensor is a slight bit smaller than an APS-C crop camera, but it is not as big a difference as full frame to 1.5x. You can crop them in a bit and they will still come out OK. MFT also has decent ISO performance. They tend to be lower resolution (MP) than APS-C for full frame to keep the diffraction and ISO performance OK.

There's also a ton of point-and-shoot in the super zoom range, like the Sony HX99 (720mm) or Panasonic ZS70 (720mm). If you go the P&S route, get a good EVF in it, like in the Sony HX90 or HX99.

Marc

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Old Wednesday 7th August 2019, 06:35   #6
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Earnest Lad,

Better photos can be had - I think it comes down to a question of how much do you want to spend ? , and how much do you want to carry ? If you want to shoot moving subjects (let's face it - Murphy's Law applies - the rarer, better, and closer the bird, the more likely it is to flit away without notice ! :) , then you end up at the more expensive and/or heavier end of the equation.

In a bridge camera I like the Sony RX-10 IV ...... great 1" sensor and handles moving subjects very well.

Apart from that I think APS-C is your best bang for the buck. (Multiply focal lengths by 1.5x to get the full frame 35mm equivalent). It's the sweet spot sensor-wise. (There's also some good MFT sensors -2x, but the bang for the buck perhaps not quite as good).

With Nikon, a good entry level would be the D3500 or D5600 paired with say a Tamron or Sigma 100-400 f6.3 (this will give you 600mm equivalent reach), if you wanted a bit more reach and didn't mind the extra weight then you could attach the Sigma C 150-600 f6.3 for 900mm eq (though perhaps it balances better with a larger body). You would probably shoot moving targets using centre point focus, as these entry level tracking systems don't keep up on fast flyers (swallows etc) - should be OK for a big ol' pelican ! :)

Best bang for the buck anywhere would be the:
Nikon D7200 + Tamron G2 150-600 f6.3 ..... that's what I've got. The D7200 has been recently discontinued so you may be able to find a deal on new run-out stock. It has an extra 1.3x in-camera crop (so ~2 total but with the larger sensor benefits) so that will give you an equivalent range of 225mm - 1200mm - can't do better than that ! - and it will also be at 7fps, and the 3D tracking works much better This would be my choice.

The Nikon 200-500 f5.6 is also fine, great value glass, but getting heavy at 2.3kg.

You can flesh your lens kit out with some quite reasonable options, Nikon 10-20 f5.6, Tamron 10-24 f4.5, Tokina 12-28 f4 (love this on my D7200 since I can get 18mm - 56mm eq) , Nikon 16-80 f2.8 - f4 , 18-200 f5.6 etc, as well as a great range of reasonable f1.8 or so primes.

You will have to consult Canonophiles for the best bang for the buck body there - but lens choice will be similar. Note that there is a you beaut high resolution (~31MP) 90D body just about to be announced and released this year. Price is likely to be in the ~$1000-$1250 + range at a guess. Canon APS-C sensors have a 1.6x crop factor, as opposed to the 1.5x of Nikon, Fujifilm, and Sony.

With Canon you also have the benefit of some of their fine older glass such as the 400L f5.6 which although not stabilized is top quality - you might be able to pick up a good 2nd hand copy for reasonable. There is also the new 100-400L ISII f5.6 but that is much more expensive. Both of those f5.6's take a 1.4 TC well in terms of IQ.

The Sony kit Marc mentioned of a6400 + 200-600 f6.3 will also track quite well, though it is a bit pricey in comparison, and the large lens on the small body is not the best balanced combo among those I've mentioned.

I carry my rig on a Black Rapid sling and shoot handheld which works great. I don't know that I would want to lug around too much more weight than this though.

Hope that helps a bit - don't hesitate to ask any more questions.




Chosun

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Old Thursday 8th August 2019, 23:31   #7
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Dear all who have so kindly taken the trouble to share their expertise with me: many thanks

There is a lot of information for me to digest, and it will take some time.

In terms of "going up a notch" without breaking the bank I have given the matter some further consideration.

I have seen a recommendation that the Nikon D3400 together with a SIGMA 150-600mm lens would not be overly expensive. I see advice that although such a kit would not have the same "optical zoom" as a "say, 16mp superzoom bridge camera" like the Nikon P900, it would actually capture more detail and afford a "more agreeable shooting experience", so that once one cropped an image it would be as if one had zoomed in on a bird and the photo would be likely better than that of a superzoom bridge camera.

Please may I enquire: do you concur with this. Do you have any comments on this please? Thank you
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 00:10   #8
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Dear all who have so kindly taken the trouble to share their expertise with me: many thanks

There is a lot of information for me to digest, and it will take some time.

In terms of "going up a notch" without breaking the bank I have given the matter some further consideration.

I have seen a recommendation that the Nikon D3400 together with a SIGMA 150-600mm lens would not be overly expensive. I see advice that although such a kit would not have the same "optical zoom" as a "say, 16mp superzoom bridge camera" like the Nikon P900, it would actually capture more detail and afford a "more agreeable shooting experience", so that once one cropped an image it would be as if one had zoomed in on a bird and the photo would be likely better than that of a superzoom bridge camera.

Please may I enquire: do you concur with this. Do you have any comments on this please? Thank you
Your choice is for a sensible combination of a good basic camera and a reasonably priced long lens. It should give fine images, vastly better than your current Fuji.
That said, you are moving to a much bigger, bulkier camera. If that does not matter for you, you are on the right path.
However, if flexibility, size and convenience are also factors, I'd suggest that you reconsider the bridge cameras.
There are several such with 1" sensors available, from Panasonic and Sony, which provide much better image quality together with all in one convenience.
There are even pocket versions available such as the Panasonic ZS100 or the Sony RX100VI with 1" sensors and decent, but somewhat lesser, zoom.

If traveling, the bridge camera flexibility really shines, as it can switch from landscape to long zoom in an instant, plus it packs a lot easier. However, if the prime directive is for the best possible bird photos within some budget limits, you have a good combo.
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 00:27   #9
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I have seen a recommendation that the Nikon D3400 together with a SIGMA 150-600mm lens would not be overly expensive. I see advice that although such a kit would not have the same "optical zoom" as a "say, 16mp superzoom bridge camera" like the Nikon P900, it would actually capture more detail and afford a "more agreeable shooting experience", so that once one cropped an image it would be as if one had zoomed in on a bird and the photo would be likely better than that of a superzoom bridge camera.

Please may I enquire: do you concur with this. Do you have any comments on this please? Thank you
I think the d3400 + 150-600 is a fine combination. I prefer the Tamron 150-600 G2 to the Sigma Contemporary, but I think they are very close, so either one is ok. Personally, I would take the d3400 + 150-600 vs the P900. The P900 operation is just a bit clunky to me and too hard to use for BIF.

First, about your specific question on zoom vs. cropping. Second, some general comments on the d3xxx series.

The d3400 is 24MP at 1.5x crop factor, so you have a "native" 900mm focal length. I find crops down to 5MP still very usable, so that is a 2.19x additional crop (sqrt(24/5)) for an effective focal length of 1971mm. Very close to the P900's 2000mm optical zoom. Now, you have a 16MP @ 2000 vs a 5 MP at 1971mm, so really the P900 could have more detail at that reach.

But, the d3400 has a 3.89 m pixel pitch (the size of one pixel) versus the P900 at 1.34 m. What this means is the P900 will be more susceptible to diffraction blur (from higher f-stops) or from shake. Also if you look at the pixel area, you have 15.13 m vs 1.8 m, so the d3400 will have more light collecting ability (higher ISO and better IQ at higher ISO) and better dynamic range. So, those 16MP vs 8MP are not created equal. See https://www.digicamdb.com/compare/ni...n_coolpix-p900.

A different way to look at it is a 24MP d3500 cropped down to 16MP is equivalent to 1100mm. So, the P900 does give about 1.8x zoom at the same resolution, but the quality of those pixels will favor the d3400.

Finally, I think it is much easier to photograph BIFs at 900mm equivalent and crop down to 1500mm - 2000mm than to try and do it at 1500mm - 2000mm. For any erratically flying bird or fast flying bird, trying to find it and track it at those high focal lengths is going to be hard. Really hard.

Now, on to a discussion about the d3400.

The d3400 (and newer d3500) are fine cameras and will take great 24MP pictures. The d3500's main improvement is they moved all the rear buttons to the right side of the screen for easier 1 handed operation. For me, that would be a big deal because with a heavy lens your left hand has to stay holding the lens up.

The main issue I see is that the d3xxx series is a lot of plastic and you will need to be careful with a heavy lens to always hold it by the lens not the camera to avoid damage (or even simpler mis-alignment) of the lens mount.

It is also only 5 frames per second (FPS), whereas the d7200 is 6 or 7 fps (depending on cropping mode) or the d7500 at 8 fps. Those are noticeable differences, but are mainly of interest for birds in flight, so budget could easily be the controlling factor.

The d3xxx series also has a fixed LCD screen, not a flippy like the d5xxx series. If you will shoot on a tripod, the flippy screen is a big plus. Or if you try to shoot things low to the ground, a flippy can help too.

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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 00:34   #10
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There are several such with 1" sensors available, from Panasonic and Sony, which provide much better image quality together with all in one convenience.
There are even pocket versions available such as the Panasonic ZS100 or the Sony RX100VI with 1" sensors and decent, but somewhat lesser, zoom.

If traveling, the bridge camera flexibility really shines, as it can switch from landscape to long zoom in an instant, plus it packs a lot easier. However, if the prime directive is for the best possible bird photos within some budget limits, you have a good combo.
I agree with this. The current crop of bridge and P&S super zooms can give very nice images. They can be decent for BIF. They will be much less expensive and lighter. The DSLR can give better images, if you have good shooting technique.

I'd probably also include the Canon SX70 and Sony HX90 or HX99.
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 05:30   #11
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It would be good to see some images so we know what level you want to improve from, while the gear your thinking about will improve quality with practice and good technique it comes at the cost of bulk and weight.
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 09:39   #12
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Originally Posted by Earnest lad View Post
Dear all who have so kindly taken the trouble to share their expertise with me: many thanks

There is a lot of information for me to digest, and it will take some time.

In terms of "going up a notch" without breaking the bank I have given the matter some further consideration.

I have seen a recommendation that the Nikon D3400 together with a SIGMA 150-600mm lens would not be overly expensive. I see advice that although such a kit would not have the same "optical zoom" as a "say, 16mp superzoom bridge camera" like the Nikon P900, it would actually capture more detail and afford a "more agreeable shooting experience", so that once one cropped an image it would be as if one had zoomed in on a bird and the photo would be likely better than that of a superzoom bridge camera.

Please may I enquire: do you concur with this. Do you have any comments on this please? Thank you
Earnest Lad,

The Nikon D3400 + Sigma C 150-600mm f6.3 is about the cheapest way you will get into better capability (it's about the lightest weight for that reach too).

It's debatable whether it will show as much, more, or less detail than a Nikon P900 super zoom bridge camera (under ideal circumstances) for example. We can crunch numbers until the cows come home, but you are going to get shots with the DSLR rig that you just won't be able to get with a bridge camera - as the subject will fly away while you are waiting for it to start up ! Thus the term you used "a more agreeable shooting experience" is quite apt.

I think it's a pretty good value way to get into it.

Certainly the better rigs I suggested are going to be 2 or even 3 the cost, and all that for incremental benefits. Even the only bridge camera I would consider, the phase detect Sony RX10 IV is around twice the cost of the suggested DSLR rig, and although the quality is superb, and it will certainly handle BIF and snap shots excellently - it has to be on ! and ready ! With a DSLR it's a flip of the on/off switch on the way up to the eye and it's ready to go instantaneously.

I still prefer my rig over your suggestion for it's greater balance, controls, IQ, and focal length (with the D7200's 1.3x in-camera crop bringing the reach to 1200mm eq). However it's twice the cost of your suggestion. Only you can decide if it's worth it to you.

There will be a Canon 90D announced in a few weeks which is likely to be the highest resolution (32MP) APS-C sensor we have yet seen - but the body alone is likely to be ~ 1000. You would want a better quality lens on it - at least a Tamron G2 150-600, or a Sigma 60-600 S, or one of the Canon L lenses. You would be looking at minimum 2K up to 3K+ for that rig ........

Budget depending, I would go with your suggestion and hang it off (by the lens tripod foot) a Black Rapid sling (get a safety tether to the camera). You'll have lots of fun as a walk around rig




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Old Sunday 18th August 2019, 16:29   #13
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Regarding p900, the reviews say 1.2 seconds from turning on to first image captured. I am not sure that is where I would necessarily say the biggest difference is for other camera types. When I left behind the superzoom and went to m4/3 (which I am still using) it was due to experience of photography inside a rainforest. The superzoom simply was too poor performance in those conditions. Superzooms have improved since I left them behind, but low light it naturally where they perform the poorest. If your shooting entails walking around in sunshine then I am not sure you cannot continue with a good superzoom. If you frequently are out in poor light, then a larger rig might be warranted. Just think through how much you like to carry - a good camera that you left at home because of weight will not help you much.

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Old Sunday 18th August 2019, 17:01   #14
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Buy a used Canon 400mm F5.6L lens with a Canon 1D mk4. Do-able for 1200 ish.
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Old Sunday 18th August 2019, 17:48   #15
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Niels, and anyone else interested, I have just tested my P1000. At a distance of 23mtrs and in to deep shade, so gloomy I could make out almost nothing. So how to get a shot? In order to test the light, I set camera on Auto and zoomed out to about 1200mm and took a single shot (only does single shot in Auto) Perfectly good shot, camera picked ISO800 and 1/60sec at F5.6.
So I then set camera at Shutter speed 1/60 sec and took a burst of 5 shots, all perfectly OK.

I now know what to set shutter speed at in the deepest gloom of canopy I am able to spot a bird in if I need to take a burst shot, but equally I also now know that if I allow the camera to pick the settings then I will get good (very good) shots in pretty dark conditions.

Now for start up speed, seems to bother some people. Assuming I am "on the prowl" and looking for a shot then the camera is switched on, zoom probably set to around 6/800mm. Spot the bird, swing the camera in to place and click (as fast as I can press the shutter) Start up time nil!!

These are real time, real user experiences

Now I don't own or have ever used a DSLR but I have owned and still own the Nikon 8800, the P900 and now the P1000. The progression in image quality and user friendliness is huge. And to be honest I can't think of anything about the P1000 that I find lacking for an all round wildlife camera, Macro down to an inch or so, even does macro out to a few feet, F5'6 at 2200mm, hand held shots at 3000mm. Manual is simple, one click and turn the ring to focus, snap back to help pin point birds in undergrowth.

I could go on and on listing the good points gleaned from almost a year of use and several thousand shots, thee only pics I have seen that look sharper and show more detail have been taken with a top of the range DSLR and fixed 400mm lens at a distance of a few yards, but not a lot of use if the target is 100mtrs away.

So Earnest lad, if you want an all round wildlife camera then I suggest you take a good close look at the P1000. it will deal with any situation you are likely to meet while out birding...also makes a superb scope :) :)


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Old Sunday 18th August 2019, 22:06   #16
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In what we have written to the OP in this thread I think there is one thing missing. DOF. When you are going from a smaller sensor to a larger one, the DOF diminishes. On your current superzoom you are likely used to being able to focus just about anywhere on the bird and it will look good. When moving up you will need to focus on the eye as best you can or the results will not be satisfactory. That takes a little time to get used to.

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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 06:04   #17
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[...] I have thought about upgrading to a Nikon p900 to get greater optical zoom, but I read that the Nikon p900 and other similar cameras have just the same sensor to that of my camera. I am therefore not convinced that particular upgrade would make a vast difference in quality.
Therefore I am contemplating making the leap to DSLR. [...]
Going from a superzoom to a DSLR sacrifices silent shooting, long-distance ID and accept a much higher weight. Does a small increase in image quality justify to risk having fun with birding? I was in the same dilemma in 2016 and bought a Nikon V2 + CX 70-300 lens. At least it was affordable, gave me 800mm and birds in flight.

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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 07:04   #18
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Going from a superzoom to a DSLR sacrifices silent shooting, long-distance ID and accept a much higher weight. Does a small increase in image quality justify to risk having fun with birding? I was in the same dilemma in 2016 and bought a Nikon V2 + CX 70-300 lens. At least it was affordable, gave me 800mm and birds in flight.
Big increase in image quality. . ..
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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 07:26   #19
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Big increase in image quality. . ..
True. I have to concede that even the 1-inch Nikon V2 (or V3) is still very much a sunny-weather camera, and photography in low light is not much fun. Feather details are also lacking as it has an AA filter (in this respect the V3 is superior).

But at some point birding with a superzoom can get a little boring (at least that was my own experience). Most birds are easily identified, even 50m away. At that point, going from 1200mm to 800mm felt less important as getting new options with birds in flight, autofocus with 15 images per second (or 60 without autofocus), RAW = improved editing, the electronic shutter.

If the birds are not too far away, 6-12m, and the sun is shining, the V3 will always beat my superzoom, IQ-wise. The superzoom wins over 30m. I guess it is basically the same with other camera systems. The more experienced a birder becomes, the less relevant are pictures of perched birds 30m away.
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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 08:43   #20
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Are you guys seriously implying, that just because a superzoom has larger "effective focal length", it makes bird ID easier? In general, the tendency to compare focal lengths "after crop" is as wrong as it is pervasive, because, as usual, physics exists. The ability of optics to capture fine detail is not magically increased by cutting off the edges of a chip that you have put into its focus.

The P1000 has, physically a 535 mm lens - and a F/8 at that, so even if it was optically perfect (which at such zoom, I have all reasons to doubt - it may be good, but VERY good, but not perfect) it would be limited by diffraction to some 1.7 arcseconds, which, on its sensor, is a circle 3.3 pixels large. Now oversampling is good and somewhat helpful, but by the sheer force of wave character of light, this camera can never produce a pixel-sharp image at "3000 mm", it's simply not possible.

Now take my beloved 200D + 400/5.6L, which is roughly the same weight (some 150g heavier, if I googled the weights correctly) and actually not that more expensive - I bought it body new, lens used for 200 EUR above the price of a new P1000 (and Canon L lenses can be usually bought used without worries, they survive almost anything intact). This setup has a slightly larger entry aperture, but only marginally, so it gets the same amount of light. The 200D's pixel is almost 3 times larger and the lens I chose is shorter, so the same 1.7 arcsecond spot is put on just one pixel. That means that the image is slightly undersampled, but no way it means that you see 5x less detail, as you would obtain by comparing the "effective focal lengths" (200D has 1.6 crop, so the setup would correspond to 640 mm).

Yes, crop and effective focus is important for a lot of different shooting conditions, but it is not the case when we are talking about IDing distant birds, because we will always be in "too small" not "too large" territory. I am not saying that everyone should run and buy a DSLR, but I am definitely saying that people need to stop comparing setups by "effective focal length" because that way, you can literally increase your benchmark by covering a part of the chip by tape.
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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 12:12   #21
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No doubt, there is much leeway for cropping in a DSLR. Once I shot side-by-side with a man using a Canon 5D2 + Sigma 150-600 C. Subject: a raptor in a giant flock of starlings. I focused my V2 on said raptor and saw little of the big view. Later Mr Canon showed me his results, with the huge starling flock and its vast movements. He was then able to zoom in on the raptor, and there was little difference between our shots - "pixels per raptor". It was very impressive, but shooting from a tripod is also limiting, and heavy.

I don't dispute the image quality advantages of a DSLR, just wanted to remind the OP there are other factors.
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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 15:07   #22
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Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
In between superzoom and the APC cameras you also have the micro-4/3 cameras, from Olympus and Panasonic. I love my pana-leica 100-400 (which gets you about the same field of view as you would get on the d7200 or d7500 plus the Tamron 150-600G2 (or sigma 150-600 C).
+1 on looking at micro-4/3 cameras.

I currently have the SX60, which granted is nowhere near DSLR quality, but I still think far better than a "record shot." Helps I have alot invested in Photoshop tricks and plugins.

Before purchasing the SX60, I was strongly considering micro-4/3; specifically, Olympus. I'd check them out if you don't want to go all the way to DSLR and want save some weight.

My partner carries a D700 and I decided to get the zoom distances I wanted that even a non-FX grade DSLR was going to be too heavy a rig to carry (I have neck and shoulder issues).

What mostly kept me from micro-4/3 was the choices of long lenses at the time didn't meet up with the shooting distances I wanted. I routinely shoot handheld out to 60+, 80+, and even 100+m and as much as people say cropping solves this problem, I wasn't seeing that in real life. Very few people quote the distance-to-target on their photos, so I had a tough time figuring out if a certain camera+lens combo would work before investing.

OP: What is "best" for each individual varies, so good luck in your search!
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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 15:30   #23
njlarsen
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Very few people quote the distance-to-target on their photos,
I usually don't know the distance. I think this was probably 20 meters: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=378523
This was somewhere between 25 and 50 meters: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=378413
Both pana G85 with the panaleica 100-400 at near max zoom. For pure id purposes, I have gone further out.

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Old Tuesday 27th August 2019, 15:33   #24
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Thank you again.
I have also been advised the Nikon D7100 would be decent step up from bridge if one could find a decent second hand one at a good price. The guy said it is better than a D3400 but I see it is a large beast. I dont know what lens I could go for with that model
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Old Tuesday 27th August 2019, 18:16   #25
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Thank you again.
I have also been advised the Nikon D7100 would be decent step up from bridge if one could find a decent second hand one at a good price. The guy said it is better than a D3400 but I see it is a large beast. I dont know what lens I could go for with that model
The d7100 and d3400 would use the same lenses. The step up is that the d7xxxx series puts more controls on physical dials, has a better auto-focus system, and shoots more frames per second. The d7200 vs the d7100 has a newer AF system and can shoot at 7fps in a 1.3x crop (total 2x crop as it starts at 1.5x, so the same as MFT crop).

+1 to the post from opisska about diffraction and pixel size. If you are going to pixel peep or crop significantly or display/print a large image, it is very important. Also, many newer DSLR & mirrorless get rid of the AA filter, so you get more sharpness from that too (I think the P1000 got rid of AA too).

+1 to CalvinFold post about size & weight. I also have neck problems, but I found that using the Black Rapid sling strap lets me carry 4lb - 6lb (say 2 - 3 kg) without much problem for a good amount of time. But each person will be different and you do not want to cause injury carrying more than you should. The best camera for you is the one you take out and shoot with! I'd say, get the largest sensor + lens you are comfortable carrying, if IQ is your goal. Maybe that's crop or maybe it's MFT or maybe staying with a 1".

In regards to silent shooting, some DSLRs are pretty quiet. The d850 has a fully silent mode (with focus/exposure limitations). And mirrorless DX and FF cameras are silent. You could do a used Sony a6500 + Canon 400mm F/5.6 (and you get IBIS!) for pretty cheap, or the Sony 100-400. I've used the a6400 (which is newer w/o IBIS) + 100-400 and was pretty happy with that. The new upcoming a6700 (announcement at end of week) looks even better!

+1 to the Canon 400mm f/5.6 being an option. If you keep your shutter speed up there you should have no problems handheld even without IBIS. For BIF, you want to be shooting fast anyway.

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