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Supercompact superzoom

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Old Wednesday 11th December 2019, 11:21   #1
andrewins
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Supercompact superzoom

Hello,

I have a DSLR with number of lences but now I feel that I need a camera that I can carry with myself everyday in my pocket or in my waist back. It must be as compact as possible and must have the biggest zoom as possible. I will need it to make pics of rare and interesting birds if I met them occasionally when I don't have my DSLR with myself. I will not need quality pics. Just pictures that can proove the observation of this bird species. So the pics can not be of high IQ but they need to be sutable for the fine ID of the bird to species level. What do you think about those cameras for this purpose?

Canon SX 700, 710, 720, 730, 740
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50, HX60, HX90V, HX90, WX500
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS60/TZ80
Nikon Coolpix S9900, A1000, A900
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Old Thursday 12th December 2019, 02:08   #2
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All of these are pocket cameras with small 1/2.3" sensors and 30-40x zoom. I've only owned versions of the Lumix and the Canon, but the optical realities are the same for all, so the differences will be modest at full zoom.
The biggest issue for me was that the autofocus would frequently pick the wrong target, the branch halfway rather than the bird. That kind of frustration aside, these are superb tools for documenting sightings and travel.
Do note they are not water or dust proof, so get a decent case. Also buy the associated 'Missing Manual', the camera makers seem to believe that adding features is essential, but don't bother to supply manuals that tell you when and how to use these features. The Lumix for instance is just packed with capabilities that the skimpy documentation barely hints at. Note also that both Panasonic as well as Sony sell more fancy travel zooms (ZS200 and RS100 VII) with much larger 1" sensors. These have less zoom, 7x for the Sony, 15x for the Lumix, but they give better images, at a materially higher price.
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Old Monday 16th December 2019, 13:37   #3
andrewins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
All of these are pocket cameras with small 1/2.3" sensors and 30-40x zoom. I've only owned versions of the Lumix and the Canon, but the optical realities are the same for all, so the differences will be modest at full zoom.
The biggest issue for me was that the autofocus would frequently pick the wrong target, the branch halfway rather than the bird. That kind of frustration aside, these are superb tools for documenting sightings and travel.
Do note they are not water or dust proof, so get a decent case. Also buy the associated 'Missing Manual', the camera makers seem to believe that adding features is essential, but don't bother to supply manuals that tell you when and how to use these features. The Lumix for instance is just packed with capabilities that the skimpy documentation barely hints at. Note also that both Panasonic as well as Sony sell more fancy travel zooms (ZS200 and RS100 VII) with much larger 1" sensors. These have less zoom, 7x for the Sony, 15x for the Lumix, but they give better images, at a materially higher price.
Thank you! Will go to the shop and try them.
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Old Thursday 19th December 2019, 09:04   #4
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Visited different camera shops and found out that the Canon SX620 is the most compact and lightweight of all of those compact cameras with good zoom. But it has only 25X zoom. Did anybody try it?
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Old Thursday 19th December 2019, 19:47   #5
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The Panasonics and Sonys are nice. If you're looking at the P&S style, my main advice is to get a P&S superzoom with an EVF. Trying to hold a camera at arm length and align a superzoom can be pretty difficult. I liked the Sony EVFs better than the Panasonic.

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Old Friday 20th December 2019, 08:54   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
The Panasonics and Sonys are nice. If you're looking at the P&S style, my main advice is to get a P&S superzoom with an EVF. Trying to hold a camera at arm length and align a superzoom can be pretty difficult. I liked the Sony EVFs better than the Panasonic.

Marc
Thank you for your advise! I've already ordered used Canon SX620 that I found with a very cheap price. Hope it will be in good condition :) Will post here when I get it and try it.
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Old Friday 20th December 2019, 09:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
The Panasonics and Sonys are nice. If you're looking at the P&S style, my main advice is to get a P&S superzoom with an EVF. Trying to hold a camera at arm length and align a superzoom can be pretty difficult. I liked the Sony EVFs better than the Panasonic.

Marc
The EVFs of these small P&S models are marginal for glasses wearers.
I found it easier to just stick with the rear display, even though I agree that getting the camera aligned at full zoom is challenging, essentially hit or miss at best for birds in flight.
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Old Saturday 28th December 2019, 16:15   #8
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Finaly recieved Canon sx620. Found used copy in a superb new condition with all the documents and even working warranty just for 80$. Had the opportunity to try it only almost in the evening. Here is the first impression.

1. Lightweight but not very small. Probably if Canon used micro Sd and smaller screen it could be smaller. But still it is the smallest point and shoot camera with 25x zoom.

2. It has only 2 frames per second in continuous shooting mode which is awful!!! But! It also have the Burst mode with dozens of frames per second but in 5 megapixel size. But in this mode you can not use digital zoom. I found that this mode fits me. I can get lot of pics of bird in this mode that are sutable for ID. Most of them are sharp even in bad light. In normal mode most of the pics of the bird in dark condition are blurry.

3. 25x zoom is very nice! It is 625 mm in 35mm equivalent. Also I like the 4x digital zoom. With the help of it you can get 2500 mm in 35 mm equivalent. And the dimentions of the image will be the same as on max optical zoom. But you need to have very firm hands to get sharp image on that zoom range.

4. Max iso 3200 is not enouth at all in bad light conditions. Wish it had much more.

Overal. I like this camera. It suits my needs as everyday pocket camera just for birds ID pics when I don't have my dslr with myself. Wish it could be more smaller, more lighter, could have more zoom, could have more frames per sec in normal mode and could have more ISO. But there is no such a camera on the market. Much lighter, faster per sec., sharper and a bit smaller in size is Sony wx350. But it has only 20x zoom. If Sony could make the same camera with same size and weight but with 30x or more zoom it will be the superb camera.

Last edited by andrewins : Sunday 29th December 2019 at 07:20.
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Old Saturday 4th January 2020, 17:13   #9
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smallest one I found with a 40x zoom was the Nikon b500. It really is small and pocketable (made of word). AA batteries mean never worrying about proprietary batteries.

Since I got it new at a bargain basement price, decided to try it out.

Problem: no manual settings only pre-set scene modes. Therefore one can not set shutter speed. I am so use to using a 1400 to 1600 shutter speed in optimal light conditions. Normally I avoid bird photography in non-optimal light conditions.

Also sometimes hard to get the focus.

Otherwise, for a small, cheap camera, glad I finally tried a Nikon. I have also used Canon and Sony and like both the Zeiss and Canon lenses.
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Old Friday 10th January 2020, 11:21   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gratography View Post
smallest one I found with a 40x zoom was the Nikon b500. It really is small and pocketable (made of word). AA batteries mean never worrying about proprietary batteries.

Since I got it new at a bargain basement price, decided to try it out.

Problem: no manual settings only pre-set scene modes. Therefore one can not set shutter speed. I am so use to using a 1400 to 1600 shutter speed in optimal light conditions. Normally I avoid bird photography in non-optimal light conditions.

Also sometimes hard to get the focus.

Otherwise, for a small, cheap camera, glad I finally tried a Nikon. I have also used Canon and Sony and like both the Zeiss and Canon lenses.

Thanks for sharing your experience! But this one is too big for me. Just need a flat pocket point and shoot camera for my purposes.

By the way, I tried my Canon SX620 for birding purpose several times during New Year holidays. A bit disappoined by its zoom :( Now I think that 25x zoom is not enougth for birding :( So I will probably get Canon SX720 with its 40x zoom despite its heavy weight :(
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Old Monday 20th January 2020, 13:13   #11
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I bought used Canon sx720 yesterday half the price of the new one in brand new condition. It is a bit bigger and heavier than Canon sx620, but it is the smallest and the lightest camera with 40x zoom. I can still just place it in my pocket. 40x zoom on the distant end is 960 mm in 35 mm equivalent and is the same as on 600 mm on my tamron 150-600 lens on a camera with APSC sensor. Also it has Apperture and Shutter priority modes as on dslr. Also it has a burst mode wich can be used with digital zoom also. Sx620 had a burst mode without digital zoom and on 5 mpix only. I tried it for two days. But from the first shot it was obvious that this camera is much more suitable for birding than sx620. The image quality of the pics is good even on digital zoom. So now I'm totally satisfied! Wish only if it could be as small and as lightweight as sx620.
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Old Monday 20th January 2020, 14:34   #12
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I do not think I would ever go for something without an EVF. Having said that, good for you that you found something which works for you.

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Old Monday 20th January 2020, 17:20   #13
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Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I do not think I would ever go for something without an EVF. Having said that, good for you that you found something which works for you.

Niels
There are not so many sunny days in European part of Russia, so the display can be seen well. Also I use glasses. And the small viewfinder is not very good for those who use glasses :(
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Old Friday 31st January 2020, 14:20   #14
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Had the opportunity on Sunday to use my Canon sx720 for the main purpose for that I bought it. I was on my job and this small camera was in my waist bag when suddenly I got the message from friend that Eurasian Pygmy Owl was spotted in one of Moscow parks. I decided to try to find it in my lunch time. I took a taxi and asked a driver to drive as fast as possible to this park. Spend an hour searching for this species and finaly found it! This species was a lifer for me. Having this camera with myself gave me the opportunity to make pics as a proof of this observation.

I'm attaching some pics of the bird to give you the info about the quality of the pics from this camera. The bird was sitting very high on the tree in cloudy day. 3 of 4 pics were made with digital zoom. All of the pics are of lower than average quality, but they are good enough for bird ID and as proof photos and just found out that they look not so bad on the telephone screen :)
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Old Tuesday 18th February 2020, 13:22   #15
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Following up on this same thread:
If I had to select one of the following, which one would be best for travel and bird photography?
Nikon P900 (or the new P950)
Kodak Pixpro AZ652
Canon Powershot SX70 HS
Panasonic Lumix FZ80
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