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Arghhh! Need better quality than P90 better portability than 600m (1 Viewer)

vilbs

Well-known member
Hi there. So I love photography, particularly birding.

I have an EOS 7D and I purchased a Tamron 150-600. Great lens but the bulk/weight meant I wasn't taking it out as much as I should so was missing opportunities.

I then went to the other extreme, sold my lens (not the body) and bought Nikon P90. What reach! and what portability! Really love it and I take it everywhere - also love the fact that its got the built in GPS. However the 2 things I have struggled with (hence this post) is the quality and (to a lesser extent) the digital button press zoom (rather than a quick twist of the lens).

I know you can't have it all but my question is - can someone recommend a middle ground? I would happily sacrifice half of the P90s reach for a lift in quality.

Budget wise probably about Β£600 either for a new lens (for the 7D) or something to replace the P90. It just needs to be able to take photos in slightly gloomy British woods :)

Any help much appreciated!
 

poledark

Well-known member
You could spend a bit more and get the P1000 :) As for a quick twist zoom you won't get that with a long reach zoom lens, maybe two or three twists ?

I am getting good results on overcast days, better than with the P900.

A bit heavier than the 900 but much lighter than a big lens combo.

Den
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
I know you can't have it all but my question is - can someone recommend a middle ground? I would happily sacrifice half of the P90s reach for a lift in quality.


I think the middle ground you want can be found in the micro 4/3rds system (Olympus & Panasonic). Much larger sensor than any superzoom, but a 2x crop factor, so you get twice the reach out of your lens and much less weight to carry around than your current DSLR setup. But entering the system would require a new body and lens, so would be hard to do within the budget you specify. But as you say, you cannot have it all.
 
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Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Vilbs,

I know you can't have it all but my question is - can someone recommend a middle ground? I would happily sacrifice half of the P90s reach for a lift in quality.

The Panasonic DMC FZ1000 might be a camera to consider.

The sensor size is much larger, and at least compared to Panasonic's FZ200, which has a sensor of the same general size as the P900, the FZ1000's image quality is definitely a lot better.

I'm not sure of how to quantify "reach", but the FZ1000 has only half the *actual* focal length of the P900, which in combination with the larger pixel sensors almost certainly means that you'll lose quite a bit of "reach".

The *equivalent* focal length of the FZ1000 is 400 mm, that of the FZ200 is 600 mm. Still, the FZ1000 in my opinion has the better "reach" under virtually all conditions.

The P900 has an impressive 2000 mm equivalent focal length. That's a great unique selling proposition for sure ... :)

Regards,

Henning
 

Zackiedawg

Well-known member
Another middle-ground option might be the Sony RX10 series - notably the last two versions, III and IV. The newest RX10 IV is pricey, and you probably won't find one around at your price range - but the slightly older RX10III could be a good match. The image quality and lens are unchanged between the III and IV versions - the big upgrades for the IV version were an on-sensor PDAF focus system allowing much better continuous focus tracking. But for single focus and non-flying photography, the III has the same 600mm equivalent reach and same 1", 20MP sensor...significantly larger and better than the tiny sensors in your P series superzooms, and a little smaller than that of the M4:3 and APS-C sensor cameras. The FZ1000 also uses the 1" sensor size.

New the RX10 will probably be in the Β£900 range, but used will be usually under Β£600...a lot of fairly lightly used ones will be out there since a lot of RX10III owners upgraded to the IV within a year or so.
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
I'd second the RX10 iii as a good 600mm budget friendly used option. I suspect you'll find the AF and tracking better on the RX10 than the FZ200, but I've not used the FZ200.

Some also really like the Nikon 1 V3 + adapter + AF-P DX VR 70-300, which will make it about 700mm I think. You'll get the VR functionality on the Nikon 1 V3, but I don't think you can use AF-C.

If you want birds in flight, you need to pay attention to autofocus speed and tracking and will likely want a DSLR/mirrorless or something like RX10.

Note that in micro four thirds (MFT), a lot of the cameras suck at AF speed and tracking. The Oly EM1.2 and the Panasonic GH5, but I think the OM1.2 is the best MFT for BIF. The EM5.2 (which I have) sucks at AF, IMO. You can get AF-S to work but it's not fast.

Marc
 

vilbs

Well-known member
Thanks everyone for your time responding. My current plan is now to hang on for a bit, save for a while and possibly go for the RX10 IV. It's an expensive hobby :D
 

Essex Tern

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Supporter
Europe
The G9 plus 100-400 PanaLeica lens are quite a good combo, and can get flight shots even in my hands - I have used G6, G7, plus 100-300mki, and G80/85 and the G9, plus PL 100-400, and the G9/100-400 is the first setup I actually feel confident is really getting there with a bif setup, albeit G85 was no slouch and some of the improvement must also be me with my technique improving :t:

The G9 should be getting upgrades with focussing over time too, as Panasonic implement their AI side of things. The GH5 is likely only necessary if you are really heavily into video, the G9 having some features for stills the GH5 does not, the G9 still capable of shooting video of course, but being more of a stills camera than the GH5.

The setup isn’t tiny, but at the end of the day this is the compromise that suited me; a sensor of a pretty decent size and lens to suit. I carry the setup in a holster, cross shouldered so can leave myself hands free for bins. It is a full frame equivalent of a 200-800mm setup, with dual stabilisation, which is a bit of a miracle of modern day technology!
 

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HermitIbis

Well-known member
[...] the 2 things I have struggled with (hence this post) is the quality and (to a lesser extent) the digital button press zoom (rather than a quick twist of the lens). [...] It just needs to be able to take photos in slightly gloomy British woods :)

IQ-wise, for the "slightly gloomy woods", the Sony RX10iv should beat the Nikon V2, as it has the newer sensor. I may be wrong, but hasn't the Sony exactly the same button press zoom though? Perhaps one of the Sony users can say how fast this is, as compared to the V2 where you "twist the lens".

Some also really like the Nikon 1 V3 + adapter + AF-P DX VR 70-300, which will make it about 700mm I think. You'll get the VR functionality on the Nikon 1 V3, but I don't think you can use AF-C.

If you want birds in flight, you need to pay attention to autofocus speed and tracking and will likely want a DSLR/mirrorless or something like RX10.

Thanks for mentioning the V3. Personally I think the V2 is better for birding, the CX 70-300 lens acquires focus at BIF faster than the V3 and keeps it. I have heard lots of praise of the AF-P DX VR 70-300 lens, but don't know it. The 300mm are a 810mm equivalent, not 700mm (crop factor 2.7). AF-C can be used, but only center spot.

The Nikon V2 + CX 70-300 is worth a look, if BIF matters to you. Buying used involves a risk, and the Sony RX10iv is certainly the better all-round camera.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Vilbs, your two struggles are going to be difficult to resolve within your budget .....

In a bridge camera type, your going to have that zoom out wait (I don't know for sure that this could be minimized with the Sony by some clever custom start up/ standby/ shut down settings - but it's worth investigating).

As others have said, Your options there seem to be:
* Nikon P1000 ...... massive reach and size ! Better on stationary targets.
* Sony RX-10 III ..... beautiful sensor and lens, but if you are going to photograph moving targets at all, then spend the extra for the superceding IV model.
* Sony RX-10 IV ..... vastly improved phase detect AF.
* Sony RX-10 V ...... possibly out next year ? Likely to be more expensive, but worth it anyway.

Apart from that, you might stick with your 7D and look for a good 2nd hand Canon 400 f5.6L lens ...... you'll sacrifice some reach, so will be cropping, but at least the weight will come down, and the quality go up.

I think any really good MFT solutions are going to be $$$

Another possibility is as HermitIbis has said the Nikon V2. Pair it with either the native CX 70-300 f5.6 lens, the AF-P 70-300 f6.3 via adapter, a 2nd hand PF 300 f4 via adapter, or a Tamron (or Sigma) 100-400 f5.6, also via adapter. (or even 2nd hand Canon 400 f5.6 L if a third party adapter exists?).

Being reduced to central focus point in AF-C is likely not a big drawback (that's what I tend to mostly use anyway on the D7200) , and you get decent fps. With a 300mm lens you are at 810mm eq, and with the 400 = 1080mm eq.

Perhaps this is your best middle way within a budget - it would certainly be heaps of fun and much quicker to use for moving targets /BIF. I don't think you can argue with the results HemitIbis gets :t:

In the event you strike it rich, a Nikon D7200 + the new PF 500 f5.6 would make a pretty awesome walk around kit, but that lens is pricey ! :eek!:

Good luck ! :) :t:




Chosun :gh:
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Hi Chosun,



Hm, what kind of effect is that exactly?

Regards,

Henning
Hi Henning, I think this applies to most bridges (I haven't followed every product release closely - I think one of the Fuji bridges used to be manual zoom but might not be current?).

2 cases - changing zoom length, and start up or restart after shutdown (I think the Sony has a variable standby time, but there is a maximum where it automatically shuts down). I have read that there is a memory mode which can be assigned whereby it returns to the last zoom length used before shut down, but this still takes a second or two (lots of variable timings floating around depending on mode and zoom speed selected).

As far as I know the lever, and ring, are not direct acting and just operate the power mechanism at the programed speed. Also AFAIK, this Sony always shuts down to the minimal physical length with barrel fully retracted and this corresponds to a focal length around ~50mm (wider has a slight extension, and telephoto side has the greatest extension) ..... I'm not sure if there is a custom setting that could be made without it doing this - ie. just goes to sleep where it is ..... ?

A small drawback compared to a DSLR, but the AF system is top notch, and the most superior bridge system as far as I know. The demonstrations are impressive.



Chosun :gh:
 
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Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Chosun,

2 cases - changing zoom length, and start up or restart after shutdown

Ah, I see.

With regard to the power-up delay, I've set up my FZ1000 to always return to the zoom length it had before shut-down.

From switching it on to full zoom length, it takes 2.0 s according to my timing.

Going through the entire zoom range, including digital zoom, with the rocker switch takes 3.4 s.

As far as I know the lever, and ring, are not direct acting and just operate the power mechanism at the programed speed.

On the FZ1000, the servo mechanism is capable of variable speeds, and use of the zoom rings is a fairly good approximation of a manual zoom ring. However, there's a maximum speed for the servo, and more importantly, you have to turn the zoom ring through such a large angle that you have to let go and re-grip it several times to go from end to end.

Still, I have to admit that when it comes to quick reaction, it's usually me who is the weak link in the chain, not the camera :)

The two second delay on power-up is a minor disadvantage, but I think that in most cases, I can bring the FZ1000 into action quicker than my Sony DSLR with the big 50 - 500 mm Sigma zoom simply due to the latter's bulk and weight.

Regards,

Henning
 

HermitIbis

Well-known member
Still, I have to admit that when it comes to quick reaction, it's usually me who is the weak link in the chain, not the camera :)

The two second delay on power-up is a minor disadvantage, but I think that in most cases, I can bring the FZ1000 into action quicker than my Sony DSLR with the big 50 - 500 mm Sigma zoom simply due to the latter's bulk and weight.

Same here. The power-up delay wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. I'd buy 5-6 batteries for a full day, never turn it off, and that's it. Shooting would be 95% at the long end anyway. The V2/V3 can zoom during shooting - Thomas Stirr once reported how he had the lens at 220mm, focus the V3 on a bird, and twisting the lens/zooming to 300mm during the action. It can be useful, yet most users probably don't miss that feature on the Sony.

What I've read about the autofocus system of the Sony is tempting, it gets shots of smaller birds where the V2 struggles. Eventually I'll try it out, when the price drops by 1k or so. ;)
 
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delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Goodness.... what cameras need 5-6 batteries a day? Is this common?

The only time I've ever used more than 1 battery in a day was when I had a Coopix 4500 and the weather was minus 20 or something.
 

coopershawk

Well-known member
Goodness.... what cameras need 5-6 batteries a day? Is this common?

The only time I've ever used more than 1 battery in a day was when I had a Coopix 4500 and the weather was minus 20 or something.

I think it largely depends on your shooting style and what you like to shoot. I only take pictures of perched birds, single shot at a time so 1 battery almost always lasts me the birding session. On really long days I can go through a battery. I usually bring 2 spare batteries just in case.

It's a different story if you're a burst shooter. The top modern cameras can shoot more than 20 frames a second for multiple seconds. With mirrorless cameras giving ~350 shots per battery thats about 17 or 18 1-second bursts. If you were in a spot trying to get pictures of swallows in flight I could see going through a battery in not too long of a time. Imagine going through all those photos afterwards though :eek!:
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Thanks coopershawk.

I've a Fuji finepix HS50 and do shoot in continuous (or burst I suppose) all the time. Though getting better at just taking 2 or 3 shots of some scenes. It is a bit time-consuming going through them all later.... but what the heck LOL

The only times I've had to change to a new battery is if it wasn't a freshly charged one at the beginning.

The reason I was asking was... looking at some reviews and comments on other cameras I'm considering, someone said they needed a new battery after 4 or 5 shots????!
 

Zackiedawg

Well-known member
It's a different story if you're a burst shooter. The top modern cameras can shoot more than 20 frames a second for multiple seconds. With mirrorless cameras giving ~350 shots per battery thats about 17 or 18 1-second bursts. If you were in a spot trying to get pictures of swallows in flight I could see going through a battery in not too long of a time. Imagine going through all those photos afterwards though :eek!:

Fortunately mirrorless cameras work a little differently when it comes to burst shooting. The estimate of shot life on batteries uses a standard developed by CIPA that involves a complex method - take a shot, stop, review, take shot, mix in flash every 3rd or 4th shot, and so on. It's a test that is supposed to replicate the 'typical' user - but as many already know with DSLRs, a CIPA rating of 900 shots on a battery in real world conditions could mean you see only 400, or you could see 2,000. It all depends on what you're shooting. DSLRs, unless used in live view mode, are only creating a real draw on the battery when focusing or shooting...so battery life is more tied to number of shots taken.
Mirrorless cameras are more tied to the time that they're on, and powering the EVF or LCD screen. So battery life can be read in 'hours' and 'minutes' of on-time, regardless of number of shots taken. A person leaving the camera on, with the LCD or EVF powered and not set to sleep quickly, doing a lot of reviewing of images, and long time to set up shots, might have the camera powered on for 3 hours and only get 100 shots in that time - even if the camera is rated at 400. On the other hand, someone shooting a lot of burst shots, continuous and frequent shooting and not a lot of image review, might in that same 3 hours fire off 1,500 shots...on the same battery rated at 400.
Birding is one area where mirrorless batteries tend to stretch out their life better, because birding does often involve frequent shooting, burst shooting, and at least for some, little time to review your last image. There are ways to stretch out the battery life on any camera, but especially mirrorless ones - such as turning off wifi when not needed, setting the sleep mode to an aggressive time like 1 minute or less, turning off pre-focus modes, etc.
 

coopershawk

Well-known member
Fortunately mirrorless cameras work a little differently when it comes to burst shooting. The estimate of shot life on batteries uses a standard developed by CIPA that involves a complex method - take a shot, stop, review, take shot, mix in flash every 3rd or 4th shot, and so on. It's a test that is supposed to replicate the 'typical' user - but as many already know with DSLRs, a CIPA rating of 900 shots on a battery in real world conditions could mean you see only 400, or you could see 2,000. It all depends on what you're shooting. DSLRs, unless used in live view mode, are only creating a real draw on the battery when focusing or shooting...so battery life is more tied to number of shots taken.
Mirrorless cameras are more tied to the time that they're on, and powering the EVF or LCD screen. So battery life can be read in 'hours' and 'minutes' of on-time, regardless of number of shots taken. A person leaving the camera on, with the LCD or EVF powered and not set to sleep quickly, doing a lot of reviewing of images, and long time to set up shots, might have the camera powered on for 3 hours and only get 100 shots in that time - even if the camera is rated at 400. On the other hand, someone shooting a lot of burst shots, continuous and frequent shooting and not a lot of image review, might in that same 3 hours fire off 1,500 shots...on the same battery rated at 400.
Birding is one area where mirrorless batteries tend to stretch out their life better, because birding does often involve frequent shooting, burst shooting, and at least for some, little time to review your last image. There are ways to stretch out the battery life on any camera, but especially mirrorless ones - such as turning off wifi when not needed, setting the sleep mode to an aggressive time like 1 minute or less, turning off pre-focus modes, etc.

Thank you for all the information Justin! Not much for me to say except that I learned something :) I think I might give burst a shot, could increase the number of keepers I get...
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
..... There are ways to stretch out the battery life on any camera, but especially mirrorless ones - such as turning off wifi when not needed, setting the sleep mode to an aggressive time like 1 minute or less, turning off pre-focus modes, etc.
That's true, but I've read that others set the sleep mode to the max time possible to avoid the time consuming sleep/ shut down and wake/ start up and zoom fully out sequence when you're out of action. It's sod's law that whenever the camera is out of action like that - you'll come across something awesome to shoot, and by the time you're back on deck and ready it's far away or gone ! Very annoying when the camera shuts down just when a Wedge-tailed Eagle starts circling right above your head, and by the time the camera's ready again it's a dot a K up in the sky .......

When I had a rudimentary bridge long ago, I'd let it get nearly to the sleep time limit, and then focus on a leaf or something at about the distance I expected to see birds, and that would buy me another period of time, wait till near the limit again, and repeat.

That annoying out of action time (and difficulty focusing on BIF) is what steered me to a DSLR eventually. The Sony RX-10 IV takes care of the BIF well, but you still have to avoid the shut down. I'd be inclined to take a spare battery (or two) and pretty much have it ready most of the time.

There's probably some good tips and battery life data in the dedicated thread :t:

The other thing to mention for others is that you can set the burst rate speed - there's no need to always go full whack @24fps, you can also set the AF to a medium speed @10fps, and even slower too -- @3fps I think.




Chosun :gh:
 

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