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Camera Questions (1 Viewer)

MergusSerrator

Registered Bird Guy
I have a few camera questions and I'm hoping for some clarification...

I'm looking to take some pictures of birds; significantly better than record shots but nothing that I'm not going to publish outside of social media. Maybe something that would make a nice desktop wallpaper.

1. If I'm taking outdoor pictures of birds in morning-to-noon light, will a CCD sensor produce significantly better quality images than CMOS or BSI-CMOS or will it not really matter under those lighting conditions?

2. It seems as if the vast majority of point&shoot cameras have 1/2.3 sensors and are about 20MP, but have an optical zoom between 8x and 65x. I have a camera that goes 12x but I'd love to go a lot higher. Will images taken at a high zoom using a 1/2.3 sensor be dark and noisy or do they stay bright and sharp? In other words, does the image quality at high zoom depend on the sensor size?

3. I assume using a high zoom (20 or higher) will require a tripod?
 

Vollmeise

Well-known member
Mergus,

there are point and shoot cameras that do deliver sharp images with low noise in daylight even at the long end.

But again, the following applies: You'll get what You pay for.

There are some lower budget point and shoots out there, which CAN deliver somehow sharp results, if their autofocus did the job.

Some of those are the Nikon P900, the newer P950 and the huge P1000, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ82 and FZ83, Sony DSC-H300 or the Canon SC70. They start at around 300,- EUR and You'll get a lot of reach for the buck.

But there is at least one exception among the point and shoot models: The Sony RX10-IV occupies a special position as it combines a 5 times larger 1" sensor (compared to 1/2,3") with a long f/4 lens and a super fast AF-System, capable to reach birds in flight as reliable as a sony alpha system cameras can do.

I think I have a good comparison because a friend of mine uses exactly this camera while I'm out and about with Sony system cameras and the Sony 200-600.

In terms of image sharpness and noise, the RX10 is almost on par with my Sony A6400 (APS-C) at around 400mm, the AF and image stabilization of the RX10 is even a tad more effective and the Sony can shoot up to 20 fps.

Compared to my much more expensive Sony A9 w/ 200-600 f/6,3 lens, the RX10 has almost the same reach of 600 mm (at f/4), but visibly lower details and obviously more pronounced noise, despite the higher speed of the bridge canera's lens.

Of course, the bridge cannot keep up with the accuracy of the A9's AF, but the differences are far smaller than one would assume. I would rate the excellent AF of an RX10-IV about the level of an Alpha 7III.

So, if you can somehow afford it, look around for a Sony RX10-IV.

Cheers
 

MergusSerrator

Registered Bird Guy
Looks like the Nikon Coolpixes are going to be out of budget. The Sony RX10 is definitely out of budget and the DSC-H300 doesn't shoot RAW.

The Canon SC70 is on the pricier side and I'm confused how reviews say it doesn't do well in dim light but has a BSI-CMOS sensor which is supposed to be better in dim light (but I understand bridge cameras in general are poor in dim light). The complaints of slow autofocus are also a little concerning.

I do see the Panasonic DMC-FZ80 is significantly less expensive of the SC70, has generally more favorable reviews, fast autofocus, and shoots RAW. I think I found a winner. Thanks for your help
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member

Mergus,​


I think the biggest problem with P&S cameras is most of them do not have a viewfinder, only the rear LCD. Trying to aim a 600mm+ (equivalent) lens while holding the camera out at arms length (the distance will vary depending on your age and eyes) is really hard, especially if you want to track a bird. If you can get a P&S or bridge camera with a viewfinder so the camera is secure against your face, it will work much better at 600mm+. I know people do ok hand-held at 2000mm with something like a P900, P950, or P1000.

The tiny sensors will not do well in low light or if you crop. So, I would say optical zoom is much more important on those, as cropping for reach will magnify the noise. Low light does not necessarily mean a dark scene. One often wants 1/1250 - 1/3000 shutter speed, which will make things pretty dark even with decent lighting if you are trying to stop motion.

For birds, I personally want about 1000mm or more equivalent focal length. That's including what you can crop to. On high-end Nikons, I can usually get about a 2x - 3x crop, so something like a 500mm lens and a 20 - 24MP full-frame sensor does ok. The 40 MP d850 does even better, but needs higher shutter speeds and more light.
 

MergusSerrator

Registered Bird Guy
I was originally going to go with the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 because of the low price point, but it was sold out everywhere and no one knew when it would be available again, so I ended up going with the Canon SX70 HS and I'm very happy with it.
Got the viewfinder (which I feel is practically a necessity now) and LCD display, image stabilization, mic input jack, and x65 optical zoom.

More often than not, I was impressed with pictures taken at 65x even using auto settings and jpeg format. A few came out a bit blurry and I think it was mostly from camera shake. Video at that zoom was a little grainier than I hoped for but still acceptable.
 

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