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When do you need a tripod? Zoom level etc. (1 Viewer)

Posting here instead of tripod thread.

I've read various threads about cameras and zoom levels and (as usual) I'm a bit confused.

I still think in old 35mm terms.
My Nikon D40X has a 55-200 mm lens.
I understand that on this configuration, 50 mm is approximately 1x so 200 mm is approximately 4x.
A 200 mm lens is already fairly chunky and again I understand that 300 mm (6x) is about as large as I can expect to use successfully hand held at full zoom.
Other people with big muscles and rock steady hands may beg to differ.

However I am seeing posts about optical zooms of 40x or more.
I would expect that a magnification of that much would be almost impossible to use hand held.
Especially since recommendations for bird watching binoculars are not to go above 8x or 10x to avoid problems with shake.

Do all these super zoom users use tripods, or rest the cameras on a ledge in a hide?
Or am I missing something in the terminology?

I am assuming that with a relatively large camera such as my Nikon I can photograph a bird at distance and then crop and enlarge on the computer later to get a reasonable approximation of a higher zoom level with a smaller lens and sensor.

Anyway, at what point to you need a tripod?
For different format cameras.
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
As nobody has replied yet, I'll jump in. The more magnification and/or mega pixels makes a tripod much more likely to be needed if you want sharp images. I use a tripod 90% of the time unless I'm harassing the cats or taking birds in flight.
 

nikonmike

Well-known member
You will find it will be different for different people, up to a couple of years ago i never used a tripod hand holding 600mm no problem, its gone downhill now.
 

Mono

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Supporter
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When most camera manufacturers talk of 40x zoom they mean the range of zoom from wide angle to telephoto. They don't mean a magnification of 40x. Most superzooms will zoom out wide to 28mm or 24mm in 35mm equivalent which would be the same as a 1/2 or 1/4 power binocular. So combine that with a 10x magnification, 500mm, and you can easily get to 40x.
 

njlarsen

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Barbados
The below was written earlier but I think it might still be relevant.

In addition to reach, you also should think in bulk/weight as well as shutter time. If you can use a short enough shutter time, then you can get away with a camera/lens combo handheld, but if you cannot get that shutter time down, then you might need support to give good results. The problem is to have light good enough for the short shutter without blowing out the iso.

Niels
 

stevo

Well-known member
May not be relevant these days,but i've always worked on the theory that if you your using say a 500mm.Then your shutter speed should be 1/500 of a sec or more.This can of course be applied to any focal length lens.
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
May not be relevant these days,but i've always worked on the theory that if you your using say a 500mm.Then your shutter speed should be 1/500 of a sec or more.This can of course be applied to any focal length lens.
Absolutely correct. That “rule” has been around for ever and is not that relevant these days with both lens and in camera image stabilization. It’s more relevant for hand holding and certainly does not apply on a tripod. When taking Astro images people use exposure times in minutes.
 

nikonmike

Well-known member
Posting here instead of tripod thread.

I've read various threads about cameras and zoom levels and (as usual) I'm a bit confused.

I still think in old 35mm terms.
My Nikon D40X has a 55-200 mm lens.
I understand that on this configuration, 50 mm is approximately 1x so 200 mm is approximately 4x.
A 200 mm lens is already fairly chunky and again I understand that 300 mm (6x) is about as large as I can expect to use successfully hand held at full zoom.
Other people with big muscles and rock steady hands may beg to differ.

When it comes to heavy long zooms a lens with good VR is a great help as is the right shutter speed, not a bird i know but this one was taken at 500mm 1/100th of a sec shutter speed handheld, again just for info it was taken on a Nikon V2

dsc_2530_19503497450_o.jpg




However I am seeing posts about optical zooms of 40x or more.
I would expect that a magnification of that much would be almost impossible to use hand held.
Especially since recommendations for bird watching binoculars are not to go above 8x or 10x to avoid problems with shake.

You have to remember using binoculars is giving a constant view not just a very short snap of the image, taking a shot at say 1/1000th is a different thing

Do all these super zoom users use tripods, or rest the cameras on a ledge in a hide?
Or am I missing something in the terminology?

If you are in a hide with a ledge you can use a bean bag for support

I am assuming that with a relatively large camera such as my Nikon I can photograph a bird at distance and then crop and enlarge on the computer later to get a reasonable approximation of a higher zoom level with a smaller lens and sensor.

Cropping is not always the answer you are throwing away pixels and so detail

Anyway, at what point to you need a tripod?
For different format cameras.

You need a tripod when you can no longer get the results you want hand-holding

These are 600mm handheld, not the most detail because i could only afford the 150-600mm type of lens, a more expensive lens would have given better results


dsc_0846_22439680363_o.jpg dsc_6222_24737921729_o.jpg dsc_66831_25240833486_o.jpg
 

leecea

Member
I still think in old 35mm terms.
My Nikon D40X has a 55-200 mm lens.
I understand that on this configuration, 50 mm is approximately 1x so 200 mm is approximately 4x.
A 200 mm lens is already fairly chunky and again I understand that 300 mm (6x) is about as large as I can expect to use successfully hand held at full zoom
If you think in terms of old 35mm cameras, my understanding is that you'll need to adjust those numbers. The D40X has a DX format sensor (ie. smaller sized sensor) so it changes the way the image looks for each focal length. You can think of the view from a 200mm lens on a DX sensor as equivalent to the view from a 300mm lens on 35mm film. Essentially the sensor has cropped the image already, as if you had zoomed in.

Someone already mentioned lens weight I think. I hand-hold a cheap Nikon 70-300 with "vibration reduction" on a DX format camera. A friend lent me a zoom that also goes to 300mm but with an f4.0 aperture and full metal construction. It weighs so much more that hand-holding would be a challenge, especially if you are waiting a while for the right moment to shoot. He always uses a monopod.

I am assuming that with a relatively large camera such as my Nikon I can photograph a bird at distance and then crop and enlarge on the computer later to get a reasonable approximation of a higher zoom level with a smaller lens and sensor.
Yes, I do this all the time but it really depends on your goals and what a "reasonable approximation" means to you. All I want is help id'ing the bird and if I get a decent picture, that's a bonus. I can shoot at a high shutter speed with a lot of ISO if needed, and zoom way in on the image later, to help id the bird. The result works for what I want but would be useless for someone who wants a great picture.

Here is an example of an original image and crop that I would consider an above average shot for me (300mm f6.3 1/500 125 ISO) - you can see it doesn't measure up to the quality others can get.

DSC_0345 (3).jpeg
DSC_0345 (1).jpeg

BTW, if you use the D40X, be a bit careful about compatibility if you buy new lenses - for example, I don't think you could get auto-focus with AF-P lenses (which mine is).
 

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