My in-laws, with the boat trip business on the Isle of Skye, would like something to snap the wildlife they typically see from the boat. They are in no way photographers and so the camera will not be leaving "full auto" setting. They need something with a view finder (they hate using the rear screen on cameras), and I think image stabilisation would be good. High speed shooting would be good, and we're talking about dolphins, seals and eagles etc. diving / swooping in and out of view quickly, so something that is good for sports would be ideal.
Weather sealing would be a great bonus, and the more intelligent the Auto mode, or Sport mode is the better. They are completely brand agnostic.
Looking forward to your thoughts .
Although I don't have much experience with cameras other than the ones I and the missus have, I do have read some interesting articles about birding with compact cameras.
There are some decent superzoom compacts available with pretty good image quality, even at the ends of the range. This could be sufficient for your in-laws. Not sure how many superzooms are available with decent weather sealing though.
Compacts which pop up a lot are:
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Focal Length - 4.3 – 215.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 24 – 1200 mm)
Image Stabilisation - Yes (lens shift-type), Approx. 2.5-stop¹. Intelligent IS
Viewfinder - EVF (0.20 type), 4:3 aspect ratio, Approx. 202,000 dots
Viewfinder / Coverage - Approx. 100%
Sport mode is available, example:
No mention of sealing though.
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Focal Length - f = 4.5 - 108 mm (25 - 600 mm in 35 mm equiv.) (28 - 672 mm in 35 mm equiv. in video recording)
Optical Image Stabilizer - POWER O.I.S. (On with Active Mode (only for motion picture) / Off)
Viewfinder - 0.21" Color EVF (1,312K dots equiv.), Field of View: Approx. 100%, Lens 18.4x
It does have a Sports mode. Again no weather sealing data.
Hope it helps a bit.
With 50x plus zooms, and some with 24mm equivalent wide-angle, it starts to make you wonder why you carry a bag of lenses around . I will certainly be doing some comparisons with my kit should the in-laws be convinced to invest.
You should definitely look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. My wife just purchased one from Jessops at £400 plus free bag. The EVF viewfinder is quite good and the F2.8 lens spanning 25 to 600mm in 35mm speak is fantastic. I was surprised at the quality of the Jpegs at 100%. I think that Pana have got it right at 12Mp. Quality falls of as ISO is increased but what do you expect of a less than post stamp sensor? Go and try one out before deciding on a purchase is my suggestion.
I'd also caution about silly zoom ranges as without a tripod this is of limited partical interest
FZ-DMC200 with its F2.8 constant aperture through to 600mm as opposed to the Fuji F5.6 at the long end.
- Greg Beetham
- Tower of Babel
- Posts: 6117
- Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 3:25 pm
- Location: Townsville, Qld. Australia
Probably a key thing for them will be how easy the camera is to put in "fully auto" mode, and then not to worry about anything else but zooming and pressing the shutter button. I actually think that the zooms have got a stage now where they are beyond what you can hand hold (e.g. 1200mm!) so the latest releases may not be the best thing. Last years models are always a bit of a bargain.
(A very interesting article on Kirk Tuck's blog today about the end of the technology race in cameras.)
- must be an SLR (since those were for "serious photographers")
- must have interchangeable lenses
- must have a general purpose zoom lens
- must have a flash
- maximum budget (I don't recall the exact number of dollars, but not very high for what she said she had to have)
I tried at first to get her to consider some of the newer p&s cameras that I thought might be fine for her, but she insisted she wanted an SLR. In 1986 almost all SLRs were manual focus except the new Minolta Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha 9000, 7000, 5000. I suggested some manual focus SLRs and showed her my Minolta X-700 so she could see what they were like (she had never touched an SLR before). She was surprised that it was manual focus and hated it. She then added another must-have: the SLR must be AF. Well, that simplified things. The only SLRs that were AF were the new Minolta models.
The Minolta 7000 was out of her budget so that left the 5000. I searched and found one of the few lenses and flash for her that would work with it and meet her requirements. The total price was barely in her budget. Her maximum was really too low for what she wanted though. I sat with her as she ordered it all from B&H. By the time she was ready to order I was already wishing I had never agreed to help her. I was starting to get the impression she had unrealistic expectations. I tried to get her to lower them a bit. I also discovered that she didn't seem to have any interest in learning all that "technical stuff" such as apertures, shutter speeds, exposure, dof, etc.
A week or so later she got the new gear and we got together so I could get it all unpacked, lens attached, battery and film put in. We played with it together for awhile. I was quite interested also since I had never seen or used an AF SLR at that time.
I bet you can guess what happened next. Over the next couple of weeks she would call me or come by my office to tell me of problems she was having. She was more and more disappointed in her camera gear. Then she started getting upset about the whole thing. She said her husband also was angry that I had "talked her into buying" all this expensive gear. The damn thing wouldn't AF on their little running around daughter or dog in their family room at night with almost no light. The photos were crappy. And to top it off her friend had bought a new p&s for much, much less that "worked great" and made "fantastic photos." I tried to gently remind her of all the things she had insisted she must have and that I had tried to get her to just get a new p&s. I showed her the paper that had her list we had made together and the notes that we had written on it. That didn't mean a thing to her. She accused me of convincing her to spend a bunch of money on something she didn't want. Fortunately, she worked in a different building on a different job. I was glad to never see her again. What an ungrateful cretin. I sure learned my lesson though.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests