good high zoom camera

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good high zoom camera

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2008 12:50 pm

I"m trying to select a new camera. The last few times I've been out shooting critters, I've felt the limits of my current Kodak. I need something with a long zoom, preferably 8X or better since most of what I've been doing is wildlife (birds and reptiles lately, but mammals in winter).
I'd also like a high resolution because I sometimes blow these photos up rather large. Current contenders are the Canon SX100 IS, the Canon G9, the Kodak Z861, Kodak Z712 IS. Those are the ones I'm choosing between at this point, but am open to other suggestions. It's just I've had good luck with both Kodak and Canon in the past with their point and shoots. The bulk of what I do is either wildlife shooting (hence the zoom requirements), but I'd also like this to be usable indoors for casual shooting at parties, weddings and the like. I'm willing to spend to about 300. I'd prefer to keep with something that uses SD cards, but am willing to look at other products if they're compelling.
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paulWTAMU
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Re: good high zoom camera

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:07 pm

"8x" doesn't mean a lot, by itself. It's the difference between the long and short ends of the zoom, not how close it actually gets you. What you want to look for is the "35mm equivalent focal length" at the long end, if you're looking for reach. The G9 is an excellent point and shoot, but comes up a bit short in focal length. How large of prints are you talking? Also, employing a slow, long telephoto without a viewfinder just seems weird and unwieldy to me. If by z861 you meant z8612 that would render that camera less useful. You need as much stability as possible to effectively use longer focal lengths. Based on that, if buying a superzoom compact for your purposes I'd have to choose between the other 2, out of the ones you listed. I'll also mention that I strongly prefer SLR gear for this sort of stuff but the cost is a bit higher too (cheapest way to a similar focal length would probably be something like a nikon d40 w/ 18-55 and 55-200 lens kit for ~570, or used gear)
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Re: good high zoom camera

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:35 pm

If you are really after good wildlife shots then I have to concur with mattsteg's DSLR suggestion. With a good zoom lens and body you can really go after those animals/insects/birds. It does depend on your requirements. If you are looking to shoot poster-size pictures then there is really no other alternatives. If you are just talking about "viewing it on screen at 100%" then that's another story. ;)

If you are the "I just want to get something consumerish because I don't want to pay so much for DSLR+lens" type, then I would suggest you look at the Panasonic TZ5. Its "10x" 28-280mm equivalent is class leading in compact cams. Just make sure you shoot with plenty of light (day time) and limit the ISO to not more than 400.
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Re: good high zoom camera

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:32 pm

The biggest prints I can do would be 24X30 or there a bouts. I also like displaying them on my 50" TV via my nintendo's card reader. I'm kind of torn--I'd love a good DSLR but they simply cost more than I can afford once you factor in body and lenses. I could maybe stretch the budget to about 400 (saving up another month or so).
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Re: good high zoom camera

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:42 pm

At that print size I'd think pretty strongly about movings towards an SLR system. If you're making prints that large with any sort of regularity they're going to be costlier than the camera anyway.
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mattsteg
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Re: good high zoom camera

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:49 pm

DSLR's are getting cheap these days. I would either wait for prices of current cameras to keep coming down, or simply wait and save money up. You don't want to get a camera that is not up to the task just because you were a couple hundred bucks short. You would be surprised at the kind of deals you can find on Ebay.
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Re: good high zoom camera

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:19 pm

Yeah I drain the ink on them pretty well. But it's worth it :D I guess I'll save up another month or three and get a decent entry level SLR. It'll give me time to take a class or two in photography anyway--my wife wants me to do that.
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