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New to group and have a question!

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by SamJ, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. SamJ

    SamJ Member

    Hi everyone, I'm not new to photography, and definitely still amateur but I keep coming back to a problem I've got....I currently have an FZ82 bridge camera which I absolutely love, it's teaching me loads on getting off auto but I want to take closer pictures of the birds in my garden and it's not getting me those great images that I want. So I thought of getting a P1000 with that ridiculously long lens....but if you read some of the reviews the picture quality and AF is pretty poor. So then I thought, invest in a DSLR, but I cannot get my head around what size lens would compare with the super telephoto. Can anyone give me a simple explanation and their thoughts on which is best, DSLR or bridge? Do I need a full size sensor?
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi Sam, the bad news is that the costs of lenses goes up exponentially with the real focal length. The superzoom bridge cameras have long effective focal lengths but small real ones. The FZ82 has an effective focal length of 1200 mm. You won’t get that with a bigger sensor. About 900 mm is the limit - that’s a 600 mm lens on a x1.5 crop factor camera. The image quality will be better but the magnification will be less than you have now. The “cheapest” way is via a supertelephoto zoom made by Sigma or Tamron on an APS-C camera, I’d guess £1200-£1600 buying new, but beware this combination is big and heavy. The “expensive way” a camera and prime lens can be £15k without too much trouble, that comes in very big and very heavy, not something you walk around with.

    Small birds are always small in the frame, you need to be 10 m or less to get a good picture. Tops is about 30m and that will need hard cropping, which shows up any weaknesses. I suggest you practice with your camera set to an effective focal length of 600 mm rather than its full extension. That will give you a realistic experience of what you’d see with a DSLR. Your lens may well be sharper than it is at 1200. I use a 500 mm lens on a x1.3 crop factor camera which is an effective 650 mm. I started with a 400 mm lens, effective 520 mm on the camera.
    Craig20264 likes this.
  3. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    You can achieve a much longer effective focal length by mounting a 1,000 mm telephoto or mirror lens on a Micro Four Thirds camera, giving you 2,000 mm equivalent. You will need a very steady camera mount and good technique to make this work.

    The other thing you can do is use a dense sensor camera to increase your effective focal length. If you crop a 16MP image by 50% you get the same effect as using an 8MP camera. If you start with a 20MP sensor you get a 10MP equivalent. So: if you have a 400mm lens mounted on a 20MP M43 camera you can achieve a similar magnification to using a 1600mm lens on one of the earlier full frame cameras such as the Canon 5D. In practice, depending on the use and the overall quality of camera, lens and technique, much higher magnifications are practical.

    These shots all demonstrate this technique, being crops aproximately 1/10th of the original frame. Only the reader can decide if they meet his expectations...

    Strikemaster at Weston Super Mare Air Show P1010654.JPG

    Spitfire at Weston Super Mare Air Show P1010751 2.JPG

    Mustang at Weston Super Mare Air Show P1010680.JPG
  5. SamJ

    SamJ Member

    Hi PeteRob,

    Many thanks for that, it's easy to read lots and still not really 'get it' but that made it a lot simpler. I guess I knew the answer, expensive set up or change my technique! I will try using half the extension and quality may improve....along with my stalking!
    I thought about a DSLR but maybe I'll carry on using mine for now, when I get braver I'll shake everyone's brains on what's next....canon or Nikon!
  6. SamJ

    SamJ Member

    Thanks so much for this, perhaps I'm being too critical of my own efforts!
    Food for thought though, plenty of nice less expensive cameras around I could try rather than maxing out my next month's pay on something I may not get on with!
    I'm going to do some homework...
  7. SamJ

    SamJ Member

  8. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    NO you do not need a FF sensor, I have two FF bodies and a crop sensor, my only advice would always be when you buy a lens get a FF one, or you will have to buy again if you get a FF camera
  9. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Oh - I wouldn't ask the C vs N question :)

    All cameras at a price point these days are pretty much the same technically. What differentiates them is the "handling" people respond in different ways as to how the camera feels in the hand, how easy it is to use. That is why we still have, relatively speaking, so many different makes available and why some people are passionate about one brand and dislike another. I use Canon - years ago I decided I liked it best when comparing a Canon - a Nikon and a Minolta (subsumed into Sony now). Subsequent cameras always had a similar "feel".

    The choice in terms of make is no longer so simple. Canon and Nikon are survivors with large heritage lens ranges but are developing new (and very expensive) mirrorless cameras. Sony entered the mirrorless market with no lenses but now has quite a range. The Minolta they took over is a second range which I'm not sure about. Fujifilm has an extensive mirrorless market, not aiming at the sports/wildlife photographer yet but they only need a couple of key lenses and for the independents to start making X-mount versions of their lenses. To date it has been a small market. Olympus and Panasonic have gone for a half-frame sensor and specialised in light weight cameras with a huge lens range. They go up to 600 mm 35 mm equivalent (a 300 mm lens). Pentax is still there - I don't know much about them but they were into robust cameras with extremes of dust and water protection.
  10. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Really.......... get real................... there is only one................... Pentax
  11. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Small correction: the current Panasonic range includes a very useful 100~400 (200~800 equivalent) which is the lens I used for the pictures in posting 4. Mounted on one of the later cameras such as the G9 you get 2-stage 5-axis anti-shake which is very useful indeed.
  12. SamJ

    SamJ Member

    See I'm old enough to think Pentax were still in the game! I guess all the mags bang on about 'C v N' but I have a Panasonic and love the feel and way it acts so I guess I'm being a bit of a sheep before I do some serious homework
    If I'm honest the bridge does seem to offer the best of both worlds to me but I have a bit of a nag at the back of my mind that I'm missing the point with DSLR. Surely the new sparkly bridge camera does everything now, but I still feel like I should give the SLR a go.
    Saying that, I've discovered WiFi, smartphone and remote camera action so can now get my camera closer than ever, I'll be uploading some pictures soon, perhaps peeps will be kind to comment
    Stephen Rundle likes this.
  13. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Bridges are very good now, especially the ones with a 1" sensor. My wife has a Sony RX 10 iii and it is quite remarkable for the money. Max equivalent focal length 600 mm but at full extension it won't take an awful lot of cropping.

    Yes, will be delighted to comment. The place to put them is Appraisals, preferably according to guidelines which is 800 pixels on the long edge.
  14. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    An old bridge camera with a bit of imagination can give you a lot of fun, so don't think that anything else will make you a "better" photographer. I once found a Fuji SL300 in a charity shop for £5. With a new battery fitted it gave me some very satisfactory images...

    Fujifilm SL300 8GB 05 SL300 DSCF3397.JPG

    Fujifilm SL300 8GB 05 SL300 DSCF3406.JPG

    Bus driver smiling at colleague SL300 DSCF3452.jpg
  15. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I don't think anybody has asked the question yet - what will you want to do with the shots you take? If only view them on a PC screen or mobile device, then a superzoom bridge camera is probably ideal for your purposes. But if you want large prints then a camera body with a larger sensor and an expensive, large and heavy telephoto or long zoom lens will be needed. If you don't want large prints, I would stick with what you have and try to improve your technique when using it.

    At the long end of your camera's zoom lens you won't get the range of lens apertures you would get with a telephoto lens on lens on a camera body with a larger sensor, so when trying manual exposure you may get fewer shutter speed and aperture options than you expect. The reasons for this are probably beyond what you need from this thread, but are linked to the small sensor (physical size, not megapixels) in your camera. However, the small sensor will also give a better depth of field than you would get with the same lens aperture on a lens used with a camera body with a larger sensor.

    Perhaps start with the lens at about half of its maximum zoom, and use a stationary subject (like the infamous AP potato) to find out how far away you need to be to get it the right size in the frame, then experiment and enjoy yourself - it should only cost you your time and patience. You may find that the image quality drops in quality as your extend the zoom further.
    SamJ likes this.
  16. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    I think bigger sensor will help, so something like a 4:3 or a APS-C would be good. Full frame is not necessarily the best option for birds as you loose the benefit of the crop factor.
    I think you need to get closer, like many have said using the camera you already got at about half the zoom could be do the trick.
    SamJ likes this.
  17. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    " the small sensor will also give a better depth of field than you would get with the same lens aperture on a lens used with a camera body with a larger sensor."

    OHHHHHHHH beware the disagreement that that statement will bring. WRONG, sorry, you have it the wrong way round, crop sensors have a shallower DOF. :) :) :)

    FF has a better DOF that a crop, I would never swap my three FF Nikons for a crop for sports when I need DOF

    https://fstoppers.com/education/smaller-sensor-size-shallower-your-depth-field-110547#:~:text=Most people multiply the crop,as well as the aperture.&text=This added distance is what,field on the crop sensor.

    https://fstoppers.com/education/understanding-how-sensor-size-affects-depth-field-312599#:~:text=If you want to have,larger with the crop sensor.

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I'm going out so no time to discuss - the dof depends on the focal length of the lens, F number and focussing distance but if framing the same shot with a crop sensor and with a FF camera you use a shorter focal length lens on the crop sensor so at the same F number the dof is greater for the same framed shot.

    So for practical purposes the dof appears greater as sensor size decreases for same framed shots even though in reality the dof has nothing to do with sensor size only the lens focal length, f number and focussing distance.
  19. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Of course it depends of Fl and aperture we all know that, read the links, they are much more professional people there explaining it
  20. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    This is one of the best article you will find

    5) The Bottom Line
    With two cameras that have very different size sensors you can take photographs that look exactly the same, in terms of Depth of Field and Perspective. However, a large sensor camera gives you more creative freedom in the ability to isolate your subject from the image background.


    "You cannot simply substitute full-frame lenses with “equivalent” focal length alternatives on smaller sensor cameras"
    SamJ likes this.

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