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Difference between cameras with good optic zoom...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2015 at 17:35
qpalzm View Drop Down
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and binos.

If someone wanted to see far away, use it for general observation, etc how would one decide between a camera with really good optic zoom and binos? Since you can attach an iphone to binos as well..what's the difference?


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2015 at 17:36
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can good cameras perform well in the dark?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2015 at 07:00
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Some cameras can be used for observation.  The new Nikon P900 has an 83x (24-2000mm effective focal length) lens.  The lens is high quality and provides high magnification imaging.

The downside is it is not weatherproofed and requires batteries.  

binoculars and spotting scopes, on the other hand, are made for field use and are usually waterproofed and fully armored.  The optics are optimized for viewing, not imaging, and so perform well for observation.

A dedicated camera generally provides higher image quality than a camera/optic digiscoping combination, but both can have great results.  Even a camera like the P900 maxes out at efffective focal lengths of around 2000mm while some digiscoping setups can go much longer.

Pluses and minuses...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2015 at 07:21
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Ah. And how would the NikonP900 perform at night? ie taking pics/video at night.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2015 at 07:30
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And any cameras you would suggest at double that price? (and what would be the additional benefits?) (again for observation, being able to see far away, etc)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2015 at 07:31
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not the best choice for that.  it has a small sensor.  Much better for day use.

For night photography a good DLSR (particluarly full-frame), is a good place to start, and there are dedicated "astro" DSLRs available, that are even better.

The problem with long range imaging with DSLRs though, is that long focal length (super telephoto) lenses for them are big, heavy, and VERY expensive.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2015 at 10:52
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Not the best choice for night? I guess part of that is subjective or is it objectively really poor?

I mean if you were taking a picture of a nice structure/building that had a fair bit of light around it (but you were taking the photo from a distance/place where there is little light, would you get a good picture?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2015 at 20:24
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It really depends on the scene specifically.  Of course, how "bad" something is is subjective.

Typically, the larger the sensor, the better the low light performance.  Small sensors get really noisy at high ISOs required for low light shooting.  The P900 has a very small sensor, which helps it in effective reach, but hurts it in low light noise.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2015 at 20:42
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The reason I ask bitterroot is that I was looking at this one:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/889965-REG/Canon_PowerShot_SX50HS_Digital_Camera.html

It says this for the Canon in question:
"High Sensitivity
Sensitivity up to ISO 6400 helps the camera produce clear, detailed images even in low-light situations

The censor in the Canon in questions seems to be 12.1 and in the Nikon 16? 

So could it be then that you're being a bit tough on it in terms of how it does at night? Maybe not up to your par but prob good for most people?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2015 at 05:57
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Originally posted by qpalzm qpalzm wrote:

So could it be then that you're being a bit tough on it in terms of how it does at night? Maybe not up to your par but prob good for most people?

I am just giving you my opinion.  Cameras like the Canon you listed and the p900 are great for their purpose, but that is not low light IMO, regardless of what the ad copy says.

I don't know what level of quality you are looking for.  You would have to try it out for yourself.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2015 at 08:55
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Any small sensor camera you can buy today will produce very noisy images at ISO 6400, and most of the time at anything above ISO 1600. Sensors are constantly improving, so that may not be the case one day, but today, you have to go with at least an APS-C if not full frame sensor to get reasonably clean images at ISO 6400. Even then, you will still need a "fast" lens with wide aperture at or greater than f/2.8 max constant to make good use of what little light you have available. If you also want telephoto zoom reach, this means the lens alone will cost at minimum $2500 and more likely $4K - $6K for a full frame camera. You will also need a tripod to get sharp images at the longer shutter durations needed for night / low light shots, as you won't be able to hold the camera steady enough most of the time at these slower shutter speeds. Add in the fact a body that is equipped with a truly good low light sensor means at least a high end enthusiast level if not pro level camera costing at minimum $1K (and to truly get good night shots, more like $2500 - $7K), and you can expect to pay a minimum of $4K and more likely $10K for a complete rig that both takes good night photos AND has good telephoto zoom.

No integrated point and shoot camera does very well at night photography with heavy zooming, and even most compact system "mirrorless" cameras will have a tough time in that arena. And that isn't me being picky either; it's just the fact of the matter. Smaller sensors aren't very good in low light, and the more zoom you add into the equation just makes things worse. Sure, you can get maybe a "usable" image that could be used as evidence in a court proceeding, but you won't get a "wow what a great photo!" photo most of the time. The image quality simply won't be there, unless there's a lot of artificial light in the scene and/or you want an intentionally dark image for some artistic reason.

Low light + heavy zoom + quality images = mega $$$. There's just no way around that fact. One day that may not be the case, as sensor technology is slowly improving over time. Today, however, that's reality.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2015 at 09:31
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Any small sensor camera you can buy today will produce very noisy images at ISO 6400, and most of the time at anything above ISO 1600. Sensors are constantly improving, so that may not be the case one day, but today, you have to go with at least an APS-C if not full frame sensor to get reasonably clean images at ISO 6400. Even then, you will still need a "fast" lens with wide aperture at or greater than f/2.8 max constant to make good use of what little light you have available. If you also want telephoto zoom reach, this means the lens alone will cost at minimum $2500 and more likely $4K - $6K for a full frame camera. You will also need a tripod to get sharp images at the longer shutter durations needed for night / low light shots, as you won't be able to hold the camera steady enough most of the time at these slower shutter speeds. Add in the fact a body that is equipped with a truly good low light sensor means at least a high end enthusiast level if not pro level camera costing at minimum $1K (and to truly get good night shots, more like $2500 - $7K), and you can expect to pay a minimum of $4K and more likely $10K for a complete rig that both takes good night photos AND has good telephoto zoom.

No integrated point and shoot camera does very well at night photography with heavy zooming, and even most compact system "mirrorless" cameras will have a tough time in that arena. And that isn't me being picky either; it's just the fact of the matter. Smaller sensors aren't very good in low light, and the more zoom you add into the equation just makes things worse. Sure, you can get maybe a "usable" image that could be used as evidence in a court proceeding, but you won't get a "wow what a great photo!" photo most of the time. The image quality simply won't be there, unless there's a lot of artificial light in the scene and/or you want an intentionally dark image for some artistic reason.

Low light + heavy zoom + quality images = mega $$$. There's just no way around that fact. One day that may not be the case, as sensor technology is slowly improving over time. Today, however, that's reality.

Wow, great reply!

 
Quote The image quality simply won't be there, unless there's a lot of artificial light in the scene and/or you want an intentionally dark image for some artistic reason.

One clarification on this point you made. Since I'm ignorant how camera technology works. to take a good picture, is the amount of light important in terms of where you are situated or the source of what you taking a pic of (or both?). As an example, if I'm in a place with very little or no light, but I'm using zoom and taking a pic of something far away that has quite a bit of great light..will that be a good picture?



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2015 at 21:12
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More light in the scene simply allows you to use lower ISO, which means less digital noise, which means better image quality.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2015 at 21:22
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Right..but I just need light at the source (the object I'm taking a picture of)..it doesn't matter if im standing 0.5km away and there is poor lighting at my location correct?


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2015 at 21:33
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Yes, it's light that reaches the sensor, reflected off your subject that matters, which is what your camera is metering exposure off of. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2015 at 21:41
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Oh ok, that is very important to know, as for my purposes then, Nikon p900 may be perfect! 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 07:42
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btw, an 83 x optic zoom (for nikon p900)..how can that be compared to bino magnification? what would the equivalent be?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 08:42
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Approximately you divide the efffective focal length, in the p900's case 2000, by 50.  50mm is the rough equivalent to 1x (a normal field of view) in effictive focal length.  

So 2000 divided by 50 is 40.  So at max zoom, the P900 is similar to 40x magnification.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 09:15
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That's nuts. Does p900 have some sort of stabilization where you could hold it and get decent pics?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 11:10
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It is impressively stabilized with Vibration Reduction (VR). Check out YouTube.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 16:53
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Nikon P900 offers a lot of zoom, but not all of it us truly usable.  Still, out to 1800mm, it is surprisingly decent.

As far as overall image quality goes, it is decent for the price and for the reach you get, but ultimately very mediocre (Canon SX50 mentioned earlier is somewhat similar if not worse).

The decision really comes down to how much magnification you are looking for.  P900, to me, has a very limited range of applications due to noise imaging pipeline and limited dynamic range.  You need a lot of even lighting to make that long zoom lens work.

If I were buying a bridge camera today, I would be taking a close look at Panasonic FZ1000, Sony RX10 Mark II and Canon G3X.  As an allround camera, the FZ1000 is probably your best bet for the money.  All three do quite well, all things considered, in low light.

While none of these have as much reach as the P900, they actually deliver quality images in a variety of conditions.

To address another question i saw earlier in the thread: if you attach your cellphone to an eyepiece of a binocular, the effective focal length of your observation system is the equivalent focal length of the lens in your cell phone multiplied by the magnification factor of the binocular.

For example, if you are using a 8x42 binocular with an iPhone 6, the effective focal length you end up with is 8x29=232mm.

If you use your iPhone with a spotting spotter that can go all the way out to 60x, you end up with an effective focal length of 1740mm.  

I like phonescoping (which is apparently a real term), but I use a much higher resolution Lumia 1020 phone for it, so I can get the combination to reach very far.

The biggest advantage of using a spotter or binocular with a cellphone is that digital cameras are not designed for observation, regardless of how much detail the camera may be capturing, seeing it on that small screen is difficult for any prolonged observation.

ILya


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 17:28
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Thanks for post Ilya. What do you think about this guys's analysis of noise/dynamic range. He actually compares nikon p900 to some of the ones you mention. Results don't seem to indicate what you're saying.

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/cameras/compact-cameras/nikon-p900-1294602/review/4
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 18:23
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Originally posted by qpalzm qpalzm wrote:

Thanks for post Ilya. What do you think about this guys's analysis of noise/dynamic range. He actually compares nikon p900 to some of the ones you mention. Results don't seem to indicate what you're saying.

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/cameras/compact-cameras/nikon-p900-1294602/review/4

To be honest, the most likely culprit is incompetence. I suspect, the guys at Techradar got their methodology from DXO.  DXO dynamic range test when performed on JPEG images is almost useless.  If you see the images side by side, you'll see what I mean.

Keep in mind that the only test he does where FZ1000 is comparable to the other cameras there is dynamic range.  It pulls away from the rest of the cameras in other tests.

As a general disclaimer: while I work in the camera industry, I am not associated with any of the companies mentioned here, so I do not have any professional interest in one camera being better than the other.

I have, however, had my team evaluated all of the imagers mentioned here in a laboratory setting.

Thanks
ILya

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2015 at 19:23
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Do you know of any other published analysis (from other reputable sources) that analyze it as you do?


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Originally posted by qpalzm qpalzm wrote:

Do you know of any other published analysis (from other reputable sources) that analyze it as you do?




Really doubt if there's a better source!
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