Telephoto Question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by bjwilli88, May 17, 2008.

  1. bjwilli88

    bjwilli88 TPF Noob!

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    Hello, you'll have to forgive my ignorance. I am just beginning to study photography and I know almost nothing about the subject.

    I am interested in purchasing a dslr and a telephoto lens. My main reason for doing this is for shooting wildlife, such as deer, elk, moose etc. This will be purely for just a hobby, and I am not looking to shoot professional grade pictures or anything like that. I just want some decent equipment to upgrade from my current Canon Powershot G3 point and shoot camera. My question is this...how would a 70-300mm lens (specifically the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM) compare, as far as zoom goes, to say the Canon Powershot S5 IS point and shoot with 12x optical zoom? Will the dslr with the 70-300mm lens be able to zoom in significantly more?

    Again, sorry for the ignorance, I just know nothing about this.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Here's the 35mm equivalent focal lengths for these cameras and the 70-300mm Canon lens on a 1.6x crop Canon DSLR:

    G3: 35-140 mm
    S5: 36-432 mm
    70-300: 112-480mm

    So the DSLR with that zoom will get you out further than an S5. More importantly though, the DSLR is a much larger format than a point and shoot, even an advanced one, so you'll get much better image quality and sharpness. And if the light fades or your subject is moving and you need to crank up the ISO, you can do it on a DSLR with virtually no drop in quality like you'd get cranking a P&S up to even iso200.
     
  3. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Mav is totally right. Although the actual zoom difference between the cameras isn't that much, the image quality of an SLR is far better than any P&S-style camera. This also means that you will be able to crop your images to get an even closer photo without losing much quality.
     
  4. RubyMagic

    RubyMagic TPF Noob!

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    SIGMA 50-500mm, FTW!


    Haha.
     
  5. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    Agreed.
    The downside, though, is 1) the cost: a dSLR plus lens, etc., is a number of times more expensive than a G3 or S5, and 2) the weight and size that you will have to schlepp around: a dSLR plus lens(es) is also considerably heavier and larger than a G3 or S5.
     
  6. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You just need to ask yourself if the trade -off is worth it for casual use.
     
  7. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    For wildlife you may want to consider a superzoom all-in-one camera. There's a whole range of superzoom camera models now. Panasonic's Lumix cameras are my favorites. Some go up to 18x optical zoom, which is 504mm in 35mm equivalent. Luckily they have built-in anti-shake.
    The equivalent camera/lens combo in a dSLR will run you 7 – seven! – times as much...
    And you need a mule following you around to carry it when you go hiking.
     
  8. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    If you trust me, for the birds you would not want less than 300mm. I don't know how big deers mooses and elks are in real life as I have never met them except in the box (TV!), so I assume they must be smaller than my box.:D

    But 300mm is the safe bet for wild life.
     
  9. KD5NRH

    KD5NRH TPF Noob!

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    ...Unless, of course, you look around eBay and Craigslist for something that may not be up-to-the-minute with automatic crappiness reduction and an anti-ugly filter. There are a lot of good pics out there from DSLRs that can be found used for less than a high-end point & shoot.
     
  10. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    One item that has not been mentioned is camera shake. For the lenses that have been recommended (and I agree), you'll need a high shutter speed to minimize the effects of camera shake. If you do NOT get a VR/IS lens, figure of a shutter speed of around 1/250 second or "faster" (shorter duration). This results in a need for a lot of light just at the time when your maximum lens opening isn't all that much (typical for telephoto lenses). You'll get good shots IF you have good lighting.

    VR (Vibration Reduction, Nikon) and IS (Image Stabilization, Nikon) does work real well. It does nothing for subject movement but, as far as camera shake, my above example of 1/250 second drops to around 1/30 second which helps the lighting situation a lot. Unfortunately, VR/IS is not cheap.
     
  11. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    If you read carefully, Soc, you will see that it has.

    And with a lot cheaper solution than 'your' VR lenses: superzoom all-in-one cameras with anti-shake.
     
  12. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    This is incredibly misleading because nobody with SLRs really uses zoom lenses in the 500mm equivalent range. That's the beauty of SLR systems in that you can swap in whatever lens you need for a given application.

    The Nikon 300mm f/4 is about $400-500 used and 462mm equivalent which is about the same as that Panasonic's lens. Put it on any DSLR body (even a D40) and you're good to go. And there will be no comparison whatsoever in terms of image quality. The 300mm primes are sharp as a tack even at the maximum f/4 aperture, and the much larger sensor of a DSLR adds on top of that. The P&S would need its stabilization system working for all its worth just to get sharp shots in good light. Forget about it in anything but that because you can't crank up the ISO on the P&S sensors without getting really ugly looking results. For wildlife shooting you tend to be at the long end of any zoom lens anyways, which is why people just get prime lenses since they're cheaper, faster, and offer much better quality. The other beauty of SLR systems is that there's so much used equipment available that buying new is really just a luxury. In fact there's such a large supply of some lenses used that there's almost no point in buying new.
     

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