Confused about zoom

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FloridaGuy

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Why not a DSLR?
I take most of my pictures while hiking, riding my bicycle, or traveling. I like a long zoom to get wildlife/waterfall etc. closeups but I don't want to be encumbered with a heavy zoom lens. I took a recent trip to Central California and found my tripod to be lacking because it didn't work well and was too heavy to carry on hikes. When I got home I did research and ended up ordering

Gitzo GT0541 Series 0 Carbon Fiber 6X 4-Section Tripod
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/569063-REG/Gitzo_GT0541_GT_0541_Mountaineer_6X_Carbon.html
and
BH-30 LR: Compact ballhead with LR

because it was light weight and compact.

I also wanted better zoom and low light abilities. This lead to me researching a new camera and deciding on the Panasonic FZ150 thinking it would get me much closer to my subjects.

The tripod arrived today and it is defective. One of the legs, the bottom section won't come out. One of the legs, the top section won't go back in, which is going to make exchanging it a hassle since I can't get it back into the original box.
 
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FloridaGuy

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EDL has a good point but it means a lot more $$$$. The move up to a DSLR may be right if you really want to pursue this.
...
Are you seriously thinking of taking photos with a lens that has a 3 degree angle of view without putting the camera on a heavy tripod? Lots to learn.

If you hang around here and ask questions you'll find helpful people.
...
And that 72 degrees on the wide end will open up a whole new world of photography that the Canon couldn't begin to approach.
I wrote my response about why not a DSLR before reading your post.

I plan to be spending more time here to learn more about this. I only discovered this forum looking for an answer to why 24x didn't get me much closer than 10x.

Can you expand on what the 72 degrees on the wide end of the Panasonic will do for me? Most of my previous learning about photography has focused on picture composition, not all these technical details.
 

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Angle of view (AoV) will affect the field of view (FoV). And FoV is easier to understand. List say, when you zoom out at 28mm and take a photo of 5 trees side by side and foucs on the tree in the center. In the photo you see 5 trees.

Than you zoom in, or adjust the focal length to 400mm and point to the same tree in the center. Now, in the photo, you only see 1 tree (The top and the bottom of the tree were cut out from the photo).

As you can see, the FoV as well as the AoV with the 400mm focal lenght is smaller than the 28mm because 28mm is wider (so capture more stuff in the photo).

So technically, longer the focal length, better the magnifying power in a sense. Not the zoom power.

i.e.

a) 18-200mm focal length = 11x
b) 100-400mm focal length = 4x

So which one give you better magnifying power? Just look at the long end. 200mm vs 400mm. Of course the one with 100-400mm can give you a higher magnifying power.
 
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FloridaGuy

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Which to the uninitiated, as I was until yesterday, is the exact opposite of what you would expect 11x vs 4x zoom.
 

EDL

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Valid reasons for not getting a DSLR. However, there smaller form factor cameras with interchangeable lenses that might fit your size requirements. Maybe a micro four thirds. Smaller, but the zoom lenses might still be a size issue, not sure.
 

Ysarex

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EDL has a good point but it means a lot more $$$$. The move up to a DSLR may be right if you really want to pursue this.
...
Are you seriously thinking of taking photos with a lens that has a 3 degree angle of view without putting the camera on a heavy tripod? Lots to learn.

If you hang around here and ask questions you'll find helpful people.
...
And that 72 degrees on the wide end will open up a whole new world of photography that the Canon couldn't begin to approach.
I wrote my response about why not a DSLR before reading your post.

I plan to be spending more time here to learn more about this. I only discovered this forum looking for an answer to why 24x didn't get me much closer than 10x.

Can you expand on what the 72 degrees on the wide end of the Panasonic will do for me? Most of my previous learning about photography has focused on picture composition, not all these technical details.


Take the camera out and experiment. On the wide end the camera includes more in the photo. This allows you to include more content while working in tight spaces. But more importantly it provides you with a different view of the world (as does the long lens). You're familiar with photos using the long end -- telephoto lenses allow you to bridge distances like a telescope. They also isolate your primary subject by restricting background information. Wide lenses allow you to exaggerate your subject by getting very close and at the same time they place the subject in it's environment by including more background information. This is not a value judgement of one way is better than the other. It's about what you want and about the versatility you want. To answer your question, here's an example photo using a lens with a 74 degree angle of view:


wake_robin.jpg



The subject is the trillium flower in the foreground. The camera is right on top of it -- literally a few inches from the flower. By being that close with a wide angle lens the flower is placed in it's environment as lots of background information is included. If you backed up a couple yards and photographed the same flower with a telephoto lens there would be very little information in the background to place the environment -- a very different photo. If I hadn't wanted the background information then the 74 degree angle of view would frustrate me and the solution would be to back up and decrease the angle of view.

Joe
 
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FloridaGuy

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The subject is the trillium flower in the foreground. The camera is right on top of it -- literally a few inches from the flower. By being that close with a wide angle lens the flower is placed in it's environment as lots of background information is included. If you backed up a couple yards and photographed the same flower with a telephoto lens there would be very little information in the background to place the environment -- a very different photo. If I hadn't wanted the background information then the 74 degree angle of view would frustrate me and the solution would be to back up and decrease the angle of view.

Joe
Very interesting post. I didn't realize that zooming was NOT the same as taking few steps closer to the subject. I will have to experiment, as you suggested, and it experience it for myself. There have been times when I thought... why bother walking over there to get closer when you can just zoom and acheive the same thing.
 

Ysarex

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The subject is the trillium flower in the foreground. The camera is right on top of it -- literally a few inches from the flower. By being that close with a wide angle lens the flower is placed in it's environment as lots of background information is included. If you backed up a couple yards and photographed the same flower with a telephoto lens there would be very little information in the background to place the environment -- a very different photo. If I hadn't wanted the background information then the 74 degree angle of view would frustrate me and the solution would be to back up and decrease the angle of view.

Joe
Very interesting post. I didn't realize that zooming was NOT the same as taking few steps closer to the subject. I will have to experiment, as you suggested, and it experience it for myself. There have been times when I thought... why bother walking over there to get closer when you can just zoom and acheive the same thing.


Perspective in a photograph is a function of where you place the camera and has nothing to do with the focal length/angle of view of the lens. That choice of perspective more than anything else determines the overall character of the photo. Once perspective is determined you then match-up the angle of view that gives you the content you want. Given two photos with the subject the same size in both: The closer you are to the subject the more you include the subject in it's surroundings while the farther you are from the subject the more you isloate it out of it's surroundings.

Joe
 

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