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General Digital Advice Needed

Discuss and share your wildlife photography, filming and equipment
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arks
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Re: some digital camera questions

Unread post by arks » Wed Apr 20, 2005 6:37 pm

DuQues wrote:Big question: What are you used to? If you are used to a SLR you will find the step to a DSLR very easy. Painting with light will stay that way no matter if you are using film or chips.


Thanks, DQ, for addressing the differences between DSLR and point-and-shoot. This info is very helpful indeed.

As for what I'm used to, I've been using an Olympus OM-2S for years and while it has some semiautomatic features, I generally use it fully manual. Plus I now have two camera bodies, so I no longer have the frustration of always having the wrong lens fixed and no time to switch (why is it that it's always the wrong lens?!?). I also have a nice little Olympus Stylus Epic point and shoot (no zoom) and an Ansco point and shootpanoramic camera, which doesn't have great quality but takes true wide-format panorama pix, which are really nice to have for certain things.

Problem now is that I've waited so long that I'm going to want to upgrade everything - plus I really also want to add video. And it's bad enough me all alone in the car with 2 SLRs, the point and shoot and the panoramic cam. Now I want to add another cam to juggle?!?

I really appreciate all the feedback in this forum as once I've sorted through the overload of terrific information, I'll be able to make decisions I'm likely to be happy with.

cheers, arks

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DuQues
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Unread post by DuQues » Fri Apr 22, 2005 3:02 pm

First a bit of general information I just ran across:
(...)The Times Online Guide to Digital Photography, produced in association with Sony Ericsson. Although an increasing number of us are opting for the flexibility of electronic imaging over traditional film, many are still daunted by the complexity of the new medium - and as a result are often unaware of its full capability.
In this site, we seek to demystify digital cameras and provide a concise reference guide that will help you get more out of the medium. (...)
That "concise reference guide" can be found here.

@Arks, Francoisd has posted an article about the latest Nikon and Canon camera's. That might interest you if you don't have a lot of lenses for your Olympus. Find it here.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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Re: Real beginner stuff

Unread post by DuQues » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:02 pm

macho mouse wrote:For me, step one... where to start, what camera to buy.

Step 1 is a technological one, but makes it less costly: buy a digital camera. That way if you have chopped off heads, arms, legs it does not cost money. Delete and shoot again. And again, till you have trained yourself to look at your composition before you click the button.
It may actually be best if you get yourself a cheapo digital one (second hand?) and a tripod. The tripod will force you to look at your composition before you shoot.

While you are practising you will find out what you prefer to photograph. That means you will find out what lens(es) you will need, and then the real fun starts.

What brand, what lens(es), and worst: which mortgage?
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:36 pm

Hi MM,

I strongly recommend that you start by looking at the Fuji Finepix 5500. This camera has a 10x optical zoom, which is almost mandatory for wildlife esp bird shots.
It sells for about three grand, but is worth every cent.

There are upward comparative cameras in price, strength and definition.

We have had our FF 5000 (the earlier model) now for 2 years and are pleased we bought it. If we had R100 for each recommendation bought by others, we could probably have had a free one by now.

Do not short change yourself. It is a 5 year investment. If you go for 3x zoom you might as well stick to portraits.

Good hunting,
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Jay
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Unread post by Jay » Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:44 pm

MM, don't let all the technical jargon put you off, the new point and shoot digital cameras are really user friendly, even the software that comes with them is easy to use... and a final word of encouragement, my mom wont even use an autobank, she does however have a lovely little Canon Powershot which she happily uses..did need some convincing to get it though :D

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Unread post by Ollie » Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:33 pm

So many advances in technology, like PC's and everything else. The beauty of technology in photography is the modern cameras can do so much for you as the photographer, auto focus and many other functions.... almost point and shoot 8) Take your time, decide what it is you want to photograph. if you decide to go with digital (I highly recommend), you can see instantly how it worked and correct any mistakes instantly :D
In time as you get more confident you can learn to use all the techy stuff...... frankly techy stuff does not take good photos, it's you that takes the photos :!: Hope this helps put you at ease..... :D

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Unread post by DuQues » Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:40 pm

Have a look at this page, that explains the amount of patience you need to make a good photo.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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Unread post by DuQues » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:16 pm

Have a look here, and fill in what you want. I.e. <$1000, 5+ MP and a zoom of 200+ mm. Leave the rest as it is.
You'll get some camera's that arte worthwhile, and the price is under your price. (Then you however have to shop in SA, and the prices may be higher.)
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Unread post by francoisd » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:42 pm

Obelix wrote:
Jay wrote:
Even though this is not the camera I will be buying,...


So what would be your recommendation Jay (or anyone else) - budget of R5000 maximum.

There is a lot out there for the <R5000 price range. I use a Panasonic Lumix FZ20 with 12X optical zoom (= 430mm in 35mm terms). Wildtuinman uses the FZ5 with the same zoom range. These cameras and the Fuji camera mentioned have a fixed zoom lens so you cannot add lenses. If this is OK with you get one of these. You can visit my photo website (click the link button below) to see some of my (better) photo attempts with the FZ20.

Just one warning. When you start taking photos you will soon discover that you actually want something better and I already find the reach of the 12X zoom insufficient, especially when photographing birds
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Jay
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Unread post by Jay » Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:26 pm

Obelix wrote:
Jay wrote:
Even though this is not the camera I will be buying,...


So what would be your recommendation Jay (or anyone else) - budget of R5000 maximum.


I suggest what someone here suggetsed to me, goto: www.dpreview.com and see what a whole lotta poeple got to say :D

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Unread post by Obelix » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:08 pm

Thank's everyone for the advice.
francoisd wrote:When you start taking photos you will soon discover that you actually want something better and I already find the reach of the 12X zoom insufficient, especially when photographing birds

Francoisd, that's bad news. I was hoping that a 12X zoom would be more than sufficient (given the fact that we're still taking our photos with a little 3x zoom camera). I've heard that you can get some kind of converter (cost a R1000 or so) that will convert the 12X zoom (of a Canon Powershot S2) into something like 20X. Do you get something like that for the Panasonic as well and does anyone know if its any good?

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Unread post by francoisd » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:42 pm

Obelix wrote:Thank's everyone for the advice.
francoisd wrote:When you start taking photos you will soon discover that you actually want something better and I already find the reach of the 12X zoom insufficient, especially when photographing birds

Francoisd, that's bad news. I was hoping that a 12X zoom would be more than sufficient (given the fact that we're still taking our photos with a little 3x zoom camera). I've heard that you can get some kind of converter (cost a R1000 or so) that will convert the 12X zoom (of a Canon Powershot S2) into something like 20X. Do you get something like that for the Panasonic as well and does anyone know if its any good?

I was once told that for bird photography one should start at 600mm. I don’t know how much truth there is in that statement. When photographing from hides such as Lake Panic near Skukuza I’m sure the 12X will be sufficient. If you visit hides such as Geelbek at the West Coast National Park however you will soon discover that 12X is not that great. It al depends on how close you can get to the birds. If one is on foot your chances of getting close to a bird is much better and in Kruger one do find many birds close to the road. I am sure that most people here would agree that 430mm (12X) is good enough for most situations

I have read that a converter is available for the FZ20 but do not know if it can be sourced in SA and what the price is. Try the DPReview website for information.

I include an example of the 12X zoom below. The photo was taken from the Stormsriver bridge (Sorry the only photos available taken in this manner). First photo at 1X and second photo at 12X. As you can see this might meet your need. I sometimes do birding at large water bodies and it is mostly there that I find the reach to be insufficient.
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Unread post by francoisd » Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:11 am

DuQues wrote:And what does the TS (Topic Starter) think of all this?
MM, have your questions been answered?

One thing that is handy when using a digital camera is that you can make use of the LCD screen to set up your shot if you do not feel like using the view finder. In this way you can get a "preview" of what the photo will look like and eliminate the problem of "cutting off" the heads of people or animals.

In my opinion a 4X opitcal zoom camera is great for people who just wish to take some "holiday snapshots" and who are not interested in getting the perfect photo or close-ups. We've captured some real nice Kruger moments using my Father-in-law's 4X before we bought our camera.
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Re: Real beginner stuff

Unread post by clever dog » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:35 am

macho mouse wrote:I do feel intimidated by a lot of thechno data.
I appreciate what I see on the forums. Some of the photography is truly awesome. I could look at it all day :wink:
For me, step one... where to start, what camera to buy. On my recent trip I was the only one without a camera. I have had so many chopped off heads or feet that over the years that I have lost any confidence I might have had.
I am not a very visual person, so I struggle with some of the basics. I do however appreciate a good picture and can see exactly why it is good.
As a result of my thechno phobia, I lost some amazing moments.


Hi macho mouse. As most people mentions here you should not worry too much about all the techno info that is being used. However, I suggest you to go through my lesson 1-8 in this Forum if you have not done it yet. It explains a lot of the fancy words that are being used and will give you an idea of how to improve your photo taking as well.

Practise, practise and practise... that's the way to go. Post you photos here and we can help you improve as well. As also mentioned go for a digital camera were the cost of making mistakes isn't there! Many digital cameras are fairly simple and comes with software to download and edit your photos if needed.

Don't be afraid to take photos. Even the best photographers do not get it right every time! :wink:
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Unread post by bucky » Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:43 am

Remember when using a 2x teleconverter , that you loose a lot
of light into the camera , and may even make the lense combo
unusable in the early morning or when cloudy for example .

12x is not bad at all for wildlife general photography , but
with lenses , you can never get enough zoom :D


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