Canadian Canoe Routes

Decisions, decisions, decisions
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Author:  Splake [ June 5th, 2013, 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Lots of good input, thanks folks!

Of course it reconfirms my quandary. :(

Mike hit on a lot of the reasons why I want to move to a DSLR and faster lenses is one that I hadn't mentioned, just because even moving to a DSLR it will still take time to afford the faster lenses. And yes you can get some inexpensive fast prime lenses, but most of my interest is at the extremes - wide angle or telephoto. Not that there aren't good pictures to take in the mid-range, just that I know I'll be frustrated with the limited range I can afford to start with.

Now a lot of my pictures are 'documenting the trip' and I haven't really pulled out a 'portfolio' of better shots on my site. (Maybe once lacrosse season is over, I'll put some time into setting up a portfolio) Nonetheless, I am far enough along the learning curve that I now have some specific shots that I know I can't get with a P&S and I could get with a DSLR. Hence why I had firmly decided that the next camera would be a DSLR until ...

Let me see,
- Yep I am using a tripod and monopod at different times
- Already using Lightroom, I can still get more out of it and have barely touched Photoshop
- Completely agree with the recurring theme of the "the camera that is out gets used" and if I could go DSLR & waterproof P&S then I would probably go down that path, but the budget (which is still pending approval) doesn't give me that option right now
- OK, the camera doesn't really bang around on the bottom of the canoe but it does stay out and yes I have learned to keep the lens clean after some wasted shots
- Martin's flower shot shows the kind of portrait shot that I generally need a larger aperture for than I can get with a P&S while his waterfall shows some of the smoothing that I need a smaller aperture for than I can get with a P&S (great owl shot by the way!)
- interestingly the picture of mine that is most often borrowed/stolen (and once even sold :D ) is the cover shot on my website that was an old Nikon P&S and is only a 1024X768 resolution which goes back to what folks have said about composition being as important as equipment
- The Go Pros are intriguing and have some cool features like time lapse BUT they have no zoom, no external mic and I believe actually require their housing to be waterproof - which leaves me thinking the Canon D20 and Pentax WG-3 are better options
- The SX50HS would give me RAW support, which is a step forward, and a CMOS sensor which would improve low light photos - still not DSLR equivalent by a long shot, but it would be a step up
- Digital zoom is a non-issue with the possible exception of video - I have seen a somewhat reasonable argument that since 1080p video is only using a fraction of the sensor anyway that the digital zoom wouldn't affect the quality - I haven't tested that yet
- The big selling point of the SX10, SX30 and potentially the SX50 for me has been zoom range. I'll try to post some comparisons of my wildlife shots with these cameras compared to my old SLR. The mother loon & chicks that I entered in the last photo contest is a good example of what I *can* accomplish with this kind of P&S. The SX20 that Wotrock mentioned is from this same series of camera models.
- all the cameras/lenses I'm considering are image stabilized
- one reason I have been convinced Nikon has the edge on image quality on the DSLR side is that they capture a wider dynamic range
- the mirrorless compact system cameras don't give me the much better autofocus capability (ie: go from 1 cross type sensor to at least 9 cross type sensors) that the DSLR would, while still having the limited initial zoom range based on what lenses I can afford. They are good for video but don't quite seem to the 'next step' that I'm looking for. The same is true for DSLR options that would be less expensive than the Canon T4i/T5i or Nikon D5200 as a starting point.
- video has become as important to me as still pictures

At the moment I think I'm leaning toward the SX50/D20 combination in part because the D20 should help extend the life of my other camera(s). It would also give me a 2nd camera to work with for videos. But darn it, I know I need to get to a DSLR to "progress". Unfortunately by killing my SX30 I think I'm stuck just trying to get back to where I was.

Author:  Splake [ June 5th, 2013, 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

The Fuji and Olympus waterproof options look good too, and both offer higher frame rates for 1080 video. That said, I am trying to minimize the # of different camera brands (and associated desktop software) that I use.

Author:  Oldand Fat [ June 5th, 2013, 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

I have a Olympus Tough TG 810 with GPS.
Great little camera.
Waterproof to 10 metres but will sink to bottom. A float is easy to make. AND a must to keep from "Smokeying" it. Sorry Sid. 8)
GPS "s l o w" to load. Usually about 10 minutes even with 6 satellites in "sight"of main GPS. Oh yes! GPS eats the battery life so carry several spare batterys.
Bright sun not easy to see screen to frame picture. Actually with polarized sunglasses on I can not see it at at all.
If I want several pictures fast I switch to video. I find it to slow for multiple shots of flying birds. It is timed in frames per minute should be frames per second.
Takes good underwater pictures or half underwater pictures. Fun. :D
I can drop it on a steel deck, no harm. One tip: After using it is salt water. Turn camera on and off so lens cover is open and closes when rinsing it in fresh water.
So far no problem with the water proof seals.
I have a Phototrackr that works with both my cameras so I now leave the Tough GPS shut off. I keep my Nikon D90 in a Pelican Case. I am still working on how to waterproof the Phototrackr and still have it receive GPS signals.

I have a problem with the GoPro!!! My wife will not let me buy one. :roll:

Stay safe

Author:  Paddle Power [ June 5th, 2013, 4:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Re the Pentax WG-3, did you mean the WG-10, as it has the 5x optical zoom.

Author:  Splake [ June 5th, 2013, 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

It was the WG-3 I was looking at. On second look it turns out it only has a 4X optical zoom which is strange because the WG-2 did have a 5X optical zoom. That does drop it lower on my list of waterproof options.

Author:  ravenlunatic [ June 5th, 2013, 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Its rare in my experience to have a really great shot that was totally spontaneous and most pros stage and plan their shots in advance -.

So that means showing up with the right equipment. I find each tool is skill set that takes practice. Light changes fast and knowing how to set up the shot right the first time is something only learned by having the equipment and practicing.

P&S is one skill set, and DSLR with zoom lens is another, and then DSLR with Prime lens is yet another skill I have had to learn.

My suggestion to you is decide what you like to do the MOST (landscape, macro, wildlife, night shots, etc ) and buy a kit that with that in mind and develop the "muscle memory" to set up your shot with your equipment.

For landscapes - its worth (in my opinion) popping for full frame camera body and a good zoom lens (18-110mm or 18-150mm) - you won't get the same results as a wide angle, but you will still get a great shot. In my opinion, Canon has the best value for money in this category with their Mark IV (whatever model you choose) -

For wildlife - you benefit from a crop factor in mid range DSLR - and if its birds, look for the camera body with the highest number of Auto focus points - and frames per second. You cannot shoot (most) birds in low light unless its artistic - but having a fast lens and ISO range that begins at 25 or 50 is really an advantage for owls (that hide in the trees). Nikon body is good in this regard - Canon ISO starts at 100.

If you like macro shots - the P&S (with raw) is a handy - waterproof to my knowledge is still only available in JPEG (unless they came out with something this year).

I'm sure there are other models out there which will do the job - so its really as much personal preference.

You learn to take care of equipment - good quality equipment will survive being dropped once or twice - for lenses - its a must have to buy one of those Hoya lenses that you screw on - like American Express, you never leave home without one.

PS is a life long journey - it hurts to buy it the first time, but its worth it if you choose to make photography more than just a snap shot hobby. However if you are like most of us and its a budget issue, then put off CS5 or CS6 this year and get a camera that shoots raw - ALWAYS keep your raw files (backed up of course) and then when you have the money - you can always go back and re-do them if you want in PS - or use the tiff file you created from LR - and import that into PS.

Author:  Splake [ June 6th, 2013, 12:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

The waterproof camera would cover the case where 'just because it is pouring rain and/or blowing snow I'm not going to stop documenting the trip/route".

Full frame is not a budget option at this point.

Some wildlife shots can be set up in advance, and I know I'll have to do that to eventually get the kind of kingfisher picture I want. At the same time, a lot of great wildlife shots are the result of planning to be spontaneous. Or as the Scouts would say "be prepared". :D

Anyway, I put off the decision for a few days by dropping off my SX30 last night to get a repair estimate. I'm not overly optimistic, but figured it's worth spending a few bucks on the diagnostic before spending hundreds on a replacement.

Author:  ezwater [ June 8th, 2013, 4:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Since '07 I've been using a Canon Elph SD800 IS in a Canon waterproof case. Not light, not compact, but easy to grab and use in an open canoe. Haven't had many great shots like those in this thread, but many, many very good shots.

I wanted to upgrade, and thought seriously about the Canon SX50. But honestly, in the closer confines of southeastern rivers, I seldom want super telephoto.

I ended up buying a Canon G15. Great low light performance, f1.8 at 28mm to f2.8 at 130mm equivalent. Fast starting, fast between shots. Excellent stabilization. An OK viewfinder, and a near-outstanding high resolution LCD display. Its sensor isn't as large as the older G!, but is large for such a compact camera.

It isn't an Elph, but it's fairly compact. Canon offers a waterproof case, which I plan to buy and try. Canon offers a teleconverter lens for those who want more "reach", but that would not be a practical option with the waterproof case.

I'll go on using my Canon Elph on most river trips. I believe it still equals nearly all "waterproof" cameras. If you aren't faked by megapixels, that is.

Author:  Splake [ October 2nd, 2013, 2:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

I finally got to order a T5i today. I had my SX30 fixed in the summer - yep it was water damage - but the cost came out a fair bit cheaper than replacing it. The T5i is coming through Airmiles, which is about the only way I can budget camera equipment, so it will be a few weeks before it arrives.

If I was spending cash, then I was leaning towards the Nikon D5200 instead but that wasn't an option and the D5100 really is a step down.

Author:  littleredcanoe [ October 2nd, 2013, 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Splake wrote:
I finally got to order a T5i today. I had my SX30 fixed in the summer - yep it was water damage - but the cost came out a fair bit cheaper than replacing it. The T5i is coming through Airmiles, which is about the only way I can budget camera equipment, so it will be a few weeks before it arrives.

If I was spending cash, then I was leaning towards the Nikon D5200 instead but that wasn't an option and the D5100 really is a step down.


Now the fun begins. After a while you will learn the relative shortcomings of the kit lens. It was just three years ago that I got the T1i when the T2i came out. And soon three additional lenses had to be acquired. The 1 still serves me well.

Better get more airmiles!

Author:  Splake [ October 2nd, 2013, 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

That was another factor in favour of the Canon - the fact that the Airmiles path could potentially add at least the 55-250mm lense, a flash and either the 40mm or 50mm prime lense. I'll still have to use real $ for the better quality lenses down the road, but this will get me started. I can also use the 35-105mm 3.5-4.5 lense that I already have from my film camera. It was a step up from the kit lense optics in it's day and if nothing else gives me better range than just the 55mm of the current kit lense.

I'm looking forward to seeing the cleaner shots with the larger sensor.

Author:  KerryG [ December 10th, 2013, 3:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

I too am in the market for a new camera. Everyone knows that for image quality you can't beat a DSLR. It's really the size of the sensor that makes the difference and of course the full range of manual control. That being said, a DSLR is just too big and bulky for me especially when I consider additional (long) lenses.
As I've shopped around, various cameras have caught my eye but I think I've landed on one that seems like the best compromise. I'm looking at the Panasonic FZ-200. In size and appearance it looks like a small DSLR. However it is actually a bridge camera, which means it's essentially a point and shoot (same size sensor) with a big zoom. But the zoom (equiv. 25 - 600mm) is a pretty big deal because it allows for f/2.8 aperture throughout the focal range. That seems exceptional to me since it gives this camera a huge leg up in low light conditions reducing camera shake, blur with objects that are in motion and allows for the depth of field that transforms good long shots into great ones. And it shoots both JPEG and RAW. But I haven't pulled the trigger yet. Anyone have experience with the FZ-200?

Author:  Splake [ December 10th, 2013, 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

The only question I have for you is on your depth of field comment which you seem to associate with the f/2.8 aperture. A large aperture like f/2.8 gives you a narrow depth of field which is probably the opposite of what you want on those high zoom shots as a smaller aperture will give greater depth of field which in turn is more forgiving on focus. Or are you specifically looking for that narrow depth of field?

I haven't checked the Panasonic, but one of the drawbacks of my Canon bridge cameras is that they have a minimum aperture of F/8 which is still fairly large.

Author:  KerryG [ December 10th, 2013, 5:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

To be honest, I haven't used an SLR camera extensively since there were SLR cameras. In my ill spent youth I did quite a lot of photography, dark room work, all that. But in the last 40 years or so (yoiks!) I haven't had much to do with SLRs and now DSLRs. But what I remember, or think I do, is that shots with a long telephoto and a wide depth of field tended to flatten out. When shooting a bird with a 600 mm lens I would prefer to have the subject in focus and the background more blurred. If I have the option to shoot at f/2.8 I can do that and always go to a higher stop/smaller aperture if I want a wider depth of field. Whereas if I'm limited to smaller aperture settings as I zoom out, those options aren't available. Do I have that right?

Author:  Splake [ December 10th, 2013, 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Yeah that sounds right. You do have to be more accurate with the focus with a larger aperture, but getting that blurred background certainly helps the subject stand out.

I've had great results with the Canon SX10/SX30 and I'm still using them for that huge zoom range, just like you are looking at the Panasonic for.

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