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Needing Outdoor Wildlife camera
I am looking for a digital camera with a good picture and zoom to use outdoors to capture pictures of wildlife and nature for under $350. I don't know all that much about digital cameras but the basics. I don't care much about the video ability mainly just wanting pictures. Size and color also do not matter. Are there any recommendations that I should research?..

Comments (12)

There are some Fujis out there.Also take a look at the long-discontinued Olympus C-2100 UZ..

The problem is that long zooms on the tiny sensors of p&s cameras just don't cut it. That said, you don't have to spend thousands to get there. An older Olympus E-300 or E-500 will cost a couple hundred bucks. Then you can buy a used 50-200mm lens for around $500. When you combine the 4/3rds focal length multiplier of 2.0x due to it's smaller sensor size than Canon or Nikon, you end up having a 100-400mm lens when compared to traditional 35mm equivelent. That's a WHOLE LOT OF POWER for under a grand.

There's also a 1.4x multiplier piece you can purchase later for around $150 that will make that 50-200 into a 70-283 & that's 140-566mm for about a Grand!!!!!!.

This shot is from probably 40 meters away. That animal fills up the frame pretty good. I could get fairly decent moon shots with that set up, and if you've ever tried that then you know you need both resolving power and zoom. A p&s just doesn't cut it, not when you compare it to a dSLR. Notice in the picture that there isn't much grainy or noisy specs in the dark shadows, a point & shoot camera is going to have a lot of noise by comparison. Do yourself a favor and figure out a way to beg, borrow, and get that Olympus setup because it's 2.0x multiplier and low cost for great glass is tough to beat.



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Comment #1

Wow, that is an excellent shot. I will really look into that camera set-up. Since it is split up in between the camera and lenses I might be able to create that set-up a little bit at a time. Thank you for the info...

Comment #2

Another good DSLR setup would be the Nikon D40 with 18-55 and 55-200VR lenses. About $700..

If a DSLR fits your budget, that's certainly the way to go. Otherwise, you're looking for a "superzoom" camera like the Canon SX100-IS, S5-IS, or many, many others...

Comment #3

Silvercobra wrote:.

What is P&S and dSLR?.

P&S is Point and Shoot - which fits into your budget..

DSLR is Digital Single Lens Reflex - in other words, a digital version of a 35mm film camera..

Point and shoot's have built-in lenses, DSLRs have interchangeable lenses. An affordable DSLR lens that will be long enough to do wildlife is about $600, all the way up to $6000 for the lens really needed to do the job (500-600mm) (Those prices don't include $500-$1500 for the camera body). A good wildlife lens compromise is something like Canon's 400mm F5.6 lens, which is an 'affordable' $1000..

Honestly, for wildlife a $350 camera won't even come close to doing the job. Point and shoot cameras have very small sensors in relation to DSLR's which means more noise due to cramming too many Mega Pixels into too small of an area. They employ short focal length lenses who's image is cropped heavily by the small sensor. In other words, something that will fill up the frame on a point and shoot image, will be woefully small if that same image was projected onto a much larger DSLR sensor..

To put it into perspective - I shot this yesterday - a common woodpecker - about 9" tall. This was shot with a DSLR and 420mm lens from only 10 ft away (and is cropped horizontally):.

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This was 226mm from only 50ft away:.

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As you can see, even with long lenses, close proximity to the wildlife is necessary for good shots..

Some cool cats that can use your helphttp://www.wildlife-sanctuary.org.

Even if you can't donate, please help spread the word...

Comment #4

I see, so getting a P&S camera would not give me the pictures I am looking for and be a waste of money. Thank you for all the information. I will look into a dSLR camera. One more question: If I get a DSLR camera first(camera body,) will the pictures still be good as long as I get close to the objects? Does the lense only extend the range of the pictures?..

Comment #5

If I am understanding you correctly, a DSLR won't work without a lens attached...

Comment #6

Silvercobra wrote:.

I am looking for a digital camera with a good picture and zoom to useoutdoors to capture pictures of wildlife and nature for under $350. Idon't know all that much about digital cameras but the basics. Idon't care much about the video ability mainly just wanting pictures.Size and color also do not matter. Are there any recommendations thatI should research?.

You can get a DSLR camera and a Sigma 70-300mm APO Macro lens. The lens will cost you around $200 new. A DSLR camera body will cost you around $500 or more when new. Since I am a Pentax user I naturally recommend a Pentax DSLR. Either a used Pentax *ist D or DS for around $300 or a K100D for around $500 new. The total (lens + camera) will be around $500-$700.

I don't recommend the Nikon D40 or D40X because you are really limited in lens choice. most AF lenses without in lens motor will not autofocus on the D40 and D40X. The Canon 20D body is a bit expensive but it can shoot at 5fps and it has low noise at high ISO settings (ISO 400 and 800 are pretty much nearly noise free). If you get a Canon, make sure you get the Sigma lens with the DG (digital) designation as earlier Sigma lenses may not work on the 20D...

Comment #7

With a DSLR, assuming the lenses are of equivalent quality, changing the lens length only changes the field of view, not the image quality...

Comment #8

I shoot Fuji/nikon pro gear, but given yoru price range, I would take a good look at Pentax K100D and 50-200 lens. It is generally considered one of the best 6mp bodies, has image stabilization built in, and can be bought for under $400. Also the Pentax 50-200 lens is considered very sharp for a consumer telephoto. Add a 18-55 kit lens in for other type photos and you are still under $700 for 18-200 range both image stabilized. That's less than I paid for my Nikon 18-200 VR travel lens alone...

Comment #9

The FZ18, will not have quite the IQ of a good DSLR, but it fits your budget and, has a long zoom, and does a nice job with wildlife. Go take a look as some of the wildlife shots from it on the Panasonic forum.Joel Orlinsky.

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Comment #10

Silvercobra wrote:.

I see, so getting a P&S camera would not give me the pictures I amlooking for and be a waste of money. Thank you for all theinformation. I will look into a dSLR camera. One more question: If Iget a DSLR camera first(camera body,) will the pictures still be goodas long as I get close to the objects? Does the lense only extend therange of the pictures?.

A P&S camera could very well give you the pictures you are looking for. Take a look at these shotshttp://forums.dpreview.com/...ums/readflat.asp?forum=1033&thread=25655780Joel Orlinsky.

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Comment #11

Hi,.

I'm very much an amateur, but I will offer my own experience. I purchased a Canon S2 to take on safari to Tanzania last year. (The equivalent camera available now would be a Canon S5.) It was affordable and had both a 10X zoom so that I could capture the far-away animals, and image stabilization, which countered the motion of the vehicle we were in. (Tripod use was not practical in that situation.) Certainly, I could have done much better with a DSLR, but I still got a lot of fantastic shots, even of the more distant animals. The photos were good enough for some excellent 8x10 prints. One nice feature of the camera was that it could take little movies, such as one of the dung beetles rolling a ball of dung along the road, or the elephants as they ambled past us..

I think you should get what you can afford, whether it is a point and shoot with a very good zoom, or a DSLR...

Comment #12

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