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Should I upgrade to a super zoom for rainforest trip?
I'm strictly an amateur though I and others believe I've got a really good eye. I've got a KM A200 which for the most part I've been extremely happy with because of the quality of the photos I've been getting. And, quality of resolution is bottom line for me. When we realized the limitations of this camera as far as low light and faster moving subject capabilities we added a Fuji F30 as a supplement. When I bought the A200 I thought I'd buy a camera with lots of flexibility in features in case I wanted to really get into photogrraphy as a hobby. It hasn't happened, and I use the P setting most of the time with the exception of when special settings are called for.

When we are on vacation I use it intensively, but the rest of the time it primarily just sits in a drawer..

We are leaving in a little over a week for Peru. Nearly half of our time will be spend in a lodge in the far reaches of the Amazon rainforest. We'll be doing typical nature activities thereobserving the flora and fauna. Just the other day I started to wonder if maybe we should get a new camera with a longer telephoto than the A200's 28-200 range. So, I did some research and came up with a couple possibilitiesPanasonic Lumix DMC fZ18, Olympus SP-570UZ, Fuji S100 fs. Then, my husband said maybe we should think about getting an older camera that is not new to the market and therefore cheaper; we would take it along merely as a supplement because of it's super zoom.



Bottom line is should we even upgrade or should I just rely on my ability to resize and crop what the A200 has taken after I get home? I know that I do not intend to sit for long periods of time just hoping to get that rare shot of an animal or bird. And, I know that those super shots I see published are taken by people with extremely specialized equipment and fantastic lenses. That's not me. Plus, I know I do not want a DSLR. I like the convenience of a bridge camera for travel; this is all I want to haul around..

I guess I should also put in these thoughts. One of the primary reasons I bought the A200 was because of the wider 28 angle. If I were truly looking at a rreplacement, not just a supplement, wide angle would be a must. I really like the mechanical zoom ring on the A200; it drives me nuts using the toggle switch for zooming on the Fuji, and I don't like the fact that there are imited stops within this zoom. I hate to use the screen to compose and use the eyefinder nearly all the time unless it's a really odd angle and I want to use the flip and twist on the A200..

I am not a camera collector. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks...

Comments (16)

The Lumix has the 28mm to 500+.

If I was going to the jungle I'd want the Lumix. Just remember to watch out for humidity with ALL your cameras. They can get moisture on the inside of them even if it's not raining or you don't get them wet. Buy the Lumix for the flora AND the fauna. And have a good trip...

Comment #1

If you haven't bough Fuji F30 already, then consider buying Canon TX1 as pocket camera. It will supplement your camera for telezoom and will not sit in your drawer later as you can carry it everywhere. Don't worry too much for low light results. One rarely prints these larger than 8"x10" and the results at that size are acceptable (imperceptible noise/NR artefacts.).

Else Panasonic FZ18 will be your best bet for tele-zoom but good results will require shooting in RAW mode (which is fast enough on this camera). JPGs are not good enough (more so in shadow area of pic)..

Juliest wrote:.

I'm strictly an amateur though I and others believe I've got a reallygood eye. I've got a KM A200 which for the most part I've beenextremely happy with because of the quality of the photos I've beengetting. And, quality of resolution is bottom line for me. When werealized the limitations of this camera as far as low light andfaster moving subject capabilities we added a Fuji F30 as asupplement. When I bought the A200 I thought I'd buy a camera withlots of flexibility in features in case I wanted to really get intophotogrraphy as a hobby. It hasn't happened, and I use the P settingmost of the time with the exception of when special settings arecalled for.



We are leaving in a little over a week for Peru. Nearly half of ourtime will be spend in a lodge in the far reaches of the Amazonrainforest. We'll be doing typical nature activitiesthereobserving the flora and fauna. Just the other day I startedto wonder if maybe we should get a new camera with a longer telephotothan the A200's 28-200 range. So, I did some research and came upwith a couple possibilitiesPanasonic Lumix DMC fZ18, OlympusSP-570UZ, Fuji S100 fs. Then, my husband said maybe we should thinkabout getting an older camera that is not new to the market andtherefore cheaper; we would take it along merely as a supplementbecause of it's super zoom.



Bottom line is should we even upgrade or should I just rely on myability to resize and crop what the A200 has taken after I get home?I know that I do not intend to sit for long periods of time justhoping to get that rare shot of an animal or bird. And, I know thatthose super shots I see published are taken by people with extremelyspecialized equipment and fantastic lenses. That's not me. Plus, Iknow I do not want a DSLR. I like the convenience of a bridge camerafor travel; this is all I want to haul around..

I guess I should also put in these thoughts. One of the primaryreasons I bought the A200 was because of the wider 28 angle. If Iwere truly looking at a rreplacement, not just a supplement, wideangle would be a must. I really like the mechanical zoom ring on theA200; it drives me nuts using the toggle switch for zooming on theFuji, and I don't like the fact that there are imited stops withinthis zoom. I hate to use the screen to compose and use the eyefindernearly all the time unless it's a really odd angle and I want to usethe flip and twist on the A200..

I am not a camera collector. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks..

Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612Thanks for visiting and leaving comments ..

Comment #2

Whatever you coose with any of these super-zoom small-sensor-equipped cameras is going to be a compromise and won't be much better than your A200. On an important and demanding trip like the one you're planning is compromise really such a good idea?.

What I'd advise is to get an old Pentax K10D body which is is rugged and has dirt-seals (under $800 for the body at Amazon) and to put just one travel lens on it. Tamron 18-200 for example. It's 10MP sensor will allow plenty of cropping potential. Later you might like to add lenses and you'll find it even takes old lenses that go WAY back..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #3

As I recall, the rainforest can be pretty dark..

If you are anticipating long-reach wildlife photos in dim places, pay close attention to f-stop at max zoom as well as the max usable ISO at high crop...

Comment #4

Dave Martin wrote:.

As I recall, the rainforest can be pretty dark..

A friend of mine who has just come back from an Amazon rain forest trip (in Equador) said that it was too dark to shoot anything during daylight but that she got wonderful insect shots at night - probably with a ring flash..

Chris R..

Comment #5

To add to all the other comments. If you are going to shoot "scenics" under the forest canopy, you're going to need 24mm at least (that's 35mm equivalent). I spent 16 years working in rain-forests and used a 24mm lens all the time..

For the rest, what the other guys have said sounds fine..

Dave..

Comment #6

As others have said, it is often gloomy in the rain forest - the exceptions being clearings. Having said that, the weather can be gloomy itself!.

Within the rain forest you might be trying to photograph birds in trees. Not that easy with AF - it selects a convenient branch for focus rather than your chosen subject!. That means MF for which you need a good optical viewfinder. A fast lens would be helpful. unfortunately, these requirements imply a substantial budget for a decent DSLR and lens(es) and an appreciable period of familiarisation..

You'll be lucky to see any wild animal life..

Other subjects include insects which will need reasonable close up abilities.Sandy..

Comment #7

Taking all your advice in I'm guessing that the only people who truly get great shots in the rainforest are those who have top of the line equipment, who sit and wait and wait to get the perfect shot, and who have great cameras with capacities for low light conditions. I didn't realize that it would be so dark during the day that I'd have to anticipate lots of difficulties too. Perhaps I should plan to rely on my memories of the entire experience rather than planning on getting anything more than some general shots..

We already own the Fuji F30 and do take this along as a pocket camera often. Now the decision is whether or not to invest in something new like the Lumix and do a fast learning curve in the next 8 days..

The comments about it being gloomy and dark bring back to mind an afternoon I spent visiting the giant redwoods in California this past fall. It was raining and gloomy and I think I used my flash to get a shot of my friends. I'd forgotten how dark it actually is in this type of forest..

We have one more idea that we're going to play around with today. We have a teleconverter from an old Olympus bridge camera. We're buying a conversion ring to attach the teleconverter to the Minolta. It's a really cheap investment (under $10) and we'll see what the results are; I think it will extend the Minolta's max from 200 to 300. Thanks again...

Comment #8

I think that teleconverter idea might be a good idea. At least you'll be familiar with the camera..

However unless you get a DSLR (to allow the use of higher ISO's which will facilitate shooting under the dark plant canopy) you might end up with more trouble than you think..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

This shot (not in a real rain forest, but in the Tropical Biome at the Eden Project) shows about the best it's going to get with dappled light. I wanted max DOF, some motion in the water, and best quality from the Fuji 9100, hence the 1/12th second exposure at ISO 80. The camera doesn't have anti-shake either and so had to be held really steady. The real rain forest will be significantly darker and so I would have thought your A200 with anti-shake would be quite helpful.

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #9

The far reaches? Roughing it, eh?.

I think what your husband said is good advice. Something used. Watch out for humidity. Take some large ziplock bags. For the plants the A200 is fine. I'm certain with all of your traveling you know there will be long walks through the Amazon (and maybe something in the high altitude Andes?) so you don't want anything heavy or cumbersome.

Depending on the trails..

Oh, take real mosquito repellant and wear at least ankle high hiking boots. Don't stand in one spot too long if it isn't a clearing either.  Have fun!Infinity is forever...

Comment #10

To add because I read your post too fast ... I actually think your camera and lens choice will be fine. No need to purchase anything extra ... except maybe one of those camera backpacks. Still take the ziplocks, etc.Infinity is forever...

Comment #11

Nativeoregonian wrote:.

The Lumix has the 28mm to 500+If I was going to the jungle I'd want the Lumix. Just remember towatch out for humidity with ALL your cameras. They can get moistureon the inside of them even if it's not raining or you don't get themwet. Buy the Lumix for the flora AND the fauna. And have a good trip..

This can be somewhat avoided by keeping them warm. Dont have them sit under the aircon with you then take them straight out into the heat..

We take our cameras underground and before we can use them we have to have them in the cab with the heater up fullroar to heat them up other wise the lenses will not stop fogging..

Simple explanation is when a cold object is put into a warm humid environment it cools the air in contact with it. Cool air carrys less moisture so the moisture drops out in the form of watr covering our camera/lenses..

Comment #12

Well airconditioning won't be a problem. We'll be so far out that there is no electricity except for a small amount of time that the generator is turned on to do things like charge camera batteries..

I am still mulling this over thoughmy local camera store has everything on sale. Does anyone have any experience with any of these 3Panasonic Lumix DMC fZ18, Olympus SP-570UZ, Fuji S100 fs? Obviously they all have longer zoom, but I'm wondering how they compare to the A200 I already have as far as resolution and lens quality. Thanks again...

Comment #13

First let me make it clear I've no experience with any of these cameras..

Second, I'm weighing your desire for a long zoom heavily..

In that case, I use the following logic for hand-held photos of slow subjects:.

Limiting hand-held exposure_time proportional to IS/focal length where IS is 1 for no Image Stabilization and maybe 3 for image Stabilization.

For a given scene the following group of terms must be constant:.

Brightness*ISO*exposure_time/F-Stop_Squared.

Substituting the hand-held limit at max zoom for dim light results in wanting to maximize the quantity:.

IS*ISOmax/(F-Stop_at _max_zoom_Squared*Focal_length_at_max_zoom).

For the cameras you listed the FZ18 is on top, followed by the oly, trailed quite a bit by the Fuji. This result was due to the fact that the max ISO I used was estimated from the little pictures of Elizabeth II in the reviews here and the Fuj's lack of IS. I just guessed the Oly could do ISO 400 acceptably..

The FZ18's F-stop at max zoom is 4.2, while that of the Oly's is 4.5 so at the same reach the FZ18 can shoot a scene about 13% dimmer than the oly (about the same.) The Oly's broader range may be an over-riding plus(26mm-520mm FZ18 v 28mm-520mm Oly).

I was quite surprised at the result. I expected the Fuji's much larger sensor to compensate for it's lack of IS..

I hope someone will comment on the Fuji's high ISO performance...

Comment #14

Sorry to be a wet blanket for your ideas but a TC, although increasing focal length, will reduce image quality substantially. Almost the only ones that are worthwhile are expensive ones specially made to match a specific expensive lens. By all means have a play if all you have to spend is on an adapter ring but check the results against a cropped image without TC. Look at colours, contrast, CA, as well as detail.Sandy..

Comment #15

I haven't read the rest of the threads, but the biggest problem consumers have with superzooms is the performance at the longest focal length. Most often the consumer has no idea how to properly operate the camera at longer focal length or has no idea why the camera acts why it does at longer focal lengths. The result is blaming the camera, when in fact it's the user..

Any longer lense (in ~300mm equivalent range or longer) requires special attention for it's use..

1) Hand holding a lense of this focal length is very difficult, even with image stabilization. You must know how to adjust the aperture and ISO to compensate for this..

2) You must be able to approximate the equivalent focal length and adjust the shutter speed to "1/focal length" to obtain shake-free images. Using image stabilization will reduce the necessary shutter speed..

3) Depth-of-field becomes paper thin at long focal lengths. If you don't know what depth-of-field is, you need to read up about it. An image can be in focus with respect to the camera/sensor, but out of focus with respect to the final image you see due to very shallow depth of field..

These are very significant things to consider when purchasing an all-in-one camera, and things which the manufacturers don't tell you..

Tim'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' -Mahatma GandhiE3/E-1/E410/7-14/12-60/50-200/EC-14/C8080http://www.flickr.com/photos/timskis6/..

Comment #16

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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