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Video Cams go to 34x optical zoom, why not Digital Cams
Am planning a big road trip around the rocky mountains next July, and am beginning to look for something to shoot photos with in the ~$600 range. I'd like to get it a couple months before hand so I can get used to shooting, etc..

One recommendation I got from a friend was to consider a Camcorder with a 30 Gig HD as there are several models that have 32-34x optical (not digital) zoom. I'm wondering why camcorders can support that while most long range digital cameras I've seen go to 15-18x, and the ones above 12x all seem to have issues with image quality..

For my purposes, I know I'm looking a bit at extremes. I want something with a sharp auto focus that can handle a good macro mode as well as a long zoom. I currently have a Canon 2IS which does a decent long zoom, but auto focus in macro almost doesn't work..

I don't want a camera with interchangeable lenses because I'll be doing a lot of hiking, and don't want to spend a lot of time switching between two or three lenses..

Any thoughts?..

Comments (5)

Video camera sensors are very small (and they can, resolution is very low too), lenses are not very fast, and yeah, resolution is low so you see the IQ issues much less..

Ewan Grantham wrote:.

Am planning a big road trip around the rocky mountains next July, andam beginning to look for something to shoot photos with in the ~$600range. I'd like to get it a couple months before hand so I can getused to shooting, etc..

One recommendation I got from a friend was to consider a Camcorderwith a 30 Gig HD as there are several models that have 32-34x optical(not digital) zoom. I'm wondering why camcorders can support thatwhile most long range digital cameras I've seen go to 15-18x, and theones above 12x all seem to have issues with image quality..

For my purposes, I know I'm looking a bit at extremes. I wantsomething with a sharp auto focus that can handle a good macro modeas well as a long zoom. I currently have a Canon 2IS which does adecent long zoom, but auto focus in macro almost doesn't work..

I don't want a camera with interchangeable lenses because I'll bedoing a lot of hiking, and don't want to spend a lot of timeswitching between two or three lenses..

Any thoughts?..

Comment #1

If your final output is basically one megapixel, you can make compromises on the lenses without making them obvious..

Video is actually lousy image quality. That's why you can get away with what are essentially lousy lenses..

Nothing is enough for the man to whom nothing is enough...

Comment #2

As others said, the smaller the sensor, the smaller the actual focal length needs to be for the effective focal length. This makes it cheaper to build a "high powered" lens..

Also note: At 34x, you needs a VERY stable tripod because any camera movement is magnified greatly.Warm regards,DOF..

Comment #3

OK, so the camcorder images won't be all that good I'm gathering, although they will be closer and moving....

However, every review I've seen of a digital camera over 12x seems to imply that their quality is poorer also. I certainly don't want to spend money to get a poorer image. So what "should" I be looking at?..

Comment #4

P&S cameras have two things working against them:.

- They all have very small sensors. As another poster noted, so do video cameras, but P&S still cams are trying to pack millions of pixels onto said sensor where as video is very low resolution (1080p high def is still less than 2 megapixels). This invariably involves compromises, the most prevelant of which is digital noise at higher ISO settings..

- They (typically) don't have the highest quality lenses, as they're marketed to folks who are as much budget conscious as they are image quality. There are exceptions, but particularly in the "superzoom" category you're asking for an awful lot from a lens on a budget. Chromatic aberation and distortion are common in these lenses, particularly at the extreems of the zoom range..

Having said all that, "Poor IQ" from a P&S superzoom camera will still blow the doors off of anything you could get from any video camera - even a brand new HD model. You have to remember that the standard against which these things are judged is perfection, or at least the best that can be done with current technology. "Poor", when the standard is so high, can still be very very good..

The reviews have to be taken in context. You compare reviews of similar species. The review of one P&S can help you compare it to another P&S, but not necessarily to a DSLR and certainly not to a video cam. Stills and video are, IMO, completely different and have little or nothing to do with each other. If you want to shoot video, great - lot's of good reasons to decide that. Same goes for stills, just don't try to decide between the two based on the equipment. It's not a valid comparison...

Comment #5

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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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