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Thread: Newcomer queries

  1. #1

    Default Newcomer queries

    Hi! I just joined this forum. I've some queries though.

    I'm a trekker with the NSS, API and Naturetrekker societies etc and recently I've began an interest in birdwatching too.

    As Nikon and Canon are leaders in cameras I would like to invest in one of them. Of course, asking each party's users would tatamount to starting a brand war which I believe the mod here would not allow. However, I need some clarification as I get differing comments from their users too.

    1) I was told that Canon camera is better for nature photography while Nikon is better for urban photography. I don't believe so but is it true?

    2) I was told that Canon aftersale service is lousy as compared to Nikon. You'll need to wait longer at their service center before being attended too as compared to Nikon. Is this also true?

    3) For comparison sake would a 10x magnification on a bino, DSLR camera, videocam and a birdscope be identical for all of them? Of couse birdscope uses more than 10x magnification. I choose 10x because anything more than 10x for a bino and DSLR camera is just simply too heavy to carry and will require a tripod. As for videocam and birdscope they can easily go up to and beyond 40x magnification. Can someone elaborate these differences in terms of equivalent DSLR len's focal length? I ask this question because I would like to see which or a combo (e.g. digiscoping with DSLR camera + birdscope vs DSLR camera + telephoto lens) of these devices would best suit my needs.

    4) As my interests also take me into the dark side too I would like something to be able to see and shoot in the dark ie. under NO light condition rather than LOW light condition. I know SONY videocam can do this for it can shoot and record in the dark. I've also a couple of active IR NV binos besides bino for daylight use. FI, my investment in a passive IR device is on the way

    Any help? Thanks
    Last edited by Travelmate; 31st May 2009 at 11:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    First of all.

    The cameras are all tools, there is no such thing as better for this purpose vs better for another purpose. Just more of a matter of preference as well as how deep your pockets go.

    As for service centres, both have been plagued with complaints as well as ppl who stand by them. It's pretty subjective. You can do a search on the sub-forums for more posts on these subjects.

    Now, with DSLR's... we normally discuss them according to the focal length and also refer more to the 35mm SLR standard. As such, this is not easy to understand from a layman or scope user. Add in the crop factor, and you'll have another factor to confuse you by.

    Actually for most of the birding gear for DSLRs, you'd need to use a good tripod and may also need flash (and possibly a flash extender). Read up more and you'll get a better picture.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  3. #3
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    As for no light conditions, I believe there are no DSLRs at the moment which is capable in this sense. But there are some which are very capable in low light and high ISO, e.g. Nikon D3
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  4. #4

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Hi zac08

    Thanks for answering my first 2 questions.

    I'll need a clearer answer in terms of comparsion for my question 3). Try explaining the 10x thing on the mentioned devices wrt to a DSLR len's focal length then it'll be clearer that way.

    As for the last question I've seen trekkers moving in the dark and flashing their cameras away. I suppose that can take good static pictures but you sure scare away creatures. Is there any added accessories that can be attach to a DSLR camera for this purpose?

    One more question. To see a bird pretty clearly from afar (like the color of its beak and the chest feathers) you'll need to have at least 500mm focal length lens i.e. the equivalent of 10x or more for a bino. Am I correct?


    Thanks
    Last edited by Travelmate; 31st May 2009 at 12:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post
    Hi zac08

    Thanks for answering my first 2 questions.

    I'll need a clearer answer in terms of comparsion for my question 3). Try explaining the 10x thing on the mentioned devices wrt to a DSLR len's focal length then it'll be clearer that way.

    As for the last question I've seen trekkers moving in the dark and flashing their cameras away. I suppose that can take good static pictures but you sure scare away creatures. Is there any added accessories that can be attach to a DSLR camera for this purpose?

    One more question. To see a bird pretty clearly from afar (like the color of its beak and the chest feathers) you'll need to have at least 500mm focal length lens i.e. the equivalent of 10x or more for a bino. Am I correct?


    Thanks
    Let me try...

    a normal bino of say 8 x 50mm has a magnification factor of 8 with a optical lens diameter of 50mm.

    And on a SLR, we term 50mm as the basic or normal angle of view. If you're comparing this, then 500mm would give you 10x magnification factor.

    As mentioned previously, there is a crop factor for most of the lower end DSLRs, with Nikon (which I'm familiar with), the crop factor is 1.5. So if you have a 300mm lens, the 35mm equivalent is 450mm which would give you a 9x mag. A 400mm lens on crop of 1.5 would give you 600mm (@35mm equiv) and would be 12x mag.

    And yes, it depends on the distance of the bird and how close you can creep up to it. Most birders would start from at least 400mm onwards.


    Accessories for low light? That I'm not very sure.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  6. #6

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post
    Hi! I just joined this forum. I've some queries though.

    I'm a trekker with the NSS, API and Naturetrekker societies etc and recently I've began an interest in birdwatching too.

    As Nikon and Canon are leaders in cameras I would like to invest in one of them. Of course, asking each party's users would tatamount to starting a brand war which I believe the mod here would not allow. However, I need some clarification as I get differing comments from their users too.

    1) I was told that Canon camera is better for nature photography while Nikon is better for urban photography. I don't believe so but is it true?
    I don't think it is true. It depends how the photographer utilize the camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post

    2) I was told that Canon aftersale service is lousy as compared to Nikon. You'll need to wait longer at their service center before being attended too as compared to Nikon. Is this also true?
    I would advice you go to the Canon and Nikon sub forum, you should easily found your answer there. I think there is a thread talking about service after sales.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    You need to understand that 10x zoom is relative to the widest angle of a lens. so a 10-100 would be a 10x zoom, as would a 30-300 or a 50-500. It's all 10x.
    Alpha

  8. #8

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Hi zac08

    I'm taking the DSLR camera as a reference. FI, your 50mm does not refer to the lens diameter of the bino. For DSLR camera, a measurement of about 50mm is considered to be similar to human vision for a 35mm film format.

    Therefore, a bino with 10x magnification (zoom) is similar to a lens with 500mm focal length on a full-frame camera whereas on a non-full frame camera with say a crop factor of 1.5 would require a 333mm focal length lens, right? Either way the lens is long and heavy for prime lens.


    Rashkae is right to say that 10 - 100, 30 - 300 and 50 - 500 all have a 10x zoom. Any reason(s) why such difference lens of the same zoom are made? So, for the same 10x zoom which is best for bird watching presuming all are from the same manufacturer?

    Thanks

  9. #9
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post
    Hi zac08

    I'm taking the DSLR camera as a reference. FI, your 50mm does not refer to the lens diameter of the bino. For DSLR camera, a measurement of about 50mm is considered to be similar to human vision for a 35mm film format.

    Therefore, a bino with 10x magnification (zoom) is similar to a lens with 500mm focal length on a full-frame camera whereas on a non-full frame camera with say a crop factor of 1.5 would require a 333mm focal length lens, right? Either way the lens is long and heavy for prime lens.


    Rashkae is right to say that 10 - 100, 30 - 300 and 50 - 500 all have a 10x zoom. Any reason(s) why such difference lens of the same zoom are made? So, for the same 10x zoom which is best for bird watching presuming all are from the same manufacturer?

    Thanks
    How long or heavy is another matter as there are lenses made with different max aperture values. Those with larger apertures would be heavier and also more expensive of course.

    As for why there are different zoom distances is due to the fact that there are ppl with different requirements. For the all rounder casual shooters, an all-rounder like the Nikon's 18-200mm would be a great tool as it gives approx 11x range. But it does not reach as far as a 50-500mm would. It all depends on your final requirement and how much you need the lens to zoom out or to zoom into.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    How strong are you?
    A lot of DSLR for birding need strong tripod to mount it on, and lense is very heavy. On top of that you have to consider weather proofing of the equipment as you will be in the nature.

    How timid are the birds?
    Setup of dslr takes time especially the tripod and mounting it and all those can disturb the peace and the bird will fly away.

    Probably you will be better of with digiscoping. google that.
    Last edited by aryanto; 1st June 2009 at 12:00 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Leong23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Since you are already a member of NSS, why not just follow the birding outing by AWA......you will able to see the actual setup you need and there are equally numbers of Canon and Nikon user.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    aryanto,

    I'm not a strong guy and on top of other devices like binos, water bottles etc which I'm also carrying I would rather not use a tripod but select a comfortable and not too heavy camera with minimium camera accessories so as to maximize my trip of trekking cum bird watching.

    Certain areas the birds are sitting on the trees pretty close to the ground whereas for others they are pretty high up, flying or far away which are inaccessible due to the terrain. Either case setting up of camera is not I want. What I want is auto focus with IS/VR and zooming capability all within my two hands. No tripod as mentioned otherwise it'll add to my carrying weight. I think a total weight on my two hands not exceeding 1.3Kg would be ok for some pretty good shots in a short span of time.


    Leong23,

    Yes, I do observe some users from NSS especially those from the bird groups carrying tripod and shooting away. No one is the winner as what you said as they carry Nikon and Canon cameras.


    FI, Ive just visited the showrooms of Canon and Nikon. I've taken a look at the entry-level and mid-range cameras and I'm still contemplating as to go for which make and which model.

    Real headache here
    Last edited by Travelmate; 1st June 2009 at 08:27 PM.

  13. #13
    Member luntut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    best to get something you need. the bigger the number the better, in terms of mm, for bird watching.

    a 10x means nothing, as what rashkae mentioned.
    Last edited by luntut; 1st June 2009 at 07:25 PM.
    Fast Camera. Fast Lens. Slow Me. Sigh.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Leong23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    For entry level.....

    For Nikon, will be 300mmf/4 + 1.4TC (i'm using 1.7TC)

    For Canon, will be 400mmf/5.6 + 1.4TC

    Not sure about Canon, for Nikon, it is good to invest in D300 for it 51AF points, the 3D tracking work wonders with AFS lenses......a big advantage in birding.

    Get a decent tripod and ballhead (prefer acra swiss system) and a sidekick is really good to have. If you have some spare budget, get at flash bracket (example, wimberley F-2) to prevent steel eyes.

    If you are going into those big gun (500mm or 600mm), a gimbal head is recommanded.

  15. #15
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post
    aryanto,

    I'm not a strong guy and on top of other devices like binos, water bottles etc which I'm also carrying I would rather not use a tripod but select a comfortable and not too heavy camera with minimium camera accessories so as to maximize my trip of trekking cum bird watching.

    Certain areas the birds are sitting on the trees pretty close to the ground whereas for others they are pretty high up, flying or far away which are inaccessible due to the terrain. Either case setting up of camera is not I want. What I want is auto focus with IS/VR and zooming capability all within my two hands. No tripod as mentioned otherwise it'll add to my carrying weight. I think a total weight on my two hands not exceeding 1.3Kg would be ok for some pretty good shots in a short span of time.


    Leong23,

    Yes, I do observe some users from NSS especially those from the bird groups carrying tripod and shooting away. No one is the winner as what you said as they carry Nikon and Canon cameras.


    FI, Ive just visited the showrooms of Canon and Nikon. I've taken a look at the entry-level and mid-range cameras and I'm still contemplating as to go for which make and which model.

    Real headache here
    Seriously... if you wanna shoot handheld with the longer lenses, I'd say forget it... just go and observe (it'll be much better)
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  16. #16

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Hi!

    I think I'll do this.

    Purchase a camera with a built-in motor and a AF zoom lens without a built-in motor. This will reduce the lens weight since there's no built-in motor and it'll also be shorter than a prime lens, how's that? Quality of shot is another issue.

    I know the D90 comes with a built-in motor but not sure of the D300. How's the Canon equivalent? Do they also come with built-in motor in the body?

  17. #17
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Canon has no motor in the body, all Auto Focus lenses have AF motor (either Ultrasonic [USM] or the normal focusing motor) inside. The same goes for all 3rd party AF lenses for Canon.

  18. #18
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post
    I know the D90 comes with a built-in motor but not sure of the D300. How's the Canon equivalent? Do they also come with built-in motor in the body?
    D300 has a built in motor as well. ( and higher models )

    Octarine has answered ur query on Canon bodies.

    Ryan

  19. #19

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    1) I was told that Canon camera is better for nature photography while Nikon is better for urban photography. I don't believe so but is it true?
    Not always true.While it is true that Canon has a wider range of teles such as a 400mm f5.6 and 800mm f5.6 which Nikon does not have, You can always add a TC to your long lens to get longer reach ie.300mm f4 + 1.4X TC = 420mm f5.6.The Nikon D3,D700 and D300 have blazingly fast AF and is usable at very high ISOs so freezing birds in flight is possible in low light.The D3 and other pro Nikons are also have outstanding build quality and ruggedness which often beats Canons.
    2) I was told that Canon aftersale service is lousy as compared to Nikon. You'll need to wait longer at their service center before being attended too as compared to Nikon. Is this also true?
    I personally think it is the opposite.While it is sometimes true you need to wait at Canon longer to get something done (Because more people using Canon), They have more service centres and have longer opening hours.I don't really know about Canon's service standard but I have gotten bad service from Nikon staff before...

    4) As my interests also take me into the dark side too I would like something to be able to see and shoot in the dark ie. under NO light condition rather than LOW light condition. I know SONY videocam can do this for it can shoot and record in the dark. I've also a couple of active IR NV binos besides bino for daylight use. FI, my investment in a passive IR device is on the way
    No camera or video camera can shoot in NO LIGHT.Extremely low light is possible with both Canon and Nikon although these require FF sensors which tend to be very ex.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Newcomer queries

    TS - u may consider getting a cam body with high ISO performance (nikon - D300/D700/D3 canon - 50D, 5Dmk2) they all have pretty useable picture at ISO 3200 which should give u better chances at handheld shooting. as for lens, on budget your choice will be sigma 50-500 and 150-500 both lens come at a pretty affordable price of under $2k. 150-500 got IS/VR while 50-500 dont have (any user with these lens pls correct me if wrong on the IS/VR)

    recently went to the wetland reserve, using D700 and a 70-300, reach is really lacking even at 300mm, but handholding is pretty ok.



    personal thoughts - a nikon D300 (crop factor 1.5x) with sigma 150-500mm, i get 225-750mm reach with such a setup. this setup should be a very balance setup in terms of budget and IQ (anyone can correct me on this, my recommendation is purely based on specs)
    D80/D700 18-135/17-50/14-24/24-70/70-200/70-300/50/60 SB600/900

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