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Posted: 8/18/2004 8:57:52 AM EST
My thread answering this hasn't made it to the Archives yet... And this isn't answered in the other camera threads.


What zoom power do I need in a digital camera?

I want to take a picture of a person 200 yds. I need enough power so that on a 5X8 photo, the person fills the paper head to toe. I don't need to zoom any closer to identify the face - just need full body shots.

I see some cameras with 4x zoom but have no idea if that's enough. I don't really even understand what 4x means...if I take a pic at 100 yds with a 4x zoom, is that the same as taking the pic at 25 yds with zero zoom?

And should I go digital or optical zoom?

Guess the quality of the camara also comes into play, but for now I need to zoom factor.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:00:41 AM EST
digital zoom enlarges the pixels - it is pure hype, go with optical

how much is your budget?
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:01:45 AM EST
Go to www.dpreview.com and read the forums there - you'll find more information on cameras on a camera site .
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:04:11 AM EST
@200 yards, you would need some of the longest and most expensive glass available. The only digitals remotely capable of this are high end digital SLRs with a very long telephoto, 600mm or longer. You are talking thousands of dollars for both lens and camera.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:05:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By Merrell:
how much is your budget?



Free would be good.

I'm unemployed, and was gonna try to get a camera to occupy my time for a bit. I was thinking about Ebay or the local mil base. Just depends. I don't need all the whizbang stuff; I just want to take some pics - no video.

Rant - they make everything so freaking "do everything" now.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:06:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By cduarte:
@200 yards, you would need some of the longest and most expensive glass available. The only digitals remotely capable of this are high end digital SLRs with a very long telephoto, 600mm or longer. You are talking thousands of dollars for both lens and camera.



I think you told me that in the other thread. HAHA! Thanks again. I just couldn't remember...
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:07:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By Garonda:
Go to www.dpreview.com and read the forums there - you'll find more information on cameras on a camera site .



Yep, got that saved.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:16:55 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 9:17:43 AM EST by Merrell]
so this "person" that you need to photograph at 200 yards... hot neighbor?

(btw, you can cheap out on a long tele by using one of these + adapter + a 35mm film camera (just have the pix scanned, unless you plan on shooting a ton, in which case a Nikon or Canon digital body, ~$900, is in order)


Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:17:22 AM EST
I'd love to help ya, but I don't use point and shoot cameras all that often, if ever. Mine is a SLR type digital. This may help with the digital Vs. optical zoom questions.

As far as the what zoom to go with, I couldn't tell you as I use all interchangable lenses.

Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:19:14 AM EST
200 yards is a long ways away. What power scope would you need to see a man's silouette (sp?) full frame at that distance? Probably more than a 3-9X scope could provide, I'm guessing.

Now, in photo terms, a 3-9X scope would be the 35mm SLR equivalent of a 150-450mm zoom. (When you read "X," think "power.") A camera lens with that range would be pretty pricey. Off the top of my head (and using Nikon as an example since that's the system I use in my jobs), while there are no zooms in that particular range, a new 200-400mm Vibration Reduction Nikon zoom lens runs just over $5000.

Surfing photographers who shoot from the beach set up 600 or 800mm lenses (and longer) to capture up-close images of their subjects. Believe me, those pieces of glass are worth more than my truck!

Also, from what I've been told, digital zooms produce very degraded images. If you're looking for sharp pictures, rely strictly on the glass, not a cheap computer program. HTH
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:24:00 AM EST
A decent fixed focal length long lens that won't break the bank is the Tokina 400mm f5.6 (discontinued but still available on eBay for $250-350)

A tripod is a must (very fast film will be too grainy and will negate the effects of good glass)

The Orion Shorttube (or equivalents from other manufacturers) are in the same range (magnification-wise) and a shade cheaper, but are bulkier

Reflex lenses (mirror lenses or cats) can be had for cheaper still (for generics) but images are dim and optical quality is iffy.

Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:25:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By cduarte:
@200 yards, you would need some of the longest and most expensive glass available. The only digitals remotely capable of this are high end digital SLRs with a very long telephoto, 600mm or longer. You are talking thousands of dollars for both lens and camera.




Yup thats where you have to make a choice. When you figure that a 600mm F4 IS(image stabalisation) USM(ultrasonic motor) lens for acanon runs about $7,100. Yah it's up there. Hell my 70-200 F2.8 ran me about $1500. Oh and even with that 600mm lnes you'd still have to crop out a bunch of shit. You still couldn't just drop the image to 5X8 and have it be what wou wanted.


Link Posted: 8/18/2004 9:31:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 9:35:08 AM EST by Merrell]
So he should pony up for the 2000mm f11 Reflex-Nikkor?

BIG glass



Link Posted: 8/18/2004 10:15:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 10:19:03 AM EST by Backstop]
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 3:04:35 PM EST
Canon Digital Rebel $800
or
Canon 10D $1370

75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 EF IS $415

Those cameras sensors are not full size and thus the focal length of the lense is multiplied by 1.6

the 300 becomes a 120-480mm

Get the 2X tele-extender $280 and you now have a 240-960mm lense.

Add a memory card and a sturdy tripod and go to town.

Please note that the 75-300IS Does NOT have a tripod mount ring on it and it plus the 2x tele-extender may put too much stress on the Rebels lense mount, the 10D should be fine.

Contact Canon USA for their advice on that issue.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 3:07:28 PM EST
Budget choice is the Fuji S5000 it has a 10X optical zoom. $320 37mm-370mm equivelant lense.

Optical zoom is all that matters just pretned that the digital zoom doesn't exist because it sucks and sucks hard.

Link Posted: 8/18/2004 3:18:49 PM EST
no point in getting IS lenses if you are using a tripod, zooms are crappier, heavier & more expensive than primes (fixed focal length lenses). Figure out what focal length you need, and get the fastest prime lens, body & tripod you can afford. If your subject is static (not fast moving sports) speed can be sacrificed a bit, best performance of lenses is stopped down a bit anyway (ie: use f8 for that f4 - f5.6 lens) use good film (tests here and here ) and a good scanner and you can get more "reach" via enlargements...
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 3:25:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 3:37:06 PM EST by NoVaGator]
I can tell you that a human will just about fill your frame top to bottom (portrait orientation) with a 300mm lens on a digital camera that has 1.6 "sensor magnification" at 25 yards

Basically, you're screwed.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 3:35:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 3:38:19 PM EST by NoVaGator]
Ok, here's an image from about 50 yards with a 300mm lens:

Edit: the goalie is at 50, the guy in black is probably at 42 yds or so.

Link Posted: 8/18/2004 4:56:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 4:57:01 PM EST by Backstop]
Great info, guys. I'll print this all before the next server upgrade. HAHA!

Looks like my camera buying just got put on hold. I've been laid off since mid May, and I talked to our manpower mgr 30 mins ago - I may not be going back to work until the first of the year. If that's the case, I gotta hit the road - I'll be out of unemployment before then.

Damn economy.
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