What super zoom camera should I buy?

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
andrewcrossland
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Location: Christchurch

What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby andrewcrossland » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:13 am

Hi folks, I only have limited room in my luggage so no bulky SLR for me. My trusty canon powershot SX50HS has died so I'm after on advice on whether the best replacement (as a bird photography camera) is the canon SX540HS, Sony DSC-H400, Panasonic DC-FZ80GN-K or nikon B700?
I want a camera that takes great focused pics at super long range as its mainly waders and Waterbirds I want to photograph.
My gut feeling is that because my 6 year old SX50HS was pretty awesome the newer version should be just as good, but maybe that's wrong?
Any advice appreciated.
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ourspot
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Location: Tutukaka Coast

Re: What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby ourspot » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:55 am

Hi Andrew

I've had the SX60HS for about 3 years now and I've had some great shots and a heap of fun with it though it does have it's limitations (as you may have found with the SX50). It's got a 65x optical zoom so fantastic for ID shots of birds that are a long way off (can zoom nearly as far as a good scope). And given the perfect light conditions it can take a cracking quality shot. The best shot's are never quite as sharp as an expensive DSLR lens setup up but for the $550 I paid for it is one fantastic camera, without being at all cumbersome to cart around.

The limitations are purely to do with it having a smaller width lens and smaller sensor than a big DSLR. The lens barrel is pretty thin so sometimes it doesn't let in enough light on dimmer days and you can end up with some graininess to the shots (especially when you are at full zoom), and it's fairly limited when in the bush where the darkness limits you're shutter speed to being a bit to slow to capture the birds sharply unless they sit perfectly still (which they tend not to do :). One of the beauty's of the camera is using the macro setting you can focus on things that are only a few mm away, so that's a pretty exceptional zoom range out of the one lens.

Overall for the price, ability to ID distant birds easily, ease of use and transport it's been fantastic. As usual you get what you pay for and a big expensive DSLR will provide a super sharp photo but for $550 I very impressed with the quality I get out of this. Canon were taking a couple of years back about a possible 100x zoom version - not sure if that's ever eventuated.

Another option is the set up Oscar Thomas uses which has a lens with great zoom range on it (up to 600mm I think) and he gets some amazing shots. I'll let him tell you the specs of the body and lens but for the price, it not being huge and heavy, and the quality of shot, it seems like a great deal and I'm very tempted for that to be my next setup

Cheers
Scott
tony crocker
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Re: What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby tony crocker » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:27 pm

Hi Andrew I'm using a Lumix FZ1000 (25-400). A couple of years old, it was the best of the bridge cameras at the time as I too didn't want to go back to SLRs due to weight. I'm more than happy with it. Tony.
andrewcrossland
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Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby andrewcrossland » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:33 pm

Hi Tony, great to hear from you.
The canon SX540HS is on sale at JB Hifi for $390 so a pretty good price. I bought by SX50HS in Singapore for SG $750 in 2012 so the price has come down a lot. It had a 50x optical zoom and a 200x digital zoom, which although grainy was really valuable for long distance record shots.
The other cameras I listed though have better optical zooms so does that mske a difference?
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kengeorge
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Location: Golden Bay

Re: What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby kengeorge » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:47 am

For a (literally) pocket-sized camera with Leica optics the 35mm equivalent of 24-400mm, the Panasonic Lumix TZ-90, super fast and easy to use, travels well and readily available through the likes of Harvey Norman. Highly recommended.
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The Laird
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Re: What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby The Laird » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:14 pm

Hi Andrew. I have A Panasonic Lumix Tz 30 a great wee camera but what I miss with it and most other small cameras is a view finder which the TZ 90, Kengeorge has. This is an important tool as most screens on the back of cameras are useless in bright light apart from putting a hood over your head that is.
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kengeorge
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Location: Golden Bay

Re: What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby kengeorge » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:37 pm

Just an added comment to the above about the TZ-90, it senses whether you're looking through the viewfinder or the rear screen and automatically switches between the two, no need to switch manually between the two. Also, the rear screen, which takes up most of back of the camera so is nice and big, is hinged so that it can be folded out 45 degrees so you can use the camera in a 'look-down' configuration- great for getting low POV shots, and even hinge the screen through a full 180 degrees so you can see in live-view the framing for your own 'selfies'. Go and have a look at one in a shop, you'll be impressed.
sandyw
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Re: What super zoom camera should I buy?

Postby sandyw » Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:38 pm

I have had a NIkon P900 for over 2 years now and think it is fantastic. 83 times zoom seems ridiculous, but it has super image stabilization and can be used inn the hand at full zoom without a problem. It is my favourite camera for travel and birding and I can't praise it highly enough. The sensor is small, so it is not possible to crop and zoom on a computer but the optical zoom is so good you don't need to. It takes shots that are not far off those obtained with top flight equipment. I started looking for a 400-500mm lens and ended up getting this entire camera for one third of the price. It has a large diameter lens and takes super low light shots as well as zooming to an equivalent 2,000mm.

Well over 2 years of use now and thousands of photos taken with many used on the web. If I lost it I would buy another one tomorrow. Cost about $750 at the moment.

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