Micro Four-Thirds With 600mm Vs. Superzoom With 1200mm

Biro

Hall of Famer
Aug 7, 2011
Jersey Shore
Steve
I'll assume m43 and superzoom are the only options. In terms of focus, m43 us the way to go. in terms of resolution, i'm not so sure. if you crop the m43's 600mm equivalent down to 1200mm eq., your 16mp is reduced to 4mp. These 4mp will be sharper than the superzoom at 100%, but will they be sharper than a superzoom downsampled to 4mp? I dont know. As for noise, the same basic principle applies. Assuming a 16mp superzoom, downsampling it to 4mp gives it a 2 stop noise advantage over its normal output at 100%, if my math is correct. Not quite enough to overtake the m43, but much closer than normal. ofcourse if you use the m43 at less than 1200mm equivalent its advantage is maintained to a larger degree.
Bart... This gets down to the crux of my original question. No doubt that APS-C or full frame with a proper big, fast, long lens will give the best results. But I really can't afford that now. I already have the micro four-thirds camera and I already have the 100-300mm lens. I'm sure I can get reasonable results with that - at least sometimes. The question is... is it worth picking up one of the better superzoom bridge cameras? It sounds like the final results might not be dramatically different.
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
Hmm my brevity there might come across as being snippy, but it's not intended.

I simply mean that before buying another camera, use the gear you have, as that's by far the best way to establish whether it's going to deliver what you want or not, and if not, then you can buy a bridge cam and see how that suits you.

Of course, if you simply fancy buying a bridge cam and can afford it, do that as well :)
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
S W France
Bill
agree about using what you have

If you buy a "bridge" you may be disappointed as far as bird shots are concerned.

getting as near as you can with what you have is the most "cost effective" way of achieving better results, particularly if you have a nature reserve handy with a "public hide" or concealed viewing point ……. failing that set up "feeding stations" in your garden and see what you M43 and 100mm 300mm can do ……. if you can use a tripod, all the better
 

john m flores

All-Pro
Aug 13, 2012
I suspect that the small sensor super zooms will be ok in bright light but will struggle in the shade or fading light. Remember, at the long end you'll likely want 1/1000s and faster shutter speeds which will force you to push ISO must faster than normal.

I'm camping with those that say to shoot your M43 for now. Or get a Q7, an EVF loupe, and an old Pentax M150 F3.5...
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
Biro,

First, check this out with regard to how much various camera/lens/sensor combos can magnify at long range:

https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=30576&highlight=figure+merit


Second, take a look at this and pay special attention to the difference between the wide shot and the close-up -- these were all taken with an FZ150

https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=20418&highlight=eagles+dare

Finally, take a look at these shots, taken with the FZ200, most at full optical and digital zoom -- roughly 1200mm equivalent:

https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=29478&highlight=talking+fz1000

If those look good enough to you, then a superzoom will do the job if all you want is to capture wildlife images for your own amusement. All of the shots at the links above were taken handheld.

I am a huge fan of the FZ200, and Graham Houghton has written a very nice manual for it, as well as some "tip" cards," that are available free online.

If I had an unlimited budget, I would buy the Nikon 1 v3 and the 70-300 lens (see the first link in this post).

Cheers, Jock
 

Biro

Hall of Famer
Aug 7, 2011
Jersey Shore
Steve
Thanks, Jock. It's clear that a good number of those superzoom shots would be good enough.

It occurs to me that for the same $300 outlay for a superzoom bridge camera - or less - I can pick up a Pentax Q7 body with a 1/1.7" sensor (same size as the Olympus Stylus 1 and Panasonic LX7) and use my DA 55-300 zoom on that. That's a 1410mm equivalent at the long end of that zoom. It's hard to say what the quality will be (f/5.8 aperture at the long end of that zoom as well). I still have my Pentax-branded Q-to-K adaptor that I kept when I sold off my original Q kit last year.

So perhaps it's best to take the advice to shoot with my E-M5 with the 100-300 on it and maybe toss the Q7 in for when I really need reach. The expenditure wouldn't be that much. And if I decide that I'm really getting into it, I can always go for the big, heavy, expensive gear later - when I can afford it better. Or buy a convenient superzoom bridge camera if I decide it's a casual amusement.

Anyone try the DA 55-300 on the Q or Q7?
 

Kin Lau

Regular
Oct 23, 2012
I actually have the GH3 + 100-300, Lumix FZ200, and Canon 7D + 300/4 + 1.4xTC, and I use all three.

The FZ200 is a superzoom, 25-600/2.8 equiv, great for walking about and just in case cam. I've even been able to shoot warblers with it. The EVF doesn't compare to the GH3 though. It is fantastic for shooting subjects very low to the ground like frogs and such.

I use my GH2 and GH3 mostly for video, but they work decently for non-bif shooting. The EVF is much better than the FZ200, and I'm able to track BIF in video mode very well, such as Gannets and Terns feeding, diving etc.

Then there's the 7D, it's almost 5 yrs old but you can't beat it for tracking a small bird thru trees and branches/foliage. Using my wife's 400/5.6L, I was able to catch a warbler in flight.

As for pixel quality, the FZ200 might be 12mp, but they don't hold up that well when cropping, not compared to the GH3 or 7D.
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Nov 15, 2011
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
reviving this thread again, the age old conundrum :)

We've been to the coast this weekend and saw grey whales again spouting in the distance. Would have loved to "get a closer look".

The Olympus SP-100 seems to be great when it comes to handling and usability (with that dot-sight finder and all)? But according to imaging resources superzoom comparison the image quality is a bit lacking.
They seemed to be quite impressed with the Nikon P600's image quality. (On the downside the P600 seems to have very slow write speeds and sometimes focussing troubles?)

Does anyone have real-world experience with the Nikon P600 in particular? Or the SP-100?

Would I get closer/better results than this? (These are from January this year with the Olympus E-M5 & 75-300mm)



cheers,
Tilman
 
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
Tilman.....are these crops? I used a few different m43 bodies with the Panasonic 100-300 and was always pleased with the results. If used a few different superzooms and am only OK with the results in good light. Then I went back into DSLR land and bought a Sigma 50-500. The IQ was killer, but the weight was enough that I decided it wasn't worth the bother.....especially since I would only use it for long shots...and long shots will likely only be 10% or so of my shots.

I think the m43 is about as good as it gets in the IQ per size trade-off you propose. Reread post #19 for a better explanation. I think the Nikon 1 system actually wins overall, but that is a pretty big investment if just for the long range. Good luck in your search. Maybe I'll take my Fuji HS50EXR out tomorrow and see what I can do with it again at the 1200mm end.
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
One question that I would ask about the example above is that even if you were to double your focal length to 1200mm equivalent and retain the same pixel level quality are you really going to be able to make out a whole lot more? It would seem that even more zoom would be required to create a substantially different image.

While I have owned some from time-to-time, I find that telephoto and supertelephoto lenses and especially high quality versions of either are a hard type of lens to justify buying and carrying because of their price, size and specialty application.
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Nov 15, 2011
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
Thanks Luke and Nic!

Yes, these are 100% crops. These guys were pretty 'far out' :)

Your replies make complete sense, and confirm what I kind of guessed already (but didn't want to be true :-D ) :
If you want to keep your camera/lens size at a "smallish" level, then the results I got with the 75-300mm on m43 are in the ballpark of what's possible to get...

I'd need a considerable bigger change in gear to make a difference. And even then... these guys are so far away.
At this distance there will always be plenty of atmospheric haze, heat haze, etc between them and me, reducing the amount of detail that will be possible to get.

Oh well, wishful thinking... might have to look into booking a whale watching boat tour at some point. Probably the better "solution". :)
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Nov 15, 2011
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
you can always go big …………
:tup: I'm sure that would do the trick, Bill.

But not really the one-lens-solution for my style of found photography... where there's always some amount of walking or hiking involved. :p

I'll just have to accept this limit imposed on me by my chosen gear... and be happy about the freedom I get in return and the many other things I can photograph. :)
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Nov 15, 2011
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
in a "glass half full" way of looking at it: I'm pretty happy that I got these whale photos at all...
Tiny and unspectacular as they are for most people, they're great memories for me and my wife.
And with no other system than m43 (other than a superzoom ;) ) I would have carried a 600mm all the way out to the tip of Cape Lookout. :)
 

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