Thursday, 21 November 2013

Camera Musings

Wednesday wasn't a bad day after some overnight rain cleared away quickly in the morning leaving some decent sunny periods before it clouded over again by the middle of the afternoon. In the early evening it started to rain and despite the forecast for showers dying out it continued to rain through to around midnight. The rainfall amounted to 15.2mm a good job it wasn't snow.
During Tuesdays visit to RSPB Old Moor with no birds to photograph Sue and I tried out our cameras to see just how they compared. Firstly this is what I managed to photograph with my point and shoot Panasonic camera.
This is a simple shot with my camera and is pretty obviously just a general shot looking out from the hide over the reserve. You might not be able to spot that right in the middle of the picture on the far bank of the lake is a large nesting box. It might be point and shoot (Panasonic FS45) but it takes images with lots of Megapixels so it’s possible to zoom into the image and see the nest box. The above image when taken by my camera was 4608 x 3456 pixels and used 6.12Mb. For blogging purposes it’s been reduced to 800 x600 pixels and just 0.47Mb.
This is a view of the nest box obtained by enlarging and cropping the original 6.12Mb image. The nest box can be identified but enlarging any further results in a very blurred and pixilated image of the nest box. 

Now if I use my telescope to do a little bit of digiscoping and take a picture from the telescope eyepiece with the same point and shoot camera I can get a much enlarged shot of the nesting box.
Of course it’s much easier to digiscope with an inanimate object that doesn't fly away or run off as wildlife has a habit of doing. It does take a while to set everything up and focus both telescope and camera on the object you want to photograph. Still if there an any birds to take I can happily click away until my camera battery runs out. Most images will be deleted but you never know when you might be lucky and capture a really good image.
This is another shot from the hide this time taken with Sue’s Panasonic FZ72 super zoom camera looking out over the reserve. We spotted some cormorants in the small lake in the middle of the picture. Sue captured the picture below but ventured into the extended zoom capability of the camera beyond its optical range of 1200mm  based on 35mm camera technology.
At this setting the photograph is taken with the equivalent of a 1325mm telephoto lens using 35mm camera zoom lens equivalent. It’s difficult to hold the camera steady using such a powerful zoom lens but provided the image isn't enlarged too much then it’s quality not too bad. We may have to try with a small tripod to see how much the quality is improved by keeping the camera steady whilst the picture is taken.

Again digiscoping produces a closer up image of the birds but again holding the camera steady to actually take the picture is almost impossible resulting in a slightly blurry image but at least it’s possible to distinguish that some of the birds virtually out of sight were indeed cormorants.

It’s the act of pressing the shutter that cause movement so I might try some video with the camera and then check the quality of images grabbed from the video.

Perhaps it would have been much better if we’d actually had some birds to photograph rather than having time to mess around with our cameras.


  1. An interesting post. My eldest tries to photograph things down the Slimbridge telescope sometimes. He's saving up for a DSLR, so I don't think I'll be seeing my zoom lens once he has one! It's interesting to see what results you got with a point and shoot camera. Pretty good I think.

    1. Odd going around various RSPB reserves how many photographers stick with a DSLR camera and a whopping great telephoto lens to go with it. Must be honest I take mine sometimes but don't always use it. Sue's Panasonic has a better zoom than my DSLR, 500mm against 1200mm, and takes great pictures. Weight Panasonic 0.640kg compared with Nikon D3200 and 500mm lens 2.56kg. I know what I'd replace my Nikon with - but then the Panasonic perhaps doesn't quite look the part!


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