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Camera choice for Alaska?

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On 4/1/2019 at 5:27 PM, jaycruising said:

Have you looked into a mirrorless?  It allows for the beautiful shots of a DSLR, but with the size of a compact.  I switched from my Canon over to the Sony A6000 mirrorless and do not regret it one bit.  I took the attached on my Sony, using a zoom lens.

Whales.jpg

I've also had the A6000 (and now the A6300) for travel and love it.  Lightweight and great pics.

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On 4/2/2019 at 4:28 PM, masterdrago said:

I've read that most of the current mirrorless cameras can shoot video on the fly and grabbing a still shot from that video is not a complicated issue when you get back home. Like someone mentioned, rent a mirrorless and an 18-400  for a few days to check it out.

Video is (almost) never at anywhere close to the resolution (megapixels) that still shots are at. HD is 2mp, etc. So if you're hoping for a great shot as a video extract, dim your hopes. There are also limitations to what you can get from a frame grab depending on the "codec" used to create the video file - only one frame every so often is stored as the entire frame, and then subsequent frames only track which pixels had changes. For situations where a lot of pixels are changing (panning the camera to follow an animal, etc.), the video capture may not be ideal except for the "key" frames where the whole frame was captured. Technology is always improving, but manufacturers also have to deal with compromises all along the way (how fast of a memory card do they want to require, how much storage space per minute do they want the video to consume, etc.).

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On 4/2/2019 at 6:00 PM, Oakman58 said:

 

Actually many bridge cameras and point and shoot cameras offer continuous or burst shooting up to 10 frames per second so there is no shutter lag to deal with.

Here's an example of continuous shooting with my Fuji S8200 bridge camera.  Taken from the second deck at Busch Stadium.

Continuous/burst shooting still needs to focus before the first shot and (depending on settings) between each shot, so I wouldn't say there's "no" shutter lag. There's also a lot of action that could happen in between each shot - even my fastest DSLRs only capture about 1% of the true time that I'm shooting in burst, so little things could easily happen in between the barrage of shots that get missed. For things that you're not familiar with (whale breaches are a great example, but perhaps even some sporting events, and definitely young kids), burst can do a good job of getting _something_, but I often feel like what I wanted to capture happened just before the second shot in the burst, so had I simply timed it better, I would have had a better shot.

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15 hours ago, spraynet said:

OK, that was really impressive!  I think I've found my camera.

 

Now....If I remember correctly, there are at least two different models of the FZ1000   I forget the exact titles but one has another letter in front, one has another letter in between, etc. 

 

Which exact model would you recommend for a camera "Idiot".  Yes.....I'm going to order it soon so that I can play with it and actually read the manual.  I really want to be fairly familiar with it when we get to Alaska.

 

Thank you all so very much! Your all nice folks!

 

The FZ1000 is the original model. The new camera is the FZ1000II. You might want to search for a comparison between the two models. Here is one really helplful review I found:  https://www.focuscamera.com/wavelength/panasonic-lumix-fz1000-ii-specs-images/ The new model has is the touch screen. And there's a new feature that might come in handy for shooting whales: 

". . . but in short, 4K PHOTO mode automatically takes multiple photos in an instant. The Lumix FZ1000 II has a notable increase in frames per second from the previous model; it jumps from 12fps to 30fps.

This feature was made with movement in mind; if you plan on using this camera for action photography (think sporting events or animal photography), 4K PHOTO will grab the perfect shot almost every time."

 

Have fun with your shopping!

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16 minutes ago, peety3 said:

 

 

17 minutes ago, peety3 said:

Video is (almost) never at anywhere close to the resolution (megapixels) that still shots are at. HD is 2mp, etc. So if you're hoping for a great shot as a video extract, dim your hopes. There are also limitations to what you can get from a frame grab depending on the "codec" used to create the video file - only one frame every so often is stored as the entire frame, and then subsequent frames only track which pixels had changes. For situations where a lot of pixels are changing (panning the camera to follow an animal, etc.), the video capture may not be ideal except for the "key" frames where the whole frame was captured. Technology is always improving, but manufacturers also have to deal with compromises all along the way (how fast of a memory card do they want to require, how much storage space per minute do they want the video to consume, etc.).

I'm most likely thinking of some obscure instruction I had read in my GoPro manual or online. Much better than 2mp.

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22 minutes ago, peety3 said:

Continuous/burst shooting still needs to focus before the first shot and (depending on settings) between each shot, so I wouldn't say there's "no" shutter lag. There's also a lot of action that could happen in between each shot - even my fastest DSLRs only capture about 1% of the true time that I'm shooting in burst, so little things could easily happen in between the barrage of shots that get missed. For things that you're not familiar with (whale breaches are a great example, but perhaps even some sporting events, and definitely young kids), burst can do a good job of getting _something_, but I often feel like what I wanted to capture happened just before the second shot in the burst, so had I simply timed it better, I would have had a better shot.

I don't care how good of a camera you have or how good of a photographer you are, getting that perfect fast moving animal shot involves quite a bit of just "dumb luck".  At least by using a fast burst you are increasing your odds!  I sure wish we could get those whales to cooperate and pose for a bit - or least give us some more warning on when and where they are going to breach!  That is why my DH and I will both be taking shots at different zoom levels on our whale watching excursions.

 

I related a story on another camera thread about how I was on a small group photo safari in Alaska.  Out of the 8 of us I was the only one with a P&S (actually a Bridge camera).  The others all had fancy DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses.  When a baby whale unexpectedly surfaced right next to our boat  (it actually hit the boat - our engines were off at the time) I was the only one who got the shot as everyone else had to quickly try to change their lenses as we had been watching the mother and the baby who were at the time we saw them at least 100 yards away.  That is one of the reasons I purchased my 18-200 mm lens.  

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1 hour ago, masterdrago said:

 

I'm most likely thinking of some obscure instruction I had read in my GoPro manual or online. Much better than 2mp.

1920 pixels x 1080 pixels (assuming 16:9 proportions) = 2.1 megapixels. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080p

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56 minutes ago, Sunny AZ Girl said:

I related a story on another camera thread about how I was on a small group photo safari in Alaska.  Out of the 8 of us I was the only one with a P&S (actually a Bridge camera).  The others all had fancy DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses.  When a baby whale unexpectedly surfaced right next to our boat  (it actually hit the boat - our engines were off at the time) I was the only one who got the shot as everyone else had to quickly try to change their lenses as we had been watching the mother and the baby who were at the time we saw them at least 100 yards away.  That is one of the reasons I purchased my 18-200 mm lens.  

That's why I take three cameras and 3-4 lenses on excursions. It varies for each trip, but last time was a camera hanging from my left shoulder with a 16-35, a camera hanging from my right shoulder with a 70-300, and a camera on a monopod with a 600mm. I've gotten very good at "tossing" the big lens/monopod into my left elbow and grabbing either other camera. With good autofocus settings, the 16-35 in particular can be "shot from the hip" for quick close-ups when needed. Lots of ways to solve challenges...

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1 hour ago, peety3 said:

That's why I take three cameras and 3-4 lenses on excursions. It varies for each trip, but last time was a camera hanging from my left shoulder with a 16-35, a camera hanging from my right shoulder with a 70-300, and a camera on a monopod with a 600mm. I've gotten very good at "tossing" the big lens/monopod into my left elbow and grabbing either other camera. With good autofocus settings, the 16-35 in particular can be "shot from the hip" for quick close-ups when needed. Lots of ways to solve challenges...

I am impressed!  But I am too much of an amateur to make that kind of investment into camera equipment.  And too much arthritis in my neck and shoulders to have that kind of weight hanging on me, LOL!

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these 2 still's where grabbed out of 4K video on my FZ1000 just last week and both were zoomed in at a good distance away. I'm pretty sure the quality is better than 2 megapixels. 

P1000690 (2).jpg

P1000769 (2).jpg

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4 hours ago, Daveintb said:

these 2 still's where grabbed out of 4K video on my FZ1000 just last week and both were zoomed in at a good distance away. I'm pretty sure the quality is better than 2 megapixels. 

 

 

Those are really nice pictures. I believe stills taken from FZ1000 4K video are 8 megapixels.

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6 hours ago, peety3 said:

1920 pixels x 1080 pixels (assuming 16:9 proportions) = 2.1 megapixels. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080p

I see your point. A still photo will always have a higher quality than a frame grab. Again, I think I was referring to the GoPro 7 Black. So it might be pushing those prints from video grabs in a nice printed album to more than 7"x12" for close viewing. And if you decide to do a larger wall print, make sure the viewing distance is not to close. I think the 4k video out of the GoPro is a 4:3 format at a resolution of 3840x2160. I'll need to play with mine. Also in burst mode or continuous mode it can take 30shots/sec if lighting is good at 12mp. Also, a 4k screen capture of a hirez video frame would be ~ 3840x2160. But an image from photo burst or photo continuous would still only be 12mp not 20 or 30 like some of the better still cameras. But think about what most do with their vacation pix.... FB, web and email sharing. Not exactly Hubble class.

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On 4/3/2019 at 7:25 PM, spraynet said:

OK, that was really impressive!  I think I've found my camera.

 

Now....If I remember correctly, there are at least two different models of the FZ1000   I forget the exact titles but one has another letter in front, one has another letter in between, etc. 

 

Which exact model would you recommend for a camera "Idiot".  Yes.....I'm going to order it soon so that I can play with it and actually read the manual.  I really want to be fairly familiar with it when we get to Alaska.

 

Thank you all so very much! Your all nice folks!

It's also advertised as the DMC-FZ1000.  Same camera.  However, if you're planning to shop online, be aware that there are both US and "international" versions sold.  The difference is usually around $100 - the "international" one is cheaper, but it won't carry a warranty valid in the US, so any repairs/returns will be on your own nickel.  Personally I'd be sure the one you get is the US version.  

 

I don't have any stop-action taken with mine, but I think it's pretty terrific.  Here are a couple of "static" shots which illustrate the camera's terrific lens and the virtue of its big sensor.

 

Skyline Drive, Virginia

 

Skyline-020a.jpg

 

Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle (big Bering Sea crabbers in blue in the distance)

 

P1000106as.jpg

 

Nets and lines, Fishermen's Terminal

 

P1000113bs.jpg

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Thanks everyone for all the awesome feedback.  I certainly do have some thinking and research to do! 

 

I was determined to buy a point & shoot camera which would fit in my pocket, have a great zoom lense, have a great burst mode for taking whale photo's all while doing this with one lense. Then....I learned about the Panasonic DMC FZ1000 II, and while it seems to fit all of my wants, its NOT a pocket sized camera.  BUT, it does accomplish all that I want it too, with the exception of being small.  

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if you look at my 2018 trip report on the 2018 trip report page or deep in this thread, the pics I took were with a 10 y.o. Canon T3i DSLR.  Very basic model that takes good pics.   Canon has a free  utility you can do some more-than-beginner edits with..  Some pics taken with a 18-55 mm standard lens, some with a wide-angle extension on that, and some with a 300 mm zoom.

 

I am not a photog but I have researched a bunch.  Suggest the same and see what is best for your needs.

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21 hours ago, spraynet said:

Thanks everyone for all the awesome feedback.  I certainly do have some thinking and research to do! 

 

I was determined to buy a point & shoot camera which would fit in my pocket, have a great zoom lense, have a great burst mode for taking whale photo's all while doing this with one lense. Then....I learned about the Panasonic DMC FZ1000 II, and while it seems to fit all of my wants, its NOT a pocket sized camera.  BUT, it does accomplish all that I want it too, with the exception of being small.  

Then have a look at its little brother, the DMC-ZS70.  https://www.techradar.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-zs70-tz90

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I now have another camera to look at before I take the plunge. The Nikon Cool pics 900, or something close to that.

It has an 83X zoom that is unbelievable!!!  A person sent me a picture he took of the Moon and you can easily see many of the craters!!!

 

He said that the stabilization was also top notch!    I'm starting to get really confused, but in a good way! 

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On 4/4/2019 at 1:58 AM, Sunny AZ Girl said:

I have a Sony a6000 that I took to Europe last fall with the two kit lenses (16-50mm & 50-210mm).  I just bought a 18-200 lens so I won't have to interchange lenses on my upcoming Alaska cruise. There is a discussion on this camera, along with samples of photos on this thread:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2566338-new-at-sony-a6000/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-57175863

 

I will carry my Samsung S8 phone for random photos on the ship.  I won't usually be carrying my a6000 around with me unless we are in port or on tours.

Another vote for the A6000!! I have the same lenses, except my new one is 24-240. On my other Alaska cruise, I had the A6000 and a 5r. My son used the 50-210 on the 5r and it did well. We got some amazing pictures!! I can't wait to use my lens on my A6000

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We took a DSLR with us to Alaska and it got some spectacular shots.  My ex was the photographer and he put the camera in "sport mode" and was able to catch 3 whale breeches - nose up to tail down.  It was AWESOME!  The gentleman that was driving the boat said he'd never seen that happen - ever  - and he'd been giving tours for 11 years! (That was 6 years ago.)  We were far enough away that my ex had to use the bigger lens and didn't have to worry about changing them out quickly.

 

I too have a DSLR that would use in "sport mode" to get pictures of my son while he was swimming.  I still have to play with the camera some more, but I have to say, I love it.  Will be going to Canada/New England this Fall, so hoping for some great "leaf" shots.

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On 4/5/2019 at 10:06 PM, Tippyton said:

if you look at my 2018 trip report on the 2018 trip report page or deep in this thread, the pics I took were with a 10 y.o. Canon T3i DSLR.  Very basic model that takes good pics.   Canon has a free  utility you can do some more-than-beginner edits with..  Some pics taken with a 18-55 mm standard lens, some with a wide-angle extension on that, and some with a 300 mm zoom.

 

I am not a photog but I have researched a bunch.  Suggest the same and see what is best for your needs.

We also have the Canon T3i DSLR.  We use it mostly in Yellowstone to get photos of the wildlife, but it works very well in Alaska for whale watching and scenery shots.  I will admit though, I'm really tempted to go away from the DSLR with the interchangeable lenses to the Nikon CoolPix P1000.  I have a friend who also goes to Yellowstone frequently, and the pictures and video that she got with the P900 (the prior model) are just as good as anything I've been able to get with my DSLR.  If you can't afford to put the money into the lenses, which can get really expensive, it's a great alternative.

If you are interested in the DSLR and willing to put the time and effort into learning how to use the various features, as well realizing the lenses are really more important than the body, the Canons do take great pictures.  My son is getting into sports photography, and he also uses a Canon body.

 

315.CR2.jpg

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Posted (edited)
On 4/2/2019 at 7:30 PM, donaldsc said:

 

These are the specs of the Rx10 III - "Together, a large-aperture 24–600 mm1 F2.4–4 optical 25x zoom lens"  from the Sony site.  It does not have a 600x zoom but a 25x zoom.  That is a large difference.

 

DON

 

Correct - the zoom ratio is  25X which is about the equivalent of  a 35mm 24 - 600mm zoom.  Regardless, it's a great camera.

 

 

Edited by shutterbug63

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I also love my Sony a6000. Quickest auto focus on any camera I have ever used! Highly recommend it

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