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Thread: Camera for good outdoors/wildlife pics approx $400?

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Camera for good outdoors/wildlife pics approx $400?

    Could we start a thread for posting good outdoor/wildlife pictures taken with affordable cameras in the $400 range? Please describe the make/model camera used with photos. The idea would be to show the outdoors subjects and quality possible with modern (mostly) point-and-shoot cameras. I'm assuming few dSLRs will fit under the $400 limit.

    Some good points raised on another thread got me wondering how little we could spend and still get good pictures. Of course, after looking at photos posted on this forum - the brilliantly clear photos taken with dSLRs - we're probably talking about a step down in photo excellence, but still - I do have one of these pics on the wall at work. Good enough for me to enjoy.

    These 2 are taken with Pentax Optio WPi, 6MP, 3X digital zoom features, Class 8 Waterproof, Class 5 Dustproof - which I throw into my wader pocket or backpack sometimes don't handle gingerly and started shooting underwater with x 4 years - of trouble free operation. Current model (W60) of this camera now sell for $240-$370 (www.cnet.com).



    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...d.php?p=445250
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...d.php?p=444769
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=40180

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    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Default Wildlife with a P&S, but the wild life needed a DSLR...

    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Could we start a thread for posting good outdoor/wildlife pictures taken with affordable cameras in the $400 range? Please describe the make/model camera used with photos. The idea would be to show the outdoors subjects and quality possible with modern (mostly) point-and-shoot cameras. I'm assuming few dSLRs will fit under the $400 limit.
    I've got a picture that I just love, even though it isn't exactly a great photograph. The lady is Magistrate Karen Hegyi of Barrow.

    Not much of a picture perhaps... but it's a cute story. Karen was walking away from the bluffs at the old Upeagvik village site here in Barrow, overlooking the Arctic Ocean. She had just performed a wedding. Not 20-25 steps away, and she whips out a little P&S and starts taking pictures of flowers. (Hence, in the context of a bunch of wedding photographs, this image actually is very interesting to the people I took it for.)

    Wildlife photography for under $400 is not only reasonable, it's a fantastic potential today that out distances anything that could have been done only a few years back!

    (Karen was doing wildlife, I was taking pictures of the "wild life"! The whole wedding party ran down and took a head first dive into the ocean with probably about 36F water.)

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    6Xleech,

    Cool idea and I think many people will benefit from this. Most people would not want to spend the time/money required to use a DSLR, but everyone can use a point and shoot and their price is attractive. Used them for years myself. Below is my suggestion for a good advanced point and shoot for wildlife and it fits under the $400 mark.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...S_Digital.html


    Below are images I got with my Pentax W20 waterproof point and shoot. They are images from the place you are soon going. A DSLR is not required to get good images. Going to pretty places is though. In Alaska, that is not a problem.
































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    For me a good all purpose outdoor camera would be waterproof. Olympus and Pentax have been making them for a few years, but Canon, Fuji & Panasonic will have them out by this spring. My bet is on the Canon or Panasonic, but we'll see how they pan out.

    A good wildlife camera will have a very long lens. Canon and Panasonic have had some of the best ones in the past, but pretty much everyone is making them now.

    I think you need two $400 cameras for these two different purposes. But you can find used versions for less than $200 each. Two used specialty cameras would be better than one new one that only does half the job.

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    Member Alasken's Avatar
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    My wife has been playing with her Panasonic Lumix FZ28 she got for Christmas ($300). She wasn't ready for DSLR from a photographer aspect and I wasn't ready for the money part. I thought the camera was the best choice without going DSLR.
    She is somewhat overwhelmed by all the settings, so I've been researching books to get her. I'll start another thread about books.
    As soon as I see some of her pics I'll post some.
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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default More with sub-$400 camera...

    Some good pictures on this thread!

    These 2 are taken with Pentax Optio WPi, 6MP, 3X digital zoom. Current model (W60) of this camera now sell for $240-$370 (www.cnet.com).
    Last edited by 6XLeech; 03-16-2010 at 23:14.

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    Costco has an Olympus waterproof camera for $200. You can get a good superzoom camera for $300. For $500 you can have it all.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Frequently you can find a Nikon D40 DSLR for under $425. IMHO, you can not buy a better camera for this amount. Fantastic outdoor and cold weather. Start up time immediately, opposed to point n shoot that take 10-20 seconds to turn on. With the *sensor* this DSLR uses, the 6 MP @ 300dpi is 100 times better than any P-N-S 2 12 MP. So simple to use, easier by far than my Canon Powershot! Shoots 2.5 frames per second, whereas a P-N-S you might get 2-3 shots per minute. If I only had $400, this is the camera I would own...oh, I do own it already and love it too!
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    canon powershots are good

    GOOD
    sx110is $249
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=17480

    BETTER
    sx10is $399
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=17630

    BEST
    sx1is $599
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=18301

    the sx1is is pretty tempting....20x optical zoom, 4 frames per second, 1080p HD video, capture pics in RAW (for the folks that like to tinker with the pics afterwards), CMOS sensor.....oh baby!..... ....the first real 'do all' camera....take great pics and video, just have to deal with the AVCHD format if you wish to edit the footage......but if you have the right software and a hot computer you won't have an issue...

    just don't drop any of 'em in the water without the accidental warranty....

    I've been using the sx100is for 2 years now and will probably get the sx1is once this one craps out on me...well over 10,000 pics and still clicking...

    I really like the fact that you can use AA batteries instead of recharging, perhaps the other models offer this as well but it is really convenient for me....

    happy shopping...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Default Pentax Optio W60

    I just bought the w60 and here are some first time shots.

    I like this moonrise over the Chuit just because it picked up the section of the moon that I didn't see with the naked eye.



    This is a sunrise shot of the vapor trails left by high fliers.



    I really like the camera. It does require a specific battery, which might cause problems down the trail. I am still trying to figure out how to eliminate the shutter lag.
    Live life and love it
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  11. #11
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    FYI, Amazon has new Nikon D40 cameras with the standard lens for < $410 delivered to your doorstep. Once you try a DSLR you can never go back to a Point and Shoot again
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Yeah, but...

    For a DSLR to be a half decent wildlife camera will require you to spend another $500+ for a long lens. You can spend less, but then it really won't be much better than a point & shoot with a good superzoom. And for it to be weatherproof will require even more money.

    I use a DSLR, and find it a lot better than a point & shoot, but it is larger and more expensive. As long as someone is willing to part with more money, and deal with the extra weight/size, it is the way to go.

  13. #13
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    Yeah, but...

    For a DSLR to be a half decent wildlife camera will require you to spend another $500+ for a long lens.
    I can't disagree more. For another $150 you can ad the non VR Nikon 55-200mm lens that I have used with great success. I even have had a number of photos placed in magazines. In fact I found one of my shots *stolen* on Ebey and being used for illegal commercial use (they also stole from Disney and the NFL...bet they wish they had not motivated the wifey).
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I should start by saying I like Roger and Jim.

    Both your opinions are valued and I don't want to appear confrontational.


    But you take a dslr and put a cheap lens on it, you will get crap for pictures. $500-700 maybe, $150, no way.

    A modern advanced point and shoot will be better when size, weight, difficulty of use, and price are all factored in.


    I got a Canon 40D and put a $1,500 lens (100-400) on it to get what I feel are decent wildlife images. It still has its limitations, namely shooting in low light conditions. This is often the case when shooting wildlife it seems. But I can't afford a $5,000-7,000 lens like a 500 mm or 600 mm. That is what advanced photographers are using for the wildlfife images you see in magazines and books. Not to mention a ton of skill.


    In photography, unfortunately, you get what you pay for.






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    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    you can ad the non VR Nikon 55-200mm lens that I have used with great success. I even have had a number of photos placed in magazines.
    An interesting point.

    The non-VR 55-200mm AFS ED Nikkor is, relatively, a poor choice for a professional wildlife photographer. But it is a sharp enough lens to get good pictures. It comes highly recommended for an amateur on a very tight budget.

    And if the photographer knows how to use it, it makes a fairly decent "wildlife" lens when "inexpensive" is the key word. At least, for those jobs that it can handle. Trying to get photos of birds from a significant distance will be a failure with any 200mm lens, so no it will not replace a birder's 800mm lens, but neither will a 100-400mm zoom costing ten times the price of the 55-200mm lens!

    Not all "wildlife" photography requires 600mm plus focal lengths either. For example, used MF 105mm macro lenses that sometimes cost even less than $150 are argueably better than modern AF versions. The wildlife photography potential available near virtually any clump of grass is astounding!

    I believe though, that the valid point in regard to a DSLR is that if purchased, even with an inexpensive lens now, it can be upgraded with better lenses at a later date. The better lenses can then also be matched with a better camera body at an even later date. There is an incremental path.

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default point n shoots

    My niece came up Nevada to work for the us in the summer, and the fireweed was over 6 feet tall in places .



    A good friend of mine had never been here when the sockeye turn bright red. He wanted to see one up close, so he got the chance,, He said that once is enought...lol... but they are colorful...

    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default point n shoots

    I keep this little Canon A620 in my bag most of the time, and it has been a tough little camera for the past few years. It was about 250 bucks or so when I bought it and has served me for what I wanted.. It does not sport the high pixel count of the newer cameras, but it does ok.
    I did not use the 4x optical zoom when I shot a picture of this bear feeding on salmon up at Skilak lake. I was in a boat and the movement of the boat made it difficult for me to get a steady shot anyway.. this bear was over 200 yds away and so to see him in the picture I had to blow it up a bunch, and so it has lost out to the pixel count, but its a memory saved all the same.. the Rainbow was a bonus.. what a great day.. the Dollies were just amazing that day..

    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Nice images Max
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
    An interesting point.

    The non-VR 55-200mm AFS ED Nikkor is, relatively, a poor choice for a professional wildlife photographer. But it is a sharp enough lens to get good pictures. It comes highly recommended for an amateur on a very tight budget.
    We agree 100% If I had the extra bucks and I was a pro I would be going for the best I could afford, starting with quality lens. That said...the quest is what could you buy for $400 and get great pictures. IMHO you can not beat a DSLR like the D40. I absolutely detest my Canon Sure Shot A560...takes lousy pictures and is not even 1/3 the camera/lens of my old Nikon 950 Coolpix @ 2 MP.

    I will ad a pic or two with my 55-200 on a D50

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...1&d=1237343307
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    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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