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Marmot on a rock
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Marmot on a rock on 08/14/2011 17:45:28 MDT Print View

People ask me why I carry 10 pounds of camera gear with me in the mountains. Simple: wildlife.

yellow-bellied marmot

The caption for this photo: "Geez, doesn't anybody have a plastic bag or a pooper scooper?"

--B.G.--

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Marmot on a rock on 08/15/2011 16:25:27 MDT Print View

I see that your shot was taken at around 13x magnification (640mm equivalent) and that is available in one of those superzooms, DSLRs look alike, with a small sensor, for example the Fuji S4000.
However even shooting at maximum aperture ,F5.9 you still would not get the shallow depth of field you have there at F10.
So even relaxing your image standard requirement, you still would not get that effect.
BTW, wombats here also PooP on top of stones. Some think that it has nothing to do with marking the territory but it is to find their way back to the barrow because they have poor eye sight.
Franco

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Marmot on a rock on 08/15/2011 17:11:54 MDT Print View

"(640mm equivalent)"

Yes, Canon EOS 50D (1.6 crop factor) with a Canon 100-400mm lens at max.

I just picked up one of the new small sensor superzoom Canons for a longer effective focal length. Yes, longer, but the autofocus is slow and unpredictable and the auto exposure is squirrelly. So, a real camera still seems best.

We should schedule up a battle between a wombat and a marmot and a wolverine.

--B.G.--

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Yup on 08/15/2011 17:37:32 MDT Print View

Bob:

This picture is gorgeous. Did you buy that zoom monster you posted on the other forum? I would love to have that for walking around LA! Franco is right.

MFT systems may bridge the gap...a bit. If you aren't familiar with this relatively recent category, wiki has a nice piece that compares MFT to DSLR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Four_Thirds_system

BTW, totally random, do you know Corina? And Mike M?

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/15/2011 17:41:28 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Yup on 08/15/2011 17:57:14 MDT Print View

Thank you. I don't normally shoot a lot of photographs to be gorgeous. I normally shoot wildlife photographs for the sheer joy of it and to document what I saw. I mean, most mammal babies are cute by definition. On that particular dayhike, I got baby marmots and baby bighorn sheep. I'm pretty well equipped with DSLR equipment for just such an occasion. However, I figured that there might be an alternative to 10.5 pounds of rig. So, I just got a Canon SX30IS, which weighs only around 20 ounces, and its lens zooms out to an 840mm equivalent. That is the good news. The bad news is that its performance is nothing to compare to a regular DSLR. I've tried to test it on wildlife, but the only wildlife around here is the neighborhood cat. Getting out 840mm with that thing is much easier than using a real 800mm lens, believe me. So, my current thinking is that if I am heading out on a backpack trip where photography is _not_ the priority, then the new SX30IS might do the trick, especially if I am already up against a heavy backpack load. If photography is the priority, then the bigger rig will go. If I go crazy, I take my Sigmonster lens (300-800mm), but that seriously impacts my trail range. It is great for birds in flight, but it is a little overkill for a marmot.

--B.G.--

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Marmot on a rock on 08/15/2011 18:09:39 MDT Print View

Yes I have a lot of hope for the Micro Four Third because the sensor is large enough to offer a lot better image quality than the compact versions (1/1.7" and smaller) but still small enough to allow much smaller lenses having the same aperture and magnification as those badback causing type Bob saunters around with.
My impression is that Nikon and probably Canon will go the APS C way , because of the Sony connections, but that means lenses of the same size as they are now.
Franco

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Mini on 08/15/2011 18:20:51 MDT Print View

Bob:

This is an MFT (Panasonic) 45-200 ( in DSLR terms that is 90-400) lens. (My hands are pretty small.) The photo was taken with my computer, not the camera in question ;) 14 oz with filter


mft

It IS a bit funny looking on a GF2. Panasonic GF2 with 14-45 (DSLR equiv 28-90 of course) lens, hood, optical viewfinder and kit strap is 20 oz. Just weighed it. (Didn't feel like taking it apart.)

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/15/2011 18:35:57 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Mini on 08/15/2011 18:36:04 MDT Print View

Yes, these smaller than traditional cameras and lenses are inviting. However, I think that much better results can be had with either a full size sensor or else APS-C, which I think is 22.3 x 14.9 mm. By results, I mean better color noise (pixel noise). Now, that will only get better over time, and Canon seems to be pushing the envelope by about one stop per camera generation. However, I am old school, and I don't like to be forced into buying new cameras every year just to get better color noise. Besides, there are some good color noise reduction programs, but those require extra time and extra thought. Where I am now, I can shoot at anything up to and including ISO 800, and I don't even think about color noise.

I'm sure that some day I will feel the neck strain from carrying a heavy rig. But now, it still works for me.

Too many people buy a camera, and then they have to shop around to figure out what lenses to buy for it. I am the other way. I buy a lens system and then put on this body or that body. Almost everything I have is Canon EF or EF-S compatible.

--B.G.--

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Re: Re: Mini on 08/15/2011 18:38:40 MDT Print View

"Yes, these smaller than traditional cameras and lenses are inviting. However, I think that much better results can be had with either a full size sensor or else APS-C, which I think is 22.3 x 14.9 mm."

Of course :)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Marmot on a rock on 08/15/2011 20:27:30 MDT Print View

Bob, what went into your choice of the SX30IS? Why that camera? I'm in the market for a smallish, one-stop-shop camera and am always interested in what real photographers have to say about camera choice.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Marmot on a rock on 08/15/2011 21:35:59 MDT Print View

I was hiking in the White Mountains (California) on July 30, and I had just spent a day schlepping around the 10.5-pound rig for snapping marmots and bighorn sheep. As I hiked, I ran into a stranger with this SX30IS hanging around his neck. I wasn't familiar with that camera, so I asked some question. He turned it on and extended the lens out to the equivalent of 840mm. Right there, he had my attention, because the definition of schlepping is when I have to carry my Sigmonster lens around with a major tripod, and here this guy had as much focal length hanging around his neck. He could not show me a great deal since it was only his third time to carry it. When I got home a week later, I looked up that camera and saw that its price was only $400. Well, geez, that $400 is about the cost for a simple filter for the Sigmonster. I read a couple of camera reviews, and they were OK... for the features that they reviewed. There are other features that I'm used to for wildlife photography, and those are not necessarily present. In other words, if you are used to a "real camera" DSLR, then this may or may not be right for you. If you are used to a compact camera and you just need more reach, then this may be better. I've had this thing for just a few days, so I am just scratching the surface of understanding its menus.

I can tell you right away what it is not good for, Sports. The autofocus system is very automated, and you have to kind of let the chip have its way with your subject. That has a lot to do with it being a contrast detection autofocus, and not the phase detection autofocus that I am used to.

--B.G.--

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Marmot on a rock on 08/16/2011 06:17:12 MDT Print View

Thanks Bob.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Marmot on a rock on 08/17/2011 18:21:18 MDT Print View

I will admit that the colors of M4/3 are not there yet like the C/N/P folks. This will improve over the years. I will note that a few years ago the colors from the C/N/P folks weren't all that great either. I would note that the old Fuji the S3 Pro with R3 technology produced EXCELLENT color way back in 2005 when Cannon/Nikon had issues with skin tones etc along with its amazing dynamic range. Since then C/N have come up to par and are now excellent along with Pentax. You will still find a LOT of wedding photographers with the Fuji in their bags. Its focus speed is less than desirable though as the technological march has moved on.

I sure wish we could get a true 12M pix fuji camera with r3 technology. IE 24Mpix with automatic dynamic range out of the camera which is NEEDED BIG time in outdoor photography.

I expect to see the same maturation process with m4/3 sensors by panasonic/olympus/sony/richoh etc. It simply takes time to create color profiles to match the output from sensors.

I expect the APS-C standard to vanish as silicon processes become better. I expect 35mm to keep going strong as one needs extremely high quality glass the smaller the sensor limiting m4/3 to around 20Mpix at most. Same with APS-C and medium format, I expect to see dust bunnies soon as silicon keeps improving. 35mm will always be there due to film industry and the wish for shallow DOF which m4/3 cannot accomplish along with the extreme high MPix folks, though even this is running into near maximums on 35mm. Though honestly with excellent stitching unless one is doing action photography who really wants/needs 80M pix?

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
u4/3 vs APS-C on 08/22/2011 13:51:14 MDT Print View

With APS-C cameras you gain about a full stop of iso at similar quality. With the APC-s being good to about 3200 and the 4/3's being good to about 1600.

So the question becomes how much weight is one stop worth. Also how much money is it worth to re-invest into a new lens system. I am on the verge of buying into u4/3. What is stopping me now is the old chip in the olympus cameras and the Out of Camera J-pegs on the panasonics. I am lazy when it comes to post processing and I really don't want to process raw for each photo. I love olympus jpegs but the chip they use even in the new models is still a half stop behind the panisonics and 1.5 behind the APS-C's and I really don't like the OOC jpegs on the pani's

But weight wise you get

14 f2.5 for 2.5 ounces
20 f1.7 for 3.5 ounces
45 f1.8 for 4.1 ounces
100-300 for 18 ounces
(note: All focal lengths are doubled for 35mm equiv)

With bodys between 8 and 12 ounces you can have all key focal lengths covered for around 2.25 pounds. In my opinion there is no reason now to take a full framed camera on a backpack trip for amature photography. I am surprised that Nikon and Canon haven't entered the mirrorless market. If you look at what sony has done with the NEX even with the larger chip it is still a viable light weight system.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: u4/3 vs APS-C on 08/22/2011 14:36:54 MDT Print View

"how much weight is one stop worth"?

Ooooh. That is a deeply controversial question, and it borders on religion among serious photographers.

In terms of financial cost, I've seen people drop a five-figure sum of money to gain one stop. That generally involves a gear weight gain of some pounds.

You would be surprised how much can be saved by shooting RAW.

--B.G.--

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re:Marmot on a rock on 08/22/2011 15:29:36 MDT Print View

I caution anybody comparing 4/3 to APS-C to mind the proportions. Most of APS-C's size "advantage" is in the X axis, which is significant if your intention is to use the entire frame. If you typically crop horizontally, a good amount of the difference vanishes.

http://www.photozone.de/sensor-dimensions

Likewise, APS-C lenses have to be designed for a larger image circle and thus, have to be optically larger than 4/3. Not a big deal until you're stowing and lugging them.

Good photographic practices will coax identical quality from either system. You can take that to the bank.

Oly JPEG colors are considered the best among the usual suspects, perhaps best rivaled by Leica with their Kodak sensors. Panny's, not so much, which goes to show it's the engine technology, not the sensor that makes the difference. Likewise, the Oly dust-reduction system is the industry's best. Panny uses the system under license.

Anybody starting from scratch has an easy task building a camera system suited to lightweight hiking, while having a drawerful of legacy gear is a powerful incentive to stick with a particular brand or format. For anybody starting out of graduating from P&S, be brand-neutral and pick the gear that best fits your needs. And be very wary of the camera forum "experts."

Cheers,

Rick

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Panasonic JPEGs on 08/22/2011 16:51:49 MDT Print View

Just for the record, I am NOT happy with the GF2's JPEGs :( I do realize the advantages in shooting RAW. However, it would be nice to have the convenience of JPEG capability.

I have compact Panasonic point and shoots that only shoot JPEGs and they produce decent photos. So, why the problem with GF2 JPEGs?

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/22/2011 16:52:32 MDT.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Marmot on a rock on 08/22/2011 17:01:45 MDT Print View

Can't help with the discussion about cameras, but here's a marmot on a rock.

Marmot on a rock

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Marmot on a rock on 08/22/2011 17:07:01 MDT Print View

The first marmot in this thread was a yellow-bellied marmot. The one here appears to be a hoary marmot.

--B.G.--

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Marmot on a Rock on 08/22/2011 17:21:07 MDT Print View

5990
This why I bring 5.7 ounces of camera equipment. SIMPLE

Edited by Creachen on 08/22/2011 19:17:39 MDT.