Question Do I need a new camera?

esc4p3

Active Member
I've currently got a Canon SX710HS compact camera, I love it (20mp, 30x optical zoom, some manual controls). I bought it because I wanted a camera I could easily carry or pop into my pocket and I didn't really want a larger bridge or DSLR to lug around. For what I originally bought it for, it is great - which is a mix of holiday snaps or days out, pictures of the garden, a few close ups of flowers etc. I mainly photograph 'things' such as buildings, animals, flowers rather than landscapes. Most of my photography is during daytime.

I can get some really good results from both photo and video, I generally take video at 720p, mainly because of file size and uploading to Google Photos.

....Really good results that is, until now.

We bought a puppy last year, so I have been taking an awful lot of photos of him. He inevitably doesn't stand still for long but we have also started showing him. So I find myself often indoors in 'fairly' well lit places, not natural daylight, using a high amount of zoom. As a result, suddenly my photos are not so good. The photos are often not in focus (or at least that's how they appear, not sharply defined), the auto focus struggles to get a focus, the shutter speed is often too slow. I generally don't use the digital zoom, although I have been known to!

I often don't have a choice of getting closer to my subject because dogs are shown in a ring and you have to remain outside that area, hence the zoom. Sometimes the shows are outdoors, and that is not so problematic.

Therefore.....do I need a different camera? Of course I can put up with what I've got, it does pretty well all things considered - I generally take a high volume of photos and ditch the one's that are not good, some of them turn out just fine. I've looked at compact cameras with larger sensors, which seem to fit the bill for letting in more light, but few have long zooms. The best I've seen is the Panasonic TZ200 with a 15x zoom.

I'm not bothered about the brand of the camera, and let's not worry too much about price at the moment. If you all tell me I need a £2,000 camera than that would rule it out, but at least I'll have that choice. Equally you may say "tough, you're going to need to lug a DSLR around", in which case I have another choice to make.....

Below are a couple of examples to show you what I mean, one photo taken back in the snow, outdoors in very good light - the 2nd photo on long zoom indoors.

A good example (our pup)
Screenshot_20180302-143949

A not-so-good example (not our pup)
IMG_6648

Thoughts welcome, thanks in advance. :)

Carl.
 
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AMc

Distinguished Member
The issue you're going to face is a small, long zoom is much easier to build with a small sensor - it's just the physics of the lens and sensor.
If you want good low light performance you need a larger sensor - so you compromise on zoom and portability.

The trick is going to be to balance what you can trade off.

A DSLR or a Compact System Camera (CSC or mirrorless) with a larger sensor will do better in low light but at the expense of the long zoom you're enjoying.
CSC can be not much larger than a compact camera and even if you add a fairly long zoom they don't become cumbersome.

My first suggestion would be to trawl Flickr for dog show shots that you like - ideally at events you've attended - and look at the EXIF data it will show you what camera, lens and settings were used which might help you narrow the search.
 

esc4p3

Active Member
My first suggestion would be to trawl Flickr for dog show shots that you like - ideally at events you've attended - and look at the EXIF data it will show you what camera, lens and settings were used which might help you narrow the search.
What a great idea, thanks! That's my evenings sorted for a few days.....
 

esc4p3

Active Member
Looking at exif data....How do I know what (say) 175mm is equivalent to in terms of actual zoom? Or is there not a way?
 

rancidpunk

In Memoriam
Looking at exif data....How do I know what (say) 175mm is equivalent to in terms of actual zoom? Or is there not a way?

It all depends on the camera and it's crop factor when compared to full frame. Most lenses are quoted in full frame equivalent sizes, so yours is a 25-750 equivalent.
If a 175mm focal length is used on a full frame camera then it is 175mm, so your camera would be around 4x that reach.
On a crop sensor (aps-c) camera it would be the equivalent of around 260mm
On a micro 4/3 it would be 350mm.
 

snerkler

Member
As others have said this is a case of bigger is better, and when I say this I’m talking about sensor size. In low light the bigger the sensor the better your images (all other things considered equal).

The other thing is your lens, stick an f2.8 lens on your camera and you’re going to get 4 times as much light reaching the sensor as an f5.6 lens, this makes a big difference in low light situations. With regards to low light, our eyes can adapt pretty well so if your eyes are telling you the light indoors isn’t great you can bet your camera’s screaming (so to speak).

Lastly if you can use flash, particularly bounced flash, this will also help enhance your images.

You don’t have to spend thousands to get a large sensor DSLR/mirrorless and suitable lens, but you will have to put up with something more bulky than what you have now.
 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
And dealing with the question posed by the title the answer is always....... yes :clap:
 

esc4p3

Active Member
Hmmm, so far, looked at quite a few images on Flickr. Most are taken by a DSLR. I somehow suspect that a lot of the posters of dog show pictures are the pro photographers you see at shows and these are probably examples of their work - so possibly a bit of a bias in terms of the type of camera. However, there's no escaping every image I've gone "now that's really good".....it's been a DSLR.

I didn't mention bridge cameras in my original post, looking online quite a few of these don't seem to tick the 'larger image sensor' box, although they often do tick the monumental zoom box. Some of them don't look much less bulkier than a DSLR though.

More Googling reveals I quite like the Panasonic TZ200 and the Canon PowerShot G3 X, both having good zoom and a large sensor, but the latter being more bulky.
 

snerkler

Member
Hmmm, so far, looked at quite a few images on Flickr. Most are taken by a DSLR. I somehow suspect that a lot of the posters of dog show pictures are the pro photographers you see at shows and these are probably examples of their work - so possibly a bit of a bias in terms of the type of camera. However, there's no escaping every image I've gone "now that's really good".....it's been a DSLR.

I didn't mention bridge cameras in my original post, looking online quite a few of these don't seem to tick the 'larger image sensor' box, although they often do tick the monumental zoom box. Some of them don't look much less bulkier than a DSLR though.

More Googling reveals I quite like the Panasonic TZ200 and the Canon PowerShot G3 X, both having good zoom and a large sensor, but the latter being more bulky.
The TZ200 and G3x don't have "large" sensors per se but they have noticeably larger than the average compact camera. See these charts below, mobile phones tend to have 1/3.2", average compact cameras have 1/2.3", 1" compacts/bridge cameras such as the TZ200 and G3x have the 1" sensor, then there are the two types of DSLR, crop sensor (APS-C) and the larger full frame. As you can see there's quite a difference in size between the 1" type sensor and APS-C DSLRs, and an even bigger difference to full frame DSLRs. When you see the size difference it helps you understand how much more overall light the larger sensors can capture, how much larger the pixels will be (if you're comparing the same MP on each format), and importantly how much more you have to enlarge the smaller sensors to view them on your monitor or wherever.

camera-sensor-size-12.jpg
main-qimg-6d7a5e9fb7850a9b0967aafe2897cb2e.png







The other thing to consider is the aperture of the lens. Both these 1" compacts that you listed have relatively small apertures at the long end of the zoom. The G3x for example is f5.6 at the long end (600mm eq) compared to the Sony RX10 mark iii bridge camera which is f4 at the long end (600mm eq). This means that the Sony RX10 will let twice as much light in at 600mm eq, this can make quite a difference in poor light.

In poor light in order to get the best image quality you want a large sensor format camera with a wide aperture lens, for example a picture shot on a full frame camera at f2.8 will look massively better than one shot on a 1" type camera shot at f5.6. Of course, it will always come down too compromises due to budget and amount of bulk you're willing to carry around.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
More Googling reveals I quite like the Panasonic TZ200 and the Canon PowerShot G3 X, both having good zoom and a large sensor, but the latter being more bulky.

As @snerkler has said a 1" sensor is bigger than the 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor in your Canon SX710 but not anything like a m4/3rds or APS-C sensor.
A m4/3rds sensor will take in about 4x as much light as your current camera.
An APS-C a bit more again.
If you've been looking at pictures taken with full frame/35mm sensors on professional level DSLR bodies you're in a different league altogether.

According to this review of your Canon SX710 it has a lens 4.5-135mm lens with a 35mm equivalent focal reach of 25-750mm. That's a very long zoom!
You have a maximum aperture range of f/3.2-6.9
Canon SX710 HS | TechRadar

If my maths is correct the crop factor is 5.555 (750/135)... so multiplying your focal length by that number will give you the equivalent 35mm in Full Frame/35mm focal length.
By converting your focal length (in Flickr under EXIF) to that you can cross compare zoom on all the different sensor sizes to what you have.

Your disappointing example is taken at 101.3mm which is about 563mm on a full frame sensor.
To get that level of zoom on a micro 4/3rds sensor (crop factor of 2) you'd need a 280mm lens. Speaking of micro 4/3rds because that's what I use, there are a few of lenses with that range Olympus do a 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 for about £350, or a 300mm f4 for about £1900 :eek:
Panasonic do a 100-400 f4-6.3 for about £1300 :eek:
So you're looking at a quite a big expense to replicate the zoom length you're used to with better light gathering on a much larger sensor.
I won't comment on DSLR lenses and bodies because I'm really not that up on them but expect to pay for a very long zoom.
They will also be pretty substantial lenses.

The G3 X has an F2.8-5.6, 24-600mm equivalent lens
Canon PowerShot G3 X: Digital Photography Review
So the G3 X is a larger sensor with a slightly shorter max zoom length and better light gathering.
It should get you better results but it may not be the revelation you are hoping for.

I guess what I'm really saying is a new camera with a larger sensor will almost certainly deliver better results but you may not be that much more impressed.

If you do decide to buy a new camera and especially an interchangeable lens camera it's worth looking at used - either in the classifieds here, elsewhere or from a reputable camera outfit who offer a warranty (MBP, Camera Jungle, WEX...) - you get a lot more for your money and in general cameras and lenses are quite durable. Last year's camera won't be massively worse than this years like a two year old used car.

If you can borrow a DSLR or Mirrorless camera you might find you get on with it and think it's worth the extra expense and bulk.

Finally the best way to get a better result than your disappointing example without more equipment is to support the camera as firmly as possible to minimise camera shake - tripod or firm stance or support your arms on something fixed. That won't help if the dog moves but at least the rest of the shot should be sharp.
...and the very low tech "zoom with your legs" is always an option, not always possible but always a good idea :thumbsup:
 

snerkler

Member
As @snerkler has said a 1" sensor is bigger than the 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor in your Canon SX710 but not anything like a m4/3rds or APS-C sensor.
A m4/3rds sensor will take in about 4x as much light as your current camera.
An APS-C a bit more again.
If you've been looking at pictures taken with full frame/35mm sensors on professional level DSLR bodies you're in a different league altogether.

According to this review of your Canon SX710 it has a lens 4.5-135mm lens with a 35mm equivalent focal reach of 25-750mm. That's a very long zoom!
You have a maximum aperture range of f/3.2-6.9
Canon SX710 HS | TechRadar

If my maths is correct the crop factor is 5.555 (750/135)... so multiplying your focal length by that number will give you the equivalent 35mm in Full Frame/35mm focal length.
By converting your focal length (in Flickr under EXIF) to that you can cross compare zoom on all the different sensor sizes to what you have.

Your disappointing example is taken at 101.3mm which is about 563mm on a full frame sensor.
To get that level of zoom on a micro 4/3rds sensor (crop factor of 2) you'd need a 280mm lens. Speaking of micro 4/3rds because that's what I use, there are a few of lenses with that range Olympus do a 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 for about £350, or a 300mm f4 for about £1900 :eek:
Panasonic do a 100-400 f4-6.3 for about £1300 :eek:
So you're looking at a quite a big expense to replicate the zoom length you're used to with better light gathering on a much larger sensor.
I won't comment on DSLR lenses and bodies because I'm really not that up on them but expect to pay for a very long zoom.
They will also be pretty substantial lenses.

The G3 X has an F2.8-5.6, 24-600mm equivalent lens
Canon PowerShot G3 X: Digital Photography Review
So the G3 X is a larger sensor with a slightly shorter max zoom length and better light gathering.
It should get you better results but it may not be the revelation you are hoping for.

I guess what I'm really saying is a new camera with a larger sensor will almost certainly deliver better results but you may not be that much more impressed.

If you do decide to buy a new camera and especially an interchangeable lens camera it's worth looking at used - either in the classifieds here, elsewhere or from a reputable camera outfit who offer a warranty (MBP, Camera Jungle, WEX...) - you get a lot more for your money and in general cameras and lenses are quite durable. Last year's camera won't be massively worse than this years like a two year old used car.

If you can borrow a DSLR or Mirrorless camera you might find you get on with it and think it's worth the extra expense and bulk.

Finally the best way to get a better result than your disappointing example without more equipment is to support the camera as firmly as possible to minimise camera shake - tripod or firm stance or support your arms on something fixed. That won't help if the dog moves but at least the rest of the shot should be sharp.
...and the very low tech "zoom with your legs" is always an option, not always possible but always a good idea :thumbsup:
One other thing to note though is that you don't have to match focal lengths as larger format sensors crop better in PP. I've never done a comparison test but I would be surprised if you used a FF camera with 300mm lens and cropped it to the 750mm field of view and still didn't end up with a better image than the SX710 at 750mm eq, especially in poor light.

As you asked about price though, the Tamron 150-600mm G1 is about £550 used in good condition and weighs a whopping 1.9kg (although this is considered light for a 600mm FF lens ;))
 

snerkler

Member
Completely agree - you have to try and find some common ground though ;).
I guess my TLDR answer is 563mm full frame equivalent with a fidgeting subject, indoors will always be a big ask no matter what camera you're using, so don't expect miracles!
No idea what TLDR is but agree with everything else ;)
 

rancidpunk

In Memoriam
Sorry, you lost me at too
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
Are you anywhere nearer to flashing the cash? I wonder, as the issue appears to be the indoor dog-shows where lighting is relatively poor ( although getting better with the new LED floods ). Your existing camera is perfectly OK for outdoor events.... is this still correct?

Clearly you are going to need a Budget soonish -and then some idea of the Zoon/focal length that will suit the size of dog/distance, etc.
I'm guessing the Pros can get ring-side seats, as their pics will be "publicity" - and benefit the Show. Have you thought about doing this, perhaps for a smaller group ( like specific breeds - you can tell I know NOWT about Dog Shows!).
+++ Such seating-benefit should help with lens choice.
I don't think having a DSLR is the main issue... although it helps with focussing if you are a competent Pro. There is no reason you can't use a mirrorless, just that you may need an eye magnifier to get the best focus, esp. if the lens has a large aperture.
The Lens cost will determine the Zoom range and Aperture ( & Image Quality ).
Using 35mm eq. lengths... Are we talking about 300mm - but at the same time saying the shutter-speed will require an aperture of f/4?
.....Therein may lie the starting-point ...
- determine the lens and then how you can best get that image filed.... You may find that a s/h DSLR with a modest "kit-zoom" will be available at a good price . . . 16 - 20Mpx should be OK - then budget for a long-lens that isn't a zoom, as this will lower the price and up the aperture. Of course if it isn't connected to the Electronics, then you have to drive it manually.... but the exposure shouldn't change indoors. If your eyesight prevents using Manual focus, then your camera choice changes . . . but we've not been told this.
Good Luck, + perhaps tell us where things stand now...?
 

snerkler

Member
I don't think having a DSLR is the main issue... although it helps with focussing if you are a competent Pro. There is no reason you can't use a mirrorless, just that you may need an eye magnifier to get the best focus, esp. if the lens has a large aperture.
Why do you have to be a competent pro to benefit from the AF systems of DSLR? :confused: I'm not a pro and I certainly can benefit from it, as do most other hobbyists. The difference between AF on a consumer compact camera and a good DSLR is night and day. Also there are mirrorless cameras that can match the AF of DSLR these days, and you don't need to magnify the image.
Of course if it isn't connected to the Electronics, then you have to drive it manually.... but the exposure shouldn't change indoors. If your eyesight prevents using Manual focus, then your camera choice changes . . . but we've not been told this.
Good Luck, + perhaps tell us where things stand now...?
Why would you buy a lens in this day and age that isn't connected to the electronics? :confused: Also, if your eyesight prevents you from being able to manually focus it's going to pretty much hinder everything else too :eek:
 
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esc4p3

Active Member
Well, right now the answer to the question to "where am i" is...."confused". I've realised that there is a lot more to consider than just type of camera. So thanks for all your comments so far.

I just had a wonder around Currys looking at Washer/Dryers and cameras, the latter was not expected by my wife! Saw a deal on a Canon Eos 4000d with 2 lenses (18-55mm & 75-300mm) for £369.99, not sure if it is good or not. But my line of thinking is that I would not replace my current camera as it does what I need for holiday time, instead I'd have a different camera for the dog shows.

Thoughts still evolving.....

I also need to consider using my current camera differently, getting physically closer where I can (use less zoom) and keep the camera more still. Also stop being so lazy and try some manual settings when I get the chance.
 

rancidpunk

In Memoriam
To be fair, short of getting a lot closer there wouldn't be much you can do to improve the quality at the extreme end of your camera's lens. Even then, if lighting is low, the smaller sensor still won't perform well at higher ISOs.

If i were you I'd set myself a budget then let us spend your money for you! We do like a bit of spending other people's money.

In all seriousness though you could probably look at a micro 4/3 setup that will likely be small enough to be general purpose, while improving the quality of your show pics. All depends on budget and whether you're willing to buy grey or second hand too.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
A Canon APS-C camera has a crop factor of 1.6
18-55mm = 28.8-88mm full frame
& 75-300mm = 120-480mm full frame

Your Canon SX710
4.5-135mm = 25-750mm full frame

So you're looking at losing a third of the zoom. In practice that 75-300mm zoom is f4-5.6 and with a larger sensor it should give you better images to begin with.
However it's a 18MP camera so you'll actually have fewer pixels to crop than the 20MP you have now.

I'd really strongly recommend you try and borrow a DSLR camera if you can to see how you get on.
 

esc4p3

Active Member
Your existing camera is perfectly OK for outdoor events.... is this still correct?
Yes this is correct, even dog shows outdoors are much better.

Sorry, not been around much or even in front of a computer/phone/tablet much lately as have been really busy. I'm still reading and re-reading all the stuff you've posted as this is all new to me and pretty complex, although it may not seem so to you lol :D

Budget, a bit of a thorny issue. Let's say £300-£500 - it doesn't have to be a DSLR and I'm open to mirrorless. Seemingly, from the photo's I've looked at on Flickr and what you've said I need a bigger sensor and a good shutter speed. Ideally I'd get physically closer to subjects and I do where I can, but this isn't always possible. In any case I prefer taking photos of dogs where they aren't aware of it - my own dog as a case in point.....as soon as he sees the camera he's off and I swear he knows. Even my phone he's the same.

I have some REALLY old lenses in the cupboard from a Yashica FX-3 film SLR, presumably there is no chance whatsoever that they would be any use....or to be able to reuse in any of the scenarios?
 

snerkler

Member
Yes this is correct, even dog shows outdoors are much better.

Sorry, not been around much or even in front of a computer/phone/tablet much lately as have been really busy. I'm still reading and re-reading all the stuff you've posted as this is all new to me and pretty complex, although it may not seem so to you lol :D

Budget, a bit of a thorny issue. Let's say £300-£500 - it doesn't have to be a DSLR and I'm open to mirrorless. Seemingly, from the photo's I've looked at on Flickr and what you've said I need a bigger sensor and a good shutter speed. Ideally I'd get physically closer to subjects and I do where I can, but this isn't always possible. In any case I prefer taking photos of dogs where they aren't aware of it - my own dog as a case in point.....as soon as he sees the camera he's off and I swear he knows. Even my phone he's the same.

I have some REALLY old lenses in the cupboard from a Yashica FX-3 film SLR, presumably there is no chance whatsoever that they would be any use....or to be able to reuse in any of the scenarios?
A larger sensor certainly helps yes, but good shutter speed not necessarily. Shutter speed will depend on what you want to achieve, but in your case you are wanting to freeze the action. This does require a fast ish shutter speed but will depend on if the dog is moving (and how fast) or stationary. In poor light you want to keep the shutter speed as low as possible (to let more light in) but still fast enough to freeze motion. This will come down to experience as much as anything, but as an example for a dog running I would choose something like 1/1000. The shutter speed will also depend on the focal length of the lens and whether you have image stabilisation. The longer the focal length of the lens the faster the shutter speed you will need. Aperture is also important, indoors you ideally want a wide aperture (Low f-number).

I'm sure you could probably find an adapter for the Yashica lenses somewhere on't interweb but I wouldn't recommend it, they will be manual focus only and for moving targets manual focus is not easy. You can of course pre-focus, but I wouldn't recommend 'fudging' sticking an old legacy lens on a different body for 'everyday' use. Maybe for a bit of fun, or something very specific, but certainly not something like this.
 

Peakoverload

Active Member
Coming in late to this and I've not read all the replies so far but the main thing wrong with your 'disappointing' photo is that it's blurred. But importantly not all of it is blurred, the fence is in focus as is the dogs tail, the rest is blurred because the subject has moved and because your shutter speed was too low.

Certainly a 'better' camera, one with a larger sensor etc will help you take 'better' photos but before you splash the cash I'd practice more with your existing camera because on paper your current camera could have taken that photo in focus if you'd used different settings.

The ISO you used was 800 but your camera goes up to ISO 3200. By dropping your aperture from f/6.3 to f/4 with an ISO of 1200 you should have been able to achieve a shutter speed of 1/125th and f/4 would have given you sufficient depth of field at your distance to subject. 1/125th may not have quite been fast enough but it then you could up the ISO further. Yes the higher the ISO the more noise/less detail but you might be happy with the result.

Don't get me wrong, a 'better' camera and one with a bigger sensor is always 'better' but you might not have to splash the cash just yet. Just my opinion, ignore or consider as you please.
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
In answer to the question, most likely ‘no’.

Have a look at the pro photographer cheap camera challenge on digital rev to see what’s possible.

Do I want a new camera to make things easier? Almost always ‘yes’. This is a slippery slope which I started down a few years ago :)
 

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