Posted: 26 Nov 2013 12:17 PM PST
It helps now and then to look around the market and see what’s out there. Occasionally, a downscale camera that has escaped your notice can precisely answer your needs. Successor to the COOLPIX P7700, reviewed only six months ago, the P7800 delivers full-scale manual shooting, with some functions normally available only in dslrs.
Features of the Nikon Coolpix P7800
It has a 7.1x optical zoom that runs a 35 SLR equivalent range of 28-100mm. Sure, it’s not in the same territory as Sony’s 30x zoom model, the DSC-HX50V, nor Canon’s SX50 HS with a 50x zoom lens. But, as many have found out, these maxi zoomers need a considerable amount of TLC to bring home the picture bacon: steady hands, a firm support for the camera and a shooting environment that does not cloud distant views with atmospheric haze.
Personally, I’ve found compact digital cameras with zooms up to 10x to be practical picture takers so, with a 7.1x zoom like the P7800, you’re well within handheld territory. Along with this is a pocketable size and manageable weight.
Another bonus is the lens’ fast maximum aperture at f/2.0. This drops to f/4 as you head towards maximum telephoto but becomes no smaller.
Eye level viewfinder
Another plus is an eye level viewfinder, so you can aim at the view in full sunlight and not have to battle with a washed out LCD screen. You may not have noticed it, but there are fewer and fewer digital cameras coming to market with such a viewfinder. This situation, I figure, is one that tips many photographers into the arms of the dslr type of camera and ensnares people who are bereft of the skills to drive such a complex camera. Sure, the view in daylight is much better but if the technology is above your talent … well!
The maximum image size is 4000×3000 pixels or 34×25.4cm (13×10″)as a print at roughly 300 dpi.
The Nikon Coolpix P7800 can capture Full HD video at 1902×1080 pixel resolution. Here is a sample video taken with the P7800:
If you’re looking for the red button to record video … stop! There isn’t one. You must engage the video position on the mode dial and press the shutter button. This means you can’t shoot stills mid video recording. This absence of a red button to record, is rare amidst digital cameras.
Burst rate (frames per second)
For what it’s worth, the camera can fire off a burst of six full size images at a maximum rate of 8 fps.
As I said, the P7800 is an agreeable size and weight, made even more comfortable thanks to a prominent speed grip and good balance. The viewfinder is useable, although a little murky and lacking in definition – but it does frame your shot and confirm focus and level, plus such matters as; selected aperture, shutter speed, ISO setting, camera level, white balance etc.
For more precise viewing (in ambient light less challenging than broad sunlight), you must use the rear LCD screen, which is variable in angle vertically and horizontally.
Top deck controls
Top deck controls: at extreme left is the pop up flash and across to the right is the mode dial with settings for auto, P,A,S,M, scene mode (portrait, beach, sunset, panorama etc), special effects (mono, painting appearance, cross processing etc), three user settings, movie and movie custom setting modes.
Farther to the right are the power and shutter buttons, zoom lever, exposure compensation and the Function 1 button that switches the screen display options. Oh and I nearly missed this one: the Function 1 button is tucked away on the front panel, next to the lens. A bit puzzling and poorly explained in the manual, but I figured out that it can directly adjust the ISO setting, RAW, AWB amongst other matters.
But there’s a trap with this button: press it with your forefinger and your thumb naturally applies a back pressure that unfortunately may well cause you to accidentally press one of the rear panel buttons.
There are two command dials (one at front and rear) that can spin you through aperture and shutter speed options or roll through menu options.
On the top level of the rear are two buttons: one triggers the turret finder or LCD screen; the other takes you into a quick menu situation. Beneath these is the replay button. Lower still is the four position jog wheel that takes you to flash options, macro shooting, self timer and AF area choices. Beneath this are the menu and trash buttons. At the right edge are the access terminals for USB, HDMI mini and AV outputs.
Card slot and battery compartment are in the camera’s base.
By using the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter, you can transmit images from the P7800 to a WiFi equipped device such as a smartphone or tablet. You can also shoot through your mobile device using the Live view function.
ISO 6400 cropped to actual pixel size
Noise rose slightly at ISO 1600. By ISO 3200 noise was up further and definition was suffering. Forget ISO 6400 equivalent.
About a second after startup I could shoot the first shot, a little over a second per shot subsequently.
No problems at either end of the zoom.
Sample images and settings
ISO 800, f/2, 1/50th of a second
ISO 800, f/8, 1/4000th of a second, spot metering mode
ISO 800, f/5, 1/250th of a second, Matrix metering mode
ISO 800, f/4.5, 1/1250th of a second, Matrix metering mode
ISO 800, f/5.0, 1/1600th of a second, Matrix metering mode
Quality: above average, with accurate colour rendering.
Why you would buy it: you want a ‘proper’ viewfinder (like a dslr); it’s pocketable.
Why you wouldn’t: buy it you want a maxi zoom.
FWIW I had a ball of fun with the P7800 shooting around the city; the zoom range was perfect for this, with the telephoto end of the 200m equivalent ideal for the longer reach. Mind you, it won’t suit sports photographers … not long enough (or fast enough).
Price: approximately $550 US
Web: Nikon Coolpix P7800
DPS Rating: 4
Post originally from: digital photography Tips.
Posted: 26 Nov 2013 07:27 AM PST
This is a guest article by photographer Paul Burwell
Whenever I teach wildlife photography, I inevitably go on at some length about the necessity of trying to get your camera near the height of your subject’s eyes. This concept doesn’t only apply to wildlife photography, it applies equally well to photography of people, pets or hobbits. When I teach this concept to a group of students, their eyes tend to glaze over until I put some images in front of them that can really illustrate the point.
It obviously isn’t always practical or safe to get into a lower shooting position. This is true if you’re dealing with larger animals and especially predators, getting low may trigger their prey response where they start to consider you a potential snack, or in my case a meal. It isn’t just your health I’m concerned about, as it seems the regular response to some sort of animal attack is for the authorities to track down the offending critter and end its time on earth. So, when I’m telling you that your pictures will improve if you can get lower and match your subject’s eye level, you do still need to THINK about what you’re doing and the sort of subject you’re dealing with. No photograph is worth either your health, or the health of your subject.
How camera angle effects your images
I thought I’d use the following images, of the extremely dangerous and elusive Richardson’s ground squirrel, to illustrate how images improve as the angle of the camera to the subject changes in respect to the level of the subject’s eyes. This is the perfect critter for this topic because, depending on the squirrel’s posture, its eyes are somewhere between one and six inches (2.5 to 15 cm) above the ground. All of the images below were photographed with my full-frame Canon DSLR along with the Canon 500mm lens with a 2.0x teleconverter on it for an effective focal length of 1000mm. All of the images were made at an aperture setting of f/9, the standard setting I use on this lens/teleconverter combination when I’m wanting as little depth-of-field as possible while at the same time stopping down a bit to compensate for the sharpness lost by using the teleconverter. 1000mm is roughly equivalent to about a 20x zoom, if you are using a point-and-shoot type camera, from what our bare eyes would normally see.
This first shot was taken from my vehicle with the lens resting just on top of the window opening. The extreme focal length (or magnification factor) of images made with a super telephoto lens does help minimize the apparent difference in height (which ended up being about four feet or 1.2 metres) but you can still tell it was shot looking down at the squirrel.
Richardson’s Ground Squirrel sitting on the grass – shot from four feet height (1.2 meters)
On this next photo below, using my tripod with the lens about 18 inches (45cm) above the ground, you can really see how the camera angle has changed and how nicely the background resolves into a whole bunch of nothingness (technically called bokeh), but there is still an element of peering down on the ground squirrel.
Richardson’s Ground Squirrel eating a piece of grass – shot from 18″ camera height
The effect of getting your lens closer to your subject’s eye level is that the viewer of your images is able to look at the subject without looking down at it and the innate connection between the viewer and the subject is a lot more intimate and compelling. So what happens when you get even lower to the point where your lens is as close to the eye level of the subject as possible?
Richardson’s Ground Squirrel giving a warning signal – 6 inch camera height
Richardson’s Ground Squirrel giving a warning signal – 6 inch camera height
You can see the image becomes even more compelling with the lens and camera are now at the same level of the squirrel. I was laying in a prone position on the ground for these last two images, with the lens resting on a bean bag. In the first of the two images above, shot at 6 inches camera height, you can really see the delineation line of what’s in focus and what isn’t (the DOF). One could argue that the out of focus grass in front of the image is distracting, but, I’d argue that the dreamy effect created adds to the interest of the photo, and the squirrel’s head and eyes are nice and sharp.
Summary and your turn
I hope that these images, along with the accompanying text, help illustrate the point about getting to your subject’s eye-level whenever feasible. It’s not necessary to use a 500mm lens, you will have the same effect with whatever lens you have.
In addition to being the owner of the Burwell School of Photography, Paul Burwell is a professional photographer, writer, educator and enthusiastic naturalist with over twenty years experience working with and educating adults. He is a contributing editor and regular columnist with Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine. Paul has been a finalist in the Veolia ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ worldwide competition both in 2009 and 2010 and was named a ‘Top Wildlife Shooter’ by Popular Photography Magazine in 2010. You can find Paul on Google Plus and Paul Burwell.com.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
The post How Low Can you Go? An Illustration of Camera Angle for Wildlife Photography by Guest Contributor appeared first on Digital Photography School.
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