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wiiawiwb

What Camera is recommended?

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wiiawiwb

I'd like to revisit a topic that I often think about. If the magical moment occurs, and a sasquatch is in view,  do I have the right camera to capture that moment?  Two separate occasions recently, in which I could not capture the shot I wanted, underscores this question.

 

Three weeks ago, I was hiking and saw a deer at the summit of a peak. I pulled out my new smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S10) and captured it on film -- or did I? As you can see from the picture below, despite my trying to "box in the subject", the camera focused on bushes that were closer.  Just last week, I encountered a rattlesnake on the trail, quickly pulled out my not-so-trusty S10 and took several pictures all of which were miserable failures.

 

I don't know to use manual settings on a camera but back in the day I had a Minolta 35mm-camera that I would focus manually.  I always got the shot I wanted because I could grab, focus, then shoot. Now, I point the S10 and shoot and it never turns out as expected.

 

What is the solution? Should I continue using my S10 and try to improve with it or should I get a small-size DSLR where I could manually focus like I use to do. Willing to spend up to $1,000. Most of the ones I see in Best Buy are large and boxy, and simply won't work for that reason, or ones I can't focus by adjusting the lens with my fingers.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion of the best course of action  and, if it is to get a digital camera, can you suggest one that that might work?

 

Blurry_Deer.thumb.jpg.2f27e66175764018b48f44dbfefeb1a0.jpg

 

 

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hiflier
Posted (edited)

You might try changing the metering criteria? Most of the even the better phone cameras are center-weighted which allows things like focusing on a face to make sure it doesn't blur if the shot doesn't average someone's face with background objects but it's still a rather broad area. But the metering criteria can be changed to spot metering which I think will give a more pin-pointed area in the center of the photo? It might work better for distance shots like your deer.

 

I have several Pentax K1000 manual cameras from the 60's and 70's and still use them. I also have a more "modern" Pentax MZ which is still film but has auto capabilities such as focus and aperture and can be weighted for either. So for me, a bit higher speed film  like ASA 400 with an f-stop closed down to say, f16 or f22 allows for greater distance shots while still keeping some foreground in focus (depth of field). I would still have to adjust the speed of the shutter (light) and then focus the camera to get a decent exposure.

 

I guess the brass ring of all of this would be a setting, even if running automatic, that narrows down the field of view that the camera takes in for its metering and therefore its auto focus? I need to do some experimenting with that on my own phone camera to be sure though. The phone camera for me is something new this year as I always had flip phones which really sucked for photos. Also it got me OUT of the habit of even thinking to take a photo with my phone. Something I trying to ingrain into my psyche to try and make it more of a first thought instead of the afterthought of, "Why didn't I get a picture of that when I had the chance?" which, sadly, seems to be my current MO. 

Edited by hiflier

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wiiawiwb

Good advice, thank you. With my S10, there is a "focus box" which I can use to tell the S10 what I am focusing on. That works perfectly if the object is by itself. In the example with the deer, there was a branch in front of it. I couldn't make the focus box small enough to put it on just the deer's head and because there was an object in front of the deer, it chose the object. With a manual focus, I could quickly adjust the lens and be good to go.

 

 

 

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hiflier
1 hour ago, wiiawiwb said:

I couldn't make the focus box small enough....

 

Yeah, that's why I need to fool around with this spot metering feature on my phone camera. I mean, I see focus boxes, too, when wanting to focus on say a face to make sure it's it has good resolution and all, but If the spot metering allows me to zero the focus in tighter, like on the nose then I think I will be heading in the right direction. I also need to see if the option is available for video as well.

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Redbone

When I plan on buying something expensive, I usually do a lot of research ahead of time. I had some very specific requirements, and I ended up buying a $600 Canon T6 Package from Sam's Club.

 

1- Ability to Manual Focus. I wanted to be able to focus on dark areas in the foliage, and not on the leaves.

2- Big sensor, I wanted to be able to zoom in on large images. (18 Megapixels)

3- Video when needed

4- Zoom Capabilities (it came with a 75-300 lens, and an 18-55mm lens) - Some day I want to get one of those large zoom lenses, and I bought a tripod sturdy enough to handle it.

5- Bang for the buck. I got a very capable camera system for $600, and because it is DSLR, I can add bigger lenses as I go.

I think you can get about the same setup for $400 now, or a similar kit that also includes a 500mm lens for $569.

Bonus #1 - In Auto mode, with auto focus, it it very easy to use.

Bonus #2 - I output to jpg and RAW images, that I can adjust myself with photoshop.

 

20200801_102426.thumb.jpg.f7bebf15190068b6fb47dc91dc9171d7.jpg

I should have taken more pictures to see if moved. Because I didn't, it's just a dark spot in the leaves.

Dark_Spot.thumb.JPG.404ede74ce6cfb928b0c1c04ccb1beac.JPG

Long exposure at night!

873044865_cabinsatnigh.thumb.jpg.39c4f031105259a5f1a904423822d7eb.jpg

Debunking the Omaha Reservation version of "Ghost Light Road"

1353563464_RidgeRoad1.thumb.jpg.3fd9a2a3562fff31dba81bfddcfeaa67.jpg

1486072394_RidgeRoad2.thumb.jpg.0871ee0c46dcb48827c2e4e69cd618c2.jpg

 

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NCBFr
On 7/30/2020 at 8:53 AM, wiiawiwb said:

I'd like to revisit a topic that I often think about. If the magical moment occurs, and a sasquatch is in view,  do I have the right camera to capture that moment?  Two separate occasions recently, in which I could not capture the shot I wanted, underscores this question.

 

Three weeks ago, I was hiking and saw a deer at the summit of a peak. I pulled out my new smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S10) and captured it on film -- or did I? As you can see from the picture below, despite my trying to "box in the subject", the camera focused on bushes that were closer.  Just last week, I encountered a rattlesnake on the trail, quickly pulled out my not-so-trusty S10 and took several pictures all of which were miserable failures.

 

I don't know to use manual settings on a camera but back in the day I had a Minolta 35mm-camera that I would focus manually.  I always got the shot I wanted because I could grab, focus, then shoot. Now, I point the S10 and shoot and it never turns out as expected.

 

What is the solution? Should I continue using my S10 and try to improve with it or should I get a small-size DSLR where I could manually focus like I use to do. Willing to spend up to $1,000. Most of the ones I see in Best Buy are large and boxy, and simply won't work for that reason, or ones I can't focus by adjusting the lens with my fingers.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion of the best course of action  and, if it is to get a digital camera, can you suggest one that that might work?

 

Blurry_Deer.thumb.jpg.2f27e66175764018b48f44dbfefeb1a0.jpg

 

 

 

The real question is what is the best lense to take bigfooting,  There is the never ending tension between length, speed, weight, lens quality, and price.  I have a 100MM-300mm zoom f2.8 that would get a perfect shot of BF under almost all day conditions but unfortunately weighs 10 pounds and would only work if you are stopped and set u waiting for a picture.  Nikon's 70-200 F2.8 is probably the best all around lens for this but it will not be able to get a BF way off n the distance.

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wiiawiwb

Great recommendations and suggestions from all of you. Thank you.

 

The overarching criterion for me is it must be conducive for backpacking as that is how I do almost all of my sasquatching. Size matters so it must as compact and light as possible yet allowing me to manually focus.

 

I've been looking at the SONY a6000 and 6100 as that line seems to have a smaller profile.

Edited by wiiawiwb
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BlackRockBigfoot
8 minutes ago, wiiawiwb said:

Great recommendations and suggestions from all of you. Thank you.

 

The overarching criterion for me is it must be conducive for backpacking as that is how I do almost all of my sasquatching. Size matters so it must as compact and light as possible yet allowing me to manually focus.

I feel you.  

 

I envy those guys who can drive directly into their research areas.  

 

When you have to haul everything on your back, it really makes you prioritize what you bring with you.  I bought a camera drone thinking that I would be able to take it out to get a bird's eye view of an area.  All I've done is crash it in my backyard.  It would displace equipment that I think is more crucial if I tried to pack it in.

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hiflier

I have a Pentax 80-320 FA  f4.5 which is fairly light but let's face it, it isn't just weight. It's also size. I have to say though, the resolution is a bit soft at around 300 but still much better than the deer photo you posted. I couple it to the "newer" Pentax MXZ film camera which still has the lower profile of the old K1000,s and can be run manual or auto. It is mostly plastic and so the camera itself is very light weight. I can also set it so it will burst through an entire roll of film in seconds. It uses two CR123's or can be fitted with a magazine loaded with AA's. BUT together both pieces do take up room in a pack as would any full or near-full size camera and lens would. Oh.....an then there's extra film, a flash attachment, a spot meter, filters etc., etc.. Mostly though it's just the camera and lens that I would take just to be sensible. I'll get a photo of them up here at some point.

Edited by hiflier

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MIB

I have a couple of the Nikon Coolpix cameras, an A-900 and a P-900.    The P-900 is a beast, but it <works>.   I haven't done much but auto-shoot with it.   I find that with the stabilization software onboard, I can, if I'm careful, run to max 83x magnification (2000 mm equivalent) without motion blur.    It's a bit bulky, a little heavy, but if I'm going somewhere knowing the intent is to take pictures, it goes.   The A-900 is smaller, lighter (but not small or light) maxes out at 35x, but does 20MP pictures compared to the 16MP pictures of the P-900 and it does 4K video.    I use 64G SD cards in both so I have plenty of storage for pictures or video. 

 

As a general idea what the P-900 will do, couple years ago there was a fire about 6 miles from where I lived.    I went outside, set up the camera, and took pictures.   You can make out the firefighters on the ground and read the tail numbers on one of the water-dropping helicopters .. yeah, at 6 miles.    I think that is .. "ok".    

 

I'm looking for yet another camera, something smaller / more compact, but I want at least 10x magnification else I'd just use my cell phone.   That little booger captures greens incredibly well.    I'm looking for something about twice the thickness of the cell phone, say 3/4 inch thick or less.   There were a couple of options but they seem to have been discontinued.    Just demonstrates "if you snooze you lose" I guess.  

 

MIB

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wiiawiwb
7 hours ago, BlackRockBigfoot said:

I feel you.  

 

I envy those guys who can drive directly into their research areas.  

 

When you have to haul everything on your back, it really makes you prioritize what you bring with you.  I bought a camera drone thinking that I would be able to take it out to get a bird's eye view of an area.  All I've done is crash it in my backyard.  It would displace equipment that I think is more crucial if I tried to pack it in.

 

Amen, brother. Two months ago, a fellow sasquatcher brought his drone to one of our two hotspots. He ended up getting it hung up in a tree somewhere out of sight at a pond we were at. We went back with two other friends and the four of us couldn't find it anywhere.  He had a replacement last weekend and it was pretty amazing how quickly it can access a location and how you can see what's in the forest.

 

When you have "the list" only to find that you have to cross some items off, it makes you prioritize. Camera or comfortable sleep? Another shirt or more ammo? Add a thermal...now what do I eliminate?

 

Last week, I chose a wind shirt and SONY PCM-M10 over 22oz of snake gaiters. Naturally,  I ran into the largest Timber Rattler I've ever seen.

 

My list quickly changed---forever!

Edited by wiiawiwb
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BlackRockBigfoot

Lol.  Snakes have supposedly been bad this year, but we haven't seen a single one.

 

Yeah, in addition to the usual hiking stuff like water, food, first aid kit, GPS, flashlights, knives, etc...we have to carry a monocular, a night vision camera, 2 action cams, the FLIR, the Sionyx, recording equipment, casting materials, extra batteries, battery chargers, firearms...

 

That's why we have taken a couple of weeks off.  The heat and humidity is too much.  It is doable, but it is not enjoyable in the slightest.  Not to mention that the oppressive heat limits the FLIR and the humidity plays havock on our camera lenses.  

 

Not looking forward to that first trip back out.  My endurance is probably crap right now after few lazy weeks.

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wiiawiwb

I've backpacked before in the Grand Canyon and there are times sasquatching when I use to feel like one of those pack mules trudging along and overburdened. One of the heaviest items I'd carry used to be fluid. I'd dilute Gatorade and carry 4 quarts.  Fortunately, where I go there are creeks and ponds around so now I bring a Katadyn Be Free and a Sawyer Mini as a backup. It frees up a ton of space and really lightens the load.

 

I agree about the equipment adding the weight. As you mentioned that, plus backup power sources, really tip the scales. What do you bring for casting materials?  I bring Lightweight Hydrocal and two zip-lock bags.  What I carry may not be enough but it will cast one impression. More than one and I'd have to return to do so.

 

I've really paired down the equipment as best I can and will probably find a time when I will regret having done so.

 

Be Free

 

Sawyer Mini

 

 

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NCBFr
17 minutes ago, wiiawiwb said:

I've backpacked before in the Grand Canyon and there are times sasquatching when I use to feel like one of those pack mules trudging along and overburdened. One of the heaviest items I'd carry used to be fluid. I'd dilute Gatorade and carry 4 quarts. 

 

 

 

Great analogy.  That was me when I would take the family out west to various national parks.  Our hikes would be up to 12 miles up and down the mountains and I was the mule that carried the backpack with a few gallons of water, lunch, camera, scope, and anything else the family could think of.  The good news is it would be much lighter at the end of the day after we drank all of the water.

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BlackRockBigfoot
3 hours ago, wiiawiwb said:

I've backpacked before in the Grand Canyon and there are times sasquatching when I use to feel like one of those pack mules trudging along and overburdened. One of the heaviest items I'd carry used to be fluid. I'd dilute Gatorade and carry 4 quarts.  Fortunately, where I go there are creeks and ponds around so now I bring a Katadyn Be Free and a Sawyer Mini as a backup. It frees up a ton of space and really lightens the load.

 

I agree about the equipment adding the weight. As you mentioned that, plus backup power sources, really tip the scales. What do you bring for casting materials?  I bring Lightweight Hydrocal and two zip-lock bags.  What I carry may not be enough but it will cast one impression. More than one and I'd have to return to do so.

 

I've really paired down the equipment as best I can and will probably find a time when I will regret having done so.

 

Be Free

 

Sawyer Mini

 

 

We use Perfect Cast casting material.  We have it premeasured in two ziplock bags, one larger for multiple castings at once and one smaller for a single print sized casting.  

 

I carry a Katadyn Pocket Filter for purification, since especially during the summer we run our water bladders dry.  My partner carries a Lifestraw as an emergency backup.

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