Buzz and Zoom
Well it's official, results are in, the models are buzzing, a real honey of a contest...ok sorry!
Firstly, I am in no way as good as Bobstafford when it comes to explaining the technical bits so, in the interest of fairness, all the photos were taken in standard 'auto' settings.
The phone did well, obviously lighter and handier to carry, but, no depth of field and on extreme zoom there was a large amount of chromatic aberration. Little choice in focus options so an adequate camera but not for decent close-up work.
Next was a pocket camera. A little heavier and not quite 'pocket' size, colours were good and the 8x zoom adequate enough for close ups. However, the shutter speed wasn't quite up to freezing the up-close action in auto focus, and the camera tended to focus on the background or foreground no matter what focus mode was employed.
DSLR with a 70/200 zoom lens. Much, much heavier and you'd need a bag (or kangaroo sized pockets!) Using only the auto mode the camera performed well, losing out on the action shots as the auto-focus lens was obviously not as fast as a bee's wings! Nice camera, nice lens but restricted as I didn't adjust the settings. Spot focus mode improved the stills though.
Finally the same DSLR with a 400mm tele' lens. Without a tripod, focusing was a little trickier, camera shake a big problem. bulky and heavy, it's not the handiest of cameras to whip out of a bag, so plan ahead. Nice sharp images but with a little colour distortion. Definitely not the kind of camera you can pan around to follow the action. However, if you anticipated the flight paths, some very nice results were achieved.
So, is it worth the casual photographer splashing out on expensive kit?
For the odd nature shot I'd say not, but if macro photography is your thing, you've always wondered what pattern is on a bumblebee's wings, or you are a budding entomologist, it may be worth investing.
Once out of 'auto' mode, with a little practice, a lot of experimenting and a good read of Bob's photographic entries, the camera opens up a new world of opportunities!
Right, I'm off to find some lavender honey!