Beginner Seagulls!

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Rob
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#1
Hi boffins, I've joined today in the hope of getting some advice on the lens I need for a specific art project.
I want to photograph seagulls in St Ives, perched on rooftops, chimney pots (on cottages, not skyscrapers!), streetlamps, etc.
My Canon G9 compact is ideal for most of my photography, but the 47mm zoom lens isn't powerful enough for this.
I want to keep my costs minimal and buy second hand, Any suggestions what focal length LENS will do the job, folks? (
 
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#2
Hi and welcome to TP

Can you clarify as follows:-
Are you saying that at the 47mm max zoom setting you are not filling the frame with the gull? As that is in 35mm (full frame terms) equivalent to a 210mm lens.

What is your budget?

Are you looking for another compact camera but with greater zoom range?

Or happy to look at a crop body dSLR such as a Canon 760D?

As you can see your question is not straightforward.........more questions (for now) than answers ;)
 
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Chris
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#3
The Canon G9 compact has an effective zoom range, in 35mm view angle equivalent terms, of 35-210mm. You say that's not enough. (I don't understand your reference to a 47mm zoom.) The crucial question is by how much is it not enough? Do you want to zoom in twice as much, i.e., make the seagull linearly twice as big in the image? If so, then the optional 2X teleconverter for this camera should do the job for you, although you won't get quite as much as 2X extra linear detail because the teleconverter magnifies the lenses defects as well as the image.

If you want to zoom in even further than that then you need a different camera, which means a much bigger expenditure, plus you answering some questions about what other features you want in your camera. For example, do you want to be able to shoot in RAW? Do you want full manual control? Do you want exchangeable lenses? What kind of output do you want? To display images on web pages? To make A4 prints? To make A3 prints?
 
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#6
Hi boffins, I've joined today in the hope of getting some advice on the lens I need for a specific art project.
I want to photograph seagulls in St Ives, perched on rooftops, chimney pots (on cottages, not skyscrapers!), streetlamps, etc.
My Canon G9 compact is ideal for most of my photography, but the 47mm zoom lens isn't powerful enough for this.
I want to keep my costs minimal and buy second hand, Any suggestions what focal length LENS will do the job, folks? (
I think a lot hangs on where you are. For example I'm in north east England so if attempting to photograph seagulls in St Ives I'd need a very very long lens.

Sorry about that :D I'll be sensible now...

If doing this on a budget I think I'd take a look at micro four thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. For example a Panasonic G2 camera can be found on the used market for about £50 and you could add an old manual focus film era lens, something like a 135mm f3.5, for well under £50 giving you a full frame equivalent (the G2 is a x2 crop camera) of 270mm which may be enough for a largish bird on a rooftop. If that's not enough reach there are cheap 200 and 300mm lenses for around £50-75. So, it should be possible to get a camera and a lens for about £100-£150 including an adapter to mount the lens on the camera, these adapters may be in the region of £10 to £15 or so.

The G2 is an older camera (I had the very similar previous model G1) but the image quality is IMO excellent at ISO 100-400 and good to maybe 800 so good light photography at decent shutter speeds should be possible.

I hope that helps, sorry if it's a lot to take in.

Here's a used kit seller, you can get an idea of what's available and at what price...

http://www.ffordes.com/category/Digital_Cameras/Mirrorless/Panasonic_G/G_Cameras
 
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#7
Wow, great response! Thanks to all.
I clearly have much to learn!! So a 47mm lens is actually a 200mm lens? Ok..... ( :

To clarify, I want to take detailed reference shots for paintings, so would like the subject to fill perhaps 80-90% of the frame width. And was assuming I would need to move from my compact to an SLR with a more powerful lens.

However, the news that a tele converter is available for the G9 is VERY interesting! I had no idea such a thing was possible...

I'm off too look into this! ( :
 
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#8
to be honest I think your on a very expensive hiding to nowhere ,if your a artist then painting in the surrounding buildings etc the gulls are perched on is a easy task ,and there are millions of perched gull shots on the likes of flickr taken by people with expensive cameras and lenses that will provide more than enough detail for your paintings .
 

StewartR

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#9
OK folks, let's do some science.

The most common gulls around southern English coasts are herring gulls, which have an overall length of about 60cm.

I want to take detailed reference shots for paintings, so would like the subject to fill perhaps 80-90% of the frame width.
OK, so that means you want to be framing a subject which is a bit bigger than 60cm. Let's say 1 metre to keep the maths simple.

upload_2018-6-6_10-19-19.png

Now the $64,000 question is: how far away from the gull are you going to be?

Chimney pots on two-storey houses are probably about 8 metres off the ground. Lamp posts in residential areas are probably a bit shorter, say 5-6 metres. But that's not the distance to the gull, because that would mean you'd be standing directly underneath it and that's probably not the camera angle you'd prefer.

I reckon you probably want to be at least 10 metres away from (the base of) the lamp post / chimney top get a decent angle, and quite probably 15-20 metres.

upload_2018-6-6_10-44-47.png

So that's all the data we need. If you want to frame a 1 metre subject from a range of say 10-20 metres, then you need a focal length of:
  • 360mm to 720mm on a "full frame" camera
  • 240mm to 480mm on an APS-C camera
  • 180mm to 360mm on a Micro 4/3rds camera
  • etc
 
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#10
So that's all the data we need. If you want to frame a 1 metre subject from a range of say 10-20 metres, then you need a focal length of:
  • 360mm to 720mm on a "full frame" camera
  • 240mm to 480mm on an APS-C camera
  • 180mm to 360mm on a Micro 4/3rds camera
  • etc
Yes but if this is just for reference purposes and not for printing metres wide and hanging on a gallery wall you can crop. I have a 150mm lens for MFT giving a FF equivalent of 300mm and I can take pictures of birds on the roof / squirrels in trees etc and crop to even 100% and see fine detail. That may be enough and will keep the cost down.
 

StewartR

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#11
Yes but if this is just for reference purposes and not for printing metres wide and hanging on a gallery wall you can crop.
Sure, but the OP doesn't want to:
To clarify, I want to take detailed reference shots for paintings, so would like the subject to fill perhaps 80-90% of the frame width.
 
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#12
Hey! I'm standing on the shoulders of giants here!
Deeply impressed by the depth of knowledge and time spent answering my post. Thankyou! Never in a month of Sundays would I have done that 'math', Stewart R!
It's vital to me that I take my own ref. pics rather than lift them off flickr, etc - or I lose a major chunk of the creative process at the first hurdle.
Also, it's important I capture the birds partially from below so the background will be sky, this is where the distance element comes in. And I've already found that gulls that aren't actively involved in chip/pasty/mobile phone theft are weirdly wary of being approached within full frame distance of a G9. Even in the St Ives Gull ghetto.
Chris Malcolm - I have taken the plunge and bought the Canon teleconverter as suggested by you, sir! (£50 off ebay + £10 for adapter ring) Thrilled to have potentially found such a neat solution to my problem, thankyou.

Ps. Why a teleconverter that only fits the G7/9 NEEDS a adapter ring will remain a mystery to me; just like why camera makers employ arcane focal length ratios and 35mm equivalents instead of 6,8,10x magnifications like binocular makers do... :confused:
 
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StewartR

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#13
... why camera makers employ arcane focal length ratios and 35mm equivalents instead of 6,8,10x magnifications like binocular makers do... :confused:
Have a think about it. How do you think camera manufacturers should define "1x"? Clearly it should mean that something is the same size as something else... but what, exactly?
 
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#14
Have a think about it. How do you think camera manufacturers should define "1x"? Clearly it should mean that something is the same size as something else... but what, exactly?
Ok ... but why is that not a problem for binocular makers? Isn't 10x lifesize at the retina the same as 10x at the sensor? (He said, more in hope than faith) ( :
 
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