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New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Community Veteran
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New Camera ? or add-on lens?

I want to improve my camera  (and my photographic skills) and have been looking for an upgrade for my present camera.
it is a Fuji S5600 which I like very much.... there is still a lot to learn on it, but I am finding I want to use more telephoto shots, and am thinking of the S8000fd (replaced by the s8100fd at a bigger price for only 2mpx more than the s8000fd)
To save having to google them,  basically they are similar cameras.  with better zoom and more mpx.
Present camera  Fuji S5600    10 X optical Zoom  (plus 5 x digital)  and 5 Megapixels
looking at              Fuji S8000fd    18 X optical zoom (plus 5 x digital and  8 Megapixels
newer version    Fuji S8100fd      18 X optical zoom  (plus 5 x digital and 10 megapixels.
The S8000fd is currently about £140 on AMAZON, and about £150-£160 elsewhere.
The S8100fd is currently about £180 on Jessops and about the same or more elsewhere.
I am not convinced that I need the extra 2mpx for the extra cash, so I am opting for the S8000fd as a NEW camera.......
ALTERNATIVELY,
I have considered buying a 2 X Teleconvertor lens for about £15-£20  (NEW) on ebay.
The Teleconvertor, mathematically, will double my existing 10 X optical Zoom, and achieve the upgrade for minimum cost.
What I want to know from you experts out there is whether the "cheaper version of upgrade" would, in fact achieve what I want, without degrading the pictures?  For example..... If I take a photograph on Max Zoom (10X optical only) I can achieve a "clear" in-focus shot. however , when I go the extra bit with the digital, it becomes a "fuzzy" photo, and not much use.
Would I get a "clear" in-focus shot with the Telephoto lens, on top of my 10X, or would it be not so clear?
I am of a mind, that the 18X optical Zoom lens(es) in the S8000fd have been manufactured to produce the correct focus at that range,
whereas the 10X Zoom lens on the s5600 have been manfuactured to 10X range, and that the 2X zoom may only have been manufactured to a "normal/standard" lens thus only giving good results up to 2X the original "standard lens"....
I am on a limited budget, and the FUJI range of cameras is about the right price for what I want, so please do not advise me to get a canon or other makes, with all them screw in lenses etc., ! !
Without being too technical, can anyone advise me, please.

60 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Gerry the tele adaptor works in exactly the same way as a digital zoom, it restricts the viewed picture to a smaller area on the CCD, hence you wont gain anything, the only way you can gain with extra lenses is by completely replacing the existing lens or by putting an adaptor lens in between your existing lens and the body
Community Veteran
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Wrong - some cameras do support genuine telephoto conversion lenses that clip on to the end of the camera's built-in lens to provide extra zoom. Unfortunately, the S5600 only supports a wide-angle conversion lens, not telephoto, and I wouldn't trust a cheap knock-off from eBay with a bargepole. So if you really want added telephoto, you could go with the S8000 - avoid the S81000, it has too many megapixels - but I do wonder if it's really necessary... bear in mind that with greater zoom comes a requirement for faster shutter speeds, and a chance that, if outdoors, things will look a bit hazy if you're trying to zoom in to something in the distance... so I'm personally not really sure of how useful an 18x zoom lens would be.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

your correct Thomas, I hadnt fully got my brain in gear, just suffered 5 hours of Mother in law
Community Veteran
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Thanks for the "confusion" ! ! !    Here is what I am looking at.....
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Digital-Telephoto-Lens-2-0x-58-55mm-Fits-Fuji-Digital_W0QQitemZ280270773259QQc...
It screws on to the front of the lens on my camera..... note..... the Zoom on my present camera is "internal" of the casing..... the lens tube does not move in and out, it is fixed, therefore the "additional lens" is fixed.  I suppose the "telephoto lens" would be in the Normal position, and the zoom is looking through that, so that the image is already zoomed by 2X before it hits the 10 X zoom lens...... would that be right? and would that be a problem, or would that be the correct way to do it?
I would be using the 18X zoom for very long shots of birds of prey Buzzards, Kites, Eagles, etc., and although the 10 X zoom is really good, it sometimes "lacks" that extra bit needed to get a nice clear shot.  
The current camera has a max shutter speed of 1/1000, which I found no problem with when I shot the Red Arrows at Bournemouth last year (see my website)....
the S8000fd has a max speed of 1/2000 which of course would be a bit of an improvement !.
Fuji Specs for the s8000fd
http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/consumer/digital/digital-cameras/d-slr-long-zoom/finepix-s8000/Specs
By the way, the S8000fd has a moving telescopic tubing for the 18 X zoom lens...... (which I am not keen on, but may have to get used to!)
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

@shutter, You might consider going DSLR, I know its a more expensive route, but much more satisfying having much more control over the resulting photographs. Some of the better known makes will except older lenses of the same fit...my Pentax DSLR will accept all of my old PK fit lenses (from my ME Super days) Pentax takes a bit of stick in the popularity stakes, but I'm very happy with mine, with using older lenses you need to dredge the memories and fiddle with manual exposures and things. Plus, there is so much movement on the digital camera front these days that there are quite a few used DSLR's around on the market, so you don't necessarily have to pay the earth, many of these are simply discarded to upgrade.
Admittedly, using SLR lenses on DSLR cameras can lead to some "interesting" field of view differences, but you're looking at the finished job through the viewfinder of a DSLR, so why should you let this bother you.
In your position, thats what I'd do anyway (actually, what I did, prior to the Pentax DSLR I used a Fuji 5500 -the previous model to yours- and came to the same conclusion as you, although I purchased my Pentax DSLR new)
Good luck...
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Heh, I think that's what Shutter meant about screw-in lenses. DSLRs are great, but... have you looked at how much you'd need to spend to get the equivalent of a camera with an 18x zoom lens? Assuming, say, a Nikon DX camera with 1.5x FOV crop, you'd need about a 400mm lens - which, even if you buy Sigma, costs about £600 and that's without a camera!
Anyway shutter, as I said in my previous post, I wouldn't touch one of those cheap eBay things at all, unless they were given to me - Ok there's a chance it might turn out to be Ok, but I expect it won't be, and it'll cause some image quality degradation. Also, my comments about shutter speed don't really have much to do with the maximum theoretical speed... what I meant was this: say that, with your 10x zoom lens, you get acceptable shots at ISO 100 and a shutter speed of 1/400. For this example, imagine that everything's exposed just right at those settings. Now, if you want to use an 18x zoom lens, you'll find that you need to increase the shutter speed to mitigate blur - which will result in either a darker photo, or more noise as you increase the ISO. Of course, that only applies if hand-holding the camera, so if you're snapping photos of birds using tripods then it's fine, but it's always something to consider anyway.
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Yes, I agree with you about the price comparison.... I can`t go that far to get the same result as I have now....
As regards the shutter speed, and the 18X zooooooooom !  Yes, the increased speed would be necessary to reduce the effect of "hand shake" which is magnified by the length of the zoooooooooooooooooooooooom lens !  Especially, as I would not necessarily be using the tripod.
From your answer, I assume that you have checked out the link to ebay.....? on the kind of lens attachment  I am thinking of.... Although they seem to be made by good manufacturer, as they are also available from American photo shops that advertise one Ebay.... (postage is a bit more, and the prices are higher for same model)
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

As said before the digital zoom is a waste of time all it is really is just cropping a picture which you can do with software later. The fugi are good cameras but realy to 18 zoom you are getting into a specialty type of photography which is expensive.
You dont say what you intend to do with the camera in detail if you want large zoom you can often get that with a video camera my son has one his cost 2K but its something like 30 zoom and you can get good stills from it, is other one was a cheap one and that had 20 zoom.
Some of the panosonic range are very good at a reasonable price and made by Panasonic, Olympus and Leica combined so they are all good makes. If you get a big megapixel camera you can get the quality to crop the pics and change thing with software which may give an effectively better zoom.
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

I did check the link shutter, and the fact I'd never heard of 'Merkury Optics' was enough to persuade me that it's not one I'd trust much. Sure, if you can get it for a fiver then it might be worth giving a go, but not if you have to pay much more.
And I have to disagree with samuria about getting a big megapixel camera. Sure, it is true that the higher resolution you have, the more cropping capabilities you have... but you really have to be careful about how many megapixels you try to squeeze on to a small camera sensor, and unless you're in DSLR territory, I think about 7 is actually enough. (I'm not so sure about now, but a little while ago there was a marked difference in image quality between just 7 and 8MP cameras, with the 7MP ones being consistently better.)
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Good Morning All.... Thanks for the overnight responses...  just to clear up a couple of points...
yes, I do know that digital zoom on top of optical zoom degrades the pictures, and that cropping a large mpx photo is better than cropping a small mpx photo.....
I am happy with the present 5mpx results, but the S8000fd gives an upgrade two ways.....
.1.) it will increase the mpx from 5 to 8      and
2.) it almost doubles the OPTICAL zoom which is what I am looking for.... (hence the choice problem...... camera or add on lens! ! !)

price wise, as previously mentioned if you go the DSLR route, with big screw in lenses, then it is expensive, but the FUJI cameras do it just as well for a much lighter (physically)  option, and more affordable too!.

I use the 10 X Optical zoom quite a lot when out and about, so don`t think it is that specialised, true, I would get better results using a tripod, and with the 18 X Optical zoom, it might be getting on towards essential.... I usually try to find a wall or lamp post or some other object to steady the camera against, but do carry a tripod in the car for the "special shots"... Some of the shots I would like to use the 18 X zoom on, would be of Buzzards and Red Kites, in flight, where the 10 X just doesn`t reach up to them enough....(like using a step ladder to clean the gutters of your house ! ! ! !) Grin Grin
The point I tried to make in my original post was that sometimes I feel the need for that little more OPTICAL zoom at the point of taking the photograph, which, when applying the DIGITAL zoom then degrades the result.
@Be3G
Yes, I take your point about Merkury Optics, as a particular mfctr,  Roll eyes however, there are quite a few others available on the net, that seem to be more "worthy" of investigation..... especially the ones that supply the American photo shop market.
On the other hand , just because you (or I) have never heard of them, Undecided  Undecided  does not necessarily mean they are not very good....  Cheesy  Don`t take this the wrong way, I was not asking for recommendations of makers,  Smiley  just about the general item, and the basic difference in application.....
new camera at 18X  or  old camera PLUS 2X lens = 20 X zoom  Undecided
and what would be the recommendations Wink

Community Veteran
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Quote from: Be3G

I think about 7 is actually enough. (I'm not so sure about now, but a little while ago there was a marked difference in image quality between just 7 and 8MP cameras, with the 7MP ones being consistently better.)

Few photo magazines recommend going much over 6mp, it depends on what you need it for, if you never produce anything over 6x4 family prints you will be hard pushed to see the difference between 4mp and 10mp (my 2mp phone camera produces adequate 6x4's) However if your forte is poster sized prints then, go for the maximum mp you can afford, otherwise save your money.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

Well it all depends - going for the maximum MP you can afford is generally not advisable unless you're talking about DSLRs. The reason for this is that fixed lens (i.e. non-DSLR) cameras use very very small sensors, which result in very small photosites - the little areas on the sensor that correspond to each pixel recorded in the final image. The smaller the photosite, the less light it can acquire in any given time, thus giving it a poorer SNR ratio. As technology progresses, advancements are made to increase the SNR through better-designed circuitry and so forth, but unfortunately market pressures are forcing more MP on to fixed-lens-cameras' sensors faster than technology advancements are made to improve the poor SNR. The result? Beyond a certain point, high-MP sensors just become overly noisy and generally produce poor image quality. Then there's the issue of the lens to consider too - it's all very well having, say, a 14MP sensor in your camera, but the likelihood, especially if the camera's small, is that the lens just won't be good enough to resolve 14MP of detail anyway. High MP-rated fixed-lens cameras are therefore nothing more than a gimmick. (And don't even get me started on camera phones...)
With DSLRs, it's a different matter. DSLR sensors are much larger than fixed-lens cameras (and if you go for a full-frame DSLR, even larger still); as a result, the SNR is far higher than with a fixed lens camera, which is why they can produce such silky-smooth images. And because you supply your own lens, if you have a very high MP DSLR, you just buy an expensive super-sharp lens (e.g. Canon 'L' series) to be able to cope with resolving all of the detail the sensor can capture. So yes, with DSLRs, buying as many MP as you can afford is generally a good idea.
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

There is another option which is half way between the digital SLR and the bridge cameras http://www.dcviews.com/_panasonic/g1.htm and it has a superb lens
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Re: New Camera ? or add-on lens?

This seems to be going in the wrong direction.... I am not so much concerned about the MPX.... My S5600 has 5MPX  which I find quite adequate for producing nice photographs on A4 photo papers..... the question originally was concerned about OPTICAL ZOOM....
My S5600 has a 55mm lens..... 10X OPTICAL ZOOM and I want more zoom !...
the upgrade to the S8000fd, gives some technical improvements over my S5600,    
PLUS........... 18X OPTICAL ZOOM.... with the added 3 mpx bringing it to 8mpx.
Going down that route, I would be replacing a nice camera with another nice camera, and a few extras for about £150-£180
There are on the market.... add on 2X telephoto lenses, which will fit my 55mm lens on my existing camera. (giving me a "mathematical" 20 X optical zoom) (OR WOULD IT?)
I could buy one of these, and find I have wasted £15 - £20 IF..... IF it was no good..... (there are others around the £55 mark too!)
That money could have gone towards the S8000fd ! ! !...
My request on the forum was basically,  to the technically advanced amongst you, whether you considered the "cheaper" option would be  worthwhile.....  or any other advice from personal experience of buying one of these for your camera..
The cost of DSLR is out of the question....