Sunday, 23 August 2015

The hunt for a new walk about camera

I have for the last few years used a Canon SX40 Bridge camera as my main walk about camera when out birding. I have always been happy with this camera and it is still going strong, but I now feel the need to upgrade. This decision has meant a lot of internet research, in fact I have spent hours going through the various options open to me.

First and foremost I like to watch wildlife, photography is a secondary interest. I have over the years through trial and error discovered that when real distant shots in difficult conditions are required, I can usually get better results using my Scope and either phone or digiscoping my target. Now if I go on a twitch or just out for a full days birding, my scope is always with me and so is my phone, so extreme distance photography is covered. So now, my requirements for a walkabout camera are a little different. 

Extreme Distance I Digiscope

Approx 400 yards - Good Light.



Approx 350-400 Yards Poor Light.


300+ Yards - Very Poor light but still a heat haze.


Although I haven’t included them the results from my SX40 Bridge camera did not compare to the above digiscoped pictures. So, I have distant record shots covered.

I now want a camera that can cover from macro to middle distance and although photography is a secondary interest, the quality of the pictures I take is becoming more important to me. Many times recently I have seen the opportunity for an interesting picture, but because the light is poor and knowing my small sensor SX40 bridge camera will struggle to give me a picture of reasonable quality as it will need a high ISO, I don’t even attempt the shot. So, I want a camera that will perform a bit better in lower light situations and still give me reasonable reach. 

Such a camera has been released. Canon has just released its 1” Sensor G3X with an equivalent 600mm (25x) Lens. It hasn’t got the reach of the small sensor cameras with some like the Nikon P900 sporting a 2000mm lens, but with a sensor 4 times the size and 20MP the image quality should be good. It has its negatives, it doesn’t come with an electronic viewfinder. Now a lot of the forums contain photographers down crying this camera for that. I must admit, it’s an expensive camera and I would have liked to have seen one on the camera as standard. However, Canon’s electronic EVF can be purchased and used separately if required. That does however bump up the cost. I gave this some thought and considered my own camera use at the moment with the Canon  SX40. To be honest the EVF is so poor on this camera, I very rarely use it. I have learnt to use the display screen for my photography. 

I weighed up the Pros and Cons and decided I would bite the bullet and go for this camera. A purchase was made.

Canon G3X hero 745  

I still want to stay with a Bridge Camera format due to their versatility without having to carry and swap lenses in the field.

My Efforts with the Canon G3X

So first of all I tried a bit of Macro. 

IMG 1513

IMG 2857


Then some at the extreme end of the lens 600mm


IMG 2974

IMG 1711

IMG 2227

IMG 2988

IMG 0396


Now I am very happy with the quality of these pictures. However, I did have the lens give a lens error message and close twice in the the three days I had the camera. I also noticed that at the extreme of the lens there was a difference in quality in the photographs of the same subject. I believe that there was a fault with the camera and returned it.

However, the more I think about it and go over the pictures I took with it, the more I think I should get a second one and give it another go. I had the same issue with my first SX40 and returned it. The replacement is still producing the goods today. I will give it some more thought. I must say though that the camera build really impressed me, and if the first model had a problem and I can get a perfect model, this could be exactly the camera I am looking for. 

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