View Full Version : Digital camera with 500mm telephoto

08-04-2001, 10:15 AM
I'm answering a question from a thread in the Wildlife forum (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15157) and thought it should go in this forum.

The question:

Now do share-- what kind of GREAT digital camera do you have exactly? I have thusfar, resisted buying one. One reason is that I am afraid of having to spend a fortune to get one with good zoom/telephoto. Actually, I dont see them with this feature much. So, if I do go for it, I will probably go for the big guns. I love my manual Nikon with the zoom but it would be nice to have a digital with the same or better features. I am NOT the best photographer -- lots to learn there but I enjoy it.

Ah! My Camera. I love my camera. It's an Olympus 2020-Z and I couldn't be happier with it. I've been a Nikon fan for 30 years and had several and even did photography semi-professionally for a while. So, of course, my first thought was to go to Nikon digital, but the more I read and looked (and I did a LOT of it over a 6 month period before I bought), the more it appeared that Olympus was the digital camera to buy. A couple of the better resources I used: http://photo.askey.net/reviews/ and http://www.steves-digicams.com/ and especially http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM.

Then, to get a powerful telephoto, I finally found the eagle eye Opticzoom, which isn't a zoom at all, but a fixed focal length lens - actually it's a 5x converter. It works without vignetting in most situations at full 3x Olympus zoom and the photos are sharp!

Here's a test photo I took with and without it (distance to tricycle is 40 feet):
Full 3x zoom on Olympus 2020, uncropped.

15x zoom with Opticzoom, uncropped.

Detail of Opticzoom photo.

Same detail of 3x photo without Opticzoom (had to resample to enlarge it to same size)

08-04-2001, 06:34 PM
Thats pretty impressive. I have seen really good pictures posted on other websites that were taken with the Olymbus 2100UZ. I'm not familiar with the camera but the pictures I've seen are the type that would have required a super-telephoto lens for a 35mm SLR. I've also seen impressive macro pictures taken with digital cameras.

I have a Kodak digital camera, that was about the best available when I bought it, but it is seriously out-classed today. I shoot Nikon film cameras, but my next camera will be digital.

Thanks for the URLs, I will check them out. And thanks for the demonstration. Is Opticzoom a brand name? Is it just for Olympus cameras?

Well, here I go to Google opticzoom.

08-04-2001, 07:37 PM
The brand is Eagle Eye. I imagine you'll find it, but when I first heard about it and looked for it all I could find was a source in the UK and their website said that's the only place to buy it. Then I found the US seller (apparently the ONLY source in the US) at http://www.photosolve.com

It is good for almost all digital cameras. If you get one, I HIGHLY suggest you get the extend-a-view also. I don't think it would work well by looking at the LCD as usual.

One very interesting fact - I'm sure you know what happens when you stick a telephoto lens on an SLR (unless it's a very expensive lens) - it cuts the light down tremendously and limits your photo opportunities. Somehow, with this lens, when I put it on my camera, the light hardly decreases at all! I'm not sure I understand how that happens, but I'm very happy about it.

A couple caveats - If you're experienced with manual focus SLR's, you ought to be able to focus with no problems, but I hear some people can't manage it easily. Also, if you bring the zoom down on your camera, or have too small of an aperture, you'll get vignetting. But neither of these has been a problem for me. You can see a very tiny amount of vignetting on the uncropped Opticzoom photo above. This was because it was very bright outside and was taken at a small aperture, and I didn't take the time to figure out if I could get rid of it totally.

08-04-2001, 09:30 PM
I checked it out. The Opticzoom will fit my Kodak DC260, but at nearly $350 by the time you add in all the little axtras and necessary gadgets, I think I'll pass. That not-on-the-cutting-edge-anymore camera just isn't worth the cost of the upgrade. My cash is better spent on the excruciatingly expensive lenses I need/want for my film cameras. Although, I have to admit that your tricycle shot is pretty convincing.

Some of the brackets, adapers, and such in their Extend-a-System look pretty promising. I've seen some remarkable photographs taken with a digital camera through a spotting scope.