This 200x zoom camera lets you read the writing on airplanes

Oct 8, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This 200x zoom camera lets you read the writing on airplanes

Oct 8, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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200xzoom

Even without the assistance of the 4x digital zoom, the 50x optical zoom of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS was pretty impressive when it was released. But what does a combined 200x zoom actually look like? Well, it means you can read the writing on planes flying overhead. Planes that you can’t even see when the lens is set to its widest focal length.

The 50x optical zoom alone is the focal length equivalent of 24-1,200mm on a full frame body. The 4x digital zoom brings that up to 4,800mm equivalent, but you’re still probably better off sticking with the optical and scaling in post if you need to. That being said, it’s still pretty impressive. That it can make out anything at all at that distance is pretty ridiculous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AZzzc4EfSo

It’s also a testament to the camera’s built in image stabilisation. It certainly wouldn’t be easy to track a moving plane at this distance and field of view without it.

For those who think this may be faked, there are plenty of other videos on YouTube showing off the SX50’s capabilities.

YouTube video

It’s since been replaced in Canon’s lineup by the PowerShot SX60 HS, which has seen he optical zoom bumped to  65x (21-1,365mm) before the 4x digital kicks in (bringing it to 260x, a 5,460mm equivalent). I’ve never been a huge fan of digital zoom, but this sample shot on the SX60 is also pretty impressive.

YouTube video

The digital zoom of the Canons does give it a little extra edge, but given that digital zoom is generally pretty crappy, the Nikon P900‘s 83x optical zoom (24-2,000mm equivalent) is still king.

YouTube video

Ok, so cameras like these might not give you the quality you can get with a DSLR, but they are convenient. You can go the DSLR route if you want to. But the cost and weight limitations would definitely be a bit of a disadvantage.

I do wonder what most people would actually use this kind of zoom for regularly. Beyond the initial tests of zooming into the moon and planes, I mean. Perhaps bird watching? It’s a much smaller package than a spotting scope with a DSLR. But what else?

Do you have a “superzoom” camera? What do you use it for? Is it something you use regularly? Or is this kind of range mostly just a gimmick? Let us know what you think in the comments.

[via Gizmodo]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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9 responses to “This 200x zoom camera lets you read the writing on airplanes”

  1. Theodoros Kondakos Avatar
    Theodoros Kondakos

    at last we gonna have some HD footage of them spraying us with mind altering chemicals, altered alien DNA, and other shit!

    1. Tom Brinckman Avatar
      Tom Brinckman

      There are no Aliens or Chemtrails, wake up to reality, Aliens are no different to religious nuts believing in a fairy in the Sky that grants wishes.

      1. Jody Davies Avatar
        Jody Davies

        The ignorance of some people, you have done no research obviously. people like you just repeat what MSM says. There is so much research and scientific proof out there showing
        chem-trails are a fact. The government have papers showing their research.

        1. Tom Brinckman Avatar
          Tom Brinckman

          Link to Government sight please ;) They are not Chemtrails they are vapour trails as it is very cold that high in the Sky and it’s caused by water vapour, just like clouds, you do know what causes clouds right ?
          You really need to stop going to those conspiracy sights and thinking they will give you anything sensible.
          All the people that you think are causing the chemtrails also live on this planet, it’s not like they can breathe different air or grow plants in special sealed domes where the Chemicals can’t get in lol.
          You people need to think through an argument and get to a sensible conclusion on what the benefits are to these mysterious people causing these chemical trails and you really think they would put non flammable liquids into the fuel, what happens these chemicals cause the engine to misfire or stall as they can’t be flammable otherwise those chemicals would be burnt up and not disperse into the atmosphere to do what you think they want them to do.
          There are no Government papers on Chemtrails, there are papers on Water vapour caused by Planes as water vapour or clouds can cause weather effects ;)

        2. insi10 Avatar
          insi10

          Link, please? Oh, no link? Huh. What a surprise.

    2. insi10 Avatar
      insi10

      I’m assuming that this is a joke, right? Or have you gone full nutter on us?

      No, you’re right. One of the properties of the “mind altering chemicals” is that the victim can no longer see the chemtrails. So there you have it, I just see vapor trails. Clever, these aliens or Chinese or whoever is altering my DNA.

  2. Dick Blom Avatar
    Dick Blom

    Them chemtrails are the worst. Can also read the writing on the wall ?

    1. maurice miller Avatar
      maurice miller

      Chemtrails. Bahahahahaha the stupidity in this coment is painful. No doubt the never took a middle school science class and learned how condensation is formed. Are you a beauty school drop out also?

  3. Tom Brinckman Avatar
    Tom Brinckman

    Ultra zooms are a gimmick, most normal daily use on Holidays or out at the beach or where ever with the kids you wouldn’t let them get that far away from you ;)
    A normal 70 – 300mm is more than enough for at the fun park or water park to get great quality shots of the kids. At the motor sports or Football as well, you don’t need to see the pimple in close up on the drivers nose. I bought a HX400V for my Wife and this had a 50x zoom, I don’t think she ever got a decent shot even once from it at full zoom, it was always on auto and very rarely went past maybe 10 to 15X zoom. My 70 – 300mm Nikkor Lens gave way better images with much better sharpness and I could zoom in on the images with my computer a lot further than we could on the Sony. I am not saying the Sony was bad but for the cost I could have gotten a better camera with less zoom or even a proper replaceable lens camera. I myself prefer actual film as it gave way better results, just the pain in the but of not seeing what you got till days later as well as carrying all the rolls of film and keeping them cool these days made me change to a Nikon digital, I still want a proper lens camera though as the others are more like a toy in my eyes, like those silly Polaroids back in the day.