Staff Tips Staff Tips
By John Petersen
Staff Tips
2010 Digital Camera Review
staff tips
—by John Petersen
ost of the draws are out and if you are like me you’re trying to explain to your wife how you ended up with 2 or 3
more hunts than you had mentioned. Last year I got away with a lot of time in the field because I was scouting for
HER elk hunt, this year I’m just in trouble. My strategy is to suggest more “girl’s weekends” to gain some extra brownie
points before fall—we’ll see how that goes. All this means it’s time to go through your pack and determine what gear
needs to be upgraded. One of the main items you should look at is your camera. There are a few basic things that will
greatly improve your hunting photos that I will cover over the next few months, but the number one thing you can do is
to use a high quality digital camera.
Technology changes so fast that if
your digital camera is over 3-4 years
old it is probably outdated. Yes it will
still work but even an inexpensive
newer model camera will generally
out perform a camera that is 4 years
old. When purchasing a camera this
year look for one from one of the top
manufacturers that is 12 megapixel or
more—preferably 14+.
Point and shoot cameras with HD video
capabilities are perfect for capturing
live animal footage, kill scenes, and
kill interviews to share with your
friends and family. Although they don’t
perform as well as a true video camera
when it comes to refocusing while
recording and audio quality, I’ve found
the video quality on digital cameras to
be very good for hunting videos if you
Last year I mentioned HD video follow a few simple techniques.
advancements in point and shoot type
cameras. This year more than ever
I think that it’s time to upgrade to
Point & Shoot Video Tips
a camera that will record HD video.
1. Treat each video segment like a
Plus, this year we are encouraging our
still shot, get the shot completely
members to send us video clips of their
set up before you push record
hunts that can potentially be featured
on our website to supplement their
2. Minimize camera movement while
story. Go to
you are recording
video to see live footage of the buck on
3. Don’t move from close up
this month’s cover! Many hunters have
objects to far away objects while
wanted to combine their video and still
cameras into one for years and video
cameras, in my opinion, have always
4. Don’t zoom in and out while
taken terrible still photos. Unless you
plan on professionally editing your
5. Take plenty of extra memory
hunting videos don’t even lug around
your old video camera, just take a
point and shoot type camera that will
6. Send in your video clips with your
take both high quality pictures and HD
When taking video with most digital
cameras the exposure and focus are
set at the moment you start recording
each clip. Unlike video cameras, point
and shoot cameras don’t re-adjust
these settings in the middle of a clip.
To get the camera to refocus you need
to stop recording and start a new clip.
If you want to video an object that
is close, then move to an object that
is more distant, record two separate
clips. For example if you want to video
your hunting buddy who is glassing a
distant deer, first focus on your buddy
and record a clip of him, then push the
shutter button to stop that sequence.
Then move the camera, while you
are not recording, to the live distant
deer and get the deer framed and the
zoom set before you start recording
the second clip. Try not to move the
camera around a lot while recording.
HD video takes up a lot of memory card
space, so make sure you have plenty
of high capacity memory cards if you
plan on taking HD video. A general rule
of thumb is you can record about 5
minutes of HD video for each gigabyte
of storage space. So if your storage
card is 4 gigabytes you should roughly
be able to shoot 20 minutes of video on
that storage card. Also make sure you
are recording the highest quality video
your camera is capable of.
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Budget Compact Canon A3100 IS
Mega- Average
pixels Price
Customizable Self-timer, Great Budget Camera,
Mostly Automatic Controls, Only Standard (480) Def
Video, No Wide Angle Lens
Excellent Resolution, Super Wide Angle Lens,
Customizable Self-timer, 720p HD Video, Mostly
Automatic Controls, Touch Screen Controls, Tiny
Camera, Excellent Image Quality
Excellent Resolution, 720p HD Video, Very Good
Zoom for its Compact Size, Full Manual Controls,
Customizable Self-timer
Awesome Zoom, Flip Out Screen, 720p HD
Video, Full Manual Controls, Takes AA batteries,
Customizable Self-timer
Unbelievable Resolution, Unsurpassed Image
Quality, 1080p HD Video. In my opinion this is the
best SLR camera under $1,000 on the market! This
is a large camera not typically suited for backpack
type hunting.
3.8 x 2.3 x 1.1 in
Ultra Compact
Point and Shoot
Canon SD3500 IS
Advanced User
Canon SX210 IS
Advanced User
Canon SX20 IS
Digital SLR
Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18
3.9 x 2.2 x 0.9 in
4.1 x 2.4 x 1.5 in
5 x 3.5 x 3.4 in
5.1 x 3.9 x 5 in
(with 18-55mm lens)
$899 w/ Depends
18-55mm on the
on the
But if filming your hunt is your main
priority, use a real HD video camera Choosing a new digital camera can be
to shoot video not you digital camera. overwhelming, but if you stick with the
top manufacturer’s newest models it’s
WARNING — Even though some video hard to go wrong. In my opinion the
cameras are boasting 12 megapixel top manufacturers are: Canon, Sony,
digital camera capabilities, do not use Nikon, Panasonic, and Leica. Each
your video camera in place of a still of these companies make fantastic
camera for kill shots. Contrary to what cameras that perform very well.
is advertised, you will not get the same
quality still photos from your video That said, after reviewing the new
camera as your still camera.
cameras this year I found that Canon
cameras took the top spot in every
category important to hunters. In
my opinion the image quality and
performance found in the Canon
cameras this year was unsurpassed.
The first step in choosing a camera is
deciding what type and size camera
meets your needs, then look at the
features you want in that category.
For hunters I have narrowed it down
to five categories: the Budget Compact
Camera Size Chart
(Cameras are Shown at Actual Size)
A3100 IS
Rebel T2i
staff tips
SX210 IS
SD3500 IS
By John Petersen
Note: The A3100 IS is comparable
in size to the SD3500 IS
Rebel T2i
ph 435-865-1020 17
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By John Petersen
category, the Ultra Compact/Point and
Shoot category, the Compact Advanced
User/Super Zoom category, the SuperZoom category, and the professional
type Interchangeable Lens Digital SLR
Budget ComPaCt
staff tips
If you are on a budget and you currently
own a digital camera that is under
10 megapixels you should consider
upgrading to a camera like the Canon
A3100 IS. It doesn’t have HD video
or some of the bells and whistles of
the more expensive models but at 12
megapixels it will still blow your old
camera away.
ultra ComPaCt, Point
and Shoot
This is the camera that is right for 80%
of hunters. They are small enough to
easily slip into a shirt pocket and are
very easy to use because everything is
just automatic “point and shoot.” If you
don’t know or care what an aperture
is, the Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS is
the camera for you. I’ve been waiting
for a camera with this feature set for
years. This 14 megapixel camera is
packed with great features, like 720p
HD video, a super wide-angle lens, and
intelligent contrast correction.
Hunting Photography Tips
• Use a 12-14+ megapixel
digital camera
• Always Take Extra batteries
• Always Take Extra Memory
• Use a Disposable Camera
• Use a Cell Phone Camera
Except for a Few Pictures to
Email Your Buddies
• Use a Video Camera for Still
• Have a Backup camera
great value. As well as excellent image
quality, it also features a 14x zoom,
a wide-angle lens, and shoots 720p
HD video! This is the camera I would
personally choose this fall.
advanCed uSer
I would only recommend the Canon
SX20 IS if 14x zoom just isn’t enough
for you and you are willing to carry
a larger camera. It takes phenomenal
photos and with the 20x zoom you will
love this camera for live animal shots
but again it’s a big camera, especially
for backpack type hunting.
digital SlrS
Over the years the top cameras in
the Canon PowerShot “SD” line have
produced some of the best photos we
have seen on a consistent basis from
point and shoot cameras! Just look
at this month’s cover of The Huntin’
Fool! They also feature a customizable
self-timer that is perfect for hunting
situations. Most digital cameras let
you choose a 2 or 10 second delay
for the self-timer, but the SD line
has a customizable self-timer mode
which allows you to set the selftimer for anywhere from 10 to 30
seconds then take up to 10 pictures
in rapid succession. It works great in
solo hunting situations and is a huge
If you are ready to go to the professional
quality level and are willing to carry
a larger camera look at a digital
SLR camera. These cameras accept
interchangeable lenses and when used
with skill, produce vastly superior
photographs. These cameras feature
big lenses, which make them bulky and
not well suited for backpack hunting.
If you are a serious photographer the
jump in image quality is worth the
trade-offs in weight. It’s hard to go
wrong with either the Canon, Sony, or
Nikon cameras. But the new Canon EOS
Rebel T2i, in my opinion, is the best
SLR type camera on the market for
under $1,000. It also records full 1080p
HD video—an amazing camera!
ComPaCt advanCed uSer
Make sure you have the right accessories
If you know what an aperture and an for your digital camera or you may get
f-stop are or having full manual control stuck in the middle of nowhere with a
is important, you’ll want to look at the camera that doesn’t work. You need
next two categories. My top pick in a few large memory cards, an extra
this category is the Canon PowerShot battery or two, a protective case, and
SX210 IS. When compared to the other a tripod.
top cameras in this category it is a
Extra batteries are essential, when the
batteries in your digital camera die,
your camera is useless. You should also
purchase additional memory cards. The
higher the capacity of the card the
more photos the card will store (see
the table on this page). Memory cards
are cheap; you can now get a 8GB
card for $20! There are many types of
memory cards so be sure you purchase
ones that will fit your camera.
If you are planning on using the selftimer to take photos of your trophy,
pick up a lightweight tripod for your
camera. Most tripods you use for a
spotting scope will also work for your
With any new camera you should
practice taking pictures before you’re
in the field. If you don’t something
will probably go wrong, especially if
you aren’t totally comfortable with
For reproduction purposes in The
Huntin’ Fool, high resolution images
from 10 to 14+ megapixel cameras
reproduce best. However, please
remember I want your hunting photos
no matter the quality—everyone loves
seeing trophy animals, even if the
picture isn’t perfect. Good luck on
your upcoming hunts and be sure to
send us your trophy photos!
aPProximate numBer of imageS
or video Per memory Card
10 mpxl
12 mpxl
14 mpxl
HD Video 40 sec
10 min 20 min 40 min
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