Super Zoom Variety Episode 3

Super Zoom Variety Episode 3

Last Updated: 2024-06-09

Episode 3 of my Super Zoom Variety Video Series is now available! In this episode, I focus on a variety of things that you can zoom in on in the Phoenix Arizona area. You can watch episode #3 on YouTube using the link at the end of this article. If you haven't seen the first two episodes in the series then you can watch them on YouTube by clicking on the following links:

The focal lengths mentioned in this article are 35mm equivalents. Also, if you are reading this article on a device with a large screen like a tablet, desktop computer or a TV then you can click on some of the pictures to see a larger view.

In the YouTube video for episode 3, I show mostly video clips of the super zooms. In this article, I'll show pictures of some of the super zooms in the YouTube video. So this article is a good companion to my YouTube video.


Falcon Hill Park is located in Mesa, AZ. It's a nice little park with a playground area for kids. But who cares about the kids, it also has a huge hill that you can climb with your super zoom camera and get a great view of the surrounding area! :)

Falcon Hill has an average elevation of about 1,650 feet (500 meters) above sea level. It's tall enough to get some great views, but still relatively easy for an experienced hiker to carry a camera and a tripod up to the top. That's what I did.

One of the sights that you can see from Falcon Hill is Brown Mountain. Brown Mountain is almost two miles, or just over 3 kilometers, away. Here's a picture of Brown Mountain at the Nikon P1000's most wide angle focal length of 24mm:

Click to see a full-size picture

Many cell phones have a camera with a focal length of about 24mm or so, so this is what a picture of the mountain might look like if you snapped it with your cell phone. Can you see the people on top of the mountain at 24mm? Nope! But we can easily see them when we zoom in to the Nikon P1000's maximum optical focal length of 3000mm:

Click to see a full-size picture


People often tell me that they cannot get a sharp picture with the P1000 at a focal length of 3000mm. It's true that it is often difficult to get a crisp picture, especially when taking a picture of a subject that is really far away. When the subject of your picture is really far away, we are looking through a lot of atmospheric distortions, including heat waves moving through the air and particulate matter like pollution and dust in the atmosphere. There are other reasons, like the inherently narrow field of focus at super telephoto focal lengths, but that's a discussion for another day.

There is actually some seriously sophisticated glass in the P1000's lens which makes it quite capable of taking sharp pictures. We can see that by taking a picture of a subject that isn't ridiculously far away. Here's a picture of a Tufted Duck out on a lake which was taken at a focal length of 3000mm.

Click to see a full-size picture

This picture is in the episode 3 video on YouTube, but I also put it in the article so that you can click on it to see the full size version of the picture.

There are a couple of factors that helped to make this a tack sharp picture. One factor is that the duck isn't too far away from where I was standing at the edge of the lake. That means we are not looking through much atmosphere which, as described above, can inherently make pictures look blurry.

And when I say the duck is "not too far away", I mean that relative to the super zoom range of the P1000. I still needed a 3000mm focal length to frame the shot. So, for most cameras with a common zoom lens, the duck is still rediculously far away :)   By the way, the picture is not cropped.


The other factor that helped to make the picture sharp is the lighting. First, there is plenty of light on the duck. The picture was taken in full sunlight in the late morning. Second, the light is coming in from a good angle. The sun is behind me and a little to my right, so the duck is lit almost head on. I waited a few moments until the duck turned its head into the direction of the incoming sunlight and then pressed the shutter button.


During the solar eclipse of April 8 2024, the path of total obscuration did not include the Phoenix AZ area where I live. So on that day, I saw a partial solar eclipse with an obscuration of about 65%. Here's a picture of the eclipse from the Phoenix area prior to maximum obscuration:

Click to see a full-size picture

If you want to fill the picture frame with the sun then you should use a focal length of about 2000mm to 2400mm. At 3000mm, we get so close that only a portion of the sun fits in the frame. But we get a better view of the sunspots on the surface of the sun.

Click to see a full-size picture

And if we use the Nikon P1000's built in digital zoom, we can get an even closer view of the sunspots. Here's a picture of a sunspot that I took in my backyard at the equivalent of a 6000mm focal length. To get this picture, I zoomed in to an optical focal length of 3000mm and then used the P1000's digital zoom to apply a digital magnification of 2Xs. Then I cropped the picture in post-production to just show the sunspots.

Solar sunspots at 6000mm Sunspots at the equivalent of 6000mm.

The super zoom on the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 makes it a great camera for solar photography. Just remember to use a solar filter so that you don't damage the camera!


As you can see from the examples above, each episode of my Super Zoom Variety Video Series has a wide variety of super zooms. Here are the other super zooms in episode 3:

  • Motorcycle on a winding desert road
  • A carnival ride far, far away
  • A Boeing 777 ascending into the sky
  • What's at the top of a TV tower?
  • The tallest building in downtown Phoenix
  • A night time zoom

Oh, and there's also a smiling bighorn sheep!

A smiling sheep Everybody wants to be a YouTube star!

FYI, the picture above is a video screen capture.

Watch the Video

This article touches on just a few of the super zooms in Episode 3. You can click on the picture below to see all ten of the super zooms in this episode. Most of the super zooms are video clips. And visit from time to time to see when future episodes of the super zoom test variety video series are published!

Click to watch the video
Click to Watch the Video on YouTube

Thanks for reading this article and watching the video! You can also check out some of my other articles and videos below. Or you can browse through all of my articles.

This article, the pictures and the video are Copyright One Lens Two. All rights reserved. These materials may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the expressed written authorization from One Lens Two.

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Article Contributors
John Miller John Miller is the owner of "One Lens Two" and "In and Around Phoenix". He is also a co-owner of "Fooding Around Phoenix". John is always looking for collaboration opportunities so contact him using one of the options below!