Camera Advice

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HelloBirdy
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Camera Advice

I am looking to get a higher end camera or DSLR. To those of you on this forum who photograph birds, could you advise me of the camera/lens you use and what you think of it (if you have used various different ones, a comparison would be nice too), along with what price range I would be looking at for each component and some sample photos

Thanks,

rawshorty
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Ryu,

first off i think we need to know more about what you are after and a budget.

Do you want to just get shots that look good on the net?

How much weight can you hold with comfort or are you happy to use a mono/tripod.

A budget on how much you can afford would be useful.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

HelloBirdy
HelloBirdy's picture

Baisically, I would be hoping for the sort of photos that you and some of the other members post on the forum.

At present, I don't carry around a mono/tripod, but would be willing to if you suggest it is nessesary. 

With weight, I'm not overly concerned, I would be willing to carry fairly bulky stuff

I'm looking at up to about $2000 I think. 

Ryu
Canberra
Aiming for DSLR-quality shots with a bridge camera

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

$2000 is not a lot when it comes to camera gear, in perspective.

Rick uses a good Nikon camera and a prime lens.

Reflex has a 7Dii and 500 f4 prime.

I currently use a 7D and 100-400 mkIi

and M-L uses a high end Sony camera and zoom lens.

But in saying that all these examples are way out of your budget.

I will also add that no matter how good your gear is, if you don't put in the passion and knowledge you will not get good pics.

I will say though, that in my opinion, although he might not have $20,000.00 worth of gear but has the passion and the insite to what he want's to capture, Rick is the best photographer on this site. So maybe Rick could give some insite to Nikon gear.

If you want Canon, ( i will get flamed for sure ) i would recommend a Canon 1Diii (second hand ) and Sigma 150-500, well below your budget and in my opinion a good combo. I used to use this before the OS died in my Sigma.

A freind of mine met you at a COG meeting and she stated you are a small young man so maybe a monopod would be in order.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

Reflex
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Interesting read and sound advice from Shorty in my opinion. Can't believe you didn't include AnnieJ into those comments about photographers and equipment. She posts some of the clearest bird photographs I have ever seen.

If $2000 is the budget I'd think about going with the same choice as Snail. A good second hand Canon1D MK3 and a Canon 400mm prime lens.

Having said that the 70D's have come down in price in a big way since I bought mine two years ago and have the same 20-megapixel resolution as Canon's 7D MKII and are much more user friendly (It's important) than the 1D MKIII. I like the 70D's for the fact that they are like an I-Phone they are so easy to use compared to the older Canon camera's.

Another point is that you can always sell on a Canon 400 mm prime whereas a Sigma 150-500 will not be as easy to sell. One thing I can tell you with bird photography is focal length and maximum aperture is so important.

Devster is at a point where he wants to move up equipment wise and should add his opinions to this thread.

Let us know what you decide to buy and why.

Samford Valley Qld.

rawshorty
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Reflex wrote:

Interesting read and sound advice from Shorty in my opinion. Can't believe you didn't include AnnieJ into those comments about photographers and equipment. She posts some of the clearest bird photographs I have ever seen.

If $2000 is the budget I'd think about going with the same choice as Snail. A good second hand Canon1D MK3 and a Canon 400mm prime lens.

Having said that the 70D's have come down in price in a big way since I bought mine two years ago and have the same 20-megapixel resolution as Canon's 7D MKII and are much more user friendly (It's important) than the 1D MKIII. I like the 70D's for the fact that they are like an I-Phone they are so easy to use compared to the older Canon camera's.

Another point is that you can always sell on a Canon 400 mm prime whereas a Sigma 150-500 will not be as easy to sell. One thing I can tell you with bird photography is focal length and maximum aperture is so important.

Devster is at a point where he wants to move up equipment wise and should add his opinions to this thread.

Let us know what you decide to buy and why.

Yes, Reflex.

My appologies to Annie, she is one of the greats from this forum (but i am sure she knows) that puts up great pics.

As for the rest of your points, i really don't have the time to discuss. Maybe after Xmas.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

Snail
Snail's picture

Hi Ryu,

I had the same budget as you and, as Reflex mentioned, I decided on a used 1Dmk3 ($500 on ebay) and Canon 400mm f5.6 ($1000 on gumtree). Ive since bought a 1.4x ii extender on ebay for about $180, 2 spare batteries ($80) and a 32G high speed SD card ($80). 

So in total Ive spent just $1840 and got myself a formidable intermediate birding setup. I should even manage to find a tripod and backpack with the change.

As mentioned, the 1Dmkiii is big and heavy but certainly still hand holdable with the 400mm f5.6. The camera is blazingly fast, and the lens is very sharp. From all my research in deciding on a lens, the 400 5.6 was the number 1 recommended and positively reviewed 'affordable' lens for birding.

Of course good gear does not automatically equate to good photos, passion and skill behind the lens is the real key, however i believe that buying the best gear you can afford will definitely give you a leg up.

My main advice would be to do lots and lots of research, having a fair idea of your wants and needs, and once you decide what you want just be patient and the right gear will pop up for the right price.  

From one excited beginner to another, i look forward to seeing and sharing photos with you and learning from all the great photographers on this forum.

Cheers, Liam.

LM

Reflex
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Good on you Snail! Great post.

If you ever come up this way and need a hand to find some good birding spots let me know.There is no doubt about it "Luck" comes to those who put in the hours. (I pinched that from another site but it is true).

Samford Valley Qld.

Snail
Snail's picture

Reflex wrote:

Good on you Snail! Great post.

If you ever come up this way and need a hand to find some good birding spots let me know.There is no doubt about it "Luck" comes to those who put in the hours. (I pinched that from another site but it is true).

Thanks for the offer, i'll let you know if I'm ever birding up that way, Im always keen to explore new places. Fortunately I dont have too many other commitments at the moment so Ill be putting in as many hours as i can.

LM

Rick N
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Thanks Shorty, high praise indeed from someone I consider an exeptional photographer, though you did get the numbers right for gear, more like 5000.00 :-)

Snail nailed it pretty well withe some very intelligent purchases, Bullet proof body, great prime lens and imo the best teleconveter 1.4.

If Nikon then a 7100 or 7200 second hand, 300/f4 non vr,1.4 tc would do the job at somewhere around your price range.

I like the idea of the newer crop sensors combined with a prime.

For example a D7100 with 300mm prime is effectively 450mm or 630mm witha 1.4 tc.

I have used this exact setup and apart from buffer problems shooting raw birds in flight it is just magic,

light, compact, and easily hand held which makes a big difference after a long day in the field.

Cameras and lenses aside, and as Shorty has alluded to, commitment to learning about the habits of birds and good

fieldcraft will play a major part in helping to deliver the results you are after, much more important to me than any gear selection.

Hope this helps.

HelloBirdy
HelloBirdy's picture

Considering my budget and experience, I have decided to go the bridge camera route this time round. I will come back to this thread in several years time when I am older, have a larger budget, and have the knowledge and experience to get the most out of a DSLR. I appreciate and value your feedback, and thanks for spending the time to provide them.

Passion is not a concern for me, that is one of the things which I have lots of. It should take me a long way in getting the most out of a bridge camera and start collecting knowledge and experience in preperation for when I eventually do get a DSLR :)

Ryu
Canberra
Aiming for DSLR-quality shots with a bridge camera

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

That is a good idea. A bridge camera will give you an inexpensive trial to see if you really want to get into photography and modern bridge cameras will give good results for displaying on the web.

If i may, can i suggest you look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300. It offers the equivalent to a 25-600mm lens with a constant f2.8 making it good for low light. It also has RAW so you can learn to process your pics as well. And it is also slightly weather sealed but i would not take it out in heavy rain. Google it and see what you think.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

TheBirdLover
TheBirdLover's picture

I agree with Shorty that it is a good idea to get a bridge camera before you go get a more professional camera. Infact, Ryu I was pretty much going to do the same thing as you. I was going to get a Canon 70D with a good lens (wasn't sure which one) with a $2000 budget. But since I have a Sony cybershot and I haven't had much experince with cameras I have decided to save ($1000) for a Nikon D5300 with twin lenses and accessories. D5300 is still a good camera and in few years ( as I am still in my teens) and when I have a higher budget  I will upgrade to a better camera. Hope you find a great camera and have fun!

P.S. I've always been passionate about animals and birds...and I love seeing great photos of them. I can't wait to see your photos Ryu!

M.M.

HelloBirdy
HelloBirdy's picture

Thanks TBL, the joys of starting young :) 

I have made a watermark at school on adobe illustrator and will be putting it to the test with some images from my current point & shoot (Nikon L310) which I intend to upload. The only thing is, I don't have photoshop and paint doesn't support semi-transparency, so I have to use microsoft word unless others have better suggestions to apply the watermark, and losing quality in the process. But again 500KB is the limit for uploads, so it shouldn't matter too much with for displaying on this site. However, it is a timeconsuming method, and while I am on school holidays (YAY!), I'm really busy at the moment going birdwatching (and coming hame with way more photos than I can keep up with to sort)!! But I will find time and put some up soon. 

Ryu
Canberra
Aiming for DSLR-quality shots with a bridge camera

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