new camera

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oconnore51
oconnore51's picture
new camera

I have had a few goes with my new camera and am not finding it easy!  I am finding it hard to centre the image, not sure why, i didn't have that problem with my phone camera, it may be that it was automatically done?  Also am still working out how close i need to be, and how much to zoom in. 

It will take some practice.  I will post some when i get a USB cable, annoying it didn't come with it, (and the batteries are nearly flat after 2 days!)

I saw a pair of masked lapwings today, but chopped their legs off in the pictures.

Elizabeth

detritus
detritus's picture

These all sound like fairly normal difficulties when starting out with a camera so don't be too disheartened. Difficulty getting the subject (bird) in the frame is normal when you're handholding a camera with a long lens/zoom. It's a bit of an acquired skill, which just means practice! It can be good to have a few goes in the backyard or street with a slightly bigger, stationary target (one that won't hop about and fly away). It's hard to find the subject if you're waving the camera around at full zoom, and also hard to hold the camera still while you're "zooming in". With serious gear, a tripod or monopod is often used, but that's a bit overkill. Try bracing yourself or the camera against something, though, as it'll help a lot. A nearby tree, for instance, can come in really handy to to help steady everything out. More expensive cameras will have a viewfinder (eyepiece) to frame up the photo, which for most people makes it a bit easier to track a subject and keep it framed properly. Otherwise, your hands/camera move independently of your eye and it's a bit tricky to keep everything lined up. 

Your Fujifilm zooms out to a 900mm equivalent lens which is quite large. It's the same equivalent zoom as my biggest lens gives me with my DSLR (quite a common one), so it's a very usable zoom range for birds. Where possible, the preference is to get as close as possible to the bird rather than rely entirely on the zoom. Being closer should make it easier to find the bird in the camera's field of view and also give much better image quality (more detail, less blur and grain in the image). It's rarely possible to get as close as you want/need, however. The answer to "How close?" is almost always "Closer!" Sit back and let the birds themselves come closer where possible.

Compact cameras generally aren't super fast to focus and really benefit from use in good light. It should also acquire focus a bit quicker if you're not zoomed all the way to maximum, but it'll also depend on the scene/subject. (The lens lets less and less light into the camera the more you zoom in). But do use the zoom, of course! Otherwise you won't be any better off than you were with the phone.

Chopping off legs, tails and wings (and even heads and other bits) is easy to do. Avoiding this comes with experience. It's easy to get so fixated on getting the bird's head/eye where you want it in the picture that you lose track of the other bits sneaking out of the frame. Everybody does it, especially with flying birds (which are probably a bit beyond your camera's abilities). We're just a little judicial in what we choose to show. It doesn't take long before you start to gain an understanding of how "big" a bird is in the picture and you can allow a bit more space for its extremeties to also feature in the image.

Looking forward to seeing some photos. Pity about the USB cable and the batteries! Camera USB cables can be a real pain to get ahold of. Most of them have unique sockets that only work with their own brand of cable. It can be a lot less effort to buy an SD card reader which plugs directly into your computer. This might also save you some battery charge, as the camera won't need to be switched on while you're downloading pics.

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Very useful and informative thanks Mike. Your tips will apply to some degree regardless of the type of camera you are using.

I certainly agree about using a card reader, so much easier than turning the camera on and plugging it into the computer. Just don't forget to put the card back in the camera (note I have done this many times, and now carry spare cards in the camera bag).

Good luck, and also look forward to seeing your photos Elizabeth.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

oconnore51
oconnore51's picture

Thank you so much for this! it is very helpful and encouraging. 

I also was reading some tips online, about filling the whole picture with the bird or leaving more of the background, and getting down to eye level with the bird (also makes the bird feel safer, as you can't move quickly according to this article!) 

And thanks for the advice about the card reader too.

I must admit that I was enjoying just watching the birds, and don't want to lose sight of that too.

Elizabeth

elizabeth

HelloBirdy
HelloBirdy's picture

And if your not already, definately use rechargeable AAs, any from your local supermarket will fit, have 2 sets, with one in the camera and the other charged up, preferebly 2300mAh but 1600 should do the trick for lasting long enough after each charge

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

oconnore51
oconnore51's picture

Okay, thanks, will look into that too.

elizabeth

timrob
timrob's picture

Hello Elizabeth

What many people new to bird photography don't know is that the birds will come to you if you are patient and quiet.  Find a spot away from he hurly-burly and sit and wait (near water is often good). The bush birds are quite inquisitive and will come very close.  Take a folding chair and enjoy what is around you.  Have your camera ready and I'll wager that your bird photos will improve.  It will take more time, but hey time out in nature is time well spent I reckon. btw, lapwings are a difficult study

I've taken hundreds - nay thousands of bird photos, and most of the better ones I've waited for - the rest are flukes of time

Tim

oconnore51
oconnore51's picture

Thank you for this.   Sounds like good advice and encouraging.  I am still learning about the camera too. 

elizabeth

timrob
timrob's picture

If you are in Brisbane, please pm me, and my wife and I can take you to some very good birding and bird photography sites. Don't give up!  Bird photography is challenging and frustrating, but when you capture that one special shot, all the frustrations disappear and you will have something to treasure.

oconnore51
oconnore51's picture

That is a kind offer!  But no, I am in Sydney.  I don't have a car, but I am able to get to quite a few good birding spots, I love to find remnant bushland and there is a surprising amount of pockets of it hidden around.  Even the Botannic gardens and Centennial Park are good places especially for a beginner.

elizabeth

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