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View Diary: Dawn Chorus: Hiding In Plain Sight (179 comments)

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  •  I would love it (14+ / 0-)

    if those of you who take such spectacular wildlife pics would notate, at the bottom of your diary, what camera you have used.

    My camera is useless for wildlife or scenic shots and i am sure many of us would like some guidance toward better equipment.

    Thanks for your excellent diaries.

    •  Good idea. (12+ / 0-)

      All of the bird photos I've posted here over the last 4 years come from a Nikon D-80 (hobbiest-class dSLR, the D-90 is the newest version) with a 70-300mm lens.

      Though you need a good lens to capture far-away birds with a blurred-out background, it's important to note that most of the variation in the quality of day-to-day bird photos comes from the skill of the photographer rather than the cost of the equipment. The most important aspect of this is having knowledge of bird behavior - where to find them, how to get close to them, etc.

      Grew a mustache and a mullet / Got a job at Chick-Fil-A

      by cardinal on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:34:53 AM PST

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    •  Diary Photos (11+ / 0-)

      All of the photos in the diary proper were taken with a Nikon D40X with a Sigma 150-500mm lens.

      Thanks for your kind comments!

      "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

      by Kestrel on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:37:08 AM PST

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    •  My camera is a Nikon P510. It has a built in (11+ / 0-)

      variable zoom to 180 mm. I'd love to get something with a bit more power, four would be nice, five hundred would be better, and I'm looking around for something in that range, but prices for them get real scary.  Until then this little camera does a pretty decent job. I like that fact that it's relatively lightweight and no tripod is necessary. But it has a limited reach and there are many times when it just isn't enough.

      Just give me some truth. John Lennon--- OWS------Too Big To Fail

      by burnt out on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:56:16 AM PST

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      •  Distance (15+ / 0-)

        I understand. When I started out, I had no lens for distance. Then I got a hand-me-down 70-300mm lens. It helped. I used it for a long time before I finally broke down and "invested" in a Sigma 150-500mm, about $1,000. I gulped at the time, but am so glad I did it and haven't regretted it a day since.

        Here's the difference with Belted Kingfisher, a notoriously difficult bird to capture:

        No zoom:

        Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

        70-300mm:

        Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

        150-500mm:

        Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

        150-500mm with closer proximity to the bird and cropped to enlarge (a very foggy day, so no sunlight):

        Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

        "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

        by Kestrel on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:41:26 AM PST

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      •  Weight is a whole other factor that's (6+ / 0-)

        really important for me in my search for a better camera. I do a lot of bird watching from a kayak and I have to be able to hold the camera with one hand. Plus be still enough to avoid blurriness with zoom.

        All lenses are heavy glass, I'm assuming for the quality of the optics. Is any work being done to produce decent quality optics in anything else? Like a type of polycarbonate or other plastic? Is such a thing possible?

        •  Yes (8+ / 0-)

          Some of the newest point-and-shoot cameras are pretty amazing. Take a look at the upper end of the Lumix line, for example. I really would suggest you talk with someone at a camera store, if you have one. You'll find knowledgeable people there who can show you and explain the pros and cons. The Nikon P510 (ask BurntOut in thread above) has a variable zoom that might work for you.

          There's no way you could one-hand a lens like the 150-500. It's a huge lens and weighs about 4.5 lbs. It has its own motor so it's image-stabilized, but it still works best with a tripod, through you can hold it -- with two hands. Here's a picture with a wine bottle for size reference.

          Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

          Do some reasearch and I think you'll find you have some P&S options worth the money, especially from a kayak. You definitely need image stabilization for the camera noise that will result from being less than perfectly still, which I imagine you never are in a kayak.

          "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

          by Kestrel on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 10:58:52 AM PST

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          •  Good heavens!! That lens is ginormous! (8+ / 0-)

            I'd need another kayak!

            I have heard good things about the Lumix cameras. Reviews say their image stabilization is very good, which as you note is a relevant issue on the water. They also have a pretty good field of view. I'll make the best compromise I can. Thanks for the tips.

            •  I am strictly a point and shoot guy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee

              largely for reasons of weight - I don't like hauling a lot of heavy stuff around with me.  I do make an exception for my spotting scope but I'm generally not carrying that very far from the car.  If I'm hiking, biking, or kayaking I want something portable.

              In my diary next week I'm going to contrast my two cameras.

              I have a Canon G9 which I've had for about 4 years (actually had two - destroyed the first one kayaking - dumped salt water on it).  It is a high end and somewhat bulky point and shoot.  It takes really good pictures under the right conditions.  I have a 2X converter that attaches to the front that gives it 12X magnification which is good for fairly close birds.  It can easily be used single-handed without the converter and with a small amount of wrist effort with the converter.  Although I've never experimented with this the Canon G series will take images as RAW files which most point and shoots don't.

              My other (new) camera is an Olympus (TG-1 I think).  It is a 'tough' camera - waterproof and shockproof.  Very versatile - works well with the spotting scope (which the G9 doesn't), has LED macro which is good for taking photos of small things in dim light, and can be used underwater.  However the image quality can't match the G9.  It is small enough to be effortlessly used one handed.  And I don't have to take it in and out of the wet bag in the kayak.

              Mostly I kayak on very calm water so image stabilization isn't an issue (drifting away from the subject is).  Yesterday it was breezy enough that there were small waves and photography was difficult.  I just took a lot of pictures and hoped that the subject was centered in some of them.

              "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

              by matching mole on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:39:39 AM PST

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    •  i use the Nikon D3100...hobbiest level of dSLR (7+ / 0-)

      Base model is reasonably priced, doesn't have the best megapixels for cropping and enlarging, but can be good with up close shots.  As Kestrel notes down thread, it is the lens that makes the difference. I have a variable zoom to 270 and it is okay for most wildlife shots.

      After 3 years with this base unit I paid the price for the 150-500 zoom lens. Love it...pricey but worth it for distance shots especially of wildlife.

      What part of NO don't people understand? Usually it's the "N" that confuses them. They expect "O" as in "O yes it will be my honor to serve your ridiculous whim." h/t Bubbanomics for the answer!

      by SallyCat on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:56:46 AM PST

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