Primer on bird photography

Peeb

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Didereaux

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Couple of questions.
1. Are you going to be shooting mostly small song birds, or the larger raptors and water birds?
2. Do you own or can you afford a quality large lens 400mm+?.

FF with very good high ISO is needed for the small birds as they tend to be in the thickest vegetation.
APC with long lens and fast auto focus is needed with flying birds

At the bottom is a link to my albums and there are a couple hundred species in those. Click on the show details upper right to see the lens and camera etc info. I am not the best, nor my wife but we get some pretty decent shots over all.
 
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Peeb

Peeb

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Couple of questions.
1. Are you going to be shooting mostly small song birds, or the larger raptors and water birds?
2. Do you own or can you afford a quality large lens 400mm+?.

FF with very good high ISO is needed for the small birds as they tend to be in the thickest vegetation.
APC with long lens and fast auto focus is needed with flying birds

At the bottom is a link to my albums and there are a couple hundred species in those. Click on the show details upper right to see the lens and camera etc info. I am not the best, nor my wife but we get some pretty decent shots over all.
You've captured some terrific images!

Fascinated by most all birds. Current gear is in my sig. Saving for a Nikon 200-500. Catching decent images of birds in the yard but missing longer glass in the country.
 
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Didereaux

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Couple of questions.
1. Are you going to be shooting mostly small song birds, or the larger raptors and water birds?
2. Do you own or can you afford a quality large lens 400mm+?.

FF with very good high ISO is needed for the small birds as they tend to be in the thickest vegetation.
APC with long lens and fast auto focus is needed with flying birds

At the bottom is a link to my albums and there are a couple hundred species in those. Click on the show details upper right to see the lens and camera etc info. I am not the best, nor my wife but we get some pretty decent shots over all.
You've captured some terrific images!

Fascinated by most all birds. Current gear is in my sig. Saving for a Nikon 200-500. Catching decent images of birds in the yard but missing longer glass in the country.


You might give some serious consideration to the Sigma 150-600 'S' model. I got one last summer and am VERY pleased with the results I am getting. And really pleased with the money I saved!! ;)


and thank you for the compliment.
 

soufiej

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First, I would disagree with your post's stated proposition, "I wish I'd bought a cheaper camera." ... said no one. Ever."


IMO you set your priorities, you consider the tools which best suit the task and then you set about obtaining those tools and learning how best to use them.

If the attitude is more money will always obtain better results, then I have no real advice for you.




Therefore, without suggesting a specific camera or reference literature, I'll simply post these links ...

Animal Kingdom.... SX50: Canon PowerShot Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

"SX50 beats all my DSLRs"

STOKES BIRDING BLOG: Canon SX 50 HS for Bird Photography: I love this camera!

Canon Powershot SX50 HS Review - Bob Atkins Photography

Wildlife photography in any environment: free photography cheat sheet | Digital Camera World



Just my opinion, but the superzooms have more useful shelf life than a full frame with 600mm lens for backyard birding. FF's have the edge, obviously, in the field when their advantages are called for and they specifically have their place in low light settings.

Great! if you have the cash and you don't mind the weight and bulk to carry around as you trudge around where birds and critters can go, buy the most versatile tool.

In good light, the small sensor superzooms provide equivalent focal lengths several times that of a single zoom lens for a DSLR. That equates to placing more of the subject on more pixels.

And they are always at the ready. With less weight and less bulk, they are at times the more versatile camera IMO for use in the field or the backyard.

Find the tool best suited to the task, study the subject, then go shoot. Users of the superzooms for birding and wildlife photography tend to be very generous with their information.



.
 

Braineack

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those SX50 shots within all those links look incredibly low-quality.
 

soufiej

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Then I suggest you not buy an SX50.

The op is, of course, free to do their own research and make their own decisions.

The suggestion is to look into a different type of camera rather than just another lens.
 
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Peeb

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First, I would disagree with your post's stated proposition, "I wish I'd bought a cheaper camera." ... said no one. Ever."


IMO you set your priorities, you consider the tools which best suit the task and then you set about obtaining those tools and learning how best to use them.

If the attitude is more money will always obtain better results, then I have no real advice for you.




Therefore, without suggesting a specific camera or reference literature, I'll simply post these links ...

Animal Kingdom.... SX50: Canon PowerShot Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

"SX50 beats all my DSLRs"

STOKES BIRDING BLOG: Canon SX 50 HS for Bird Photography: I love this camera!

Canon Powershot SX50 HS Review - Bob Atkins Photography

Wildlife photography in any environment: free photography cheat sheet | Digital Camera World



Just my opinion, but the superzooms have more useful shelf life than a full frame with 600mm lens for backyard birding. FF's have the edge, obviously, in the field when their advantages are called for and they specifically have their place in low light settings.

Great! if you have the cash and you don't mind the weight and bulk to carry around as you trudge around where birds and critters can go, buy the most versatile tool.

In good light, the small sensor superzooms provide equivalent focal lengths several times that of a single zoom lens for a DSLR. That equates to placing more of the subject on more pixels.

And they are always at the ready. With less weight and less bulk, they are at times the more versatile camera IMO for use in the field or the backyard.

Find the tool best suited to the task, study the subject, then go shoot. Users of the superzooms for birding and wildlife photography tend to be very generous with their information.



.
Ummm ... Thanks? What I asked for was reading material.

Btw, my sig that seems to so offend you is merely poking fun at people who cut corners on gear then realize their error and upgrade thereby spending more than if they had simply purchased great gear in the first place. I do not have the attitude that more money equals better results but I also don't expect to capture great images of harrier Hawks from 150 yards with an iPhone.

Again, thanks for your attempt to help I suppose, in any event.
 
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soufiej

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No need to thank me. Particularly when you don't get the suggestion.



I'm not offended by your sig, I simply don't agree with the sentiment expressed. Nor do I get the "poke". I would say, if it takes you that long to explain the intended joke, maybe you need to reconsider the joke. Try something that doesn't really need a lengthy explanation.



I didn't suggest you go out looking to take photos with your phone. You're approaching this as though it were a political argument and overblown hyperbole is your best defense when you don't get the intent of a statement or function.


I suggested you consider what many wildlife/birding enthusiasts have discovered; the camera industry has actually created a category of camera that serves a purpose.

You are under no burden to take the advice and, from your response, I seriously doubt you will. It doesn't matter to me.



If, though, you should decide to at least consider an alternative to a new lens or to simply open a link to an article regarding birding, then you would find I really didn't violate your request for "reading material" at all.

Yes, if you wanted some sort of book you could hold, then what I posted is of no use to you.

If, on the other hand, you wanted to learn about photographic gear used in birding and how to go about birding from a photographer's viewpoint, what better source than to go to the people who engage in birding?

Have you looked at the links I have provided?

The Kenn and Temple link has a subtitle which reads;
"Attracting, Caring for, and Photographing Birds and Backyard Wildlife".

That doesn't sound as though it might be of interest to you? The column side is filled with tips on birding, not just with a superzoom but just birding.

The Stokes blog link provides dozens of entries regarding the habits and habitat of birds. Maybe that's not what you consider to be important to your photographic journey but it does add immeasurably to the birding experience of many.

The Atkins link includes the advice, "What the Canon SX50 HS does give you the capability of taking a small lightweight camera almost anywhere you go which can capture reasonably good images of anything from wideangle scenics to distant wildlife and does so at a price around (or lower) than that of a typical consumer grade zoom for a DSLR. While the "1200mm" lens might not give you the quality you'd get from a high quality prime 1200mm lens on a full frame camera, (a) You can't easily find a 1200mm prime lens, (b) if you could you wouldn't be able to afford it or lift it and (c) You'd need a large and heavy tripod to support it. In DSLR terms it's also about equivalent to an APS-C DSLR like the 7D with a 500mm f4 lens and a 1.4x TC on it (at a cost of around $9000 and a weight of maybe 15lbs including a tripod). That would give you an 1120mm f5.6 equivalent lens. The SX50 HS weighs less than the 7D body alone, costs less than the 1.4x TC and gives you an equivalent 1200mm f6.5 lens that fits in a small camera bag."

Those are words I thought worth considering if your objective is birding out in the field where those hawks tend to stay.

I am in no way suggesting you go out and buy a SX50. The camera has been discontinued anyway which makes it harder to locate.

The advice was to consider a superzoom bridge type camera rather than a single zoom lens. The advice was provided for all the reasons stated in that one paragraph.

There are several very good superzooms available. If you feel it worth investigating, you can find information on most photographic forums other than this one. This forum tends to maintain a snobbish attitude towards anything other than the "more gear, and the more expensive the gear, is better" ethos.




If you should decide to explore the possibility of a superzoom by way of forums - other than this one, you will find more than a small amount of reading material available in this forums.

Birding forums have much the same information with slightly less advice regarding the technical merits and settings and so forth of their camera gear.

Birders tend to support other birders with information given in a free and friendly manner. No books but plenty to read and absorb.

From their individual adventures stalking a certain bird species to building a backyard blind. There is, IMO, a cornucopia of good to excellent birding advice to be found on these forums.

Just not on this forum. We talk mostly about f stops and exposures.

The final link is to a cheat sheet sort of affair focused on wildlife and birding photography. You found nothing useful in it?



You don't need a book to star birding. IMO you need to settle on an appropriate tool and begin using that tool.

There are more than a few photographers out there doing birding with their cameras (of all sorts) willing to assist another hobbyist. Even if, in the end, you decide to spend the bucks for an expensive full frame camera with a high powered zoom lens, the basics of finding and positioning yourself to find the birds doesn't change with whatever camera you have in your hand.

Sorry you failed to get that. Maybe, like your joke, I should just make things a bit more evident?
 
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Tony Britton

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Hello,

I was just poking around Amazon and noticed this book on birding, which received many favorable reviews from the customers who've purchased it. It looks quite promising and I believe I'll be ordering one myself! It may be worth your time to check it out. The book is titled: "The Handbook Of Bird Photography." Here's the link: Amazon.com: The Handbook of Bird Photography (9781937538101): Markus Varesvuo, Jari Peltomaki, Bence Mate: Books

Birds remain my favorite subjects to photograph. Here's a link to my collection of bird photographs if you're interested: https://tonybritton.smugmug.com/Other/Strictly-For-The-Bird

Wishing you the best in your bird photography!
Tony
 

soufiej

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BTW, you might want to take a look at the cameras Tony has used for his photography. He also includes useful tips on his smugmug pages.
 

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