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Thread: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

  1. #21

    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    For even cheaper just get a second hand Sigma 600mm Mirror lens. Those not heavy at all. After the 1.5x it will be a 900mm!! Of course no metering at all - just take and delete if over/under exposed.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    aiya, pai sai... didn't write properly...I'm still a Canon user, I'm asking because I've a relative who wanted to go into digital bird photography...I dun want her to go to Canon because I'm a Canon user as my knowledge is only Canon and nothing else.

    My Nikon knowledge is 10 over years old so I dun think its fair to Nikon as a choice for her.

    Frankly speaking I think the Canon digital body is a bit overpriced and I dun think she should consider Canon only since she is starting a new system. I wanted to only advice her on equipment, photography knowledge and techniques with no brand bias.

    As a brand neutral photographer, I do know the longer the lens, the better for birdie shots, but with the lowest amount of money, I wanted to know what I can get from Nikon for a start. She may very likely goes to a 600mm in future which I think she would in time to come, but to kick off with, what would be a really good investment (Nikon specifics) so that she need not throw old lens away and keep growing.

    That's what I wanted to tell her about.

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Forget to mention, assessories like filters, memory cards, tripod, monopods, ballheads, flash brackets etc I have more than enough to give her, so that's not into the budget. Most importantly which lens is worth buying...the Nikon related website doesn't tells you which lenses or bodies is the most worth buying since everywhere the remarks is about the same. But insiders like you users usually will know whats worth and that's what the forum is for. Right?

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    thank you pals for the load of information. Personally I would stick to the brand to get future compatibilty as well as performance consistency. Both Nikon and Canon is a reputable brand and to a certain point, their products are very reliable, if you use their product only.

    Just like you won't ask your kids to take short-cuts to school, I wouldn't advice a new digital photographer to go into 3rd parties only after telling her the pros and cons and the consequences of getting one.

    nightwolf75 is very kind to point me some "Gao Ren" really appeciate. However it may seems a bit abrupt to just bounce in to ask for advice. I do know there are some kind folks who don't mind sharing their experiences anytime just like myself if you ask me about photography and Canon stuffs.

    Thks TMC, as a Canon user, I would also advice the equivalent too but with a comparable Canon setup, its 2k+ difference from the price you have listed. So now you know why I wanted her to consider Nikon also.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Personally feel that older nikon lens (>300mm, AF versions) 2nd hand can be found for quite a low price. I use an old nikon 300mm + TC17e .

  6. #26

    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    How about the D50 kit + AF VR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED? Is that good for birding? I also looking for a cheap birding starter kit....

    I tried birding with my fujifilm S9500...only have up to 300mm....95% unsuccessful...

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by longkangman
    option 2
    - nikon fieldscope http://www.nikon.com.sg/pagearticle.php?pageid=87
    - adapter to your new CP4200/5200
    YMMV
    Quote Originally Posted by HydroPoP
    How about the D50 kit + AF VR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED? Is that good for birding? I also looking for a cheap birding starter kit....

    I tried birding with my fujifilm S9500...only have up to 300mm....95% unsuccessful...

    The cheapest birding starter kit is mention by our "drainman" anything else more than that better to go for all pro lens and cam body, else is quite a waste to spend such $$ to buy a neither here nor there cam like D50 + 80-400mm lens for birdie.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Maltese,

    Just saw this thread.

    For S$4000 to do bird photography ? Not enough lah ! Not if you are really into serious bird photography. Bird photography is not cheap at all ! Learn it the hard way. Pay & Pay lor

    As with bird photography, the longer the focal length you can get your hands on, the better it is. Firstly it is to give you a longer working range for those subjects which tend to be more skittish. You can get better pictures as you work from a safe distance. Of course there are ways to get closer, through the use of hides (permanant or mobile). I've managed to ever crawl towards a skittish bird to within 5m away , dressed like a sniper in camouflage netting, looking like a moving bush and got the shot.

    Both brands you've mentioned are great camera manufacturers. But for bird photography, Nikon wins over when you take into consideration the crop factor for Professional DSLR bodies (D2H/D2X @ 1.5X vs 1DMk2/1Ds @ 1.3/1X ) . D2X has 2X crop factor if you turn on the 8FPS High Speed mode. In the area of teleconverter, Nikon has the 1.4/1.7/2X TCs where else Canon only has the 1.4/2X TCs. The 1.7C TC can perform almost as good as the 1.4X TC but need to be stopped down 1 more F-stop. Don't flame me this. Just stating the facts.

    Minimum setup for a good start would be a 300mm F4+ 1.4TC or 400mm F5.6. Good for flight shots or larger subjects. A 70-200mm F2.8 coupled with the 1.4x or 1.7xTC can help but ask ESPN for his experience lor. Not long enough would be his usual complain.

    In reality, when you get out into the wild side, sometimes I feel that 300mm+1.4TC good for shooting elephants. Especially if the subject is like 3 inches in size and damn skittish and probably wouldn't appear again after flying off. A 300mm F2.8 + 2X TC would give you a 600mm F5.6 handholdable lens with ultra fast AF speed capability. Now this combo is very versatile for both field and forest.

    Most people who are into serious bird photography will always end up with either the 500mm F4 or 600mm F4, coupled with the 1.4TC or 1.7TC or 2X Tc (although i find the 2X TC very soft). Depending on camera bodies, with the D2X at 8FPS mode, a 500/600mm F4 with the 1.7x TC will give you an effective focal length of 1700/2040mm. Prime lens will always give you the sharpest images you can expect.

    It all boils down to your budget and what area of bird photography you want to pursue. The lust and desire for longer focal length is always there. Trust me, once you touch it you won't want to take your hands away. Ask ESPN lor. And that's also the reason why I'm still trying very hard on every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday , Saturday & Sunday (should know what I mean )

    Next equipment to always consider seriously is the ballhead and tripod. A sturdy support is very important, especially when you are talking about long primes like the 500mm or 600mm. Ballhead capability also cannot be skimp on. For long prime lens like the 500mm or 600mm, most bird photographers here swear by the Wimberly Head. Gives you very smooth pan and tilt capability. Very smooth like cream

    Flash is also required and most photographers will also use the flash extender, to help in lighting up the subject just enough to bring out the colours. When you are in a jungle or under canopy lighting, learning and using the proper flash technique is a must.

    The rest of the list here are also required but again it depends on your shooting style. Memory cards (lots if possible), spare camera batteries, batteries for flash & flash power pack, cable release, portable storage device (for those longer trips) & insect repellant (swear by this !) .

    The following equipment list is what I usually bring out on a field trip (either 1 day or multi-day trip)

    1) Nikon D2X (a spare body is definately a must when going on a long trip) - now where's my D3H body
    2) 1.4x & 1.7xTC
    3) 600mm F4 + 300MM F2.8 (1 piece on the way)
    4) 17-35mm F2.8
    5) 14GB worth of CF cards
    6) Epson P2000 portable storage device (40GB)
    7) SB800 flash with flash extender & flash battery pack
    8) loads of AA batteries
    9) Gitzo 1325 Carbon Fibre Tripod with Wimberly Ballhead/Flash Bracket
    10) Cable release with cable extension
    11) Jungle hat and very big piece of camouflage netting
    12) Water bottles (2x 1 litre) --- trust me you need lots
    13) Insect repellant (so that I can concentrate and not scratch elsewhere)
    14) GPS device (good for those moments where I cannot rememeber where I was previously)
    15) Cellphone - definately useful
    16) Walkie Talkie - useful when shooting with your buddies in a jungle environment.

    Hopefully the list won't scare you off but again, its up to you and your passion to go get the shot. There are many ways to get into nature photography, but the choice of equipment is yours to choose.

    Just sharing with you what my personal experience when I started taking on nature photography (especially birds). The comments given are not something you should stick to but use it as a general guideline. Be observant, listen to the calls of the wild, train your eyes to look for subjects and most important (I learn this from ChngPE) Expect the Unexpected.

    Lastly, for bird photography, you need to wake up real early and be there before the birds. Don't go shooting around 10am when others are already packing up and going for coffee. Plus the lighting wouldn't be that great either. Your passion will drive you to go far.

    Have attached the following pictures to share with you. Full frame uncropped, taken with 600mm + 1.7TC.








    Cheers,
    Philip
    http://www.avianwatchasia.org for some real bird photos
    My website : http://www.gorgeousfeathers.com

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harlequin
    Maltese,

    Just saw this thread. ....

    Cheers,
    Philip
    now u folks know why i said ask harlequin, chngpe01 and avatar - they are (among others in CS) the real practioners of avian photography. all we need now is PE and avatar's inputs.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harlequin
    Maltese,

    Just saw this thread.

    .
    .
    .

    Cheers,
    Philip
    where is espn he did not mention that many stuff?

    I only have fieldscope.

    Thanks Philip.

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by yanyewkay
    i only have this outdated info from oct 2004. I read it last year. Din't know time flies that fast. http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/cda/ot...10/01/181.html
    translated into roughly, "they announced DX format 1 year ago (2003) and will continue to develope it for the next 3 years (2007?) up to D100 replacement" D200 was annouced.. which comes to think.. the sudden hype of rumours for Nikon going FF . FF with HSC to 1.5X rumour sounds good. Photokina 06 is going to be exciting.

    haven't been able to fish out any newer source of info for renewed commitment to DX/APS sized lenses.

    maybe TMC can translate it better?

    Our "near future" is reaching.

    Nikon ROCKS!
    From a business standpoint, DX format would make it more affordable for the majority of the users, pro or hobbyists. Unless the masses are willing to pay over 100k yen for a camera, that would make a very different scenario. They are not throwing the FF idea away but at the present point of time(2004) that would not be a very feasible possibility.

    Since their decision to pursue the DX format with the release of the DX lens lineup, that would be the company`s direction for the next 3 years at the very least.

    That is how I interpreted, prob not up to standard but the gist is there.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    just saw the 2h nikon 300mm dun remember the f # at JOHN@ funan it, the sales say thw owner spend SGD 7k for buuy this, now only SGD 2k++ n release... maybe can help urs who r interest this len can go n view... cos i dun hv so much $$ n won't buy it now, dun dare to view

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Solution 1: HOME BIRDS
    it seems buy a bird and shoot it in your room is the cheapest solution.
    then find a B/S forum for birds, exchange birds with others.


    Solution 2: PARK BIRDS
    D200 + 70-200VR or 80-400 (slower than 70-200), cost you 5000 for grey set or 2nd hand


    Solution 3: WILD BIRDS
    you need fast camera body, even D200's CAM 1000 is not fast enough. you need faster lens, and tele convertor is not the best choice, you need longer lens, and those huge weapon (avoid using C***N here) normally they are prime lens.
    so 7k-10k can give u the system. if you lose the interest for birds later, then quite hard for coming back to normal shooting sytle, at least the prime weapon is wasted.
    Last edited by Little_Zeus; 7th May 2006 at 02:18 AM.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by joey91
    just saw the 2h nikon 300mm dun remember the f # at JOHN@ funan it, the sales say thw owner spend SGD 7k for buuy this, now only SGD 2k++ n release... maybe can help urs who r interest this len can go n view... cos i dun hv so much $$ n won't buy it now, dun dare to view
    i mean tat's is 2nd hand nikon len...

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    thk u all pals for giving me such an in depth review of Nikon gears pertaining to birdie shots. I didn't know that Nikon had a TC1.7x that is almost as good as a TC 1.4x but only having 1 stop more.

    3 cheers to nightwolf75 and Philip for the introduction and the depth of knowledge for Nikon and bird photography.

    I've been shooting for more than 10 years and serious bird photography had never been quite into my mind yet due to the high costs involved and the focus of equipment used like what Little_Zeus had mention. This is especially true if you already know how much Canon and Nikon is charging the lenses nowadays.

    Philip, in fact I'm more to opt for a faster lens but the person getting is more incline in getting a faster body first. In fact she wanted to get a 5D first (a Canon lower version to a Nikon D2X) but at that price I think I can get more from Nikon. So now that I know that Nikon non pro bodies are just as slow as the Canon non-pro models (btw is D200 a direct competitor to Canon 30D or 5D?) at least a D200 is cheaper than 5D.

    Ballheads and tripod she will have no problem. I use RRS ballhead and gitzo tripods and unless she grew out of her novice stage, she should have at least some months of reliable shooting. A wimberly head or a sidekick is how much nowadays? With the dropping of USD, would it be cheaper to get it from the net?

    As I have mention, I've stop reading Nikon stuffs for quite a period of time so I wouldn't be fair just to say that Nikon makes no changes especially into the digital age.

    Thank you again for sharing with me your knowledge, I still have 1-2 weeks to review my recommendations. If there is anything that I've misses, do give me more pointers along the way.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    No point in getting a 5D as she wont be benefitting from the crop factor. Might as well get the D200 and a good telephoto and TC to start off with.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    One thing you did not mention... you want to capture birds in perch or birds in flight?

    This will weigh heavily on the cam body you want to select.

    Lens wise, already mentioned on the focal length... I'm not sure about Nikon's long lenses... but I find Canon's IS mode 1-2 selection a hassle when the bird takes flight or when you transit from flight to still. You might lose a couple of "exciting" frames there.
    Gallery | Facebook Page Spreading the Good photography.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Think I would advice her to take both, but I think in flight requires more skills and equipment. Ideally in flight but will find most of them resting on trees though.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    My suggestion:

    D2H 2H is about 2.6k, easily found nowadays.
    AFS 300/4 about 1.5k?

    Slightly over the budget but then this would be a fine basic setup.

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    Default Re: Beginners Bird Photography Setup - What to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMC
    My suggestion:

    D2H 2H is about 2.6k, easily found nowadays.
    AFS 300/4 about 1.5k?

    Slightly over the budget but then this would be a fine basic setup.
    I'd opt for the D2X + a 400 f/2.8 + 1.4TC, 1.7TC or 2TC.

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