minimum focal length to shoot bird?


daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
21,645
63
48
lil red dot
#2
200mm is short enough

need at least how many mm to shoot birding?
Depends really on what kind of bird and the environment. If shooting big birds in environments where they are not too afraid of people, 200mm can be enough. Example, shooting storks and herons in japanese garden. Once you start shooting in harsher environments and smaller birds, 300-500 is minimum and many times not enough.
 

rhino123

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 1, 2006
5,243
15
38
NA
#4
Actually... there are no minimal focal length for shooting birds. It all depends on how close you can get to the bird. But generally, what DD mentioned is actually, normally people used 300 to 500mm to shoot birds. Of course it might not be enough, if you have the budget, 600mm and above is desirable.

But if you are shooting birds in our birdpark, I think 70 to 300mm should be very much enough.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,488
26
48
Pasir Ris
#5
Jurong Bird Park can be done with kit lens. The birds are so tame and once you got some food in your hands they are very close.
 

devilry

New Member
Feb 16, 2006
986
3
0
#6
Caged bird at home: 18-55mm kit lens will do.

Birds in lory loft at bird park: 100mm will do.

Birds in other exhibits in bird park: 300mm will do (200mm if the bird is friendly).

Birds in places with low trees (trees less than 2 stories height) and relatively open space such as chinese garden, pasir ris park: 500mm will do, but 700mm is recommended.

Birds im places with low trees (trees less than 2 stories height) and dense vegetation such as sungei buloh: minimum 700mm, but 1000mm+ is recommended.

Birds in places with tall trees & ultra dense (i.e. Forest, jungles) such as bukit timah: 600mm with 2x teleconverter or 800mm with 1.4x teleconverter is the minimum. U can get by with 600mm & 1.4x teleconverter if u are lucky to be close but its unlikely because u cant move around the forest easily. Remember u are carrying a heavy cumbersome setup with tripod, its very difficult to move in deeper into the forest. If u dont hav at least a 600mm or 800mm lens, leave ur cam equipment at home and go take a stroll instead (ur bird pics would most likely belong in the "trash bin" of computer). Even my 500mm with 2x isn't enough, and that's why i rarely shoot in forest, jungles - i take a walk and hike/exercise instead. I am saving up for the 1200mm f5.6, it should be easier for me to shoot in these forests then.
 

shierwin

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2008
3,435
8
38
East Coast
#7
... Or get a superzoom bridge that can shoot up to 1200mm... light and compact :D
 

Mythmaker

New Member
Oct 8, 2011
1,011
2
0
Buangkok MRT
#8
I find 600mm quite short for smaller birds in trees (Using 5D3). Usually I have to crop to about 25-30% of the original size.
 

devilry

New Member
Feb 16, 2006
986
3
0
#9
I find 600mm quite short for smaller birds in trees (Using 5D3). Usually I have to crop to about 25-30% of the original size.
full frame isn't really for birding..

APSC for canon dslr is still better. that being said, the best lens to shoot bird (that can still be obtained in 2nd hand market is the canon 1200mm f5.6 at about USD 150,000, the price of a 3 room hdb flat), do remember to hire some manual labour too.. 20+kg is not joke when carrying around in forest.
 

Turbonetics

Senior Member
Feb 19, 2009
2,701
6
38
#10
This is one question that nobody can answer imo.
it boils down to individual's standard on the photos.
personally other than ostrich and emu types of birds,i won't use anything below 200mm at bird park even for raptors and for wild at least a 400mm for me.
 

Last edited:
Feb 15, 2013
359
1
18
Singapore
#11
... Or get a superzoom bridge that can shoot up to 1200mm... light and compact :D
Speaking as a SX50HS owner, the camera is very good for documentation and travelling use
I mean, you can capture anything as long as your eye can see. No matter how small or far the (bird) subject is.

The only problem is; unless it is bright and clear day, most of your pictures will be soft.
After learning to step up ISO, shuttle speed, EV compensation, my hit rate of getting a reasonable sharp image has increased.

You have to shoot in RAW and do alot of post processing in order to have more sharper images after a day of shooting.

Not sure how are the other superzoom bridge cameras fare in terms of JPEG picture sharpness.
Can the users care to share?

Thank You
EisMann
 

Turbonetics

Senior Member
Feb 19, 2009
2,701
6
38
#12
Speaking as a SX50HS owner, the camera is very good for documentation and travelling use
I mean, you can capture anything as long as your eye can see. No matter how small or far the (bird) subject is.

The only problem is; unless it is bright and clear day, most of your pictures will be soft.
After learning to step up ISO, shuttle speed, EV compensation, my hit rate of getting a reasonable sharp image has increased.

You have to shoot in RAW and do alot of post processing in order to have more sharper images after a day of shooting.

Not sure how are the other superzoom bridge cameras fare in terms of JPEG picture sharpness.
Can the users care to share?

Thank You
EisMann
why do we need to do so much PP for birds?
I shoot RAW mainly to retrieve some "lost" colors,shadows or highlights and better control in noise not really because of sharpening.
JPEG can be very sharp too. if the image is not sharp,no matter what file u shoot and how u PP also no use.
how u shoot it is primary,how u pp it is secondary.
 

Last edited:

erictan8888

Senior Member
Nov 9, 2004
2,883
1
0
Singapore
#13
it all depends on your budget...
and how long you intend to do birding...

tamron recently came out with the 150-600mm ....
well received by a lot of people on the net... and with that reach, it should get you started for a while,
and when you are confirmed serious about birding, then getting a prime 500mm or 600mm would be ideal..

but even a 300mm f4 Nikon with TC1.4 on a DX body does pretty well for a lot of people...
(if you are using Nikon)
for canon, a number of people also like the 400mm f5.6 ... have seen nice pictures with this set up too...
 

May 1, 2007
48
0
0
48
#19
If you got time in the weekend, pay a visit to sungei buloh. There are few of them using 800mm with additional extenders. Speak to them and see which lens suits you better.
 

Feb 15, 2013
359
1
18
Singapore
#20
Scoobydive,

I don't suppose those were live birds when you took the shots.

Thank You
EisMann
 

Top Bottom