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Thread: Birds what do i require?

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    Birds what do i require?

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new'ish to photography and want to give birding a try.
    Currently I do mostly landscape/holiday/4wd shots, but have been getting frustrated when sitting around camp watching all the bird/animal life around me, and not being able to take the shots i want of them.

    I have been using a 7d with a efs15-85 lens.

    I'm going to start with the little wrens, robins, fantales etc we have in our backyard

    From the reading i've done on ausphoto i have ordered a canon 100-400L, what i'm wondering is if i need any other gear to do a good job? eg a flash unit or extender

    thanks kipp

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Hi Kipp!
    • This is excellent gear to start with - you have selected the best all-round birding combination under $10,000.
    • An extender will be 100% useless on a 100-400. A 1.4 extender isn't usable on anything less than an f/4 lens, a 2x extender really needs an f/2.8 lens, and even tyhen they are never as good as the real McCoy - bare glass.
    • You do need some support - tripod, monopod, or both. Hand-holding is all very well, but you really need the ability to deal with poor light and longer exposures, so a tripod is essential. (Or you can get away with a monopod if the light is not too bad.) Tripod is heavier, more awkward to set up, but steadier and easier to use for much longer periods. Monopod is faster and easier to use, but no good for long vigils or very long exposures.
    • A tripod certainly needs a good head, a monopod head is optional
    • Flash is good to have even if you are not birding. Do not even think abut anything less than a 580EX II. You need all the light you can get!


    Good hunting!
    Tony

    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kipp View Post
    Hi everyone,


    From the reading i've done on ausphoto i have ordered a canon 100-400L, what i'm wondering is if i need any other gear to do a good job? eg a flash unit or extender
    You'll probably need to know two things :

    1- Your subjects,
    2- Long lens techniques.

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    What tony has said and one other very important piece of gear, a great deal of patience.
    My stuff.Canon 5DMk11 Canon 40d BG-E2N Canon 17/40 F.4 L
    Canon 400 F5.6 L


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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashey View Post
    one other very important piece of gear, a great deal of patience
    I got mine from a local supplier, but I need some more, can I get a patience extender? Can I get one cheaper buying on-line to dodge the GST? Is the imported one just the same? And what happens if I lose my cool and need warranty on it?

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    as a relative newbie also (and using the same combo you have), i'd repeat Rich's Hall's mantra - get close!

    i'd also suggest that a lot of shots may be missed while trying to set up a tripod, so be prepared to brace against trees/posts etc (although this may be why i seem to get a lot of soft shots....)

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    thanks tannin
    - a bloke at the local camera store (no names) tried to sell me a 2x extender but thanks to this site i had a feeling that it wouln't work. (note not the first time this store has given me wrong advice and bad support)
    - i have a tripod it's only a chinese knockoff but i decided to spend the money on the lens instead (i was considering a sigma 150-500, about half the price)
    - as for a flash is it worth trying to use the standard flash whilst i save up for a good one?

    i will try and post some photos as soon as i get a chance to take some, hopefully you guys can tell me how to improve on them.

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    yeah i'm not generally that patient a person but i'm quite stubborn, which i'm told can sometimes be substituted/confused for patience.

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    I think a bird would come in handy for bird photography too, not that I'm an expert
    Last edited by kiwi; 19-07-2011 at 7:18pm.
    Darren
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    I got mine from a local supplier, but I need some more, can I get a patience extender? Can I get one cheaper buying on-line to dodge the GST? Is the imported one just the same? And what happens if I lose my cool and need warranty on it?
    picked up mine at big W EOFYS.... 20% off!

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Cheers Kipp.

    Name names, mate. Advice as bad as that should be named and shamed in public. It's a not just wrong, it is spectacularly and horribly wrong. I am amazed that anyone sweeping the floor in a camera shop would get it so wrong.

    Cheap tripods aren't much use. When you are ready, ask here for advice on a good one to go for. They are not expensive. Heads, on the other hand, cost a fair bit, and cheap heads only end in tears. Do it once, do it right. Yes, as Nouveau1 says, you miss a lot of shots setting up a tripod, but that's the price you pay for extra sharpness (especially as you graduate to bigger, heavier lenses). As a general rule, you will use the little 100-400 hand-held. (Richard will be along later to tell you how wonderful a monopod is - that's his go and not really mine so I'll say nowt about it.) Where a tripod is far, far better than anything else is in situations where you wait for the bird to come to you, such as in a hide. With a tripod, you can wait comfortably for hours if need be. You can also follow some action for a long time waiting for the magic moment. Hand-held, you can't - sooner or later your arm gets tired.

    The built-in flash really won't achieve much. For starters, the fully extended lens will probably shade it unless you take the hood off, and possibly even then. Secondly, you need a lot more oomph to do anything at birding distances. And thirdly, you'll get red-eye because it's too close to the lens.

    "I will try and post some photos as soon as i get a chance to take some"\

    Looking forward to it!

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    I think a bird would come in handy for bird photography too, not that I'm an expert
    ^ Pfft! Old school. Go back to your pipe and slippers, Grandpa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post

    The built-in flash really won't achieve much. For starters, the fully extended lens will probably shade it unless you take the hood off, and possibly even then. Secondly, you need a lot more oomph to do anything at birding distances. And thirdly, you'll get red-eye because it's too close to the lens.

    "I will try and post some photos as soon as i get a chance to take some"\

    Looking forward to it!
    actually i have used the built in flash with the 150-500. generally if kyou are chasing little birds they are on 4 or so meters away and the flash hits fine, i find even at min focus distance i dont have to remove the hood. its ok for a backup.
    that said its no substitue for an external.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    Cheers Kipp Yes, as Nouveau1 says, you miss a lot of shots setting up a tripod, but that's the price you pay for extra sharpness (especially as you graduate to bigger, heavier lenses). As a general rule, you will use the little 100-400 hand-held. (Richard will be along later to tell you how wonderful a monopod is - that's his go and not really mine so I'll say nowt about it.) Where a tripod is far, far better than anything else is in situations where you wait for the bird to come to you, such as in a hide. With a tripod, you can wait comfortably for hours if need be. You can also follow some action for a long time waiting for the magic moment. Hand-held, you can't - sooner or later your arm gets tired.!
    too true! even the 100-400 gets very difficult to hold still for any length of time... and there's no doubt about the superiority of the tripod static shots either.
    the other thing no-one has yet mentioned is the padded waterproof bag so you can lie on the ground and stabilise the lens for those low shots and/or place on ledges/railings/cars etc. also useful if one gets caught in the rain - (as i did recently and have just received a 260 dollar quote from canon)
    rick
    Last edited by nouveau1; 20-07-2011 at 12:10pm.

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    as for a bag what would you recomend?
    ive curently just got a triangular lowepro that fits the 7d body with the 15-85 atatched, but no room for anything else.
    as mentioned above my local camera store is worse than useless, and a bag is something you want to be able to see and feel before you buy, (i imagine).
    can anybody recomend a store in the south east melbourne area (i'm from Rosebud)?
    ta
    Last edited by kipp; 20-07-2011 at 1:25pm.

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    I would take a trip to Elizabeth Street in Melbourne and visit them all......there is also a crumpler store on Little Bourke if you are so inclined. It really is worth the effort.
    Call me Roo......
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    I would consider the following in addition to your new gear:

    -external flash, 580EX II. Especially if you are going to be chasing bush birds and those that like shade. I use my flash for bird photography ALL the time. You will need GOOD rechargeable batteries as well for this.
    -extra battery, if you don't have two already. I know of a very good Chinese store on eBay that sells genuine Canon batteries for a VERY good price. PM if you wish.
    -monopod. I find this much more user friendly than a tripod, especially for bird photography. But I'm on the move a lot when taking photos.
    -backpack. LowePro make excellent backpacks. Again, I got mine from eBay for an excellent price.

    That's really it gear wise, you'll be set. Next is patience, a willingness to learn, and PLENTY of practice!
    Adam
    Adam Blyth Photography

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    i never use a backpack while out birding... but then i travel light. camera, flash birding lens... thats about it. i might shove some snacks into my pockets.

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    keep it simple. like ving, unless i'm hiking i dom't have a backpack... currently just a shopping bag with a towel and a plastic bag.. if you can find onr of those old padded "cooler" bags, they're good - waterproof, padded so it'll mold on to irregular surfaces and so rest the camera and lens without shake, and light - also doesnt look like you're carrying $$$$ of camera gear.
    rick

    ps the dry bags you use for kayaking with a towel or some foam would work quite well too = just thought of that ...
    Last edited by nouveau1; 20-07-2011 at 5:21pm.

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    There is a lot of good info in here from Tony and the others.
    I like Richard Hall use a Monopod, but do use a tripod when in one place for any length of time, such as a hide etc, as Tony mentioned it is easier to use and keeps the hands and arms free till the action starts.
    I use a flash quite a bit, when low light and shadows are at their worst, The flash I use is the 430 ex II, I have not so far needed any thing stronger, but that is not to say I would not eventually get one when I can.
    If you want a bag, pick one that will fit what you have and a bit more, as, as time goes on you will start to fill it. but 1 thing I do not take a bag out with me, other than in the car, the reason, on ly usually walk what I call short
    distances from the car, a few k's. I do have a smaller bag if I do need to take one.
    Always and I do mean always take a garbage bag with you on the suss days, 1 keeps camera dry, 2 keeps you dry from lying on the ground. I always keep one in the bag, it comes out when I need it, it scrunches up into my pocket.

    The one thing you will need as already mentioned, is patients, birds are funny creatures, they do as they want, not what we want them to do., learn each of the species of bird you are after, this will make it easier to get closer.
    enough of my ramble, I hope to see your shots when the gear comes in.

    Peter
    Any comments and critique always welcome
    Canon 400d twin lens kit & 60d : Canon 580 EX II & 430 EX II Flash | Cokin filters NDG 2,4 & 8 ND 8. + CPL | Sigma APO 150-500 OS DG | Canon 400L Canon 17-40L & 60 mm Macro.


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