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Thread: good camera for wildlife?

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    Member jorbaicoo's Avatar
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    good camera for wildlife?

    Hey all, I am getting an entry level Digital SLR soon and am wondering which one is best for wildlife photography. I also want the camera to have good image quality cheers,
    Jordan

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Hi Jordan,

    It isn't really the camera you need to think about first, it's the lenses. You need:
    • decent length - 400mm is usually regarded as the starting point
    • good image quality - most 400mm-class lenses are OK, some are excellent, at least one is poor
    • Image stabilisation is essential
    • a fast, accurate USM focus system is essential (USM is also called "SWM", "SDM", "HSM", "SSM", "SWD", and "XSM" by various different lens manufacturers. No matter what they calll it, it is a fast, accurate, near-silent focus mechanism based on an ultrasonic motor in the lens itself.)
    • zoom is an advantage but not essential
    • sensible price
    • light weight and small size are both nice to have


    By far the most popular wildlife lens is the evergreen Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L. This is so with good reason - it fits all those criteria above and costs less than $2000.

    The next most popular is the Sigma 150-500, which it is fair to think of as a poor man's 100-400 - it is significantly slower, heavier, and more bulky; it is not regarded as being quite as good optically, but on the other hand it is significantly longer at a (nominal) 500mm and significantly cheaper. You can buy one version or another of the Sigma 150-500 to fit pretty much any brand of camera.

    After those two, you are into a number of NQR lenses (The Nikkor 80-400 lacks a decent focus system; the Canon 400/5.6 prime lacks IS; the cheap Tokina 80-400 lacks any pretensions to image quality; the various 300mm f/2.8 and f/4 lenses are too short without a teleconverter); a huge range of general-purpose longish zooms which are too short for wildlife work (70-300s and the like); and finally the very expensive professional-class long lenses from Canon and Nikon which are superb in every way except weight, but cost around $10,000 each.

    For the camera body, excluding professional models at five grand and up, your best choice is the outstanding Canon 7D. (Nikon have some very nice, reasonably affordable cameras too but they are not compatible with the 100-400 lens.) Failing that, a 60D, or (if budget requires) a 550D or a 500D.

    But Rule One is and always has been - select your range of lenses first. Lenses last a lot longer tan cameras.
    Tony

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

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    PS: to the best of my knowledge, there is no digital SLR on the market today that does not have good image quality. There are differences, but they are very, very small in the overall scheme of things. Lenses, on the other hand, vary enormously.

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    ok thanks man

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Agree with Tannin, the lenses you choose are what makes your wildlife photography. I cannot really expand on what Tannin has written, it is great advice.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

    RICK
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    for the price of a new entry level dslr (from canon) you could get a middle spec camera with more frames/ second such as a 50D. They are quite cheap at the moment, 6 frames/ sec 15 mega pixels and the auto focus is also quite ok.

    The smaller entry level dslr is usually slower frames/ sec and auto focus is not as fast. However, if you want to shoot moving objects i suggest getting a lens with USM focus (faster focusing). - all this info is related to canon, I am not knowledgeable on other brands
    1DIII, 5DII, 15mm fish, 24mm ts-e, 35L,135L,200L,400L,mpe-65mm
    Film: eos 300, pentax 6x7

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