My first birding experience with fz200:

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BalaRamraj
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My first birding experience with fz200:
4 months ago

Background:
I recently developed interest in birding and was on a look out for suitable camera. In my past camera experience, I have used Canon 1000D and several P&S but never used anything beyond the Auto shooting mode.

Choosing the right birding camera for me:
With my limited knowledge, deciding on the correct camera was a bigger challenge than I intended. I started reading several online forums to understand the basics of photography. Due to budget, DSLR was not an option. So I scanned through all superzooms and ended up with a final list of SX50, HS50 EXR and FZ200.

Several discussions here in DP rated FZ200 as much capable, but I was not fully convinced with this two year old due to the limited zoom comparing to other models. But below two features made me choose FZ200.

1. Low light capability:
I live in a super hot city (Chennai) in India. So, much of my birding are done in early mornings and late evenings to stay out of burning sun but light will also be a lesser then. Getting enough light on to that little sensor will then be my priority and here, f2.8 at 600mm available on fz200 was impressive. This feature gives me faster lens and it also means I can operate at higher shutter speed on max zooming which is critical for birding to freeze action and avoid hand shake.

2. EVF:
I visited local store to get a hands-on to all the models. I was seriously considering sx50 but it's VF was a let down for me. I understand VF may not have any effect to the IQ but it does help for accurate framing and focus on the bird. Also, I want to enjoy my birding and have a pleasing experience. End of the day, I don't want to strain my eyes.

Now on my first experience with fz200:
I started out my first outing with fz200 and was little nervous to find out whether I made the right choice. I tried to remember and apply all the basics I learned on photography and shot as much I can.

I quickly find out No zoom is enough for birding and 24X on FZ200 is certainly a challenge here. But I learned that I can work around by using iZoom. I understand it may not be as good as optical zoom but I find this acceptable for my usage.

I can't wait to come back home and see the results. And I was more than happy to look at them. I have added some samples here - SOOC with no pp and all with max iZoom.

I was particularly impressed with the Munia capture which I shot early morning under low light. FZ200 has kindled my birding hunger and I'm all set to continue learning and shooting more with it.

Before ending, I want to thank you all for your discussions, inputs and reviews here on dp on several other threads. It certainly helped me to learn the right settings and also make the right camera choice for my birding.

Please add your comments and suggestions on any settings or aspects I can improve. Thanks all.

Spot Billed Duck

Spotted Munia

Green Bee Eater

Pied Bushchat

Lawsonia inermis (Henna)

Cat

Butterfly1

Butterfly2 on hibiscus

 BalaRamraj's gear list:BalaRamraj's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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