To birders: What camera do you use?

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
JerryCanon10D Regular Member • Posts: 426
Re: Personal choices!

Guidenet wrote:

zerlings wrote:

I use a Canon 5D2 (with a 500 f/4).

The 5D2 is great as I use it for wedding, travel etc... but for birding I hope for a better AF and longer reach (crop).

Really, crop doesn't give reach. It just crops a smaller rectangle of the same size image. Then when you enlarge it up to the Full Frame image, it looks like reach. That's why professionals at the Olympics and such use full frame with their long glass. We wildlife photographers could take the hint. The only advantage to crop is putting more pixels on the target, all else being equal.

Surely that's what people mean when they call it "reach" and even though you say it as the "only" advantage it is a key one? My 7D puts a lot more pixels on the subject than the, same mega-pixelled, 1DsII. I did tests when I got the 7D and although the 1D images have a "special" quality, the 7D had more detail ...

Full frame generally is better in the dimmer light of early morning and later evening when the birds and wildlife are often up and moving. The key is longer glass, but more importantly good field technique. In other words, getting closer trumps everything.

Agreed. Good field craft is often worth a 2x extender! But I haven't met any bird photographers who complain about getting too close so extra mm is always a plus.

In the field, I still shoot a crop Nikon D300 some of the time because I love the camera. Most of the time I shoot a Nikon D700 FX camera. My favorite glass is a 300 f/2.8 AFS VR with or without a Nikon 1.7 teleconverter. I also shoot a Nikon 500 f/4 with or without a teleconverter as well.

With that glass and a 36 MP sensor to catch the photons you certainly have the best of both worlds, FF & loads of pixels on the image! Envy doesn't start to describe it

I've got the new Nikon D800E on order and that will probably become my birding body and I'll maybe retire the D700 to my studio. As well as the above noted glass, I also use an 80-200 f/2.8 two ring and a 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR Nikon. On some rare occasions when they are really close like gulls and the like, I shoot an 85 f/1.4 G and a Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro. I like to bring frozen shrimp bait and toss it for gulls. They come close to hitting you, they are so close and can feed out of your hand if you're brave enough. The 85 works great.
Cheers, Craig

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