Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

Started Apr 22, 2008 | Discussions
JeroenW Contributing Member • Posts: 693
Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

I'm planning to upgrade to a DSLR in the near future and I've been reading quite a lot about this subject to make my choice easier. The more I read though the less obvious my choice seems. All brands seem to have their strengths and weaknesses. The reason I'm planning to upgrade is because I want to take my wildlife pictures to the next level (Mainly birding). I currently shoot with an FZ50 and this are the results I want my new setup to be able to top:

In my little research Pentax seems to offer the best bang for the bugs when it comes to the camera body. Lenses however it seems there isn't a lot to offer someone who's after professional results in birding. There is a bigma ofcourse but it doesn't have HSM like the bigma's have for canon, nikon and 4/3's

My question.. What choices in lenses do I have for birding. My budget is around 1000 euro's?

I would love to see some examples!

Gr Jeroen

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Model Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 3,848
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

Fantastic images! And proof if ever proof was needed that for web work at least, choice of camera - and megapixels - is less important than technique. Well done.

Mike

tomtor Senior Member • Posts: 1,454
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

JeroenW wrote:

My question.. What choices in lenses do I have for birding. My budget
is around 1000 euro's?

I would love to see some examples!

Gr Jeroen

Nice shots!

Toxiq ( http://www.foto-hobby.nl/ ) is the Dutch Pentax bird man so he can give you the best advice. Long glass is however expensive. I think the best option is the Bigma 50-500 in that price range...

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Britney Elvis Veteran Member • Posts: 5,298
cost vs benifit

wonderful photos... what are you not getting with the Bridge cam that you want to get from a dslr? Faster focus? Subject Isolation? Usable Hi ISO... these are some great bird shots. It is gonna cost you a lot to step up with good birder lens and you should weigh the cost / benefits IMHO....

For Macro's and bird shots in good light, the higher end bridge cams with decent macro and tele adaptors are pretty darn good as the Panny and Fuji forums show all the time. It will be expensive to get the fast long glass you will eventually desire for birding...

But, if you love birding, what is few thousand dollars in a life long hobby?
--
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Anything less.... makes you less happy'

ellarsee Senior Member • Posts: 2,063
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

Awesome shots.

I loved my FZ50, and when it was stolen replaced it with my Pentax because it was the best "bang for the buck" (not bugs! but your English is much better than my nederlands). You'll be hard pressed to get better performance for your money than a Pentax and a Bigma. On the other hand, for birds in flight and other things that require faster focus, you'll likely get better performance if you get another brand's top of the line.

So, for $2500 I don't think you'll do better than a K20d and a Bigma. For $5000, you probably will do better.

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RevRat Regular Member • Posts: 296
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

According to the DPReview camera database you have 35-420 (35mm EQ).
You might consider the DA 18-250 (27-375 35mm EQ).
Check the Pentax Lens Development Roadmap, here:
http://www.pentax.jp/english/imaging/digital/lens/index.html

djedi
djedi Senior Member • Posts: 2,795
You're not going to do better for $1000 Euros!

Unless you look at a K200D ($650) and can manage to luck into a used Tamron 300mm F2.8 for $300 like I did. Throw a real dedicated flat field converter on that ($30-60) an you are in business, having a 450mm and 900mm equiv lens. You will also have an image stabilized body. I have shot at 1/250th with IS on and gotten some pretty decent results!

Of course, that means you will be shooting at full manual. To convert that puppy to an AF you need to find a 1.7X Pentax AF converter which is rare as hens' teeth and worth its weight in platinum on ebay these days.
Djedi
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Britney Elvis Veteran Member • Posts: 5,298
K20 + bigma maybe

RevRat wrote:

According to the DPReview camera database you have 35-420 (35mm EQ).
You might consider the DA 18-250 (27-375 35mm EQ).
Check the Pentax Lens Development Roadmap, here:
http://www.pentax.jp/english/imaging/digital/lens/index.html

That would not be an upgrade at the lens level, as the panny is not only 420mm but, it is fast with a F3.7 available at the long end... The DA 18-250 is F6.3 on the long end at 375 effective focal length.

And If he has the 1.7x tcon or the 2.2x raynox TC, then his focal length is more like 700mm or 900mm at F4 ish... that is gonna be expensive to effectively replace if not impossible...

The K20d with its great crop-able resolution and the Bigma would be a fun choice but a tad expensive. And still F6.3 on the long I think...

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-the artist formally known as gus-

'Get what makes you happy
Anything less.... makes you less happy'

tomtor Senior Member • Posts: 1,454
DA300 + teleconverter

Another option is the DA*300/4 which is 999 euros. This would give you

450mm film equivalent, weather sealing and silent auto focus. A bit longer would have been nice but the K20 combined with quality glass will allow some cropping...

There is a matching TC on the Pentax roadmap which will extend your reach.

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0xDEADBEEF Contributing Member • Posts: 690
Canon or Nikon

The choice of long tele lenses is much better.

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-Dominik

Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 32,128
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

At the moment Pentax does not have the very long telephotos that you may require for birding etc. Nikon and Canon have these in spades. Also, the low light AF maybe a little better on the Nikon and Canon cameras if you think this is of importance.

Having said that, if you really do like Pentax DSLR's, you can get some third party lenses that are excellent quality, like the Sigma 50-500 which may fit your bill(sorry about the pun). The K20D has 14.6Mp and will allow for some cropping which may be of an advantage in some situations.

The best idea is to try the various DSLR's in your price range and see which one is bets suited to you. Ergonomics, functionality and ease of use are areas that I find are important as it makes the camera easier to use and therefore you are able to get the shot that you want.
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tuszi Regular Member • Posts: 208
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

Well, if you are on the budget, do not sell your current rig.

The grass aint "all green and cool" in dslr land when small birds are in question. You see there are those expensive and bulky fast prime tele lenses and big heawy tripods, you still need a forklift to move them, and all that mirror flip-flap and shutter noise. Plus the possible front- backfocus issues, metering problems, and too thin DOF...

No not that bad, but you get the idea. You dont really need a very fast lens, and i think you could live vithout hsm. So i vote for a bigma and a body that suits you. Maybe Oly ?

gazonk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,070
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

JeroenW wrote:

My question.. What choices in lenses do I have for birding. My budget
is around 1000 euro's?

First: Fantastic photos!

1000 euros for body including lenses?

I'm not into birding, but...

Maybe the K200D kit plus the Pentax 55-300 being released these days, that should sum up to about 1000 euros, I think, and would give you a total zoom range of 27-450mm in 35mm equivalents, i.e. a little more than you currently have. Some may complain that the 55-300 only is f/5.8 at the long end, but that's less than 1,5 stops less than your FZ50, and the K200D will give you at least 2 ISO stops more.

I'd look out here for 55-300 sample photos, they're starting to tick in.
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OP JeroenW Contributing Member • Posts: 693
Re: cost vs benifit

Thanks for your compliments regarding my pictures. What I'm looking for in DSLR is :

Faster autofocus
Being able to make larger prints
More detail

I think the Bigma is my best option if I where to go the pentax route. It fits in my budget and it has enough reach. I'm only a bit disappointed in the fact that the pentax mount Bigma doesn't come with HSM. How fast will it focus? Will it deliver better IQ than my current gear?

Thanks for your reaction...

Jeroen

Britney Elvis wrote:

wonderful photos... what are you not getting with the Bridge cam
that you want to get from a dslr? Faster focus? Subject Isolation?
Usable Hi ISO... these are some great bird shots. It is gonna cost
you a lot to step up with good birder lens and you should weigh the
cost / benefits IMHO....

For Macro's and bird shots in good light, the higher end bridge cams
with decent macro and tele adaptors are pretty darn good as the Panny
and Fuji forums show all the time. It will be expensive to get the
fast long glass you will eventually desire for birding...

But, if you love birding, what is few thousand dollars in a life long
hobby?
--
-the artist formally known as gus-

'Get what makes you happy
Anything less.... makes you less happy'

-- hide signature --

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Metzzz 48AF1+mecabouncee

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OP JeroenW Contributing Member • Posts: 693
Re: You're not going to do better for $1000 Euros!

1000 euro's will be my lens budget not the "grand total". I'm thinking about getting a k10d or maybe even the k20d when the price drops a little.

Gr Jeroen

djedi wrote:

Unless you look at a K200D ($650) and can manage to luck into a used
Tamron 300mm F2.8 for $300 like I did. Throw a real dedicated flat
field converter on that ($30-60) an you are in business, having a
450mm and 900mm equiv lens. You will also have an image stabilized
body. I have shot at 1/250th with IS on and gotten some pretty
decent results!
Of course, that means you will be shooting at full manual. To
convert that puppy to an AF you need to find a 1.7X Pentax AF
converter which is rare as hens' teeth and worth its weight in
platinum on ebay these days.
Djedi
--
Old timer

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OP JeroenW Contributing Member • Posts: 693
Re: K20 + bigma maybe

Britney Elvis wrote:

RevRat wrote:

According to the DPReview camera database you have 35-420 (35mm EQ).
You might consider the DA 18-250 (27-375 35mm EQ).
Check the Pentax Lens Development Roadmap, here:
http://www.pentax.jp/english/imaging/digital/lens/index.html

That would not be an upgrade at the lens level, as the panny is not
only 420mm but, it is fast with a F3.7 available at the long end...
The DA 18-250 is F6.3 on the long end at 375 effective focal length.

And If he has the 1.7x tcon or the 2.2x raynox TC, then his focal
length is more like 700mm or 900mm at F4 ish... that is gonna be
expensive to effectively replace if not impossible...

The K20d with its great crop-able resolution and the Bigma would be a
fun choice but a tad expensive. And still F6.3 on the long I think...

I currently use a 1.7 TCON (Olympus) on my FZ50. Compact teleconverters don't have influence on the F-values because they are placed in front of the objective and not between the objective and the body like a DSLR converter does. So I'm looking at 714mm f3.7 (35mm equiv.). It sounds amazing ofcourse but ofcourse there is a downside.... I can only shoot at ISO 100 if I want to preserve detail and the DOF (for subject Isolation) is probably wider then the bigma's DOF at 500 6.3.

I also hope/ think a DSLR image is more crop able given the much larger sensor size. 10mp on a 1/1.8 inch sensor just isn't to be compared to a 10mp DSLR picture...

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Metzzz 48AF1+mecabouncee

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Stan Bembenek Regular Member • Posts: 295
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

Good job on the birds! You'd do well to check out some of the other Pentax forums as I have seen some great bird images there also. Then you can get a good idea whats available and if it will meet your needs.

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tomtor Senior Member • Posts: 1,454
Re: K20 + bigma maybe

There are many members on this forum who shoot birds with a bigma. The title of the current thread is a bit generic but if you start a thread with the title

Please show me your bigma bird pictures

than you'll get a lot of response...

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DrugaRunda Senior Member • Posts: 2,741
Re: Upgrading to DSLR (Whitch should I choose?)

your probable best bet for the money is Canon 40D with 100-400 L lens or 400mm f5.6 prime which is a bit more expensive but not too much comparing to Pentax combination... both with 1.4TC... it is generally thought that it will give you better AF for birding...

however if you go Pentax route... K20D is definitely the best option and than for 1000Euro either Bigma, or there should be new HSM Sigma 150-500 coming in Pentax (and other mounts) over next three months... if that is not too long to wait and you want to go Pentax route...

Or new 300mm f4 DA* which also fits within the budget... it's price should drop over next few months as well as it's brand new right now...

more exotic and still good solutions are olf Tamron 300mm f2.8 prime with 1.7Autofocus Adapter... but AF adapter is very hard to get these days...

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