What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

Started Oct 6, 2022 | Discussions
Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
1

I have been putting up with my Panasonic FZ2500 for a few years now. It was suggested to me, many times, I should try something else. Focus with it is often to slow and sometimes it just won't lock focus when I am in tight situations with limbs or a background that is similar to the subject. I have seriously thought about going to the Sony RX10IV but am not sure if it really would be that big of an improvement?? I can sometimes get photos that are respectable but I usually have to spend some time in post processing to get them that way. I have thought about just getting a camera that is designated as my birding or wildlife camera and keep my FZ2500 for travel or family photos etc. If I did this, is there a camera and lens you might suggest that I could get that wouldn't break the bank? Fast focus is important to me and of course not only fast but accurate. Thanks for any ideas and help.

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Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 9,505
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
1

I find DSLR's to be the fastest for moving subjects and there is no viewfinder lag with the optical viewfinder, but many seem to prefer mirrorless. In both cases they are all interchangeable lens cameras and many models are a step or so up from the bridge cameras in focusing. But many get along well with the Panasonic FZ1000 and Sony RX10. I'm sure you will get quite the varied list of suggestions.

General wildlife will mainly require as long a focal length zoom as you can handle from size and budget standpoint. Birds in flight will require long focal length, great focusing ability and a whole bunch of skill. It is not easy. The wildlife part can be handled by more lesser priced equipment compared to the birds in flight part. Higher end gear will help you here.

number_5
number_5 Contributing Member • Posts: 918
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
1

If you can afford the RX10IV, go for it. It has a stacked sensor - fast AF, can shoot 24 frames a second. JPEG only, 200 frames before it slow down, and RAW + JPEG, about 100 frames. It's 24-600mm (FF equiv.), so it has the reach. Con, small sensor compares to ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera, DSLR and Mirrorless).

Em1xuseruk Senior Member • Posts: 2,536
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
3

The only negative comment I can give about going with the Sony rx10 is the slow motor zoom and power up to grab a shot at a fleeting moment which happens a lot in wildlife photography.

If going for an interchangeable lens option you need to decide what focal length you want

70-300, 100-400, 150-500, 150-600 and decide which size sensor and your budget .

-- hide signature --

It’s all about the zoom….

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Norm Neely Veteran Member • Posts: 3,451
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
2

Fishrman wrote:

is there a camera and lens you might suggest that I could get that wouldn't break the bank? Fast focus is important to me and of course not only fast but accurate. Thanks for any ideas and help.

I have no idea what $ amount would break your bank???

How about keeping your camera until you can afford a camera that does what you want.

The Canon R7 $1,499.00

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1707911-REG/canon_eos_r7_mirrorless_camera.html

Review: https://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/eos-r/r7.htm

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Canon EF $899

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1082154-REG/sigma_150_600mm_f_5_6_3_dg_os.html

One of these two Canon EF to R adapters.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=canon%20ef%20to%20rf%20adapter&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ps

Sigma 150-600 contemporary vs sport. Comparison photos on a trip to Alaska.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jN_6ApM0Xg

Another review.:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q9lLY5Zgvk

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Norm

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Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 23,460
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
2

Fishrman wrote:

I have been putting up with my Panasonic FZ2500 for a few years now. It was suggested to me, many times, I should try something else. Focus with it is often to slow and sometimes it just won't lock focus when I am in tight situations with limbs or a background that is similar to the subject. I have seriously thought about going to the Sony RX10IV but am not sure if it really would be that big of an improvement?? I can sometimes get photos that are respectable but I usually have to spend some time in post processing to get them that way. I have thought about just getting a camera that is designated as my birding or wildlife camera and keep my FZ2500 for travel or family photos etc. If I did this, is there a camera and lens you might suggest that I could get that wouldn't break the bank? Fast focus is important to me and of course not only fast but accurate. Thanks for any ideas and help.

Your current camera has a large 1" sensor for fixed lens camera, a 24-480mm equivalent focal length lens (quite a good range for general wildlife but a little short for birds) and relatively poor continuous AF for birds in flight.  I assume that you want better AF for BIF and a longer zoom range.

If you want to stay with a fixed lens camera, you only have one choice that you already know about, the Sony RX10iv.  I have handled one of these and thought it a very good choice for general wildlife travel.  I don't know about BIF - ask about that on the Sony Cybershot forum or the Nature and Wildlife forum.

The choice of interchangeable lens cameras is much greater, but it is probably best to start with lenses.  You really need a lens that goes to 600mm equivalent, although a lot of people shoot birds with 800mm equivalent.

With an M4/3 sensor with a 2x crop factor, a 300mm lens gets you to 600mm equivalent and 400mm gets you to 800mm equivalent.  An Olympus 75-300mm or Panasonic 100-300mm will be both light and quite cheap.  A 100-400mm lens will be somewhat heavier and more expensive.  For an M4/3 body, Olympus AF is much better than Panasonic's so go for a used EM-1 MkII or an OM-1 if you have a big budget.  M4/3, of course, is mirrorless.

If you go up to APS-C there are a lot more choices.  The Sugma 100-400mm is the cheapest lens that gets you to 600mm equivalent, but, if you are on a budget, look for a used Canon 100-400mm MkI.  To get to 800mm equivalent, you need to get a Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm lens which will be big ang heavy.  There are lots of choices of DSLR bodies, a new Nikon D500 is the best but a used Canon 7D MkII, a Canon 90D or Nikon D7500 would all be good alternatives, plus older, used bodies.

If you want to go mirrorless, then look at recent Sony 6xxx bodies like the 6400 or 6600, or the new Canon R7.  Nikon doesn't yet have a mirrorless camera equal to the D500 DSLR.  Fujifilm is another alternative, but I think that lenses may be more expensive.  Ask on the FujiFilm forum.

For FF, lenses get big and expensive.  To get to 600mm, you need one of the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm lenses.  800mm lenses are very big and very expensive with the exception of the Canon R 800mm f/11.

My suggestion would be to price out some of the alternatives, decide on a budget and come back here for more detailed advice.

-- hide signature --

Chris R

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Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 9,505
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
3

Have you ever considered renting a dslr or mirrorless (or both) with a long tele zoom to get a feel for how they would work for you.  I don't know how expensive this is, but might be less expensive than spending a bunch of money and ending up unsatisfied.

lehill
lehill Veteran Member • Posts: 7,476
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
3

Fishrman wrote:

I have been putting up with my Panasonic FZ2500 for a few years now. It was suggested to me, many times, I should try something else. Focus with it is often to slow and sometimes it just won't lock focus when I am in tight situations with limbs or a background that is similar to the subject. I have seriously thought about going to the Sony RX10IV but am not sure if it really would be that big of an improvement?? I can sometimes get photos that are respectable but I usually have to spend some time in post processing to get them that way. I have thought about just getting a camera that is designated as my birding or wildlife camera and keep my FZ2500 for travel or family photos etc. If I did this, is there a camera and lens you might suggest that I could get that wouldn't break the bank? Fast focus is important to me and of course not only fast but accurate. Thanks for any ideas and help.

The instant you mentioned "BIF", the cost went up. Even if you blew up your bank into little tiny pieces, the keeper rate for the faster birds is anywhere between 1-25% depending on skill level. (an old FM post but still largely relevant)

If you can adjust your keeper rate expectations, there are a lot of nice RX10IV BIF samples in the Sony Cybershot forum. This Nikon old-timer has a good, frank, summary of his experience with his RX10IV.

-- hide signature --

Lance H

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OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
2

Bob A L wrote:

I find DSLR's to be the fastest for moving subjects and there is no viewfinder lag with the optical viewfinder, but many seem to prefer mirrorless. In both cases they are all interchangeable lens cameras and many models are a step or so up from the bridge cameras in focusing. But many get along well with the Panasonic FZ1000 and Sony RX10. I'm sure you will get quite the varied list of suggestions.

General wildlife will mainly require as long a focal length zoom as you can handle from size and budget standpoint. Birds in flight will require long focal length, great focusing ability and a whole bunch of skill. It is not easy. The wildlife part can be handled by more lesser priced equipment compared to the birds in flight part. Higher end gear will help you here.

Thanks, I understand about the BIF. I have been practicing for 4 years or so with my FZ2500. I get a few hits but often not usable hits:

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OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

number_5 wrote:

If you can afford the RX10IV, go for it. It has a stacked sensor - fast AF, can shoot 24 frames a second. JPEG only, 200 frames before it slow down, and RAW + JPEG, about 100 frames. It's 24-600mm (FF equiv.), so it has the reach. Con, small sensor compares to ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera, DSLR and Mirrorless).

Do you think there would be enough difference between my Panasonic FZ2500 and it? I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

 Fishrman's gear list:Fishrman's gear list
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OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

Fujix100vuseruk wrote:

The only negative comment I can give about going with the Sony rx10 is the slow motor zoom and power up to grab a shot at a fleeting moment which happens a lot in wildlife photography.

If going for an interchangeable lens option you need to decide what focal length you want

70-300, 100-400, 150-500, 150-600 and decide which size sensor and your budget .

And therein lies my problem. I think I want a minimum of 500 for a lens and think everything is going mirrorless. I understand what you are saying about powering up for the shot. Think my Panasonic FZ2500 has that same issue. If I were to go mirrorless, I think there are some advantages to not going full frame with the ability to get more reach from the lens but would lose some in lower light.

 Fishrman's gear list:Fishrman's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic FZ2500 +1 more
OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

Norm Neely wrote:

Fishrman wrote:

is there a camera and lens you might suggest that I could get that wouldn't break the bank? Fast focus is important to me and of course not only fast but accurate. Thanks for any ideas and help.

I have no idea what $ amount would break your bank???

How about keeping your camera until you can afford a camera that does what you want.

The Canon R7 $1,499.00

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1707911-REG/canon_eos_r7_mirrorless_camera.html

Review: https://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/eos-r/r7.htm

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Canon EF $899

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1082154-REG/sigma_150_600mm_f_5_6_3_dg_os.html

One of these two Canon EF to R adapters.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=canon%20ef%20to%20rf%20adapter&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ps

Sigma 150-600 contemporary vs sport. Comparison photos on a trip to Alaska.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jN_6ApM0Xg

Another review.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q9lLY5Zgvk

I probably shouldn't have said break the bank. Maybe I should have said an amount that wouldn't make my wife want to kill me? I know both are subjective. I was thinking of trying to get the best for the least. Whatever that is. Internet probably isn't the best place to discuss ones assets. All depends, to me, on what the camera is capable of, to an extent. Would it be better to spend 1500 or so on the Sony RX10iv or could I spend a little more, maybe additional 1000 or so and get a much better camera for my needs? Thank you for all the time you took with the various links. I will check them out.

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Em1xuseruk Senior Member • Posts: 2,536
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
1

Fishrman wrote:

Fujix100vuseruk wrote:

The only negative comment I can give about going with the Sony rx10 is the slow motor zoom and power up to grab a shot at a fleeting moment which happens a lot in wildlife photography.

If going for an interchangeable lens option you need to decide what focal length you want

70-300, 100-400, 150-500, 150-600 and decide which size sensor and your budget .

And therein lies my problem. I think I want a minimum of 500 for a lens and think everything is going mirrorless. I understand what you are saying about powering up for the shot. Think my Panasonic FZ2500 has that same issue. If I were to go mirrorless, I think there are some advantages to not going full frame with the ability to get more reach from the lens but would lose some in lower light.

But you don’t lose that much as you need to balance depth of field as well which is one reason so many choose apsc as their compromise.

If you want small then in its m4/3 em1 series and 100-300 , 100-400

you could even look at full frame canon with one of its budget primes like the 600mm or 800mm f11

I was using a Nikon d7200 with 150-600 sigma contemporary but the weight wasn’t worth it to me .

I’m tempted with the A6600 with either the 70-350 or sigma 100-400 . If I need more zoom I just give up on bird in flight and use a Nikon P1000

-- hide signature --

It’s all about the zoom….

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OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

Chris R-UK wrote:

Fishrman wrote:

I have been putting up with my Panasonic FZ2500 for a few years now. It was suggested to me, many times, I should try something else. Focus with it is often to slow and sometimes it just won't lock focus when I am in tight situations with limbs or a background that is similar to the subject. I have seriously thought about going to the Sony RX10IV but am not sure if it really would be that big of an improvement?? I can sometimes get photos that are respectable but I usually have to spend some time in post processing to get them that way. I have thought about just getting a camera that is designated as my birding or wildlife camera and keep my FZ2500 for travel or family photos etc. If I did this, is there a camera and lens you might suggest that I could get that wouldn't break the bank? Fast focus is important to me and of course not only fast but accurate. Thanks for any ideas and help.

Your current camera has a large 1" sensor for fixed lens camera, a 24-480mm equivalent focal length lens (quite a good range for general wildlife but a little short for birds) and relatively poor continuous AF for birds in flight. I assume that you want better AF for BIF and a longer zoom range.

If you want to stay with a fixed lens camera, you only have one choice that you already know about, the Sony RX10iv. I have handled one of these and thought it a very good choice for general wildlife travel. I don't know about BIF - ask about that on the Sony Cybershot forum or the Nature and Wildlife forum.

The choice of interchangeable lens cameras is much greater, but it is probably best to start with lenses. You really need a lens that goes to 600mm equivalent, although a lot of people shoot birds with 800mm equivalent.

With an M4/3 sensor with a 2x crop factor, a 300mm lens gets you to 600mm equivalent and 400mm gets you to 800mm equivalent. An Olympus 75-300mm or Panasonic 100-300mm will be both light and quite cheap. A 100-400mm lens will be somewhat heavier and more expensive. For an M4/3 body, Olympus AF is much better than Panasonic's so go for a used EM-1 MkII or an OM-1 if you have a big budget. M4/3, of course, is mirrorless.

If you go up to APS-C there are a lot more choices. The Sugma 100-400mm is the cheapest lens that gets you to 600mm equivalent, but, if you are on a budget, look for a used Canon 100-400mm MkI. To get to 800mm equivalent, you need to get a Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm lens which will be big ang heavy. There are lots of choices of DSLR bodies, a new Nikon D500 is the best but a used Canon 7D MkII, a Canon 90D or Nikon D7500 would all be good alternatives, plus older, used bodies.

If you want to go mirrorless, then look at recent Sony 6xxx bodies like the 6400 or 6600, or the new Canon R7. Nikon doesn't yet have a mirrorless camera equal to the D500 DSLR. Fujifilm is another alternative, but I think that lenses may be more expensive. Ask on the FujiFilm forum.

For FF, lenses get big and expensive. To get to 600mm, you need one of the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm lenses. 800mm lenses are very big and very expensive with the exception of the Canon R 800mm f/11.

My suggestion would be to price out some of the alternatives, decide on a budget and come back here for more detailed advice.

All good advice and I thank you for the time it took to give it! I am thinking mirrorless if I decide to go with something other than the RX10IV. There are rumors that Sony may be coming out with a RX10V but only rumors.

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OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

Fujix100vuseruk wrote:

Fishrman wrote:

Fujix100vuseruk wrote:

The only negative comment I can give about going with the Sony rx10 is the slow motor zoom and power up to grab a shot at a fleeting moment which happens a lot in wildlife photography.

If going for an interchangeable lens option you need to decide what focal length you want

70-300, 100-400, 150-500, 150-600 and decide which size sensor and your budget .

And therein lies my problem. I think I want a minimum of 500 for a lens and think everything is going mirrorless. I understand what you are saying about powering up for the shot. Think my Panasonic FZ2500 has that same issue. If I were to go mirrorless, I think there are some advantages to not going full frame with the ability to get more reach from the lens but would lose some in lower light.

But you don’t lose that much as you need to balance depth of field as well which is one reason so many choose apsc as their compromise.

If you want small then in its m4/3 em1 series and 100-300 , 100-400

you could even look at full frame canon with one of its budget primes like the 600mm or 800mm f11

I was using a Nikon d7200 with 150-600 sigma contemporary but the weight wasn’t worth it to me .

I’m tempted with the A6600 with either the 70-350 or sigma 100-400 . If I need more zoom I just give up on bird in flight and use a Nikon P1000

I have considered the Nikon P1000 but, am guessing the Sony or Panasonic would out perform it in lower light conditions.

 Fishrman's gear list:Fishrman's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic FZ2500 +1 more
OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

Bob A L wrote:

Have you ever considered renting a dslr or mirrorless (or both) with a long tele zoom to get a feel for how they would work for you. I don't know how expensive this is, but might be less expensive than spending a bunch of money and ending up unsatisfied.

Well, I live in rural Iowa and no big camera outlets close. It is a good idea though.

 Fishrman's gear list:Fishrman's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic FZ2500 +1 more
OP Fishrman Senior Member • Posts: 1,862
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

lehill wrote:

Fishrman wrote:

I have been putting up with my Panasonic FZ2500 for a few years now. It was suggested to me, many times, I should try something else. Focus with it is often to slow and sometimes it just won't lock focus when I am in tight situations with limbs or a background that is similar to the subject. I have seriously thought about going to the Sony RX10IV but am not sure if it really would be that big of an improvement?? I can sometimes get photos that are respectable but I usually have to spend some time in post processing to get them that way. I have thought about just getting a camera that is designated as my birding or wildlife camera and keep my FZ2500 for travel or family photos etc. If I did this, is there a camera and lens you might suggest that I could get that wouldn't break the bank? Fast focus is important to me and of course not only fast but accurate. Thanks for any ideas and help.

The instant you mentioned "BIF", the cost went up. Even if you blew up your bank into little tiny pieces, the keeper rate for the faster birds is anywhere between 1-25% depending on skill level. (an old FM post but still largely relevant)

If you can adjust your keeper rate expectations, there are a lot of nice RX10IV BIF samples in the Sony Cybershot forum. This Nikon old-timer has a good, frank, summary of his experience with his RX10IV.

Much appreciated! I do get, what I consider, a keeper now and again with my Panasonic. Usually requires some post editing though:

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Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 9,505
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
1

I believe that there is little doubt that for the best shot at BIF is a higher line ILC camera, and for me personally it would absolutely be a DSLR, but that is usually a call for an argument around here. Anyway, next is going to be a lens and probably around 600mm EFL or better.  So the lens alone even used looks to be $1,500 or more, plus the body. If the best success ratio of BIF is worth that to you personally, that's where you should head I believe.

But if you can live with, or maybe even enjoy the challenge of shooting BIF with a bridge camera or lesser priced ILC combo you will still come away with some fascinating great photos. It's just going to be harder and more of a challenge. The extra money does not guarantee you better photos, only possibly a higher percentage of great photos.

Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 9,505
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.

Not around me in rural Missouri either, but you can rent over the internet. I never tried it though.

number_5
number_5 Contributing Member • Posts: 918
Re: What to get for BIF and general wildlife, camera and lens.
1

Fishrman wrote:

number_5 wrote:

If you can afford the RX10IV, go for it. It has a stacked sensor - fast AF, can shoot 24 frames a second. JPEG only, 200 frames before it slow down, and RAW + JPEG, about 100 frames. It's 24-600mm (FF equiv.), so it has the reach. Con, small sensor compares to ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera, DSLR and Mirrorless).

Do you think there would be enough difference between my Panasonic FZ2500 and it? I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

I think so. I have the RX100 VII which has the same stacked sensor and AF algorithm. It's not really a wildlife/BIF camera (24-200mm FF), but I wanted to see what it can do.

The RX100 VII images in the link were downloaded from my Facebook page (will take time to find the source files), so the EXIF were stripped, and the images went through FB's compression.

https://www.dpreview.com/galleries/2221540695/albums/rx100m7-images

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