RE: [Birding-Aus] Advice on first camera

To: Peter Shute <>, Sonja Ross <>
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Advice on first camera
From: John Brown <>
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2015 01:16:10 +0000
I have my 3rd in the Canon SX50 series (i.e. I've had two earlier models) and 
will continuing to upgrade it with new models from time to time. It's excellent 
for taking photos of birds for identification purposes because with a mono pod 
it pretty much doubles as a spotting scope! In addition, when not on superzoom 
it takes pretty good photos if you get close enough and/or are taking scenery 


-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Shute 
Sent: Monday, 21 September 2015 7:31 AM
To: Sonja Ross
Cc: Steve Read; COG List; Birding-aus
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Advice on first camera

I've found that looking at other people's photos is often a source of 
frustration because people rarely say how far away they were from the bird, so 
you don't know how much they've cropped out, and therefore don't get an idea of 
the capabilities of that lens and camera combination. You can't tell how much 
the equipment has contributed to the sharpness of a very sharp photo compared 
to the photographer's ability or luck in getting very close to the bird.

With DSLRs, I feel it's frustrating to have anything less than a 400mm lens, 
and I've noticed that more and more people are using 500mm and even 600mm 
lenses. All of those lens sizes will cost several times the price of an ultra 
zoom compact camera, many of which will give you focal lengths equivalent to 
well over 1000mm.

I feel you should at least investigate the ultra zooms like the Canon SX 
series. The SX50 has a huge following if you can still get one. The SX60 seems 
to have a smaller following - it has a longer zoom, but many seem to think it 
doesn't give any better photos. I've tried neither. Apparently the SX70 will be 
announced this month.

The compacts have many disadvantages - frustrating in low light, hard to follow 
birds in flight, hard to manual focus, controls harder to manipulate quickly - 
but win easily on price and lightness. Unless you or he know exactly what type 
of photography he'll be doing - and if you did then you might not have asked 
the question - they might be a cheaper way to find out than upgrading through a 
series of bigger and bigger DSLR lenses till you do.

Peter Shute

Sent from my iPad

> On 20 Sep 2015, at 8:47 PM, Sonja Ross <> wrote:
> Hi Steve,
> That’s a difficult question to answer.   One idea is to look at the BirdLife 
> Photography Gallery 
> <>.  If you click on the image, 
> many of them will have details of the cameras and lenses that people use for 
> bird photography, and then you can check what’s available and what it costs.  
> Generally with photography, you get what you pay for!
> If you, or your son, have a Facebook account, you could try looking for a 
> group on bird photography and see what they say.   It did come up recently on 
> one I look at, but I don’t think it was resolved.   You do need to consider 
> his height and physic too, as if he’s slight and short, a really long lens at 
> this stage might not be practical!
> I hope whatever decision you come to, your son continues to enjoy his 
> birding, and break into bird photography.
> Sonja
>> Hi all
>> My 14-year-old son, a pretty good bird-watcher, would like to get
>> into bird photography.  This would be his first camera, and I'd like
>> some suggestions on good camera-lens combinations for him.  I'm happy
>> to go the DSLR route but don't want to break the bank.
>> Happy to receive suggestions or commentary off-line if preferable
>> (and then will provide a summary of any consensus).
>> Thanks
>> Steve
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