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Camera gear etc

Discussion in 'Animal Photography' started by Terry Thomas, 11 Jun 2019.

  1. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    It would be nice to be able to have a really good camera, and lenses to go with it, but many folks are not able to spend the quite large amounts of money that is needed.
    Although photos may not be quite up to the standard obtained with expensive gear, you can still get some decent results with gear that cost a lot less.
    I personally use a Nikon D5200, which did not cost a huge amount. Most of the time I use a Nikon 200 mm lens, and am happy with the results. Every now and then I get a decent photo! I sometimes use a 300 mm lens and also a 2.2 times telephoto lens, but not often. I have been quite pleased with the results I get, and really could not justify, (to my wife!), spending the extra money needed to replace what I have.
    So to those that are not able to buy the really good gear --- you can get satisfaction from the results you get from using a camera and lenses that cost a lot less.
     
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  2. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

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    When you say a 200mm or 300mm, I take it you don't mean fixed focal length lenses ;)
    I've met plenty of people who are happy with bridge cameras too.
     
  3. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I am no expert with cameras etc!! My Nikon D5200 camera came with an 18-55mm lens, which I very rarely use. I later bought an 18-200mm. Then I bought a 70-300mm lens and a couple of other odds and ends.
    The first lens was OK for scenery and basic shots, but I was not able to get decent shots of flying birds with it. The 18-200mm was a decent all round lens that I could get reasonable results from. I found that the 70-300mm lens was also OK for flying birds, but I preferred the results I got from the 200mm. I now seldom take off this lens and have used it to photograph many birds, mammals and insects, usually in the wild but also in captivity. Coupled with a fairly cheap 2.2mm telephoto lens I can get some nice shots of flying birds, but sometimes have some difficulty in keeping focus. I do take the 200mm off, and normally use another lens for scenery etc., and I use other lens for close-ups.
    I am not sure what a bridge camera is. None of the lens that bought were very expensive. I very rarely use the 300mm and consider it to have been a waste of money,( along with several other bits and pieces I bought, which seemed to be a good idea at the time). Most of the bits and pieces remain tucked away and never used.
    My advise for anyone on a budget,wanting to start out and photograph wildlife, is to check out some of the better brand basic cameras, often offered with a bonus telephoto lens included, and try a 200mm with a 1.5--2.2mm attachment. Also get a reasonable editing suite, so that you can play around with you photos and thus add to the enjoyment of your efforts. If you are happy with the result you get then that is what it is all about. Many will not agree with me, but that's OK!
     
  4. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely.
    Bridge cameras and variations of lenses have been covered in other threads by more knowledgeable members than myself, but none of it matters if you are happy with your results.
     
  5. Neva

    Neva Well-Known Member

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    My two cameras (Nikon D5200 and Nikon D5300 which I use now) also didn't cost a lot of money (in compare to other, professional ones) and they were totally okay to use, learn and just enjoy. The results were also fine, even great. However I've started to think that now they become insufficient. I'm fighting with iso especially and it makes me mad almost all the time, at every important occasion like late afternoon near Pallas's cat enclosure or a conference. Often harder it comes, more you can learn, but for me it is too much now.

    According to the other equipment, my favourite lenses are Sigma 150-500 S and Tamron 90/2.8. I always use both during my zoo trips.
     
  6. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have looked into bridge cameras, and found them very interesting. Most seem to be a bit pricey though. Think I will stick to my Nikon. My point was really simply to say that you do not have to pay very high prices to get results that you are happy with. (Not that I do not appreciate better gear.) For some years I was into camcorders, and actually spent a lot of money buying good quality stuff, which cost around $5-8000 each. At that time I was running a video business and the outlay was worthwhile as the returns were quite high. My hobby became a business, and I got very involved, until finally deciding I had enough of running a business and turning away requests, until I was once again happy to have a hobby. Only in the last three years have I returned to still photography as an interest, although many years ago I was quite keen on 35mm stills.
     
  7. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    If you (meaning anyone reading this thread) are happy with your equipment, then by all means stick with it! As someone who has spent way too much on camera gear and has gone through too many camera and lens trade-ins and upgrades over the last several years, let me issue a warning. Once you go down that path (upgrading to the latest) it is a never ending cycle that will suck every last penny you have.

    Some of you may not know what Terry Thomas means by 1.5 and 2.2 attachments. The technically correct term is 1.4x or 2x extender or teleconverter. Many brands make these and Nikon also makes a 1.7x. These are small lens attachments that mount between a telephoto lens and the camera body and increase the focal length by 1.4x or 2x. So if you put a 2x on a 300mm lens then, presto, you have a 600mm lens. Sounds great, right? There are drawbacks. First you lose one stop with a 1.4x and two stops with a 2x (and I.5 stops with Nikon's 1.7x). So if you have non-zoom 300mm f4 lens, and add a 2x extender, you now have a 600mm f8 lens. You will not have an aperture larger than f8. If you have a 70-300 it is probably f5.6 which means with a 2x it is only f11 (which means your autofocus won't work). In fact consumer zoom lenses like a 70-300 are not meant to take teleconverters at all. If you use an third party converter from say Tamron or Sigma, you can make it work even though it's not designed for that kind of lens. If you use a brand name converter from Canon or Nikon I don't think it will work at all - I don't think it even fits. Teleconverters are only designed to work with professional telephoto lenses, not consumer grade. There is also a significant loss of quality with converters on lenses they are not designed for. So my advice is don't get a teleconverter for a consumer grade lens.
     
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  8. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Lots of good info. Thank you for explaining. Digital cameras are still a bit of a mystery to me!