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Author Topic: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment  (Read 3405 times)

GuyF

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Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« on: December 28, 2012, 02:20:10 PM »
A colleague tells me his son (late-teens rather than small child) is interested in getting a camera for shooting wildlife. Since he doesn't have much cash (budget to be decided) he'll be looking at the cheap end of things. As it's been a long time since I've looked at the entry-level stuff I need your help to show the lad what's on offer. A quick look around the web suggests it may be:

1. EOS 1100D (there's a £30 cashback deal on until 24th Jan.). Can get this for £278 (body) or £339 (with 18-55 IS).
2. EF 70-300 f4-5.6 IS. Can get this for £279 (US import) from same place I got my 300mm 2.8 IS so I know the guy is trustworthy.

The only drawbacks I can see are the 1100D doesn't have sensor cleaning and is only 3fps. Of course you can't expect 1DX performance for that money but I do have standards  ;).

Any advice would be welcomed. All options are possible though maybe not second-hand (who knows how high the body was dropped from?  :o)

Let the arguments begin!
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 02:23:04 PM by GuyF »

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Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« on: December 28, 2012, 02:20:10 PM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 02:37:15 PM »
If he doesn't have a need at all, you can save money by skipping the kit lens, but if he doesn't have any other lenses I'd recommend he get it with the kit lens, that way he can try out other types of photography.

Maybe look around for a used 60D/7D, but with that budget I wouldn't guess that he'd be able to find something within that budget, especially also getting the telephoto lens.

Oh, and don't forget putting in a decent tripod. Doesn't have to be one of the expensive carbon fiber, but whatever 5 or 6 pound aluminum with a cheapish ballhead would be worthwhile. Don't get one of those $20 cheapo tripod specials, they're complete crap and I'd almost rather shoot hand-held than shoot with those. Alternatively, if he's going to be somewhere with a post, or table or something, he can just get a beanbag and start with that.
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tomscott

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 02:55:49 PM »
Why not get a 40/50D instead? 40D is around the £300 price tag with 6.3fps and sensor cleaning it wipes the floor with features compared to a 1100D. The 50D has worse ISO performance but a higher res screen and micro adjust but also quite a bit more expensive still around £450-500.

70-300 would be a good starting point. What kind of wildlife? Birding or places with low light like Forrest locations?
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boateggs

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 03:32:00 PM »
Get a SX40 or SX50: 12mp, 10+ fps, wicked huge zoom, IQ will be on par with kit lens and a lot less money for a beginner.  My buddy keeps upgrading his SX and he really only uses it for wildlife (he is an animal keeper at a wildlife preserve).  He gets some awesome shots and even though he is jealous of my DSLR in many respects, he keeps pointing out that he spends $350 a year on photography and has such a stupid large zoom that I could not afford to get the equivalent focal length for anything less than 10x what he pays.  Dont bash me too much for recommending a non-DSLR camera
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 03:48:26 PM »
No bashing. I was also going to suggest the OP consider a PowerShot SX50 HS.
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rpt

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 04:01:12 PM »
A colleague tells me his son (late-teens rather than small child) is interested in getting a camera for shooting wildlife. Since he doesn't have much cash (budget to be decided) he'll be looking at the cheap end of things. As it's been a long time since I've looked at the entry-level stuff I need your help to show the lad what's on offer. A quick look around the web suggests it may be:

1. EOS 1100D (there's a £30 cashback deal on until 24th Jan.). Can get this for £278 (body) or £339 (with 18-55 IS).
2. EF 70-300 f4-5.6 IS. Can get this for £279 (US import) from same place I got my 300mm 2.8 IS so I know the guy is trustworthy.

The only drawbacks I can see are the 1100D doesn't have sensor cleaning and is only 3fps. Of course you can't expect 1DX performance for that money but I do have standards  ;).

Any advice would be welcomed. All options are possible though maybe not second-hand (who knows how high the body was dropped from?  :o)

Let the arguments begin!
So when you say wildlife, could you speculate on the creatures that are supposed to be wild and their velocities WRT the photographer?

dswtan

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 04:57:24 PM »
rpt is right to ask for more specifics, but in the general case, on a tight budget, +1 to boateggs for an SX here. Seriously, it has all sorts of advantages, for little outlay. Good to get started; good to keep around for many purposes, until funds/insanity prevail.

I have spent ridiculous sums on my wildlife set-up over the years. Yet my favorite dragonfly shot, for example, was taken on a 2005-era Canon S2 IS -- that time's equivalent to the SX50 today. 432mm lens equivalent at max zoom, hand-held, from an inflatable boat.

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« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 04:59:44 PM by dswtan »
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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 04:57:24 PM »

fugu82

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 05:42:03 PM »
Lovely shot, dswtan.

GuyF

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 05:16:51 AM »
All,

Thank you so much for the quick replies and good advice.

I don't know any of the specifics at the moment other than the lad wants to try wildlife photography - his father said "birds and butterflies". It'll just be local Scottish wildlife (fields, reservoir, shoreline) rather than cheetahs running flat-out on the African plains. He also stays quite near a butterfly farm.

The SX50 just hadn't occurred to me. This is why this forum is invaluable! I've just had a quick look at the specs and it might be ideal.

Thanks again!

vlim

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 07:18:36 AM »
Take a look at the Lumix FZ200 and its 2.8 aperture... Mate Bence used it for its promotion with great wildlife pictures taken :

http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/gallery/fz200/Bence_Mate/

enjoy  8)

JaxPhotographer

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 09:31:04 AM »
Get a SX40 or SX50: 12mp, 10+ fps, wicked huge zoom, IQ will be on par with kit lens and a lot less money for a beginner.  My buddy keeps upgrading his SX and he really only uses it for wildlife (he is an animal keeper at a wildlife preserve).  He gets some awesome shots and even though he is jealous of my DSLR in many respects, he keeps pointing out that he spends $350 a year on photography and has such a stupid large zoom that I could not afford to get the equivalent focal length for anything less than 10x what he pays.  Dont bash me too much for recommending a non-DSLR camera
No bashing. I was also going to suggest the OP consider a PowerShot SX50 HS.

+1 on the SX50 HS. Got my wife one about 2 months ago for her week in Manhattan and it is a great beginner camera with some solid features and control as she advances out of the beginner mode and it has a crazy 24-1200mm range for wildlife and it can shoot in RAW format.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 09:56:29 AM »
...the SX50 HS...can shoot in RAW format.

Didn't know that, thanks!
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K-amps

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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 08:41:25 AM »
...the SX50 HS...can shoot in RAW format.

Didn't know that, thanks!

Great site... Indeed. I just pulled the plug on an SX50 just now.  ;D
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Re: Newcomer looking for budget wildlife equipment
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 08:41:25 AM »