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Need camera recommendations


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5 hours ago, blackburnian said:

I have a 100-400mm Canon lens currently, btw. 

Is that version 1 or 2?

I never used the first version but I loved the second version while I had it. Being able to zoom to 400mm and focus on something only 3 feet away was/is a real attractive feature for me. Adding the 1.4 extender to the lens on the 7Dii made for a nice setup, a setup I hope to repeat soon, I now have another 7Dii and the 1.4 extender but haven't pulled the trigger on purchasing another lens yet. I believe Canon discontinued the 7Dii and replaced it with the 90D but as others have mentioned, it might be time to consider mirrorless, especially if you can use your existing lens with an adapter.

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I’ve seen some amazing stuff about the Canon EOS R6 mirrorless that are around $2500.  You could eventually upgrade the lens to the 100-500 f5.6 RF mount.  Right now that is my mid-range dream combo if I had around $5-6K to blow.  

EF to RF adapters are $100.  

Edited by chipperatl
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4 hours ago, Clip said:

I'm sure @Kevincan chip here also. I've been meaning to ask him how he is liking his p1000?

I really like it, it works great for me. I can get good enough photos to be happy(I'm sure someone who is more into photography could do much better), plus that zoom allows me to see birds at long distances, that I would really struggle with identifying with my bins. Also, on the P1000 switching from auto focus to manual is really easy literally just a quick movement of the thumb, and the control ring is now the focus. 

Over all, I think it is a great camera, for documentation, very far away birds that you would not be able to id without a scope, and it takes pretty good pics. Obviously if you are wanting really good photos, you just need to go with a DSLR. 

2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Depends on what you're after.  I shoot for documentation and identification, and don't print.  Superzoom P&S are great for that.  If I was shooting for artistic reasons and was editing and enlarging, I would probably feel differently.

This.

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9 hours ago, blackburnian said:

I have a 100-400mm Canon lens currently, btw. 

Maybe you need a longer lens.

If you're trying to document rarities, or get pictures you can identify when a bird is out of binocular range (or even scope range), a long lens, lots of megapixels, good autofocus, and good low-light behavior might be more important than if you want to take beautiful pictures of things that are not necessarily birds.  EDIT: That means I agree with @Charlie Spencer and @Kevin.

One advantage of a bridge camera is that you can deal with a lot of situations without having to change lenses.

A friend who teaches photography recommends that you try various cameras in real situations before deciding.  Easier said than done!

Edited by Jerry Friedman
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13 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

EDIT: That means I agree with @Charlie Spencer and @Kevin.

One advantage of a bridge camera is that you can deal with a lot of situations without having to change lenses.

And I agree with @The Bird Nuts and @meghann.  In fact, I haven't contributed anything to this thread.

Edited by Jerry Friedman
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19 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

 


One advantage of a bridge camera is that you can deal with a lot of situations without having to change lenses.

 

Canon he autofocus on all bridge cameras is not good enough for serious bird photography, IMO. For @blackburniani recommend either a DSLR or mirrorless with a long lens.

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9 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Canon he autofocus on all bridge cameras is not good enough for serious bird photography, IMO. For @blackburniani recommend either a DSLR or mirrorless with a long lens.

What's serious bird photography?  Being able to see the eye color of a gull in the middle of a lake?  Getting an identifiable shot of a Merlin racing into the distance?  Getting a calendar picture of a sparrow 10 feet away, or 20?  All of the above?

On my old Canon bridge camera (SX50 HS), I've been able to get some autofocused pictures that I enjoy, but I'll admit that the autofocus has frustrated some good opportunities too.  (What it's really great for is dragonflies, but I don't think @blackburnianis interested in them.)

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Just now, Jerry Friedman said:

What's serious bird photography?  Being able to see the eye color of a gull in the middle of a lake?  Getting an identifiable shot of a Merlin racing into the distance?  Getting a calendar picture of a sparrow 10 feet away, or 20?  All of the above?

On my old Canon bridge camera (SX50 HS), I've been able to get some autofocused pictures that I enjoy, but I'll admit that the autofocus has frustrated some good opportunities too.  (What it's really great for is dragonflies, but I don't think @blackburnianis interested in them.)

I mean something like missing a shot because the AF let’s you down. Either way, it’s nowhere near as good as a DSLR or let alone a mirrorless. 
 

 

I don’t want to try to completely bash bridge cameras though, because I’m not.

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12 minutes ago, blackburnian said:

So it seems that either the 7D or 6D Mark II or the 90D with a 1.4 extender is what I should be looking at? Or mirrorless of course. Between the 6D, 7D, and 90D, which would you pick? 

I personally wouldn’t get the 6d II. It’s full frame, and isn’t the best with a 400. I’d choose the 90d. I don’t recommend an extender on a zoom lens, the image quality and AF can suffer greatly. Those are mostly useful on big expensive primes. 

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@blackburnian, what are you unhappy with about your current gear, or to gain by replacing it.  I'd look for something that improves those areas.  For example, the last time I shopped, I was looking for easier manual focus and longer zoom.  Those are P&S features but the method should still apply.

Oh, if you aren't already aware, the recommended online retailers will also buy your used gear.  Same value for cash or trade-in.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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@Charlie Spencer makes a good point, @blackburnian, knowing what shortcomings your current setup has can help you decide where/what to upgrade. If it's image quality in low light situations that you're looking to improve, a full frame camera might be the right fix. If it's better in flight photos you're looking for, a new camera with more focal points might be the solution. If you're losing image quality because you're doing a lot of cropping, maybe a longer lens or an extender is needed. If you're frustrated that the birds are always too far away, maybe a super zoom as a second camera is in order. Knowing what you're hoping to improve upon is a good place to start when looking to upgrade. In case you weren't aware, there are reputable rental sites that allow you to rent camera gear so you can try before you buy. If you're not sure what's going to be the right fit for you, you can try a few options to help you decide before laying out big bucks and hoping that it's going to suit your needs. For a few hundred dollars you can rent a camera and lens for a week and if it's not right for you, you're only out a few hundred bucks. Here's a few rental sites if you're interested in try before you buy.

https://www.lensrentals.com

https://www.adoramarentals.com

https://www.borrowlenses.com

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1 hour ago, Kevin said:

I have never really handled a DSLR, but if the AF is as fast as everyone one seems to think(compared to P&S cameras) you will not be very happy with the AF speed. 

As someone who has handled both. . ..there is a night and day difference with the AF. A quality DSLR has AF that is not only way faster, but smooth and quiet, too. It is one of the most frustrating aspects of the superzoom. While I appreciate its reach, the AF is slow, and I have the WORST time getting shots of birds in flight. I can't get the shot 90% of the time.

Someday I hope to get a good telephoto for my DSLR (and a way to carry it all without getting migraines), so I can go back to using that one for birding.

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16 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

If you need extra reach that lens seems to do great with a 1.4 extender. (judging by what I've seen on the internet; I don't have a Canon lens)

I have the 1.4 extender on my 100-400 V2 lens.  It works great but you lose 2 stops of light.  If you are on the beach during the day, it is great but move to the woods early in the morning and you don't have the light to take a quality shot.  However, as echoed above, it all depends on what you want your equipment to do and what you hope to get from this hobby.  If I am "birding", many times I don't take my camera at all or if I do, I only try to get ID shots.  I refuse to hike more than 4 miles with 5 pounds of camera around my neck or even in a camera harness.  I want to enjoy the process and not be burdened by the weight.  If I want the picture to hang on the wall (or gift to a friend), I will take all my gear including a tripod/monopod to get the perfect shot. (although it rarely happens). 

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1 hour ago, lonestranger said:

@Charlie Spencer makes a good point, @blackburnian, knowing what shortcomings your current setup has can help you decide where/what to upgrade. If it's image quality in low light situations that you're looking to improve, a full frame camera might be the right fix. If it's better in flight photos you're looking for, a new camera with more focal points might be the solution. If you're losing image quality because you're doing a lot of cropping, maybe a longer lens or an extender is needed. If you're frustrated that the birds are always too far away, maybe a super zoom as a second camera is in order. Knowing what you're hoping to improve upon is a good place to start when looking to upgrade. In case you weren't aware, there are reputable rental sites that allow you to rent camera gear so you can try before you buy. If you're not sure what's going to be the right fit for you, you can try a few options to help you decide before laying out big bucks and hoping that it's going to suit your needs. For a few hundred dollars you can rent a camera and lens for a week and if it's not right for you, you're only out a few hundred bucks. Here's a few rental sites if you're interested in try before you buy.

https://www.lensrentals.com

https://www.adoramarentals.com

https://www.borrowlenses.com

I should have added that the Nikon P1000 can be rented for under $70 a week, which would be my recommendation if you were considering a superzoom at one point. While the P&S cameras have some short comings, the zoom capabilities on my P900 exceeds anything I could achieve with a DSLR setup. Sometimes, quite often actually, that zoom will allow me to get past obstructing branches and focus on birds I would otherwise never be able to capture. If you've never tried a superzoom, renting one might convince you to invest in one permanently, or rule it out if it's not the right fit for you. Unfortunately when you buy camera gear, there's always trade offs to be made. Sensor size which affects magnification of the lens and image quality is just one of those trade offs that has to be decided on. Full frame sensors provide the best quality but your focal length is not magnified, P&S sensors are much smaller and can't capture as much detail but they provide the most magnification or longest focal length in 35mm equivalents, crop body sensors are in the middle. I still can't decide between the reach of a superzoom, the quality of a full frame DSLR, or the compromise of a crop body camera... so I bought, and use, all three. :classic_laugh:

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I bought my 7d Mii second hand of of Kijiji. It’s rated for 100,000 photos and the one I got had about 30,000 taken on it.  It was my first move from a point and shoot (Nikon P600, like the P1000 but less zoom) to a DSLR and I’ve been happy with it so far.

When I was researching it, there were many many reviews that it was one of the best for bird photography, specifically for in flight photography due to its high frame rate (which I’ve barely taken advantage of). There’s also lots of videos and tutorials on the best settings to use specifically for photographing birds. 
I use the 100-400 Mii lens with it and all though the zoom is almost never enough, you can crop the photo further in and retain more detail than you ever could with a point and shoot. 
 

Though, really when it comes to DSLRs, the lenses are the real investment, not the camera. 

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