I want to take pictures of birds

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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Turntable @ Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:02 pm

Desert, that typifies my attempt to photograph and birds with a 300mm lens.
Deev, unless you are going to spend your life in a hide waiting for the perfect opportunity it is near impossible to get decent pictures of small birds.
The reality is that a 300mm lens only has about a 5x zoom so not only will a bird be a tiny part of the picture but focusing on it is near impossible. Trying to photograph them makes you realise how difficult it is to get near them and make them stay still.
The answer is a digital camera. I bought one for my Guyana trip and used it alongside my DSLR and for smaller distant objects like birds it was hugely superior to the DSLR because it has such a superior zoom so you can get right in from a distance and to the amateur not lose too much in quality.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by deev @ Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:53 pm

Turntable wrote:The answer is a digital camera

eh?
Last edited by deev on Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by deev @ Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:57 pm

Thanks for all the advice so far everyone
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by foo @ Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:58 pm

Turntable wrote:The reality is that a 300mm lens only has about a 5x zoom so not only will a bird be a tiny part of the picture but focusing on it is near impossible. Trying to photograph them makes you realise how difficult it is to get near them and make them stay still.
The answer is a digital camera. I bought one for my Guyana trip and used it alongside my DSLR and for smaller distant objects like birds it was hugely superior to the DSLR because it has such a superior zoom so you can get right in from a distance and to the amateur not lose too much in quality.


"Optical zoom" is a marketing number based on the difference between the minimum and maximum focal lengths. A lens with a fixed focal length of, say, 600mm, has an optical zoom of 1x, but would make a rather good lens for bird photography.

The superior sensor on the DSLR (compared to the 'digital camera' with '50x zoom' or whatever) together with the implied 1.6x zoom of the DX sensor in deev's DSLR will mean the max 300mm of the Nikkor 70-300 gives an effective focal length of ~480mm, and is a great choice for someone starting out.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Turntable @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:55 am

I disagree foo from my own experience.
I have spent years trying to get decent pictures of birds with a DSLR and a 300mm lens and completely failed.
A new compact digital and immediately I was getting pictures I had never dreamed of with the 'good' camera. You simply cannot get close enough with a good camera.
I have no doubt you are correct that if you are a good photographer with a good lens and manage to hide close enough to get 'that' shot then the resulting picture would be noticably better.
But for me I can now get pictures like the following that I never stood a chance of with the DSLR:

Image

The best example of this, though is the following picture. It is of a very rare bird called an Andean Cock of the Rock. We managed to see this one from about 50m in a very dark patch of rainforest. Everyone tried to get pictures of it and nobody with a DSLR got anything at all. Not even a red blur. It is a tiny bird in low light among foliage a distance away. I realise the photo below is a crap, but at 50m in a dark forest well into digital zoom at about 60x there was no way whatsoever you could get anything near this with a DSLR
Image
Last edited by Turntable on Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by minimoog @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:07 am

I think the issue here is TT and Foo are focussing on (ha!) two different things. TT is talking about taking pictures of birds; Foo is talking about taking good pictures of birds.

I completely get that TT’s compact with 60x digital zoom is going to get perfectly good pics where the DSLR won’t, and as a way of capturing of something seen it’s exactly what was required on that situation. But they aren’t good photos in and of themselves, at least not in terms of absolute image quality.

Deev needs to be sure of what he’s after and choose accordingly.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Turntable @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:13 am

Agree MM, that's true.
I made an assumption that Deev isn't actually into photography as such and just wanted some nice pictures of birds.
If I am wrong and he wants to get into it properly then no doubt foo is right.

I always dream of getting a photo like the kingfisher you posted.
But I remember reading the story behind that shot and it is the result of a lifetime of work completely dedicated to that one picture. Thousands of hours sitting there with top equipment just waiting for it.
I now accept I will never get a properly decent picture and accepting second rate pictures from a compact has been a revelation to me
Last edited by Turntable on Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by desertweasel @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:35 am

So TT what camera are you using to get those shots?
That kind of range would be perfect for me and might solve my current issue where I am finding myself leaving the DSLR at home because of luggage restrictions but never quite happy with the iphone alternative.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by thekungfury @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:42 am

Turntable wrote:I always dream of getting a photo like the kingfisher you posted.
But I remember reading the story behind that shot and it is the result of a lifetime of work completely dedicated to that one picture. Thousands of hours sitting there with top equipment just waiting for it.
I now accept I will never get a properly decent picture and accepting second rate pictures from a compact has been a revelation to me

I like those sections they have at the end of nature programs now which shows the effort they go into for a 1-2 second piece of screen time.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by ttwiggy @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:52 am

If you can't get close to the birds because they spook, or your lens isn't long enough, you need to get them to come to you.

Set up a 'false' branch (large stick stuck in the ground) in front of a neutral backdrop. Place bird feeders very close by but out of shot. Set up a 'hide' (a blanket with a slit in it will do) in a position close enough to your set-up to allow you to get good shots. Leave this set-up in place for a few days to let the birds get used to it and once they are happily feeding you can get into your 'hide'. What you are waiting for is a bird to come to a feeder and then perch on your false branch while it eats/waits to go back to the feeder.

Wear soft, dark clothes. Wear gloves so that your hands don't show up when you're operating the camera and don't wear any strong 'smells'.

A bit of patience and this set-up will let you take good shots that look natural.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Greg66 @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:30 am

ttwiggy wrote:If you can't get close to the birds because they spook, or your lens isn't long enough, you need to get them to come to you.

Set up a 'false' branch (large stick stuck in the ground) in front of a neutral backdrop. Place bird feeders very close by but out of shot. Set up a 'hide' (a blanket with a slit in it will do) in a position close enough to your set-up to allow you to get good shots. Leave this set-up in place for a few days to let the birds get used to it and once they are happily feeding you can get into your 'hide'. What you are waiting for is a bird to come to a feeder and then perch on your false branch while it eats/waits to go back to the feeder.

Wear soft, dark clothes. Wear gloves so that your hands don't show up when you're operating the camera and don't wear any strong 'smells'.

A bit of patience and this set-up will let you take good shots that look natural.


This is all no doubt excellent advice if you want to photograph birds like a total weirdo. You will join the serried ranks of other weirdos lurking around airport perimeter fences shouting out the call signs of incoming passenger planes, or standing at the end of railway platforms in the rain noting down numbers in a little book.

I don't get the impression from deev's post that that is where he sees himself heading. Nor to the other extreme of sitting in front of the telly with a small digital camera with a 50x digital zooms snapping what he can while the ads are on.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by ttwiggy @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:35 am

Greg66 wrote:
ttwiggy wrote:If you can't get close to the birds because they spook, or your lens isn't long enough, you need to get them to come to you.

Set up a 'false' branch (large stick stuck in the ground) in front of a neutral backdrop. Place bird feeders very close by but out of shot. Set up a 'hide' (a blanket with a slit in it will do) in a position close enough to your set-up to allow you to get good shots. Leave this set-up in place for a few days to let the birds get used to it and once they are happily feeding you can get into your 'hide'. What you are waiting for is a bird to come to a feeder and then perch on your false branch while it eats/waits to go back to the feeder.

Wear soft, dark clothes. Wear gloves so that your hands don't show up when you're operating the camera and don't wear any strong 'smells'.

A bit of patience and this set-up will let you take good shots that look natural.


This is all no doubt excellent advice if you want to photograph birds like a total weirdo. You will join the serried ranks of other weirdos lurking around airport perimeter fences shouting out the call signs of incoming passenger planes, or standing at the end of railway platforms in the rain noting down numbers in a little book.

I don't get the impression from deev's post that that is where he sees himself heading. Nor to the other extreme of sitting in front of the telly with a small digital camera with a 50x digital zooms snapping what he can while the ads are on.


I wasn't suggesting it would get you any cool points, but if he wants good bird pictures and isn't in a position to buy a 600mm prime and a top-spec 1.4x convertor, then it's a method that works.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Turntable @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:38 am

desertweasel wrote:So TT what camera are you using to get those shots?
That kind of range would be perfect for me and might solve my current issue where I am finding myself leaving the DSLR at home because of luggage restrictions but never quite happy with the iphone alternative.


I bought one of these
https://www.jessops.com/p/panasonic/lumix-dmc-tz70-camera-in-silver-95240

BUT- one thing to bare in mind. They are completely useless to try and capture flying birds. By the time you have zoomed in as far as you can, you look through the screen and cant actually find the thing you are looking for and although the slight delay from pressing the button to taking the picture is far superior than it used to be, the speed birds fly at is still a bit too much for it.
Mind you, not much different for DSLR. I tried and tried to get the kites flying outside our house on sports mode on the dslr and never got a faintly decent picture.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Greg66 @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:40 am

Or, get a new haircut and buy a St Francis of Assisi costume on ebay.

Image
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Greg66 @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:44 am

Turntable wrote: They are completely useless to try and capture flying birds. By the time you have zoomed in as far as you can, you look through the screen and cant actually find the thing you are looking for and although the slight delay from pressing the button to taking the picture is far superior than it used to be, the speed birds fly at is still a bit too much for it.
Mind you, not much different for DSLR. I tried and tried to get the kites flying outside our house on sports mode on the dslr and never got a faintly decent picture.


To get a picture of a bird in flight you need a DSLR with a super fast super accurate focussing system that can hold focus while tracking a moving object and whilst shooting - eg a Canon 1D model of the sort professional sports photographers (and bird shooters, I guess) use.

Also useful for fast moving toddlers.

Even then it takes quite a bit of practice to pan so as to match a moving object's speed and direction, and to hold it in the middle of the focussing area. Which isn't that surprising: if making a living out of taking photos was easy, plenty more people would do it.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Käsemeister @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:20 pm

I’ve long since ditched both my SLR and compact and just accepted that my phone takes superb photos. Given it’s always with me whereas I’d have to consciously go and fetch another camera it’ll more than suffice.

#anecdotal
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Turntable @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:55 pm

Käsemeister wrote:I’ve long since ditched both my SLR and compact and just accepted that my phone takes superb photos. Given it’s always with me whereas I’d have to consciously go and fetch another camera it’ll more than suffice.

#anecdotal


I agree except in this instance. The zoom capability on an iPhone is nowhere near sufficient for nature photography
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:14 pm

Is the 'zoom' on a little compact the equivalent of just zooming in on a photo or more sophisticated. I'm worried you're thinking your compact zoom is something more than it is TT
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Turntable @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:16 pm

Tokyo Sexwale wrote:Is the 'zoom' on a little compact the equivalent of just zooming in on a photo or more sophisticated. I'm worried you're thinking your compact zoom is something more than it is TT


No, it is a 30x optical zoom plus 50x digital.
So the digital part is exactly as you say but the optical zoom is real I think (or if not completely real also not just trickery). There is a gauge on there that lets you know when you are into digital zoom hence quality suffers.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:48 pm

Turntable wrote:
Tokyo Sexwale wrote:Is the 'zoom' on a little compact the equivalent of just zooming in on a photo or more sophisticated. I'm worried you're thinking your compact zoom is something more than it is TT


No, it is a 30x optical zoom plus 50x digital.
So the digital part is exactly as you say but the optical zoom is real I think (or if not completely real also not just trickery). There is a gauge on there that lets you know when you are into digital zoom hence quality suffers.

Oh ok, I know the type. So who can answer this, I've got a mirror less M3 thing and the lenses aren't as big as a DLSR but still fairly sizeable - why are they so much larger than a compact? Is it to do with sensor size etc?
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by ttwiggy @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:54 pm

Tokyo Sexwale wrote:
Turntable wrote:
Tokyo Sexwale wrote:Is the 'zoom' on a little compact the equivalent of just zooming in on a photo or more sophisticated. I'm worried you're thinking your compact zoom is something more than it is TT


No, it is a 30x optical zoom plus 50x digital.
So the digital part is exactly as you say but the optical zoom is real I think (or if not completely real also not just trickery). There is a gauge on there that lets you know when you are into digital zoom hence quality suffers.

Oh ok, I know the type. So who can answer this, I've got a mirror less M3 thing and the lenses aren't as big as a DLSR but still fairly sizeable - why are they so much larger than a compact? Is it to do with sensor size etc?


Do you mean diameter or depth?
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by manfromdelmonte @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:42 pm

Tokyo Sexwale wrote:Oh ok, I know the type. So who can answer this, I've got a mirror less M3 thing and the lenses aren't as big as a DLSR but still fairly sizeable - why are they so much larger than a compact? Is it to do with sensor size etc?


Yes, the bigger the sensor, the bigger the lens has to be to to create a big enough image circle to cover the sensor.

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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by deev @ Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:14 pm

so how does that relate to my DSLR? Im aware its not got a proper mirror or something or other, it has something daft like 32 MP though and the images can be cropped fairly drastically and still look decent enough.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Aesgarth @ Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:32 am

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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Disastrous @ Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:34 am

I took this, of one of the parakeets that’s moved into our garden, with an SLR from my kitchen window, which I thought was quite good:

Image


I don’t think I could have been any quicker with a compact.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Turntable @ Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:47 am

Disastrous wrote:I took this, of one of the parakeets that’s moved into our garden, with an SLR from my kitchen window, which I thought was quite good:

Image


I don’t think I could have been any quicker with a compact.


Definitely not quicker but you could have zoomed in closer and got a better focus.
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Careless Whisperer @ Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:44 am

Has anyone suggested a full Hasselblad system and a pronounced limp?
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Deuteronomy @ Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:00 am

Disastrous wrote:I took this, of one of the parakeets that’s moved into our garden, with an SLR from my kitchen window, which I thought was quite good:

Image


I don’t think I could have been any quicker with a compact.


Some interesting information on feral parakeets here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_parakeets_in_Great_Britain
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by minimoog @ Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:16 am

Aesgarth wrote:http://www.photocritic.org/articles/wheres-my-30x-zoom-slr-lens


:like:
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Re: I want to take pictures of birds

Post by Greg66 @ Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:25 am

minimoog wrote:
Aesgarth wrote:http://www.photocritic.org/articles/wheres-my-30x-zoom-slr-lens


:like:


Have another one. :like:

VG article.
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