Help 'Digital Camera For Nature Photography'

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dealrocker, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. dealrocker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #1
    I love nature photography.!! Its so enjoyable. It can lift my mood and make me feel good. Being outside in the fresh air and being surrounded by nature is another reason why I love nature photography.

    Well, I am going to upgrade my camera. Please suggest me some digital cameras for nature photography.

    Thanks in Advance. :cool:
     
  2. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #3
    Uh oh. I think I see where this is going.....Canon 50D.

    No, seriously. Whats your budget? What do you like to shoot? You say "nature" but landscapes? Animals? Flowers? I'm assuming your looking for an SLR?

    You will also find that the right lenses are just as important, if not more so. If you go Nikon, you will be using primarily Nikon lenses, (which I hear are inferior to Canon:D:D:D) if you buy a Canon camera then obviously Canon lenses.

    There are also third party lenses out there that fit most SLR's but my advice is to stick with whatever brand camera you buy.
     
  3. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #4
    Well I personally will buy quality lenses so make sure check some review sites before buying em, I follow the philosophy of buy once, get it the right one. So I will aim to own the sharpest/best possible lens I want like in my case the 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens.
     
  4. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    May 5, 2007
    #5
    What are you upgrading from?

    As has been said this really is dependent on what exactly you want to take photographs of, how much your budget is, and how seriously you're taking things. For instance, if you wanted to take pictures of small birds and had a massive budget you could buy A Nikon D3, and a 500mm f/4, but that's going to cost about £10k. At the other end of the price spectrum there are superzoom cameras which will be slower, offer less control and give less high-quality images. As a random example, the Canon SX1 IS has a lens with similar reach (it's a '28-560mm' equiv zoom). There are of course in-between options, like a cheaper body (D40, D60, canon XSi etc) and some kind of moderate zoom, like a 70-300.

    If you're not wanting to shoot birds your options are much wider, anything from a fuji f100fd to a top end DSLR will be capable of pretty solid landscape results. I'd be inclined to a cheapish DSLR as they tend to be light and they give good, solid, results. At the moment I like the look of the Olympus E-620 but Pentax, Panasonic, Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony all have good stuff. If I didn't want to carry a DSLR and I had the budget I would be inclined towards the Canon G10, or more likely, the Panasonic LX3 as it has a lovely 24mm (equiv) lens.
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    Nature photography covers a lot of range. However, the camera body won't make a great deal of difference unless you're shooting a niche like say Big Horn Sheep locking horns, and even then pretty-much any body will work in skilled hands. If you like landscapes, then it can be a relatively cheap hobby- any camera, any kit lens and you're good. If you want to take dramatic shots when the weather isn't good, a camera rain cover can do wonders cheaply (I like the Fotosharp digital camo ones.)

    However, if you're trying to shoot birds, predators or large animals that don't allow close approach, then you're looking at spending thousands of dollars on a good lens. Wildlife is most active at the start and finish of each day when the light is low, or under cover where the light is low, and good wildlife photos isolate the subject more often than not- so you're looking at 300, 400, 500 or 600mm primes for the ultimate shots- you can "cheap out" with a Sigma 50-500 (or one of the other Sigma n-400 or n-500's,) Nikon 80-400 or Canon 100-400 or 400/5.6, or anyone's 300/4 but they're only going to get you good shots in relatively bright light, and you're looking at ~900-1200 for any of those options new.

    300mm is enough if you use a blind, bait, can stalk effectively or shoot where wildlife is used to close approach by humans. 500mm or 600mm make for better shots of small warblers and animals which don't like close approach, however I prefer a 400mm f/2.8 since I can shoot in half the light of the 500 and 600mm primes, or add a 1.4x TC and be only 40mm off a 600mm prime at the same aperture- I'm not a big fan of baiting or sitting around in hides all day.

    If you have the glass for low-light shots, then you can get away with a higher resolution body and not give up some noise and have excellent crop options.

    In Nikon, I'd probably go with a D300 and 400/2.8VR or 500/4P with a large Gitzo series 5 tripod and a Wimberly mark II head and Wimberly replacement foot and teleconverters TC-14EII and TC-17EII. In Canon, a 1DmkIII with the 400/2.8L, same tripod and head and their 1.4x TC. In either case, a LowePro LensTrekker 600AW is probably still the bag of choice. If you can't carry large loads, then Nikon's 200-400VR is a good alternative that gives up a stop of light, or Canon's 400/5.6 which gives up two stops.

    Wildlife is one place where the "also ran" companies don't offer a lot of fast super-telephoto lens options and where the used lens market sucks if you're not shooting Nikon or Canon. A crop isn't magnification, and noise in low light is an issue, and you may eventually find that you like the option of a "Full frame" body for landscapes and "environmental portraits" of wildlife, again pretty-much confining your options to Canon or Nikon.

    Canon tends to be cheaper than Nikon for super-telephoto lenses, and lens rental may be an option to start with.

    My current field kit: Nikon D2x, Gitzo 1548, Wimberly II, Nikon 400mm f/2.8 AF-S II (second outer lens hood always left at home,) Wimberly replacement foot, Kirk leveling base (not really ideal, the 400 is obviously at the limit of its weight range,) Kirk L bracket, TC-14EII, TC-17EII, SB-800, LowePro LensTrekker 600AW, 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D and either the Nikon 20-35mm f/2.8 AF-D or a Sigma 10-20mm, a small LightDisk, and a Fotosharp rain cover that fits the 400.

    Another poster mentions a D3 with a 500- that would be a poor choice, you'd be better off with a higher-density APS-C sensor with a super-tele in terms of cropping options for usable results.
     
  6. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    Nov 23, 2007
    #7
    Fuh, that was a lot to swallow Compuwar, good post. Our Nature Photographer, Compuwar :D
     
  7. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #8
  8. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    May 5, 2007
    #9
    You're absolutely right of course, I picked the example without thinking, not being a birder/wildlife myself ad-libbing results in such tosh. I was really just saying you only really need to worry about kit of you want to photograph such wildlife, general nature and landscape does not require such expensive or specialist stuff.
     
  9. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    Oct 9, 2005
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    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #10
    Excellent post, Compuwar, and I agree with everything you've said here!

    It is definitely important to define what is meant by "nature photography," as that certainly covers a wide gamut of potential shooting situations and gear. I can go out and spend two hours communing with Nature by using a macro lens to photograph a flower or a different lens to capture a stunning landscape....or I can load up the car with the heavier gear to go shoot eagles or other wild birds or animals.

    I think the OP needs to really define what it is he/she means by "nature photography" in the first place when it comes to what he/she wants to shoot....and then go from there. It's not really any camera which is "better" for "nature photography" -- it's usually the lenses.
     
  10. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #11
    The limitation of a PnS will restrict the photographer and besides, if if the OP were to shoot in low light condition, then PnS will produce crappy images due to the higher ISO.

    Well its cause among these company, either no one is sure how long will they be in the camera market, limited lens choices and still new.
    I dun like Sony cause to me the ergonomics of their dSLR bodies suck so bad till the extend of snapping the photo requires you to reach out for the shutter button, I mean like WTH! A shutter button should be easily accessible but they place it way to high and it feels awkward to press the shutter button. And not to mention how blotchy their images become at higher ISO. Lets see if Sony will improve in the next 5 years cause so far to me their image quality sucks.

    I like their console and their PnS for casual use though.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #12
    Every time some one says "what should I get" without being specific about their needs the answer from everyone is in effect "Get the camera I have." What this tells you is that you will be happy with whatever you get. Most nikon owners are happy as are most Canon and Pentax owners.

    What we really need to know is what kind of "nature photography"? Does this include birds in flight or or wide angle landscape views or maybe you scuba diving? What are you going to do with the images on-screen only or prints how large will the prints be? You want different equipment in each of those cases.

    That said. An SLR is the most vercitile. You can select a lens or set of lenses to suit your subject then buy what ever body fits both those lenses and your remaining budget. And YES, do select the lens(es) first.

    That is a reasonable idea. But it all depends on your goal. Are you there for a hike, to get to a peak or to make images? If images are high on the priority list then a backpack filled with gear and a sturdy tripod is not a problem. But if images are incidental to other actives then yes, a shirt pocket size camera is easier to cary. Actually it is best to have both.
     
  12. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #13
    That's my point - it's all about the talent. I've seen people with those mega-dSLR systems take horrible pics, and people with disposables take great pictures.

    Sometimes, you just have to enjoy the journey, and not spend it looking through a viewfinder.

    I've had great experience with Canon P&S - even their cheapest takes nice pics.

    I know people like the G9 a lot. As for me, I would rather have a slightly larger sensor and got the Olympus E-420 as a second body to use "on the go"...

    OP - go and try some cameras hands-on and see what you like. Maybe start with a P&S (my friend's got one of those Canon Elphs, and the pics he's taken in the mountains are gorgeous). Then graduate to something bigger, keeping the P&S as your backup...
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
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    Northern/Central VA
    #14
    While I'll agree that talent is important, in specialized shooting, equipment also brings a lot to the table. If you're trying to get a shot of an eight point buck around dawn, no amount of talent is going to make an f/4.5 or f5.6 lens any faster- and that buck is going to be all blurry because your equipment isn't up to the job- been there, done that, got the blurry results.

    To put it another way, if your goal is simply to go out and get excellent images, then you can do that with any DSLR system out today going back at least one, and possibly two generations. In that case, the photographer matters significantly more than the equipment. If your goal is to get specific shots in diverse environments, then equipment starts to make a difference as well.

    Heck, you can take the same photographer and the same equipment and get good and bad shots- and there are times when Mother Nature just wants to give you a little piece of magic. I've got a lot of shots I'm not happy with and a good number of shots folks want to hang on their walls- no real change in photographer or equipment in both cases.

    I do think that a lot of people focus too much on equipment and not enough on skills,
     
  14. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #15
    No quarrels about that.

    Just my pet peeve, I guess. People with high-end equipment thinking they're the best and most knowledged photographers, and they're not. Sort of like the "Emperor's Clothing"... :eek:
     
  15. apearlman macrumors regular

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    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Red Hook, NY
    #16
    OP is gone; was his question real?

    The OP hasn't been back to post anything in this thread or any other.

    The discussion we've been having in his absence is reasoned and helpful, but the question-asker was never interested in the answers. It's also interesting to note that "his website" is a store that sells, among many other things, cameras.

    I suggest we wait for Mr. DealRocker to return before investing any more time in his thread.

    -Andrew
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #17
    I notice the OP is now "banned". So he will not be back.

    I think in the future we should all not bother posting more then one line answers until the OP comes back with a second post. This happens way to frequently

    So let's make a rule, OK? Next time someone asks "What camera?" we ask back "what subjects? what budget,..?" and then only reply when the OP answers. It's a waste of time otherwise.
     
  17. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #18
    ^^^

    The only thing is that others may have the same question and are supposed to search for existing threads rather than post the same one over again...
     
  18. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #19
    Uh huh. And just how many "which entry level DSLR should I buy???" threads are there? People just can't seem to figure out how the search button works. That technical challenge is not limited to this forum, of course.
     

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