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eirikis Wednesday 30th March 2011 16:47

Thrifty but quality Canon easy to hike with set up for Casual Birder
I used to buy department store binoculars and thanks to the wisdom of folks here, my wife and I for three years have enjoyed his and her quality bins each in the $300 price range and bought at clearance for $120 each. They aren't $2500 bins, but they have increased our interest in birding and opened our eyes to quality and very happy. The object of the game for me is quality time with my wife out in the woods and Everglades... I just love the hike and the outdoors, new birds to life list, exciting.

Currently own a Canon Rebel xsi with the kit lens. Looking to buy my wife a 27th anniversary present because she now wants to take pictures of beautiful birds and butterflies. She is not technological so will be shooting in automatic mode just about all the time. We tend to hike about 2-3 miles each bird outing so looking for a canon DSLR and one zoom telephoto lens that is not too heavy, bulky, and its pretty much point, zoom, shoot, and leave it on later for family shots. It occurs to me that the high end rebel with a better lens would be a better bet than a 60d or 7d (I want a 7d for my own future hobbyist plans but affording it would probably be more painful than the joy of owning it)

any suggestion of a body and the one lens that we should buy and take out to the forest for three mile walks? We tend to buy refurbished stuff directly from the Canon USA store

Huntso Wednesday 30th March 2011 17:00

My daughter has just bought a 550D, think over your side of the pond its known as a T2i whatever the model name its really excellent and been very impressed with her photos.

Not so sure on lenses, my daughter bought it with the kit lens (18-55mm is) but something like the fairly new 15-85mm would no doubt be better and give a wider focal range.

RyanEustace Wednesday 30th March 2011 17:06


something like the fairly new 15-85mm would no doubt be better and give a wider focal range
I dont know if that lens is ideal for bird photography, but family shots sure.

If your after one zoom to leave on id be looking at either:

Canon 70-300mm is usm


Canon 100-400mm is l

Dependent upon you budget, the 100-400mm is l, is a better lens but its triple the price of the 70-300mm is usm.

However if its birds and butterflies you want to photograph if you can sacrifice zoom ability the 300mm f4 is l sounds like the right lens for you, price is midway between the two zooms and team it up with a 1.4 teleconverter and you've got a great birding outfit.


njlarsen Wednesday 30th March 2011 17:10

Problem is the bird shooting is not satisfying with a short lens, and a dSLR lens long enough is not lightweight; you are probably looking at a 70-300 mm lens to get reasonable reach for the birds. An alternative is Superzoom cameras, I think the current Canon one is called SX30. That has the problem of not being the best if lights gets low, but in good light you will be surprised by the quality such cameras can provide.

You will need to explore this a little further, figuring out if the weight of the dSLR is worth it.

There are intermediate choices as well: for example micro-four/thirds (olympus or panasonic) with smaller lenses providing a lot of reach. One more thing to look into for you.


Huntso Wednesday 30th March 2011 17:32

Could try one of the do it all zooms like the Tamron 18-270mm VC, supposed to be the lightest available with that sort of focal range

Some of the lenses mentioned above are hardly suitable to wander about with and a compromise needs to be made

jimthomson Wednesday 30th March 2011 18:36

I also think that a Superzoom would be the way to go. If you are only going to use the automatic mode you defeat the purpose of getting a DSLR. I've got a Canon SX120IS that I carry around with me most of the time and with its 360mm equivalent lens it can take reasonable pictures of birds. Its point zoom shoot. Cost is about $150.

If she is going to really get into photography then i would suggest the T2i and the two lens kit. The 55-250mm kit lens is light can be used for birding in a pinch. To really be serious about birds you are looking for at least a 400mm lens and spending around a $1000 just for the lens, and the lens will weigh between 2and 4 lbs.

RyanEustace Thursday 31st March 2011 13:56

I beg to differ i don't think there's been a len's mentioned yet that you couldn't walk about with for 2-3 miles like required. Obviously superzooms are going to be lighter as too are micro-four/thirds, but for quality and reach you won't top the dslr.

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