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Camera set up

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Old Sunday 5th August 2018, 02:43   #1
aldowns
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Camera set up

I know nothing about bird watching and nothing about cameras. Can someone recommend a complete system that can be used from the window with a range of 20'. Can I get something for $500.

Just want to look at pictures of birds at the feeder so I can use a book to identify. Can't do it visually because I am somewhat color blind. I need to search the books with a picture to compare with.
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Old Tuesday 7th August 2018, 21:14   #2
Zackiedawg
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For ID purposes only, you'd probably be fine with most superzoom or even travel zoom P&S cameras...though if you're shooting from inside to a feeder, and might encounter lower light conditions, you might do better with a slightly larger sensor and a little less zoom.
Most superzoom P&S cameras, with lenses that reach equivalents of 1,200mm to 2,000mm, use tiny tiny sensors which work fine in good sunlight, but will struggle to get details in lower light or even overcast...so it could hinder identifications if your light isn't always going to be bright...and being 20 feet away, that's a lot more zoom than you really need. You'll probably want about 300mm to 400mm equivalent reach to really fill the frame with a bird 20 feet away - and some cameras to consider would be those P&S cameras that have 1" sensors...probably the only one that gets close to your price range would be the Panasonic FZ1000...that will give you a decent 1" sensor plus up to 400mm optical equivalent reach...that should handle pretty much any identification needs in most lighting conditions.
If you think the light is going to be brighter or more reliable, then consider any of the other superzoom type cameras with smaller sensors such as the Panasonic FZ80, Sony HX350, Canon SX540, Nikon Coolpix B700, etc.
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Old Thursday 9th August 2018, 06:34   #3
ailevin
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I have been birding only a few years using binoculars and spotting scope, but recently I decided to buy a compact point & shoot zoom camera. While I was reading reviews, I noticed a refurbished Panasonic ZS60 direct from Panasonic for $200, and I added a three year warrantee for $10. Panasonic gives a 90 day warrantee and the three year warrantee includes fixing it if you drop it. This compares with a $250-$350 price on a new one with 90 day warantee. I figured that Amazon has a good return policy and this camera was one I was seriously considering.

I wanted a camera that was pocketable, so I wanted a compact rather than a bridge camera. A bridge camera looks like a more traditional DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera, but it does not have interchangeable lens, is somewhat smaller and lighter than a DSLR and usually its single lens is a zoom. My wife likes the bridge cameras since she is used to a DSLR. Although the bridge camera is more comfortable to hold, I just did not want one more thing slug around my shoulder while out birding and this ZS60 is pocketable, though not a shirt pocket. For you, a bridge camera might also be fine.

I'm very happy with the ZS60. It is fully automatic, but there are large number of tunable parameters. The tuning can be intimidating, but there is some good guidance on the web. It has 30x zoom which is more than enough for what you describe. Justin's advice is good, a camera with a larger sensor will be better in low light, but significantly more expensive.

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