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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Beginner Camera and Lense (1 Viewer)

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hi all,

I wonder if anyone would be kind enough to point me in the right direction.

I'd like to start my own collection of birds for both identification purposes and just so I can have a look at the birds I like every now again while I'm sat at home.

I was looking at ordering some camera equipment around the end of the year, but looking at some of the second hand websites' delivery from order timescale it looks like about 3 weeks farther down the line. I have 8 days off work around Christmas, so I'd really like to have something sorted out by then so that I can make the most of that time.

Usually, I trust my own judgement but in this case I know next to nothing about cameras, lenses and photography in general and as a result this has the potential to go badly wrong without the advice of people who know what they're talking about.

'Long story short I'm hoping to get away with 350 quid, 400 quid at the very most. All I want is something easy to use, something that produces a decent picture at various ranges, and most importantly what I don't want is to be putting in the time and patience to get in the right positions only to find out the camera/lens (or my lack of being able to handle it/them) has let me down.

I've been having a look around and there appears to be at least some consensus that for bird watching you really want 400mm lenses, but these seem to be more expensive. Can I get away with 300mm? What am I going to lose by not having 400mm?

Knowing what you know and looking back in your earlier days, could I expect something second hand that would produce good pictures at various ranges for 350 quid? I appreciate that there is more to photography than a decent camera and lens, but I can learn that slowly and surely because I have plenty of time. What I can't afford to do is throw 350/400 quid down the drain.

What would you recommend in that price range - camera and lens?

Any help appreciated, thanks in advance.
 

nikonmike

Well-known member
Hi not an easy question to answer, 300mm most of the time is pretty useless unless you are blessed with great field craft and can get very close to your subject, your budget is not enough to get you a decent DSLR and lens.
The answer I think ties in with the thread above and I would say look at a bridge camera with a very long zoom,not so you can take pictures of very distant birds because that does not work well with any camera but so at a reasonable distance you can get a good sized image of a small bird.
You could consider this https://www.wexphotovideo.com/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz82-digital-camera-1616682/

mike
 

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hi not an easy question to answer, 300mm most of the time is pretty useless unless you are blessed with great field craft and can get very close to your subject, your budget is not enough to get you a decent DSLR and lens.
The answer I think ties in with the thread above and I would say look at a bridge camera with a very long zoom,not so you can take pictures of very distant birds because that does not work well with any camera but so at a reasonable distance you can get a good sized image of a small bird.
You could consider this https://www.wexphotovideo.com/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz82-digital-camera-1616682/

mike

Thanks, Mike.

As I say, there's absolutely no use in spending say 400 quid and finding that it's not going to give me the enjoyment I want.

As for blessed with great field craft, as someone starting out I think it's fair to say I have a lot of learning to do before I get anywhere near that sort of experience, and in terms of getting very close to the subject my experience tells me that more often than not I'm not going to be that close.

I've had a look at the camera in the link and I can get a second hand one for about 180 quid, so I can afford that. Am I right in thinking you don't need to buy a separate lens with this camera? If that's the case then I can stretch to say 300 quid second hand so are you aware of a model that is an improvement on the camera in the link in terms of getting a better image at a reasonable distance?

I noticed you said there's a thread above, so if all of this has been discussed and the information is in that thread I'll take a look.

Thanks, by the way. I had no idea there is such a thing as a bridge camera that I think doesn't need a separate lens, and I was looking around last night and thought I had a the right second hand lens - a tamron 75-300 - so I appreciate the advice which will save me buying something that won't help me.
 

nikonmike

Well-known member
No it doesn't need another lens, which ever ones you look at make sure they have an EVF viewfinder as its better than working off the back screen,
 

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
No it doesn't need another lens, which ever ones you look at make sure they have an EVF viewfinder as its better than working off the back screen,

Cheers Mike. I looked at the other thread you mentioned, and looked at comments on that thread and various reviews related to those cameras mentioned. I wanted something pretty quickly as I have a good 8 days off work coming up and want to get familiar with the camera before then so that I can make the most of those 8 days. So, I've bought a Panasonic FZ330. 'Good reviews from people who know a bit about bird photography and if it's good enough for them it's good enough for me. So, 230 quid second hand in good condition. I've just bought a car and had ran down my previous one until the point it was going to be expensive to keep it going, and it hadn't registered until this afternoon that there's a car outside my door that I own that I will be able to sell for a few hundred quid. So, I've sold that and that will more than pay for the camera. 'All good. Fortunately I live in the country and have a big garden 'round the back and so ideal to get some good practice with the camera before I venture farther afield.

Thanks for the advice.
 

DJRWhittle

Well-known member
Paul,

I own a Panasonic Lumix FZ330 which I use for birding. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

By fiddling in the settings/menus it can be set up to push the zoom quite considerably beyond the 600mm. There is a chap called Graham Houghton who is an expert in these cameras. He has a blog page where he makes available loads of videos dedicated to setting up and using many cameras, including your FZ330. Have a look here and have fun playing with your new piece of kit.

As a matter of interest - there are teleconverters available that can be screwed, using an appropriate adapter tube, to the front of the FZ330 lens which extends the zoom range too. I use a Canon 1.5x teleconverter which I used with a Canon Powershot S3 IS before I upgraded to the FZ330. Graham Houghton has a video showing you what you need and how to do it.

Derek
 

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Paul,

I own a Panasonic Lumix FZ330 which I use for birding. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

By fiddling in the settings/menus it can be set up to push the zoom quite considerably beyond the 600mm. There is a chap called Graham Houghton who is an expert in these cameras. He has a blog page where he makes available loads of videos dedicated to setting up and using many cameras, including your FZ330. Have a look here and have fun playing with your new piece of kit.

As a matter of interest - there are teleconverters available that can be screwed, using an appropriate adapter tube, to the front of the FZ330 lens which extends the zoom range too. I use a Canon 1.5x teleconverter which I used with a Canon Powershot S3 IS before I upgraded to the FZ330. Graham Houghton has a video showing you what you need and how to do it.

Derek

Hi Derek,

Yes, I read your post on the other thread. I then went on to a read a range of reviews on the camera, including from serious photographers who had tried it out, and they were all pretty impressed at that price. I managed to find a second hand one which was delivered the next day and is in very good condition.

The next steps for me are just getting used to it really. I've been doing some reading around the camera, and in truth most of it is beyond me at the moment but I'll soon learn, and I have Saturday sat aside to go through the You Tube videos you mention (as you'd mentioned on the other thread and I took a note). Fortunately, there are a wide range of industrious birds that come into my garden so I don't need to go anywhere on Saturday to try out a few things with the camera. Hopefully, after watching the videos and reading the instructions I'll get a few basics nailed down and can then go out early Sunday morning with it. I don't anticipate being anywhere approaching competent in the first few weeks but I'm keen to learn and with the right amount of reading/research and learning on the job I'll get there.

In terms of any converters, I think I'll focus on getting used to the camera for a good while (I'd anticipate that being a good few months) but it's useful to know there is another option there.

Threads like the one in which you posted are a Godsend for people like me because I wouldn't have had a clue what to buy, and I more than likely would have bought something that didn't give me what I wanted, and I'm far from rolling in money to be able to throw it away hand over fist.

Thanks for the advice.
 
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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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