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Old Sep 4, 2009, 4:36 AM   #1
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Default Camera for wildlife photography.

Dear All,

The budget is about $1000. I was comparing between a DSLR + ultrazoom lens and an Ultrazoom prosumer digicam.

About DSLR I am thinking about Nikon D40+ Nikkor 70-300 mm VR( in effect 105-450mm on DX sensor). ( Very good IQ but heavier, also does not cover the wide end)
About Prosumer FZ-28 ( and new FZ-38 ) ( good IQ, slower speed, but covers the wide end too )seggested themselves.

I know if I go for DSLR route it will be costlier but still within budget, but wide end will not be covered.

Can you guys throw some light and suggest which will be better.
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Old Sep 4, 2009, 6:23 AM   #2
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The D40 comes with a 18-55mm kit lens. Non-VR but I think that its pretty good. Get a tripod and head, you don't want to be holding that 750g lens for long !!!

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Old Sep 4, 2009, 11:59 AM   #3
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I have used the Nikon 70-300mm lens on the Nikon D-40 and the Nikon D-5000 handheld and it was quite comfortable, and not overly heavy. That same lens should also work well on the new Nikon D-3000 as well and that would give you 10mp instead of the 6mp on the D-40.

Clearly, your image quality and the ability to use higher ISO settings will be better on a DSLR as opposed to a super zoom.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 4, 2009, 4:04 PM   #4
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I do a fair amount of wildlife photography in the winters, mostly on the Prairies and in a couple of Boreal Forests around where I live. Animals /Birds I've taken pix of include...Deer, River otter, Fisher, Groundhog, Barred Owls, Snowy Owls,Great Horned Owls, Bald Eagles, Red Tailed Hawks, American White Pelicans, Comorants, Northern Hawk Owls...etc. As you can see I like Owls...spend a lot of time in the forests looking for them.

I use a Pentax K10D and a Pentax KM (K2000) with a Pentax 55-300 telephoto zoom which converts to 460 mm on APS-C format.

I find this lens /cameras combo works very well..it seems to react quickly and the clarity of the pictures at 8 X 10 with this lens is a knockout.

I sometimes take pix through lot's of brush, if so switch to manual focus to avoid the focus hunting.

I haven't used the KM in the winter yet (got it in the Spring)...but I find the K10D and the Pentax lenses hold up well in 25 below in the hour + I will be out.

I know you are thinking Nikon D40/60...good cameras, but there are other brands out there. Ceck out the Pentax K2000/ KM.

I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC8, Leitz lens...good camera and all, but the built in zoom lens doesn't compare to the DSLR equipment.

Shutter lag is also a problem with my Panasonic and I think many non DSLR's and you need to fire the shutter...right now...with wild birds and animals.

Last edited by lesmore49; Sep 6, 2009 at 11:20 AM.
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Old Sep 5, 2009, 10:18 AM   #5
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I had the D40 when it first came out and returned it after two months of pure frustration with its limited DR. I could not understand how the camera behaved in terms of exposure. When I thought it would under expose, it over exposed and vice-versa. It was a constant trial and error experience. The other two things I disliked about it was the lack of an in-camera AF motor and IS. The combination of the two was deadly. I felt very limited (particularly budget wise) in terms of the lenses I could use. The last thing I'd like to mention is the fact that the D40 is now considered "old" technology. It was the first camera of the series (D40x, D60 and now D5000 followed) and a lot of improvements (specially with regards to DR) have been made since. It may be cheap but you will not be happy for very long (not to mention the $$$ you'll be spending on lenses). There are plenty of new DSLR models out there going for about $500. Some even have LV (if that interests you at all). The FZ28 is an excellent P&S and offers great flexibility in terms of FL on top of its somewhat compact size and light weight. However, in some situations it will not be able to compete with a good DSLR. There is always a compromise somewhere.

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Old Sep 7, 2009, 9:15 AM   #6
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Can you be a bit more specific about the types of wildlife and the conditions? That will drive what equipment is needed. For example, if you're shooting deer in the backyard, you'll find a 200-300mm lens will work fine. If you're shooting small birds then you may find 500mm to be a bit challenging and often short.

If you're shooting static posed shots in good lighting (i.e. on a bird feeder) you may find a superzoom produces good enough photos. If you're shooting birds in foliage you will find an external flash (and better beamer for distance) to be a great addition. If you're shooting animals early morning or later and prefer not to use flash then you'll want the excellent ISO performance of a DSLR - preferably one of the newer models. If you're shooting birds in flight, then AF performance becomes very important - specifically the ability of the camera/lens to track a moving subject.

So, in summary, there are a lot of different types of wildlife photography - and they all have their challenges and equipment needs. Having a better idea of the types of wildlife shooting you want to do and the conditions will help us give you a better idea of what equipment you would need.
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