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Old Jul 22, 2006, 9:18 PM   #1
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One of my customers is going to open a wildlife photo gallery and wants me to supply him with 16x20 & 18 x 24 wildlife photos. He wants 70% of them with a insert of close up and 30% of just the animal. He has given me a list of the 1st 12 animals he wants. He wants 6 of each animal all different shots. It is these large size photos that has me in trouble. The smaller photos I can do.

Today I own FZ 30, Nikon TCE17, QuikAim Max RDS, Zeiss Digiscope/Sony W7. Obviously I am going to have to get some additional equipment.

When I started shooting wildlife last year you all were very helpful in telling me what I needed and gave me numerous hints.

What kind of camera?????? 95% of the time the photos are going to be of wildlife. 70% will have a photo of where I found them with a close up inserted. 30% will be a close up of the animal. One thing to remember is the best wildlife opportunities are early morning and evening so that means low light conditions.

I am hoping to keep the equipment down to 4 lenses. I am sure I need a good large zoom and a wide lens.

I have absolutely no idea where to start. I need to get some suggestions on which camera and which lens and ???? I know this is not going to be cheap but I do need to pay attention to the dollars. My customer owns numerous retail businesses one of them supplies his others stores with custom matts & frames.

???Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic or ???? once I choose a camera body what lenses????

Thanks in advance for any ideas or suggestions. I will print all posts so I can have something to study and make my decision with.



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roger (The Old Newbie)
FZ 30, Nikon TCE17, QuikAim Max RDS, Zeiss Digiscope/Sony W7
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Old Jul 22, 2006, 9:24 PM   #2
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Roger, wish I could help, but I am afraid we are in the raft in the rapids together on this one.:?

Jerry
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Old Jul 22, 2006, 9:53 PM   #3
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Thanks Jerry

I guess all we can do is hold on tight until someone comes to our rescue.

roger (The Old Newbie)
FZ 30, Nikon TCE17, QuikAim Max RDS, Zeiss Digiscope/Sony W7
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Old Jul 22, 2006, 9:54 PM   #4
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Over to you Squirl
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Old Jul 23, 2006, 1:22 AM   #5
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Looks like your last year of having fun and learning with the FZ30 has paid off! The only think I can say is , if you think this has potential, get the very best equipment you can! It would be a shame to blow an opertunity by saving a few hundred bucks on equipment. I have also seen prints from the big comercial canon printers they have listed on their web site, and they were absoutely perfect. Printer cost a lot, but it sounds like you might be in a position to recoup your investment in equipment. Good Luck!

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Old Jul 23, 2006, 1:33 AM   #6
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My partner and I have a large format printer that we use for our poster company so good prints is not the problem.
http://www.posterdepots.com/

I realize this new camera equipment is not going to be cheap. From what I have learned so far a zoom lens and image stabilization is a must. I would like to be able to get out farther than I do now with my FZ30. My photos so far have required me to use a lot of different settings. Like I said earlier low light is when most of the animals are available.

From the back channel E-mails I have gotten so far it looks like the Sony A100 is suggested the most. Also I was told by Ritz camera's that the Sigma 50 to 500mm lens would not work with the Sony A100. By the time I figure this all out I probably will die of old age. So the suggestion of a Sony A100 and the sigma 50 to 500 zoom won't work.

roger (The Old Newbie)
FZ 30, Nikon TCE17, QuikAim Max RDS, Zeiss Digiscope/Sony W7
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Old Jul 23, 2006, 3:51 AM   #7
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Bootneck3 wrote:
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Over to you Squirl
thanks for the vote of confidence, Fred...

Roger, if you're looking to upgrade from the FZ30 to a DSLR for wildlife photography, there are plenty to choose from, the only caveat is that the best telephoto or long zoomlenses seem to be made only for Nikon and Canon mounts, so you'll probably be best off with bodies from one of those two brands.the SonyA100 is no doubt a fine camera, but the lens choices are still a bit limited, and the offerings they have don't give you the range you need. the Sony lists for about $900, but for only a couple hundred more, you can get a Canon 20D; i'd recommend spending the extra $$ to get the Canon.you could also get a Nikon D50 or D70 for under $1000, but those are both 6.1mp cameras, and you'll probably want the extra2mp the Canon will give you. if you really need to watch the cost, consider the Canon 350D/Rebel XT. it's an 8mp camera, just like the 20D, with many of the same features, but it's in the same price range as the Sony, perhaps a bit cheaper, and you can use the top-grade lenses with it...

for long range wildlife shots, you will absolutely need the best lenses you can get; you can use consumer-grade lenses, of course, but the sharpness and contrast won't be nearly as good, especially at the wider apertures you'll need for dawn and dusk shooting. simple advice here... if you need to save money, get a cheaper body - even consider a used one - but do NOT scrimp on the glass! you mentioned thatyou'll need image stabilization, which basically narrows the field to the Nikkor 80-400 VR (which you can't use with Canon bodies), the Sigma EX 80-400 f4.5-5.6, or the Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6L. none will work with the Sony A100.of the three, the Sigma is the cheapest, but it's also the heaviest, and is a little slower to focus than the Canon.i can't speak for the Nikkor, as i have no experience with it. i can certainly vouch for the Sigma's performance, though... it's simply an excellent lens.i think it's every bit asgood asthe Canon for sharpness and clarity, and the IS is good enough to hand-hold down to 1/250 at 400mm, slower if you've steady hands. bear in mind that on an APS body such as the Canon Rebel/350D, or the 20D/30D, that 400mm will equate to a 640mm lens on a full-frame SLR. The Sigma costs about $1000, and the Canon is about $1400. i don't know for sure, but i believe the Nikkor 80-400VR is also in the $1400-1500 range. at some point, you may want to step up to the real heavyweights... 500-800mm primes. they're outstanding lenses, but they start in the $5000 range, and you'd better be making a living with one to justify spending that kind of cash...

that said, even 400mm may not be enough. i'm finding that for many wildlife shots, i need even more, and i'm looking at purchasing a 2x converter, which will give me 1280mm equivalent. that's all wonderful an' stuff,but it will cost you 2 f-stops, which meansyou'll probably need to use manual focus. i don't know about the Nikons, but the Canon AFwon't work with maximum apertures smaller than 6.3, and the Canon and Sigma lensesare f5.6 at 400mm (unless you spend a WHOLE lot of money for the Canon 100-400 f4L, which is f4 all the way out to 400mm). the converter costs you 2 stops, which puts you out at about f7.1, one stop smaller than the AF will work with. on the bright side, if your subject is far enough away to need that converter, you can just focus manually at infinity and the DOF will do the rest.

you will also need a good, sturdy tripod to hold that camera and lens.long zooms like that are heavy - my Sigma weighs about 6 pounds - and the camera bodies are a good deal heavier than the FZ30, so you'll need a tripod capable of suporting about 10-12 lbs. i got a very solid one made by Dynatran on ebay for about $85, shipping included; it retails for almost $400 (or so they say), and has all the professional features you'd need. you can get it with a squeeze-grip ball head, or you can get just the legs and put your own head on it.

to give you an idea of the cost involved, my DSLR kit so far has cost me about $3300, which includes the 30D body, the Sigma EX 80-400 lens, a Tamron 24-135 lens, filters, batteries, memory cards (most DSLRs do not use SD cards; thankfully, you can get 1GB CF cards for under $30 each at Newegg!), and the tripod. but you could probablyget started for under $2000by buying a Rebel XT or 20D body instead of the 30D and by holding off on the short zoom lens, since you'll really only need the long zoom for most wildlife work.

it's a tough choice, sometimes - ihope i haven't confused things for you... :G
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Old Jul 23, 2006, 7:33 AM   #8
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Hi Roger

If times an issue (can you wait till Sept for the DMC L1 ?) then an alternative to either the Canon or Nikon would be an Oly E330 7.5MP + the Zukio 50-200 (100-400mm) f2.8-3.5 - this is part of Oly's Pro lens range. I read a test comparing the Nikon VR, Canon L f4.5-5.6 a couple of Oly Zukios', Tamron and Sigma's long range telephote lenses and the best of the bunch was Zukio f2.8-3.5 - for resolution, edge to edge sharpness and its a full stop or two faster than the Canon/Nikon. The only thing it doesn't have and all Oly's don't is IS/VR. It's substainally smaller, lighter and cheaper than any of the Canon/Nikon glass on test and its MSPR is £730.00 compared to the Nikon/Canon £1200+ price range. They did have the Oly 90-250m (180-500mm) f2.8 in the review but thats seriously big and expensive bit of glass at £4000! Regards the E330 itself its a decent cam, although not quiet the same class (above ISO800-1600) as the Canon 30D or Nikon D200. However, you do get Live preview and a tilt LCD although the OVF isn;t as good as the Canon/Nikon's. Also you will be able to use the Leica D lenses with IS when they arrive and should you decided to get an L1 you can still keep all of your lenses.

Here's a review of the Zukio 50-200mm

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...duct/38/cat/15

Cost of say the Oly kit (from B&H)

OLy E330 - 899.00 (body only)
Zukio 14-54 (28-108mm) f2.8-3.5 Pro lens - 429.00
Zukio 50-200 (100-400mm) f2.8-3.5 Pro Lens - 799.00 (after rebate)

Total $2127.00

Here's a link with a gallery of the very above setup Oly E330+ZD 50-200mm:

http://forum.xitek.com/showthread.php?threadid=352261

There are two flamingo shots from that gallery you may want to look at.

You may be able to get it a wee bit cheaper if you shop around but thats the setup I would go for if I went for the Oly. The Kit Zukio lens is much better than the std kit lenses for C/N but I'd rather spend the money on the 14-54 which is only $250 more and is pro grade glass. Incidentely that total price is the about the same as the L1 with just 14-50 Leica D!

As squirrl mentioned 400mm may not be enough so you may want to pick up the Oly 1.4x convertor which would give you 540mm which comes in at $384.95 (ouch!)

The equivalent 3 lens Canon Setup:

The equivalent Canon Glass to the 14-54 Zukio f2.8-3.5 is the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Autofocus Lens which costs $1295.00 but I'd go for the 24-105mm f4 L which is around $1100.00.

Canon 20D - $999.00
Canon 30D - $1249.95
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Autofocus Lens is $1399.95.

Total setup price for Canon 20D + Tele lens + 24-105 IS f4 L: 3498.95

or Canon 20D + Tele lens $2398.95

or

Total setup price for Canon 30D + Tele lens + 24-105 IS f4 L:$3749.90

Total setup price for Canon 30D + Tele lens: $2649.90

Size and weight comparison:

Canon 30D Nikon D200 Oly E330
Weight (inc. batteries) 784 g (27.7 oz) 920 g (32.5 oz) 616 g (21.7 oz)
Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in) 147 x 113 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in) 140 x 87 x 72 mm (5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in)

The E330 is a better cam than the 350XT or Nikon D50 - if your looking at Nikon you might as well wait for a few more days as they are bringing out a D70 replacment which could be a cracker or you may want to seriously look at the D200 it is theyre best cam to date and is pretty close to being pro-level.

Hope that helps and I haven't confused you !

Cheers

HarjTT



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Old Jul 23, 2006, 8:36 AM   #9
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First for what you want ...good glass is the secret....and since you mention low light you would be better off with a F4 lens or faster and you can use a 1.4 converter on it when the light is better......2X converters usually do not give great results and cost you 2 stops of light.

A cheaper camera and good glass is the way to start.....and if you find you need to get a better camera somewhere down the road you will have a backup body.

I am in the Nikon camp but that was because canon does not have the 18 to 200VR lens. Which was the lens I wanted to start with. Nikon has a 300mm F4 lens that works fine with a teleconverter and gets you to about 650mm when compared to the FZ30.

And the crop ability of a camera such as the D50 is amazing .....I am sure the Canons do the same if not better......But my point is, a D50 for 500 dollars is a good place to start.

And do not forget these work pretty well for digiscoping....while I never tried it The Lamar valley in Yellowstone is full of people with DSLRs on scopes.

I think the common practice is.. somehow they come up with about 800mm and with the crop factor thats about 1200mm, then again the finished product can be cropped.

I did not spend much time at this forum lately but last year "Helene" was getting into digiscopeing with a DSLR and maybe she or someone else there can help you....and of course there is a digiscoping forum here at steves....and I am sure "Lin Evans" has some info on the subect.

http://www.yellowstone.net/forums/vi...54b330e0d4a66c
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Old Jul 23, 2006, 9:15 AM   #10
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ON another note - we have been spolied by the FZ's by their size, wieght, IQ and range. Looking at the HQ lenses from all of the manufacturers their's only one thign that comes to mind and that is "massive".
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