Gettin Started??????

Discussion in 'Nature Photography' started by lerch, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    I emailed this question to Len last week and he emailed me back with the good idea to put it on here so everyone could enjoy. And maybe to remind me to pull my head out of my @$$ and realize that we do have a photography sub forum now!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Here is my original email:
    "Hello Len,

    This is Steve Elmenhorst (lerch on LRH). I have been curious about getting into wildlife photography and from what I have seen you seem like a pretty good source from some info and tips. I am just wondering what kind of equipment I need to get started. I am sure i would like to get some of those up close macro type shots of insects and flowers but mainly i will be wanting to do wildlife. Particularly I have a pond i hunt that gets alot of teal and goldeneyes and bufflehead ducks. I would love to get some shots of them on the water and taking off and landing, i would also like the shots to be pretty close and detailed. I can hide probably within 50yds of them so whatever zoom i would need from there. I have looked at the Canon XTi and a few others on the net and i am just wanting your opinion. Can i get started for around $1K

    Thanks for the help, the photos on your website are amazing

    thanks
    steve''


    So now lets see what everyones opinion on how to get started is.

    thank
    steve
     
  2. MachV

    MachV Well-Known Member

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    I'm just a joe average picture taker but the Sony DSC-H2 has ben working out good for me.It has 12x opticle zoom and is very easy to use.I did however feel very outgunned when this grizz apeared along the road in Yellowstone.
    I think I had the camera over-zoomed into digital for these pics.The bear was 150 yards away.

    [​IMG]
    I saw a lot of lenses that looked more like spotting scopes pokeing out of all the other vehicles /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif It would be very interesting to see how their pics turned out as there was a lot of movement and focusing was a problem even for the outo focus???
    Given time and a good rest though it will take a good pic!

    Click here for more pics=Most shot with either the Sony or a Fuji

    Along these lines is a big lense hard to use? Does the outo focus still work?
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Yo Steve!

    I'm pretty much in the same boat as you are but have a couple of cameras on hand that I got started with.

    One is a simple little Cannon Powershot A85 that I use in conjunctions with my Leica LRF and Nikon XLII Spotting scope. Its a bit of a pain but at least preserves the memory. Sometimes it works great and others it sux. Generally it sux. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

    I also have a Cannon EOS 30D that's main function it aerial photographs. It sports a Cannon EFS 10-22mm ultra wide zoom lens. (Keeps flying altitude low which savees a bit on the $4.00+ AV gas) Its also as useless as tits on a boar hog for wild life. If you want something really big to disappear in the photo, this is the lens.

    One of the reasons I have a SuperSniper on the AM is I'm hoarding $ for a super hooty super long lens for this camera.

    Then scouting will become as rewarding as the actual hunt.

    Good luck on your quest.
     
  4. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    Guys

    When Steve emailed me I decided to take a test shot to demonstrate lens focal length-magnification. So here is a shot of a crow decoy I shot in my back yard at 20 yards yesterday. I used 2.5moa of elevation and 2 minutes of left windage. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
    [​IMG]

    In discussions of lens focal length and magnification, the convention is to talk in terms of 35mm film camera lens equivalence. So even though I used a 200-400mm zoom lens set at 400mm...we would call this a 600mm equivalent lens because my camera has a 1.5X factor built in. When you shop for a camera and lens combo you need to do some extrapolation to figure your own magnification needs based on subject size and distance.

    Here is a link to a website that has excellent reviews of many digital cameras. There you can read all the important specs. Digital Photography Review This is a review of Mach V's Sony camera. It's 12X zoom lens tops out at a 432mm equivalent focal length. Here is a review of the Canon XT-i With this one you would need to add a longer lens. This camera would be an excellent start of a system that could grow with your interest and budget. I would consider buying a good telephoto used on Ebay when you can afford it.

    Next photo, since you mentioned Teal, is a Blue Winged Teal I shot from a blind at 25 to 30 yards with a 600mm plus a 1.4X converter. Total focal length equivalence was about 1,260mm.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    Okay so i think i am gonna go with the XTi. I have seen on Ebay where you can get some for around $800-1000.00 and they come with 18-55mm lens and a 75-300mm lens. How much lens/magnification do i need to be able to take photos as close as the one of your teal but at a distance of 50yds or so???? Also what kind of lens do i need for those up close macro shot???

    thanks len

    steve
     
  6. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    lerch,

    Here are a couple of pics of a squirrel @ 15 yards. He just happened to be there while I was dinkin' around.

    The setup was the Cannon SureShot w/the Leica LRF.

    The first pic is @ 7X which is the magnification of of the Leica.

    The second pic is @ 21X which is the Leica's 7 X the Sureshot's 3. (I'm not sure that the calc is correct)

    I'm never one to give up on a cheap idea /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif, but you can see the quality difference between this rig and Len's /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif

    The Cannon XTi is the consumer version of the EOS 30D. It would be a darn good choice

    7X @ 15 yds
    [​IMG]

    21X @ 15 yds
    [​IMG]
     
  7. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    yea im pretty well set on the XTi as the camera, looks like a good un. Just waiting to see what Len has to say on the lense issue. I just dont know if i can get much closer to alot of the stuff i wanna shoot than 50yds

    I think i can get some really interesting pictures of these ducks on this one pond of mine, if you get to watchin them for a while they really do some crazy stuff.

    thanks
    steve
     
  8. bitterroot bulls

    bitterroot bulls Active Member

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    Lerch,

    Hello from Big Sky country! Canon lenses are great! Go with the XTi. I have the XT and love it. It has similar features to the 30D, but is much lighter and physically smaller. It is also a little less sturdy, but I have had no problems with my XT. the XT/XTi and 30d use the same lenses. A 300mm lense is a good start, but really start saving your pennies for a canon "L" super telephoto. The glass is top, and I mean top, shelf. Canon L lenses are the big white lenses you see on sidelines at sporting events. They work well with a magnifier, 1.4x or 2x, and you can really reach out there with the combo. A stabilizing lense (most L lenses are stabilized) is also a good choice, especially for in-flight bird photos and times when you don't want to pack the tripod.

    Have Fun!
     
  9. VTi

    VTi Well-Known Member

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    Hello. I'd go for the 30D if I were you. Once you get more proficient, you'll like it much better than the XT/XTi. I even usually opt to use it over my 1DMkIIN. The one major cost to wildlife photography is a nice piece of long glass. I have the Canon 500mm/4 L IS USM and 300mm/2.8 L IS USM and they are so valuable for getting good wildlife pics. Here's a few from last weekend with the 30D and 300/2.8 IS L USM. I was thinking about posting some more in their own thread but here's a preview. If you have any questions, please let me know as this is an area where I can be of much help to you. Take care.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    Why do you recommend the 30D over the XTi?? Is the 30D a Nikon??? how far were you from the coyote in that pic??? I am very interested in getting started in this, thanks for the beautiful pics. I can get a nice starter kit with the XTi with 2 lenses, one is a 300mm not USM, with bunch of other stuff on ebay for just under $1k. I'll take any info you can give me

    thanks again
    steve
     
  11. VTi

    VTi Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lerch, thanks for the comments on my pics. The 30D is a Canon and basically it's the next model up from the XTi. There are quite a few differences between the 30D and the XTi, some are subtle, some are significant. A few of the main (important) differences are spot metering, 5 frames per second continuous shooting, 1/3 stop ISO adjustments, and shutter life/durability. Trust me on this, if you plan on getting in to photography any further than just purely casual, you'll be better off with the 30D. You can also find them for a good price right now since it's replacement is about to be released. Also, don't buy too much extra things you won't be needing, they're usually a waste of money. A nice camera body, a wide zoom (say 16-35, 17-40, 24-70...something like that) for landscapes, a good telephoto 300mm minimum for wildlife, and a good sturdy tripod and ballhead will get you started. A few other small items would be nice too, remote release cable for landscapes, macro lens, fast prime lens, etc... I'm just scratching the surface here so if you have any other questions, please let me know.

    Rob
     
  12. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    How necessary is it to get the big L USM type lenses for wildlife photography??? I could spend $1K maybe close to $2K to get going but there aint no way i can drop 6K on a lense, Kirby Allen would go out of business /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    I am wanting to take close up photos of ducks but i doubt i can get much closer than 30-50yds.

    thanks

    steve
     
  13. VTi

    VTi Well-Known Member

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    Well, it really depends on what you want out of your images. There are some great lenses for what you're describing that can be had for much less than the "big boys". I'd recommend the EF 400mm/5.6 USM. The glass is as good as any canon makes. Where you save money is the max aperature is relatively slow (f/5.6) versus the big f/4's and f/2.8's, and no Image Stabilization. Just means you have to keep shutter speeds up and probably use a slightly higher ISO setting than with the bigger prime lenses, but image quality can be just as good. Even this lens isn't cheap, but it will reward you with great quality images, since you're putting the money and effort into learning a SLR camera system. You can save some money on your landscape type wide zoom since most landscape photography is at smaller aperatures (f7.1/ - f/16). Almost all lenses are acceptable at these aperatures, where people spend alot of money is for lenses that are sharp/contrasty at max aperatures.
     
  14. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    VTi, well put, I agree.