BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Brian Galloway

Bird Photography

I'm a passionate backyard birdwatcher, and so basically I was just wondering, what kind of camera should I get to take great bird photos? I've looked at all sorts of different cameras, and brands, but what I'd really like to know is the opinions of the people of betterphoto.

I'd like to spend around $500-600. I'm somewhat limited with money, but I'll spend more than I stated.

I'm looking to take some great photos of the Goldfinches, Juncos, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Titmice, Chickadees, Hummingbirds, Woodpeckers, and whatever else manages to find it's way into my yard/feeders. I also enjoy taking macro flower shots as well, and other simple things of my backyard and such.

I don't really think a point and shoot is the way to go. I've been looking into some Nikon cameras, more excusively the D40, and the D40x. I'm pretty much a beginner so I'd like to know what a good SLR camera is for me.

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12/4/2007 5:27:35 PM

Sherry K. Adkins
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/13/2006
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  Brian, you do need something like the D40(I recommend the D80) or one of the good DSLR's, but to get the kind of photos you're wanting, you are going to need a good telephoto lens. You might look at one of the camera kits and see what lens comes with it. But you will need atleast a 200mm. You might look into a Sigma or Tamron lens. They are good, but not as expensive as the Nikon or Canon lenses.

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12/4/2007 6:45:26 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  for 600 you ought to look at used film cameras and used lenses.
For just backyard stuff, you could use a small lens and a remote.
But that's over your budget.

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12/5/2007 10:12:18 AM

Kathleen Rinker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/3/2007
  Brian, I have a Nikon D50 with a 70-300mm Sigma lens. I just a few days ago bought a Nikon D80. I shoot a lot of birds and can get quite close and get a good shot at 300mm.

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12/5/2007 11:30:11 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Electronic remotes are a bit costly but they can allow you to set up your camera very close to the action...thus negating the need for long telephoto lenses.
A home-made blind can also be effective. Camoflage material can be found anywhere hunting supplies are sold. Set up your blind a few days before you intend to shoot so the birds can become accustomed to its presence.
Also, don't forget to add natural "perches" around your feeders. A few old weathered fence posts can be positioned just out of frame. The birds will land on the posts to wait for their turn at the feeder.

This photo of a tufted titmouse illustrates an example of backyard birding with a wireless remote and natural props.

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12/5/2007 10:15:52 PM

Brian Galloway   Hey thanks guys. I originally was going to go with the Nikon D80. But then I realized how much of cost that would be for me. So then I did some research on the Nikon D50, and that seemed better for me. Not only the price ($550-600 on!) but being better for someone of a beginner status like me.

Any more tips anybody could give me on equipment for Bird photos? Lens, accessories, etc?

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12/8/2007 4:20:51 PM

anonymous A.    I see most of the photos in your BP gallery were taken with a Canon DSLR. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this camera for what you want to do: invest your $500 in a prime tele lens and go capture your birds!

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12/9/2007 2:48:40 AM

Brian Galloway   Oh, yes, but I had borrowed it. It wasn't actually mine.

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12/9/2007 8:31:23 AM

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