Birding and photography go hand in hand. That’s not to say that you have to be a photographer to be a birder. But to own a camera of some type is a definite help in being able to identify bird species. How exasperating it can be to see a bird that you don’t recognize, then try to remember what you saw while you are looking at you bird guides. If you have a photo that has a decent image of the bird, it can be of great assistance.
Most cameras manufactured today, have some sort of zoom lens. However, in my experience I would recommend for birding, you have a zoom of at least 300mm or equilivant. You can find SLRs, (Single Lens Reflex) cameras or inexpensive point and shoot cameras. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you want one that will give you a decent image, preferably close-up.
I,myself, use a pair of Canon 40D digital SLRs. The 40D is probably classified a middle of the range in price. It has all the features that I need, and some that are found in the high-end super-expensive cameras. But having said that, I do use the top of the line super-expensive lenses. That is because that regardless of the price of the camera, you have nothing if you don’t have good a quality lens. It is the lens that make for great photographs. The camera is just a tool to make things easier. So if you have low to medium end camera that takes inter-changeable lens, think about up-grading your lenses before changing equipment.
Also when considering a camera or lens, check to see if there is auto-focus, or image-stabilization. Both features make it easier to catch the action when the bird is about to fly, or if the light is so low that you need a slower shutter speed.
As I said before I use the Canon 40D. My favored lenses are the Canon 100-400mm L series zoom, and the Canon 500mm f4 L Series super-telephoto. The 500mm is not a zoom, but a fixed focal-length lens. I can add a 1.4x teleconverter to lengthen it to 700mm. If I add my 2x converter, it will be a healthy 1000mm. Of course, with that big lens I use a heavy Manfrotto-Bogen tripod. You can see that set-up in the picture at the right in the side-bar.
That’s it for the day. Maybe the next time I will touch on photo-editing software.