Photo gear

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  1. Hi everyone,

    I relatively new to photography so I'm not a wizard with my camera and all its different settings. I currently have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 which I love because of its 60x zoom which is great because I don't have to spend a fortune on a zoom lens. However, I find that my photos are not crisp and lack detail which is annoying when taking pictures of birds etc. What is the best camera for me to get crisp photos like the ones on JungleDragon without spending a fortune on a zoom lens. I am spending 6 weeks in the Okavango Delta this summer so I would love to have a great camera for that! Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Dan
    Replied 3 years ago, modified 3 years ago
  2. hi Daniel,

    Do you have an example of a photo where you are not happy with? That shows the issue in lack of details?
    Another question is what your upper budget limit would be, since in birding, you can get as crazy as you want. Finally, any portability requirements? Do you mind a large and heavy camera?
    Replied 3 years ago
  3. Hi,

    For example with this photo,
    Lookout This Red-Legged thrush is on the lookout even during a rainstorm. Geotagged,Red-legged thrush,Summer,The Bahamas,Turdus plumbeus
    , lack of details may not be the best way to describe it. My upper budget would be £300, Im a student so I don't have many funds! I don't really mind about the size or weight as long as its not extreme!

    Thanks.
    Replied 3 years ago
  4. Hi Daniel,
    Firstly, as you probably already know, better equipment will not make you a better photographer. A camera is only as good as the person using it. I know, I have some very expensive equipment but still capable of taking really crappy photos! Some of your photos are not bad at all, especially your butterflies. So, you have several options:
    You could learn to use the camera you have, read the instruction manual and experiment with the different settings. This could possibly be you best option owing to the amount of time you have before your trip to the Okavango (lucky thing..it is fantastic there!). The last thing you want is to miss some amazing shots just because you are struggling with a new camera.
    If, however you feel you do have the time to learn something new then I see some other options. I am a Canon user myself so I cannot comment on other brands.
    I did a little research and one of the best bridge cameras this year is the Canon Powershot SX60 HS See here:
    http://www.whatdigitalcamera.com/roundup/camera-roundups/best-bridge-camera-2016-10525
    Alternatively, if you want to get into serious photography and move up to a DSLR then to keep within your budget you could look at the Canon EOS550. It is old but good and has great reviews. You can pick one up quite cheaply, try Amazon or EBay. You will need a lens too so for wildlife you may want to go as long as you can. The Canon 55-250 is dirt cheap, has an Image Stabilizer and a pretty good lens, I have used one myself. Another possibility is the Sigma 70-300 but a quick look at the comparison reviews shows the Canon to be better.
    Don't be afraid to look at secondhand, if you buy from a reputable store you could get yourself a bargain. There is always EBay of course, google what to look for in secondhand camera gear type thing to give yourself some pointers.
    One of the tricks to crisp photos is keeping a steady hand and no amount of image stabilization is going to compensate for a subject that won't sit still, for that you need a very fast shutter speed. If you are not using manual on your current camera, always opt for the 'Sports' mode when shooting wildlife as it should give you the fastest shutter speed.
    If you opt for the DSLR don't be tempted by some of the enormous and cheap lenses of unknown makes on EBay, you will be throwing your money away. Some say you should spend more money on your lens that the camera>
    I do hope this helps and I am pretty sure you will be getting plenty more replies.
    Six weeks in the Okavango is going to be an amazing experience, I spent just a few days and it blew me away. Will this be your first time in Africa?
    Replied 3 years ago
  5. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for all your advice! I'm going to do lots of research and find the best settings for my camera and then maybe look at the ones you suggested. I'm really exited to go to the delta and I'm sure there will be many amazing photo opportunities. You have definitely helped me a huge amount so one again, thanks!

    Dan
    Replied 3 years ago
  6. You are most welcome! Replied 3 years ago
  7. hi Daniel,

    Claire has already given you plenty of invaluable advise. I totally agree with her that camera gear matters somewhat, yet it definitely is not the only way to improve your photography. With your existing gear, you can improve by learning how to use your camera in a better way, that way getting more value out of it. Another way to improve is to learn post processing. The example shot is a bit noisy due to the high ISO, yet could have been corrected a bit more using post processing.

    And sometimes, you're just out of luck. I have high-end gear yet when I'm in a dark forest, shooting against the light, the photo is going to suck no matter my gear. The conditions don't always work in your favor.

    So in short, plan for good conditions, learn your settings, and master post processing. That way you can maximize the value of what you already have. And not to forget: ultimately the topic you photograph is what is leading. When I look at your bird photo, I'm seeing a great bird, the first one of this bird posted on the site, in a location that is quite exotic. I am not blind to the fact that it has some quality artifacts, but that is not what got my attention. It's the subject.

    Looking at your portfolio, I see you love your subjects, I can see it from the attention to detail that you have. So you have a great starting point. One day life will throw you a bone allowing you to upgrade.

    All this being said, there may be a point where you really want to improve on the optics. Unfortunately, the thing you ask for, high quality imaging at long distance, happens to be the most expensive category of photography. So if you ever happen to plan to enter the DSLR market, I can only concur with Claire to look for second hands or to try to lease some gear for a while. I once was a very proud man for owning a D7000 and a Sigma 150-500mm, combined about 2000 euros. I thought I had top notch stuff. But it is considered the lowest budget option for birding. Plus, you have to carry this 3kg combination with you.

    And once you have that, you want to move up. That's the gear trap, be careful what you wish for :)
    Replied 3 years ago
  8. I hardly ever take a picture without a monopod. This very simple piece of equipment is permanently attached to my camera and eliminates camera shake. A cheap monopod will work just fine. It WILL make a difference to your images.

    Dave
    Replied 3 years ago
  9. > I hardly ever take a picture without a monopod.
    I agree with Vodkaman - I also very often use my monopod as it really helps to stabilize my camera but allows a lot of spontaneity with camera position.
    Replied 3 years ago
  10. Thanks everyone! Replied 3 years ago

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