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  1. #1
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    Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    What is the best digital SLR for wildlife or nature photography? I am most interested in bird photography. So I would be wanting to use super telephoto lenses.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    The most common set up for pros I have seen would be a Canon 1D Mark IV body and Canon 500 f/4 lens.
    -Kurt


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  3. #3
    Seasoned Amateur WesternGuy's Avatar
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    Question Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pennst8 View Post
    What is the best digital SLR for wildlife or nature photography? I am most interested in bird photography. So I would be wanting to use super telephoto lenses.

    Thanks in advance!
    If you can tell us what your budget is, then maybe we can give you some ideas. FYI, the gear that cozmocha has suggested will set you back somewhere in the neighbourhood of $12,000. (based on B&H prices). If you have that much to spend, then let us know.

    Cheers,

    WesternGuy
    Never memorize something you can look up. - Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    Powder River Imaging EOSThree's Avatar
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    Yeah a budget will help quite a bit.

    After that, the lenses you use will be the next priority. A 500mm is about the right length for birds. I just purchased a used/obsolete 500 f/4.5 lens, it set me back $3500, it's a wonderfully sharp long piece of glass. Something such as a Sigma 50-500 will set you back around $1500, it's not the quality or speed of a 500mm prime but will get decent results. A 300mm lens would be the minimum I would go after wildlife with. You can get a lot of lenses that go to 300mm. 300mm is a little short for most bird shots, but it will work for large animals, but you will be fairly close to that large animal (read: maybe a little scary) to fill the frame.

    Funny, I haven't even mentioned a camera yet. That's your last priority. Almost any decent DSLR will get you a decent shot of the bird if the glass end of things is covered. A fast DSLR with a fast accurate AF system will certainly make your life easier, but just about any DSLR will get the shot, you will just have to work harder to get it. That means preplanning, pre focusing, anticipation, luck, and good glass.

    My suggestion for the average man?
    Canon 7D, Canon 100-400, or Canon 400 f/4.5L lens, 1.4x TC (maybe a little slow with the 100-400 but it will work in bright light and with some manual focusing.
    Rule books are paper they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal. --Ernie Gann--
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  5. #5
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    Quote Originally Posted by EOSThree View Post
    My suggestion for the average man?
    Canon 7D, Canon 100-400, or Canon 400 f/4.5L lens, 1.4x TC (maybe a little slow with the 100-400 but it will work in bright light and with some manual focusing.
    Or if that's still out of your budget, the 60D and a used 300 f/4L IS. But be prepared to always wish you had more reach.
    --Cara

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    Canon 300mm F4 L IS
    Canon 50mm F1.8
    Tokina SD 12-24mm F/4 DX

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  6. #6
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    Any camera that...

    is within your budget
    that you can use to its full capacity
    that will not hinder your technical capabilities
    that will allow you to obtain your artistic vision

    So a lot has to do with you.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

    See Birds-On-A-Wire voted one of National Geographic's 18 Top Shots of 2009
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  7. #7
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    If I can come up with the $ I was thinking a Canon 1D Mark IV with a Canon 800mm lens. Any comments on that setup?

  8. #8
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pennst8 View Post
    If I can come up with the $ I was thinking a Canon 1D Mark IV with a Canon 800mm lens. Any comments on that setup?
    Have you used a long supertelephoto like that before? They have a steep learning curve. You're also going to need a good quality tripod and a gimbal head for it, so add that to the bill.
    --Cara

    Canon 60D
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    Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS
    Canon 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS
    Canon 100mm 2.8L IS Macro
    Canon 300mm F4 L IS
    Canon 50mm F1.8
    Tokina SD 12-24mm F/4 DX

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  9. #9
    Powder River Imaging EOSThree's Avatar
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pennst8 View Post
    If I can come up with the $ I was thinking a Canon 1D Mark IV with a Canon 800mm lens. Any comments on that setup?
    A 1D IV would be a stellar camera for that purpose. The 800 is quite a long lens, I don't know anyone that has one, so I can't really comment. A 300 f/2.8, a 1.4x TC, and 500 f/4 would be a good birding combination for a high budget. If you have the money I'd say go for it. Many may say start small and work your way up, but if you have the budget there is nothing wrong with learning on top of the line equipment.
    Rule books are paper they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal. --Ernie Gann--
    What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. --Oscar Wilde--

  10. #10
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    If you are willing to haul a 10 pound 800 you might as well look at the 400 2.8. That could also give you 800 5.6 with a 2x extender on it and 560mm with a 1.4x extender. That would be a decent loonnggg range to shoot with. Don't forget a very sturdy tripod and gimbal head.
    -Kurt


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  11. #11
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    Re: Best digital SLR for wildlife/nature photography

    Hi,

    Canon seems to have the best selection of stellar "glass" in the super telephoto range, and their premium line is the "L" series of course. Most versions are fantastic and a few of 'em are even better. The colors truly pop, the detail is stunning and the bokeh produced is so pleasing.

    Yes, like others, I'm talking about lenses here!

    Ditto on the tripod suggestion . . . the studier and smoother the better, for the slightest movement in the gear is HUGE when using a super telephoto length lens!!!

    I'd recommend starting with a 400mm L lens first, just to see it's strengths and to learn if you need greater reach too for what your goals will be.

    And oh yeah . . . did anyone mention a study tripod with a great head on it?LOL

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