Sunday, January 9, 2011

SLR all the way

I spent this weekend dog/house-sitting at my parents' place in Orange. My mother got a Nikon D5000 with VR 55-200mm zoom lens for Christmas, which I decided to test out briefly on Saturday morning. Having never shot with an SLR, I was curious to see what the "experience" was like - i.e. how cumbersome it was to carry, if/how it affected my actual birding, and what is a 200mm zoom capable of?

Long story short, even after spending just an hour with it, I'm convinced that I need something more than my current digiscoping setup. I was in denial for a while there, but now I know.


Red-breasted Nuthatch


Dark-eyed Junco in flight


Turkey Vulture from a considerable distance

I could do without one more thing to carry on me while birding, but the ability to photograph fast-moving passerines or birds in flight was a lot of fun. I am become more and more disenchanted with 'digibinning,' which is really starting to frustrate me.

I'm not ready to buy anything of my own yet, but at least now I know what I'm missing. If I was having fun with a 200mm lens, I'd have a blast with a 400mm.

One other option I'll have to rule-out before such a big purchase is the capability of those 'superzoom' cameras, although I have a feeling that I'd be disappointed for two reasons: they probably do not digiscope as well as my small P&S, and they probably produce lower-quality bird images than a DSLR. The superzooms sound like more of a happy medium between the two options, rather than doing one thing particularly well. But I shouldn't knock 'em until I try 'em.

- Nick

3 comments:

  1. That's so funny -- My mom got an SLR for Christmas too, and I spent a good portion of winter break experimenting with it. (I'd never used one before either). They are incredible cameras, but I think there's also something to be said for the portability and adaptability of P&S's too. Not that I wouldn't get a DSLR if I could afford it, but P&S is the next best thing I guess. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Superzoom is very much second rate, maybe good for sports photography etc, but the sensor is too small for the lens to be able to pick up birds on a busy leafy background for example. If you can, borrow one first before spending your money on it. If you get a BlackRapid Strap (which leaves your hands free) for the DSLR you'll have no trouble carrying it all day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you both for the comments, very useful.

    ReplyDelete