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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk
Thread started 23 Jun 2016 (Thursday) 08:28
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What's your birding set up?

 
LovingMemoriesPhotography
Hatchling
3 posts
Joined May 2016
Jun 23, 2016 08:28 |  #1
banned

Greetings everyone,
I'm currently shoot portraits and family events. And the longest length i have is 70-200Lii to go with the full frame so no crop factor involve here. Anyway, i want to slowly trying out birding because it seems fun. I'm thinking of a classic 7D + 100-400L or sigma or tamron, what do you think? I know i won't see the quality the new lens such as 100-400Lii with 1Dx or 7Dii.
I also saw great images from the superzoom P900 & SX60. Would you recommend these? What's your set up?
Any input is greatly appreciated.

Phuong.




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Beekeeper
Goldmember
Joined May 2010
Dayton, Ohio, United States
Jun 23, 2016 15:37 |  #2

What body are you currently using? You may not need a new body, just an upgrade to a new lens. Two years ago I picked up a 7D and 400mm5.6 lens, and that set worked well. I grabbed a 7D2 a few months ago to have a second body so I'm not trying to switch lenses in the field. I'd check Canon's refurbished lenses. The 400/5.6 or the original 100-400 should work well. Nothing wrong with the 7D. I have been happy with both the original and the 7D2.


Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/46367607@N06/ (external link)
7DI Body Gripped|7DII Gripped|EF 85mm1.8|EF 50mm1.4|EF 100mm2.8L IS Macro|EF-S 10-22mm|EF 400mm5.6L|430EXII|580E​XII

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by MalVeauX. 2 edits done in total.
Jun 23, 2016 16:06 |  #3

LovingMemoriesPhotogra​phy wrote in post #18047747 (external link)
Greetings everyone,
I'm currently shoot portraits and family events. And the longest length i have is 70-200Lii to go with the full frame so no crop factor involve here. Anyway, i want to slowly trying out birding because it seems fun. I'm thinking of a classic 7D + 100-400L or sigma or tamron, what do you think? I know i won't see the quality the new lens such as 100-400Lii with 1Dx or 7Dii.
I also saw great images from the superzoom P900 & SX60. Would you recommend these? What's your set up?
Any input is greatly appreciated.

Phuong.

Heya Phuong,

Depends on a few factors.

1) How close are you going to get to the subject relative to the subject size? I ask because there's never enough reach, but, you can still do it with a short lens. More on this in a moment.

2) Birding as in flying, or birding as in simply in situ or stationary? This makes a big difference in the approach on the lens and camera combination and one puts a lot of stress on the AF of the pair, and one puts a lot of stress on other factors.

3) Lighting matters. Like most things, shooting at high noon is not often the best time. Geographic location can matter, some places are simply darker than others, which puts a lot of stress on the gear compared to a naturally sunny-all-day type place.

4) What kind of expectations are you setting for this? Just dabbling, or do you want to produce the kinds of shots that require you to hike some where, camp a day or two, and monitor a location you've scouted, etc.

There's so many ways to approach this, that it doesn't matter what kit we use, what matters is what you're going to be shooting, where, when, and what you want it to look like. Some birds are huge, some are small, so it really changes how things are.

It really matters if you're planning on just walking outside and looking for birds down the road. Or if you're going to study a species, go to it's habitat, learn it's behavior, take notes on when it's at various locations, what and how it feeds or mates or defends territory, etc, and then go there early before anything is up and active to get close and just await your subject to get supremely close for frame-fillers in natural environment. Or, you could be setting up a feeder and doing close up shots of birds that are being attracted to you. Or maybe you're at a coastal area or natural rookery with tame species and you just want to walk around and shoot what you see without planning much. It really just goes on and on, but you have to figure out what you want to do, what you want to be capable of doing, and what you're willing to put into it.

I bird with several setups. I do a few methods too. One method is a feeder, I attract song birds & woodpeckers when I'm not wanting to go farther from home than my front door. I setup a blind and a feeder and a few mounts and I just sit in my blind and watch and shoot song birds that come to my feeder. You can do this with really inexpensive gear, and you can get up close, so it really reduces stress on gear. Another method I do, is I go to the natural habitat of a few species I monitor and follow, that I know their habits and life cycles, and I simply go where they will be (most likely) and wait for them with a few different pieces of kit, but that way I'm not disturbing them because I'm already there, a piece of the terrain, and can just hang out, up close, and image them. Another method I use is to slide around in a kayak on the ocean and in rivers or lakes to creep up on water fowl to get close, and I use a much shorter kit for that because I can get close in an area that you can't walk in (and thus no other people which helps). And honestly, there are days when I literally just walk along the coast line and do a "what may" approach, and just see if I get lucky or not, as a lot of coastal species here in Florida will nearly take your lunch and don't mind being photographed at all.

You can bird with any gear honestly. It's all about understanding what technique and approach you need for your subject and utilizing it.

I often bird with a 7D and a 200mm F2.8L prime. That's it. Just that short, little, fast setup. I can get very close though. Like 8~9 feet close. I often use this when I'm in a kayak, or when I'm sitting in a blind, or when I'm at the coast and awaiting the birds I'm looking for to come to me and I'm there first. Sometimes I use a 1.4x TC or 2.0x TC with that setup, and get good results if I need a little more pixels on target. Very easy for in-flight because of how short it is, yet fast enough to handle it, and enough resolution for heavy cropping while keeping some detail. I used to use 1D series, but now I just use a 7D, because it's lighter and does the same job for me and packs more resolution than the two 1D's I was shooting.

I also often bird with a full frame, an old 5D classic, mostly because I just like to, in low light, under canopy, with birds in situ or perched, with a long image stabilized lens, like my Tamron 150-600 VC. Sometimes on a tripod+gimbal, or often just with a monopod. I'm talking F6.3 (wide open) in low light, with ISO 800, rolling a shutter speed as slow as 1/25s with a 600mm on an old 5D full frame. Doesn't sound like a birding setup, but, I'm so comfortable with some of the environments/swamps/we​tlands, and study my subjects, and await them where I want to, that I can get away with nearly anything so I simply select any gear I feel like using and put it to use--requires good technique though, it's not easy photographing live birds with very slow shutter speeds with long lenses. I've used anything from 1D series, 7D, Rebel series, etc for this, but actually these days I more and more just use my old 5D classics because I just like how the files look and I can get really good isolation at F6.3 at 600mm on a full frame, a few feet from the subject for great detail, without having to buy a $10k setup.

Humble examples:

Birding from a blind in my yard, with a cheap Rebel, a 600mm Tamron, and a gimbal+mount:

IMAGE: https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7707/17641146398_01e668f231_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/sSTu​dw] (external link)BirdFeederMKII_Setup (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Birding & Wildlife in wetlands and swamps with a 600mm, 1D series, flash setup, gimbal+mount:

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5710/22865414177_0e0304a4b7_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/AQxe​1V] (external link)IMG_9623 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Birding & Fishing in the flats of the Gulf of Mexico (my home spot) with a 200mm & TC on a 7D, out on the water, beer & fishing poles for while I'm waiting for the birds:

IMAGE: https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7203/27525526290_ae0f0c7439_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/HWkv​Zu] (external link)IMG_9790 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

More birding from a kayak, fishing while I wait, 600mm any any camera for when they come in and crash bait:

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8736/17798128032_4ba9a9716c_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/t7L4​oq] (external link)gopro03 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Shoreline birding with a 7D, 600mm Tamron, and a right-angle viewfinder, all just "what may" chance as I walk along the Gulf beach with tame species:

IMAGE: https://c4.staticflickr.com/2/1562/24392824779_5235a4299d_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/DavA​Yt] (external link)IMG_0830 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

More Shoreline birding, mostly Osprey that fish the lagoon here, just a simple 7D and 600mm on a monopod:

IMAGE: https://c5.staticflickr.com/2/1610/25704784132_febf91ce7d_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/FarJ​Mj] (external link)IMG_1808 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Swamp birding with a pack, full gear, several cameras, knee pads for rough terrain when I drop down, and full clothing, with 5D/7D/1D and 200mm & 600mm, and I don't go any where with a lit cavendish packed pipe:

IMAGE: https://c5.staticflickr.com/2/1461/24464986860_db7a3dc32b_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/DgTs​fh] (external link)IMG_0822 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Balcony birding at the Gulf coast, facing into the water where birds pass through basically constantly, large and small, flying in from islands. 200mm, APS-C, a pint & a pipe.

IMAGE: https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8584/15335376894_5007f35b60_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/pn8P​gU] (external link)IMG_6610 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

It's all about what you wanna do!

Very best,

My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380! | Canon 5D Classic Bundle for Sale! $250!

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LovingMemoriesPhotography
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Hatchling
3 posts
Joined May 2016
Jun 23, 2016 20:11 |  #4
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I'm currently using a 5d mark 3. I just want to try it out, not sure if i will have much time for it in the future. I plan to just shoot around local parks/wood area where authorized, and possible makes a few trip to Conowingo Dam before bald eagles season.
How does the image quality of the tamron compares to the sigma? I'm not planning to spend on a 3k set up with 7d2 and 100-400Lii.




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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Jun 23, 2016 20:23 |  #5

LovingMemoriesPhotogra​phy wrote in post #18048381 (external link)
I'm currently using a 5d mark 3. I just want to try it out, not sure if i will have much time for it in the future. I plan to just shoot around local parks/wood area where authorized, and possible makes a few trip to Conowingo Dam before bald eagles season.
How does the image quality of the tamron compares to the sigma? I'm not planning to spend on a 3k set up with 7d2 and 100-400Lii.

Image quality of the Tamron & Sigma are equivalent. Most will suggest a Sigma C for cost. If you want a cheap 600mm, get either one, they are great, so just get the best deal on which ever you can find. My Tamron is stupid sharp wide open at F6.3, and the VC is absolutely a beast (I get down to 1/25s at 600mm not on a tripod). Tamron has a weather seal around the mount. Focus is good enough for birding in my book and I've used it with anything from an old 5D to a 1D series.

Sounds to me like this is just a maybe thing, and maybe a MKI 100-400 would be more ideal, or even a 400 F5.6L prime. Or even a 300 F4L would be a nice option. You'll want a long lens for Eagles, but, you don't need much when walking around a park with some ducks or something.

Here's my Tamron, wide open at F6.3:

IMAGE: https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7425/27141986554_e4b8b2e7dc_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/HmrL​Zq] (external link)IMG_3693 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Check this shutter at 600mm, no tripod there:

IMAGE: https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7424/27654152102_3712dc3392_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/J8GK​XU] (external link)IMG_3636 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

I like Eagle portraits too:

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7202/27720074416_eb9ab178fc_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/JewC​nw] (external link)IMG_3678 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Here's how the Tamron performs with two TC's stacked up, a 2.0x & 1.4x together:

IMAGE: https://c5.staticflickr.com/2/1499/25796631676_bcb9bb05e0_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Fiyt​RE] (external link)IMG_9583 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Very best,

My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380! | Canon 5D Classic Bundle for Sale! $250!

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Larry ­ Johnson
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Virginia
Jun 23, 2016 20:47 |  #6

LovingMemoriesPhotogra​phy wrote in post #18047747 (external link)
I'm thinking of a classic 7D + 100-400L

Phuong.

Jessica Kirste uses a 7D with an original 100-400 and makes some incredible wildlife photographs. She's on flickr. https://www.flickr.com​/photos/orcaholic2001/ (external link)

It's not entirely about your set-up.


_______________
Ain't Nature Grand!
Shooting 7D2 with Canon 400mm, f/5.6.
60D, canon 18-135 EFS, and 1.4 extender in the bag.
flickr (external link)

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Beekeeper
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Joined May 2010
Dayton, Ohio, United States
Jun 24, 2016 01:23 |  #7

Nothing wrong with the 5D3 for birds. I'd look at lenses. Malveaux is doing really well with that Tamron!


Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/46367607@N06/ (external link)
7DI Body Gripped|7DII Gripped|EF 85mm1.8|EF 50mm1.4|EF 100mm2.8L IS Macro|EF-S 10-22mm|EF 400mm5.6L|430EXII|580E​XII

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smaeda
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Shawnee, KS
Jul 01, 2016 13:21 |  #8

I'm on a 5D3 with 70-200 as well and work with what I have. Not ideal but possible.

IMAGE: https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7528/27826440982_f461e97f48_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/JoVM​rQ] (external link)5DM38952_2 (external link) by shintarodesign (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://c6.staticflickr.com/8/7316/27808150645_bafea5fe5b_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Jnj3​nc] (external link)5DM38781_2 (external link) by shintarodesign (external link), on Flickr

https://instagram.com/​shintarodesign (external link)
www.shintarodesign.com (external link)
https://www.facebook.c​om/shintarodesign (external link)
5Diii, 70-200mm f2.8 L, 35mm f2 IS, 100mm f2.8 L,

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Mr_ipsum
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Yonkers, NY
Jul 05, 2016 09:46 |  #9

7DMii and the Canon 100-400 ii for my setup.


RichardCervellonePhoto​graphy.com (external link) | Follow me on Instagram (external link)

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frozenframe
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Joined Jun 2013
Kansas, USA
Jul 07, 2016 05:26 |  #10

70D and Sigma 150-600c, Shanny SN600C with Better Beamer, all on a Vanguard ABEO 323AB tripod with Opteka gimbal head.


Ron
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davomate
Member
114 posts
Joined May 2011
Melbourne, Australia
Jul 25, 2016 01:30 as a reply to Larry Johnson's post |  #11

I had the same setup but my 100-400 I was a bit soft wide open, so had to sacrifice a stop of ISO for a narrower aperture. The image stabilisation on it was first generation as well. Traded it for a new Sigma 150-600 C. A definite improvement in sharpness and stabilisation, and that extra reach without a converter. A 100-400 II plus converter was too expensive for me. I still need a monopod at full zoom on a 7D, but I am happy with the combination.


Canon 7D / 10-22 / 17-55 / 70-200 f2.8L IS II / 100-400L / 100L Macro / Σ 30 f1.4 A / Σ 85 f1.4

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