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FORUMS General Gear Talk Camera Vs. Camera 
Thread started 01 Feb 2018 (Thursday) 01:26
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photography newby

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Joined Feb 2018
Feb 01, 2018 01:26 |  #1

Wanting to start taking wildlife photos and videos what all would I need to get started? Any help would be appreciated.

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I coulda shoulda woulda
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Joined Feb 2008
Location: Australia
Feb 01, 2018 03:20 |  #2

Hi Wildlifelover, welcome to the forum.

Couple of questions first:

Are you just starting out?
Do you have any gear, or had any gear in the past?
What sort of experience do you currently have?
Do you have a budget in mind?
What are your expectations? Hobbyist/Professional (sell your images)

digital ­ paradise
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Feb 01, 2018 14:12 |  #3

For wildlife an unofficial rule of thumb is to at least use a 400mm lens. Longer is better but then you have weight and cost factors. Butts has some good questions because hard to give advice without knowing more.

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Feb 01, 2018 14:49 |  #4

wildlifelover wrote in post #18553876 (external link)
Wanting to start taking wildlife photos and videos what all would I need to get started? Any help would be appreciated.

Budget? What wildlife? Where? What conditions?


Very best,

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Joined Sep 2009
Feb 02, 2018 13:11 |  #5

MalVeauX wrote in post #18554192 (external link)
Budget? What wildlife? Where? What conditions?


Canon 1DXii + 400 f/2.8 and/or 600 f/4
Canon 7D/80D + 100-400
Sony RX10 IV
Panasoinic DMC-FZ1000
Sony DSC-H300

An option for every budget from $17000 to $178

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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Feb 06, 2018 08:55 |  #6

IF I shot wildlife (ergo I don't, so take this with a grain of salt); I'd probably go for the Panasonic G9, and the 200mm f2.8, Olympus 300mm f4, and maybe 40-150mm f2.8. 12-60 f2.8-4 if you want something wider as well. There's a 2x crop so the equivalents would be 400mm, 600mm, and 80-300mm. My reasoning would be the camera is a little lighter and smaller than the avg wildlife capable DSLR, solid AF, 20fps, big buffer, tilt screen, silent (electronic) shutter for times you need it (at 50fps with locked AF too). And solid 4k video with decent profiles.

The lenses are all solid, and the 200mm appears to be pretty exceptional as well...not to mention a fraction of the size (the same can be said for all m43 lenses) as the full frame counterpart. So overall, weight and price plus good IQ would be my reasoning. Also, Panasonic is killing it in video, so if that's your thing it would be a plus that it can do both very well. The 1DX/D5, 7DII/D500 bodies would probably be better overall for stills...but at the cost of more money to invest, and a lot more weight, with so-so video by today's standards. I'm thinking of getting into sports and this is option A for me, option B is waiting to see what Sony does or announces development of in the next month or two.

The only downsides would be ISO isn't going to be as clean as the avg FF DSLR. Reviews suggest it's marginally better than the GH5 which I find good up to 1600, and sorta usable at 2000. It also has more DOF for a given aputure (2 stops worth), so if razor thin DOF is your thing, it's possible...but harder to accomplish compared to FF. Ex. 200mm f2.8, is an equiv. 400mm f2.8 in terms of crop and exposure...but the DOF is equivalent to a f5.6 lens. Oh, and for the time being m4/3 (Panasonic and Olympus) are capped at 20mp, so if you crop heavily or want to print super big that's all you'll have to work with. Panasonic announced that by 2020 they want 8k video in their cameras, so IF that applies to the consumer ones (ie. Gh5/G9) and not just their cinema bodies that'll mean roughly 32mp or thereabouts soon.

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Feb 10, 2018 09:52 |  #7

I do shoot wildlife, as many here do. You can't get a lens too big. See my gear list. If I was starting out, I would probably pickup a new Canon 5D Mark IV and a couple of used lenses. The 600mm is great and the Version 1 is available on eBay at half the cost of a new Version II. I would also get a 70-200mm f/2/8 Mark II. Finally, I would add in a 1.4 Mark III extender. You are also going to need a tripod and gimbal head for the big lens. But, since you didn't state a budget, this is what I would do if starting out new. My two cents.


Canon 5D Mark IV Gripped x 2, Canon "L" EF 11-24mm f/4L USM, Canon "L" EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, Canon "L" 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM, Canon "L" 200mm-400mm f/4 EXT, Canon "L" EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM, EF 1.4X III Extender (x2), EF 2X III, plus various other tripods, filters and bags

Cream of the Crop
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Feb 11, 2018 10:04 |  #8

A budget approach to starting out in wildlife photography, using a Canon DSLR, would be a 80D, preferably with the grip, you will be glad of the extra mass to balance the lens. Lensi wise I would go with the Sigma 150-600 C and I would probably mate it with the matching Sigma 1.4× teleconverter, since the lens was designed with that particular converter in mind.

Then you will need a tripod and gimbal, for budget legs I would be looking at something like the Manfrotto 055 series, a good set of basic aluminium legs, but of course not super lightweight. I would avoid looking at anything cheaper and Chinese. The legs should at least last you a decent amount of time, I would always prefer to be at the bottom end of the good stuff, than the top end of the noname stuff. Gimbal wise I'm not really sure what to suggest, but you will need to budget at least the same again as the legs.

Assuming that you have no photographic equipment at all at the moment, you would probably do well to buy the body with the EF-s 18-135 IS Nano USM, this is an excellent all purpose lens, and you could probably manage OK with the small focal length gap between 135mm and 150mm. Ideally though you would probably also want to add the 55-250 IS nano USM or even the new 70-300 nano USM, as it seems from reports that Canon have finally managed to put out a consumer level 70-300 that is not seriously bettered on an APS-c body by the latest version of the 55-250.

This is probably the cheapest way to a useable setup for general wildlife, but it is still probably in the $3000+ price range, depending on where and how you can purchase the kit. If in the US I would try to buy all of the Canon kit through the refurb store, as this gets you the full Canon new warranty on nearly new kit. Much of it is dealer returns, that may never have even been sold. Even the used stuff generally is like new, and cameras tend to have very low shutter counts. For the rest in the US I would suggest either Adorama or B+H, they are both highly reputable bricks and mortar stores in New York, who do very competitive online pricing.

I notice that you also say video, and the 80D is very good for that if you are OK with shooting 1080. If you want 4K though that means a 5DIV, and that would then mean a 24-105 as your general use lens, and a 70-300 or 70-200L as the medium range telephoto zoom.


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