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20

Well, in order to get good results, you'll have to make the plunge into non-auto settings. I'd recommend Manual mode. The problem you're running into here is that you are pointing your camera at a bird in the sky, which is bright. Camera meters are set up to try and make every exposure a uniform grey in terms of brightness. So if you point your camera at ...


17

There are several custom function options available to the 7D which can be configured to assist with tracking moving objects: C.FnIII -1 AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity You want this set to "Slow" - this will stop the AF system trying to refocus on anything that briefly passes between you and the subject you are tracking - handy with birds where branches etc ...


15

Be Ready! First thing first, when you can, always keep your eye trained on the subject through the lens. Birds are quick, alert, and attentive, and when they do something interesting thats worth capturing, you rarely have time to bring the camera to your eye, frame, focus, and get a shot. So its critical that you are watching the bird through the lens as ...


15

Update: Some of the equipment described in this otherwise excellent answer has been updated. In 2014, Canon replaced the EOS 7D described below with the 7D Mark II, offering a number of improvements over the original version: 65 point AF all cross-type AF system (up from 19 AF points) improved AF tracking 10 frames/second in continuous drive (up from 8) ...


11

Your example is made up of images from two different situations. It is extremely likely that no lens / camera on earth could achieve the sort of image shown in that situation without "cheating" by using some sort of processing - and probably multiple images - to deal with bar removal. You CAN achieve extremely good results when you have control over where ...


10

You will want to use an automatic continuous/servo mode to photograph birds in flight (BIF). Most modern cameras support some kind of servo mode, even entry-level cameras. Using servo mode is only part of the solution to tracking BIF, however. More advanced cameras offer additional AF features, such as multipoint AF Expansion or Zone AF that will use more ...


9

If you're a canon shooter, I'll second the 7D. I use it for most of my work, and it's great. I've also shot extensively with the 100-400, and Mike's note on it does a good job of explaining why it's a good answer for you. Having said that, I've retired my 100-400 and I'm now shooting a different set of lenses, and depending on what your kit already looks ...


7

Continuous auto-focus is almost always the right choice, but it's also just the first of many decisions you need to make. (warning: ultimately the answer is going to come down to "know how your gear will react in a given situation" and "practice practice practice"). To successfully get shots like this reliably, you need to learn how your camera functions ...


7

That's a complicated want list with things that are fundamentally in conflict. Here are what I think are the key thigns you're asking for: Canon Body landscapes and people (wide angle zoom) flowers and occasional macro-style shots birds and critters (big, powerful telephoto) Body $2000, lens $2000 (max, $1500 preferred). So, $3500 total. Lightweight. ...


7

It is great that you know what you want to shoot and have a respectable budget. The issue with what you are asking is that you will not be able to satisfy all those requirements at any price. The most critical is that bird photography takes long lenses which are they also need to be bright when you want to shoot wildlife in low-light. Honestly, it's hard to ...


7

I wrote about this on my blog recently: http://www.chuqui.com/2013/06/getting-started-in-bird-photography-choose-your-weapons/ For someone getting started, it's not really true that you need a big, heavy, expensive camera set any more. There are some really nice, moderately priced cameras with what are called "superzoom" lenses. There are limitations to ...


7

Easiest fix Only shoot the bird when the sun is at your back, not behind the bird. Given how redtails circle where I am, I sometimes just wait as I draw a bead and follow them around the circle, to where the light is falling on them nicely. However. This will be rarer than backlit opportunities, because a hunting hawk doesn't like to fly into the light ...


6

The key to great shots is often to isolate your subjects, so that you can make the shot as much about them and really bring out details. With animals this often means using a long lens, particularly for birds which can be small, high-up and far. There are exceptions and cases where you can get really close to animals, like in the Galapagos islands, but more ...


6

There is no one lens that can do everything you want because wildlife and landscape require almost the exact opposite lens properties. I have the 18-135 and I love it as a travel lens - but it's not a good wildlife lens. For wildlife you want a long focal length and fast accurate auto-focus, long lenses tend to be big and heavy so they aren't very easy-to-...


6

As someone who occasionally indulges in bird photography, shoots micro four-thirds, and has adapted manual lenses to her Canon dSLRs, I'd say don't do it. The lens will be disproportionately big and heavy compared to your G5, and the lack of autofocus (and EXIF, and aperture control from the body unless the lens has an aperture ring) will probably be more ...


5

I'll take a stab at giving you some hints. Remember that nearly all photography stores will let you try out gear. This is key when selecting bodies and lenses. If you've researched and found 2-3 lenses you might be interested in coupled with a body or two, go to the store and check the combinations out. Maybe you will find that what seemed ok on the paper is ...


5

From a camera perspective the Nikon D5000 and Canon 600D are both perfectly usable and powerful enough for wildlife photography. However, neither one has a kit lens that would be useful for wildlife, especially birds. As a very general rule of thumb, 300mm is the minimum for larger game, 400mm for larger birds, and you can never have enough focal length for ...


5

This is nothing to do with your settings; you just need a longer focal length - or in other words, a new, bigger, heavier, significantly more expensive lens. As a very rough rule of thumb, you'll want a focal length of around 400mm (full-frame equivalent) in order to do birding shots, or a lens which can go to about 250-300mm taking into account the 1.5x ...


5

I've been a professional long-lens bird/nature shooter since the 80's. I used to use very big and pricey dedicated video cameras/lenses, but now have found the wonderful micro-4/3 world and love it. I've gotten some amazing shots, both video and stills, by adapting older long telephoto lenses to my Panasonic G6 and GH3, as well as my Olympus E-PL5 and E-M5 ...


5

What lens would work for a canon 6D to take up close photos of birds far away in the trees? It comes down to three questions: How up close do you want to get? How far away are the trees? How big are the birds? In landscape orientation, your 400mm lens takes in 3.4 degrees over the height of the sensor and 5.2 degrees across the width. That means that a ...


4

I shoot small birds at a bird feeder with a 70-200mm f2.8 + 2x teleconverter on a 1.5x crop-sensor Nikon DSLR (effectively 600mm). If you're also shooting small birds, my experience may be helpful. I keep the camera on a tripod, with the ballhead loose so I can swivel quickly and easily. Holding the camera for any length of time is difficult not just ...


4

Counter-intuitively, shutter priority mode is often not the best way to go when photographing birds in flight. The auto and semi-auto modes often get confused and meter for the sky. A good solution is to set your camera to Manual, point it at the grass at your feet (preferably sunlit grass, not shady) and set the camera to expose that correctly. Adjust the ...


4

Here is a relevant 1:1 snippet from near the middle: Nothing looks out of expectation here. You can definitely see the softness of the lens a bit, and it looks like the picture was overexposed. The lens sharpness for this detail with this size sensor is reasonable enough. The overexposure is making the tops of the flamingos look more white than pink. ...


4

I shoot both a Canon 50D and the micro four-thirds G3 and GX7. I use my 50D/EF 400mm f/5.6L USM combo for bird in flight shots. For me, the difference is chalk and cheese at the speed of reaction I have to have to get a BiF shot. The G3 with my 45-200 OIS are perfectly capable of taking perched/walking bird shots, though, as you suspected. G3+45-200 ...


3

My experience shows that using continuous autofocus (AI Servo for Canon, AF-C for Nikon and Sony, AF.C for Pentax, C-AF for Olympus) with all or a large number of the autofocus points active gives the best results. The area AF systems in high-end Canon and Nikon cameras offer the highest performance currently available when tracking moving subjects, with a ...


3

At the risk of contradicting everyone, the one with the longest zoom will be better for non-professional bird photography. On your list, that is the L810 but I would recommend a camera with more controls over that one, such as the Nikon P510 which I just reviewed and has a 42X optical zoom reaching 1000mm. It is available for $429 USD. Why? Because what ...


3

I'm surprised that no options that can take a teleconverter have been mentioned. There are many extensive answers here, however I think one lens in particular might fulfill most of your needs (landscapes excepted, as you will probably want something fairly wide angle for your general landscape photography). The Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS (Mark I, not Mark II)...


3

I you're going to be standing on the ground with cages on poles like in the image you posted then you're out of luck. In order to throw the cage bars out of focus to the extent to which they don't show up in the image your lens will have to be very close to the cage (touching if possible). You'll need a wide aperture lens with a fairly close focusing ...


3

A crop camera (1.6x) and Sigma's "Bigma" lens (50-500mm), would get you a respectable 800mm reach and value. In the end, learning bird behavior, approach techniques, and perfecting your patience are probably going to be the best benefit no matter your gear.


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