Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nerdy Birdy: The Gear - Long Term Plan

This was my last day of renting the 2x teleconverter and I had to make a decision. I was still torn about what to do and everyone that I spoke to seemed to have different opinions about which equipment pieces work best for bird photography. In the end I decided to do my research and figure out a long term goal for what I will eventually need to take bird photos the way I want, but I also wanted a short term goal to tide me over until I can save up enough for the long term goal. By setting up these goals I was able to make my final decision about the teleconverter.

Even with the amount of degration of the image, the blurring and the softness that I sometimes get I realized that when I used the teleconverter correctly I was able to get some stunning shots. I think initially I was trying to use the teleconverter to shoot birds further away when in actuality the teleconverter should be only used to take closer photos of birds. For instance I found that the ration I could crop in and still have a nice image was about 33% of the frame. If the bird did not fill that much it was not worth taking (unless it was the first time I had ever seen that bird).

I bought the 2x teleconverter which I now use with my 50D camera and with my 100-400 4.5-5.6 L lens. Unfortunately I don’t have a powerful enough camera to use the teleconverter and still maintain auto focus but it is a small price to pay to get some great shots. I think with practice I will be able to tide myself over until I can get what I want.

Curious about what that maybe? Well after months of research and talking to over 20 photographers I have decided that I need a better body than my 50D. Right now I would love a Mark but I would also settle for the 70D. Basically I want a better body that will give me a better ISO, faster shutter speed and higher megapixels (so I can crop into the photo and it will still be clear). I have also decided after MUCH debate to get the 500mm f4 fixed lens over getting the 600 or the 800. Mostly this decision was based on weight and the fact that I am not a sit and stay kind of photographer. I like to hike, granted it is a slow hike but I just don’t see myself carrying around a big huge lens like the 600 or 800. Lastly I decided on getting the Gitzo 1548 Carbon Fiber tripod with a Wimberley Sidekick tripod head. I am done with screwing around with a crappy tripod setup and I decided to invest in the best so I will have it for years to come.

Enough for equipment now let’s get back to the birds.

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