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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lillian's Camera Equipment

Lillian with the Canon 1D Mark IV camera with the Canon 500 mm IS lens with a 1.4 teleconverter, Gitzo 1325 Carbon Fiber Tripod and Whimberley Head

In this photo Lillian is using the Canon 1D Mark II with the Canon 300 mm IS lens with 1.4 teleconverter and 550 EX Flash with Flash extender. Note, I now use the Canon 1D Mark IV

Readers of our blog keep asking, "What kind of photo equipment does Lillian have?"
Here's the answer -

- I have now upgraded to use the Canon 1D Mark IV camera body , which I love and feel is the best Canon body for the type of photography I do.

- Canon 500 mm f.4 IS (image stabilized) lens
- Canon 300 mm f.4 IS lens ( I think this is a sharper lens than the Canon 100-400 f.4 lens)
- Canon 2x and 1.4 teleconverters
- Gitzo 1325 Carbon Fiber Tripod (for the 500 mm lens, love the light weight of this tripod) and Whimberly Head
- Canon 550 EX Flash and Flash extender (most of the time I don't use flash)
- Quantum Turbo Battery Pack

Most of the time, I am photographing birds, so that is why I have the long telephoto lenses. It's hard to get close enough to birds to photograph them, so telephotos are essential. Frequently I am using the 500 mm lens plus a 1.4 or 2 x teleconverter. If I were bigger (I'm 5' 4 1/2" with a light frame), I would own the Canon 600 mm IS lens, but the 500 mm lens is heavy enough as it is for me to lug around, the light weight of the carbon fiber tripod helps.

My preferred set-up for all flight photography and in situations where I can get quite close to birds or need to be very portable, is hand-holding the Canon 1D Mark IV with the 300 mm IS lens with a 1.4 teleconverter on autofocus. I love this combo.
I own the Canon 1-400 mm IS zoom lens and the Canon 400 mm f 5.6 (non image stabilized) lens but I think the 300 mm lens give me superior, sharper flight photos.

This is high end, expensive, professional camera equipment and most of the professional bird photographers I know have this, or similar equipment. Some of the models of equipment I have are now updated. If you're looking for something not as pricey, I would recommend the Canon 50 D, Canon 7 D, or Rebel XT3i camera bodies and the Canon 300 mm IS lens or 70- 300 mm IS zoom lens, or even the Canon 1-400 IS zoom lens, if you want good, not super sharp images. I am partial to Canon, I think it's very user friendly, reliable equipment. Most pros I know use Canon, some use Nikon. There are other cameras out there that could be good, I'm not familiar with them. Canon equipment just keeps getting better and the newer, less expensive cameras keep improving and are almost as good as the high end stuff. Good news, if you are just getting your camera gear.

Of course, getting the gear is just the first step. The three steps in bird photography, as I see it are:

1. Photo Gear
2. Photo Opportunities
3. Photo Technique

The hardest step is the technique. In future blogs, I 'll talk more about all this. If you are just getting started the best advice I can give is learn to use all the features of your camera and practice, practice, practice. This is digital, so just erase your errors.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your information about camera equipment. Its a very confusing subject and your selections will help novices like me make good choices when upgrading our cameras.