08 February 2008

Camera Test Drive

Last weekend I borrowed my parents' Canon Digital Rebel w/ 300mm lens with image stabilization on my usual trip to Siders Pond. Here's what popped up:

The resident American Coot

Preenin' Red-breasted Merganser

I was really excited to use a lens with image stabilization since New England winters prohibit my old method of bare-handed point-and-shooting, what with the shivering. But I wasn't so impressed. All of these shots were maxed out at 300mm, and still required a lot of cropping and touch-up for birds that seemed much closer and clearer. I'm not sure if a digiscoping setup would improve on the distance (I imagine it would) or if the image quality would suffer by using a P&S with a scope (I'm not sure it would). So I think I'd like to try that at some point as a contrast. While the Rebel certainly beats out digibinning, which for me seems to have about a 1% keeper output, and seemed to work great on close-up birds in the brush, if I were to spend an hour or so at a stationary birding spot, I think I would opt with a scope setup. For walks along narrow paths, the Rebel's lighter weight and maneuverability coupled with its fantastic close-up images would make it the preferred camera setup. Jeez, for someone who has neither, I sure have a lot of opinions about both options.

I'll pose a question now: If you carry a lot of stuff in the field with you, how do you carry it? My previous binoculars were truly "pocket" bins; my new Swarovski's--not so much (but they will always be soooo much better). Walking around with a digital SLR with a 300mm lens got to be a little awkward. I suppose most people would carry around a tripod for their camera, or if they planned to be on the move the whole time, simply to use the camera as their binoculars maybe. Advice? Commiserations?

Common Goldeneye giving me the evil eye. The crap in the way is a bush of some sort.

1 comment:

BirdingGirl said...

Bennet, these pictures are impressive- congrats on the new camera! I have found ducks to be the most difficult to photograph due to the high contrast in their coloring, along with the sun relecting off the water. Nicely done!