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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:06 pm 
Hello guys,
I'm thinking about buying a good camera with a good lens. I'm biologist and I want a good camera for taking pictures in the wild of birds and mammals. I'm tired of my Sony H50 and its auto-focus.
I'm afraid to buy something wrong once the prices are expensive for a professional camera.
I was wondering about the Nikon d90 + Nikkor 70-300mm. But I have been looking some reviews and maybe a Sony Alpha 550 with an equivalent lens could also be an option.
I don't know which of them I should try. Maybe you can help me and I'm open to "hear" about other models (maybe less expensive).

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:06 am
Posts: 1977
I cannot speak on Nikon but I would suggest maybe trying to go with a lens which reaches to 400 instead of 300 if your budget allows. Most wildlife photographers consider 400 to be a minimum length for consistant success with not too many frustrations about not having enough reach. Even with my 100-400 I am greatful that I have the 7D as the mp on that sensor still allow me to crop enough to bring the subject to the scale I want.

If most of your photography will be of urban wildlife or zoo wildlife 300 should be enough however.

No matter what you get there will be times you will be wishing for more.... especially if you shoot a lot of birds.

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Canon 7D + 50D + EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM + EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM + EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Pelican // Black Rapid // Think Tank // Manfrotto // Garmin

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 815
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Either of those cameras would likely do quite well for you - both are very capable mid-entry cameras with excellent versatility and good features, fast, with good IQ.

You're pretty well fine on brand - they're all fine...just look for the right price, figure out which you are comfortable with in your hands, and see what lenses you can find for each...that should get you started.

Speaking of the A550, I've had much success and have been very pleased with it as a bird/wildlife camera as well as for just about any other type of photography I've done in the past year...paired with a nice long lens it can be a fantastic wildlife cam...much as I'd expect of the D90. Depending on budget, Wolf's right that 300 is a wee bit short for heavy wildlife use, but can get you by pretty well - most likely you'll eventually be wanting 400 or more. Of course, they can get pricey. I've gotten by for years with a very decent Tamron 200-500mm lens, which provides excellent ultrazoom like range (up to 750mm with crop factor), still very strong detail and sharpness with great color, and is cheap comparatively as it doesn't have stabilization or a metal body (Sony DSLR bodies have stabilization, so the lens doesn't need it). For around $800 new, and less used, it's a great lens for wildlife when you need that range. I also picked up a high end Minolta 300mm F4 APO lens for when I need quality over distance...other more expensive options to consider are the Sony 70-400mm which is supposed to be a very good lens.

Nikon has a large lens collection, so you'd likely have no problem finding what you need to match the same on the D90. and Pentax and Canon are also worth a look. Just make sure you like holding the camera in your hand...that's more important than the brand name.

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:32 am 
Thanks for the tips!
Actually I do not intend to spend a lot in a camera, that's why I thought about d90 and Sony A550. I wondered about Nikon d5000, but the lenses are too expensive.
The Sony A55 is also an option, but I don't if the lenses are expensive.
I also like to take macro shoots (insects in flowers) and later I'll search for macro lenses.
My real problem now is that the lenses are really expensive, specially those I'm looking for (100-400 mm, or other up to 400mm). I'm, thinking about buying something used.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 815
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
That would be my suggestion...actually, look for a new camera body, but one that's a soon-discontinued model or on closeout sale (the D90 and A550 are both good for that as they've been around a while and are nicely discounted), then pick up the lenses used. Try a place like KEH.com or B&H used section to see what you can find. I have purchased several used lenses for my A550 - one thing I definitely liked about in-body stabilization was some of the cheap used Minolta, Tamron and Sigma lenses I could pick up in A-mount with no stabilization, and still get them stabilized...especially a nice perk with primes that otherwise wouldn't be stabilized. The Minolta 100-300, Minolta 100-400, Tamron 200-500, Minolta 'big beercan' 75-300, Sigma 400 F5.6, and the Minolta 500 reflex can all be picked up pretty cheap used - as in $100-600 range. Even really serious lenses like the Minolta 300mm F4 APO G I was able to find used for under $1,000 in mint condition with case, caps and all filters and accessories.

As for Macro, I picked up a great Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro for $80...hard to beat that! Sharp as a tack, and stabilized too.

Again...the same likely holds true for Nikon and others, I just only have the personal experience shopping used for Sony/Minolta.

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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