Monday, September 15, 2008
How To Build A Camera System
Selecting cameras, lenses and accessories for your favorite subjects
Professional wildlife photographers mostly use pro SLRs and superfast, super-costly supertelephoto lenses-the 300mm ƒ/2.8, 400mm ƒ/2.8 and 600mm ƒ/4 are popular. The pros also use sturdy tripods with gimbal heads (such as those from Jobu and Wimberley), which provide support, but also allow them to pan the camera to track moving subjects.
If you expect to compete with the pros in selling your photos, you'll probably need similar gear—the pro items provide better image quality and AF performance, and are more rugged. But you can do a lot of great wildlife photography with much less costly gear.
An entry-level or "sweet-spot" D-SLR is a fine wildlife camera, and a slower super-telephoto costs much less than the fastest (a 300mm ƒ/4 costs less than one-third the price of what the same manufacturer's 300mm ƒ/2.8 costs). And a midrange 75-300mm zoom lens provides that 300mm focal length for less than half the cost of the 300mm ƒ/4. A nice added benefit of the lower-cost D-SLRs is that their smaller image sensors provide a free focal-length "boost," making any lens that's used frame like a lens of 1.5x to 2x its focal length on a full-frame SLR.
One advantage the higher-end D-SLRs have for fast-moving wildlife is quicker shooting rates. Shooting at 8 or 10 fps will get you more "poses" to choose from than the 3 fps of an entry-level model.
Sigma SD 14
|Which is more important: the camera body or the lens?|
|In brief, the lens. All other things being equal, an entry-level D-SLR with a higher-end lens will produce better image quality than a high-end D-SLR with a cheapie lens. If your budget is limited, it's better to get a less costly camera body and a better lens than a high-end camera and a lesser lens.|
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