On Feb. 2nd 2017, our own Jim Cowley delivered a fun and fact-filled presentation on great photographic equipment that won’t break the bank (though the bank might at least end up a bit bruised!).
In response to many questions Jim fielded, he sent along the following explanation and links relevant to his presentation. Thank you, Jim!
I rented it with the idea that it might be good purchase for the group for outings and such. After a few hours of use, I had mixed feelings. I had hoped it would be easy to use and accessible to anyone right off the bat, but it does have a bit of a learning curve. All this said, to anyone wanting to do bird photography and comfortable with the $600 price tag, I think it would be a good entry level camera. The magnification is more than adequate with very good image stabilization. It has a lot of tech features. You can instantly view and transmit images on a smartphone. It has built in GPS so you could return or direct someone else to an exact location. You just have to expect to spend a few hours to get most from it.
Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com). Very good, a lot of technical stuff most wouldn’t be interested in, but also includes a summary impression of what its like to use the item, with comparisons to similar offerings. There are useful user reviews on Amazon and B&H.
borrowlenses.com and lensrentals.com. I’ve used both and their service is very good. Don’t assume from the name that lenses are their only business, they rent cameras and lots of other equipment.
Where to buy.
B&H is usually considered the best both for service and selection.
There are others, but always check the buyer reviews on Google before you order anything. YELP is a good site and Better Business Bureau. Here’s typical review of something called Malibu Camera: “Don’t buy anything. Bait and switch and then nothing. Still waiting for a refund and I am charged an international transaction fee which they will not refund me at all.”
My favorite camera
My own favorite camera, which I also passed around, is the Nikon 1 V3. It is the smallest interchangeable lens camera that you could actually photograph birds with. It has the fastest autofocus of any camera made and can rack off 20 shots in a second. It is somewhat in need of an upgrade to newer tech like 4k video and a higher megapix sensor. Sadly, this may not happen soon as Nikon had had some financial setbacks this year.”
Suddarth Optical Repair provide outstanding advice on selecting the right optics for you and expert repair of your damaged binoculars, spotting scopes, field glasses, etc.
Non-governmental organizations dedicated to conservation:
Professional membership societies addressing science and conservation:
Information on birds and birding resources:
Wonderful article on birding from Home Advisor!