Super Zooms Visit Magee Marsh

Last Wednesday May 13th we found ourselves at Magee March celebrating spring migration with some of our closest feathered friends. This post is about birds seen that we were able to photograph with relatively inexpensive super zoom cameras. We thought it would be fun to leave the “bird cameras” at home and see how we would fair trying to get a few shots using the popular constant aperture super zoom from Panasonic. Since we can never anticipate what the bird is going to do, and to increase our chances of getting a usable image, we always shoot in burst mode. So we hope you enjoy our little adventure. Some shots are okay, some good, and some even better.

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All things being equal, for very erratic fast moving subjects, a small, light, maneuverable camera wins the day. All things are not equal. In lower light or difficult lighting conditions, a good DSLR will focus faster and more accurately. Also, due to it’s larger sensor will generally produce better images if paired with a good lens. However, to reiterate a statement we’ve all heard, the best camera is the one you have with you.

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One can write an epistle about camera equipment for birding but some questions the selection process should address are:

– What do I intend to use the resultant photos for? The tradeoffs involved in getting the highest quality image with the most creative control may not be worth it. Sometimes good is good enough.

– Am I a birder that would like to get a few “memory shots” and not too concerned about whether or not I get an image of every bird?

– Am I a photographer that loves the challenge of getting the best images of the most birds possible on any given day?

– How much equipment do I feel like carrying?

– How much do I feel comfortable spending?

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To give you an idea of how much cropping and post processing was done, “as shot” and “final” images have been included to highlight some of the more challenging situations. To keep it simple all images were shot as jpeg’s.

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To the pictures:

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Bay Breasted

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Bay Breasted, (cropped)

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Bay Breasted, (cropped)

Bay Breasted female original file c

Bay Breasted female, (cropped), (Donna)

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P1020603 (2)c

Cape May, (cropped)

P1020594

Cape May

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Cape May (cropped)

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P1020533 (2)c

Northern Parula, (cropped)

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Take two, (cropped), (Donna)

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P1020378

Blackburnian

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Blackburnian (cropped)

Blackburnian original file 1c

Blackburnian, (the best of the day just slightly cropped), (Donna)

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IMG_5457

Palm

IMG_5457-2c

Palm, (cropped)

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IMG_5437 (2)c

Yellow, (cropped)

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Blackpoll Warbler original file 1

Blackpoll, (Donna)

Blackpoll Warbler original file 1 (2)c

Blackpole, (cropped)

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P1020850

Kingbird

P1020850 (2)c

Kingbird, (cropped)

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House Wren, (cropped)

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Tennessee Warbler 2 LR best 2 051315 Magee Marsh cp1

Tennessee, (corrected per reader input), (cropped), (Donna)

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Tennessee, (corrected per reader input), (cropped)

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P1020800c

Great Egret, (cropped)

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P1020865c

Baltimore Oriole, (very low light, cropped)

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P1020330

Red Wing Blackbird

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Thanks for stopping by.

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8 Comments on “Super Zooms Visit Magee Marsh

  1. In a way, I agree. I got some very good shots of birds with a Canon Powershot. My biggest complaint was that it was too slow, to focus, to zoom, and the shutter lag seemed like 30 seconds.

    • The FZ200 is a lot better than most but sometimes in low contrast conditions it takes forever to focus. If there’s anything with more contrast in the background, forget it. While the burst speed is pretty good it doesn’t compare to the better DSLR’s. Finally in low light your out of luck. However, the FZ200 does do better than most with a lens speed of f2.8 from 24-600mm equivalent.

  2. The camera worked pretty well for you. I am thinking of getting something easier to carry but still with a good zoom.

    • It’s hard not to recommend the FZ200. There are super zooms that have more reach but in real world dynamic shooting situations I haven’t found the extra reach to be that useful.

    • I also have an SX40. Which I’ve taken many great shots with as long as there’s good light and things aren’t moving too much. Recently the FZ200 has been my go to super zoom. It doesn’t have quite as much reach, but it has a better EVF, focuses faster and has a better burst speed. Also, it has a constant aperture fast lens throughout it’s zoom range. Finally it can “macro” throughout it’s zoom range.

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