Friday, January 5, 2007

Cameras for the clueless.

Having a camera on hand can be a useful tool for the inexperienced birder who is still learning new species. I was looking for a camera which would be easy to use as well as easy to carry. There are several 12x optical zoom digital cameras with image stabilizers on the market now these days. I chose the Canon S2 IS. It has several advantages-

  • It is lightweight.

  • It can be carried in a case which can be hooked on to your belt.

  • The 12x optical zoom is good enough to take nice photographs of birds if you are close enough. (You need to be a lot closer when taking a picture of a finch as compared to an eagle).

  • If you're not good with cameras, just set it on auto.

  • You can use it to take nice video clips.

  • reasonably priced at about 250 dollars.

Here are a few things that I learned in my first year of using this camera:

  • If you don't keep your hands steady the picture will still come out blurry even with the image stabilizer on.
  • Taking photos while sitting in your car is a great way to get close up shots of birds.
  • Make sure you shut your engine off before taking the shot as the vibration from the engine will make the picture blurrier.
  • Make sure you take several pictures of something if it is worthwhile. You can always delete it later.
  • I avoid taking photos of birds if lighting conditions are poor or the bird is to far away.(unless the bird is rare or I need i.d. help).
  • It is very difficult to get an in-focus picture of a bird that has is sitting inside a bush when using auto-focus on the camera. The camera focuses on everything but the bird sometimes.

That's about it for now. If the light bulb in my head goes on again I'll let you know.-

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