Buying a Camera System for Nature Photography

///Buying a Camera System for Nature Photography

So you are thinking of buying a camera system for nature photography.

Photography is about capturing the light. To do that you really need to have a camera and in this article I will provide some food for thought about what makes a good featured camera for nature photography.

I used the words “Camera System” deliberately because this is one of the most important points when considering which camera to buy, it will save you lots of money and frustration in the future if you take into account this point.

When thinking of which camera should you buy there are a number of things that come into play and I can only give you some of my thoughts here as the decision will ultimately have to be yours.

Which Brand should I buy?

Buying a Camera Nikon

This question will raise many a voice about which camera brand is better; Canon, Nikon or whatever other brand you can think of when looking at buying a camera system. The fact of the matter is that all branded cameras produced today are exceptional in quality, from the cheapest entry-level camera up to the Pro models.

Buying a Camera Canon

The issue is not so much quality (yes some camera bodies do have minor quirks and glitches but generally speaking) they are all capable of producing an incredible image. The real question you need to ask yourself is; what do I want to do with my photography now and in the future? This is where the camera system comes into play; you don’t want to buy a camera which only has one or two lenses that will fit that camera model. Say you buy a good “cheap” camera because a sales person said everyone is buying this camera but you want to shoot small birds. You would need a large telephoto but if you can’t buy a telephoto that fits this camera, then you have handicapped yourself from the beginning. Another consideration is do you need a high megapixel camera? If you think you do I would recommend you read this post first; Thinking of buying a Nikon D800,D810 or any high megapixel camera?

So, think about what you want to do now and in the future and what lenses you might like to use as you gain experience, how many lenses do they have that will fit this camera brand? What accessories will fit? Can I get the camera fixed when it is broken? Are there other camera models within this brand that will accept the accessories I have as I upgrade camera bodies?

Over time you will accumulate a vast array of bits and pieces for your photography and if you choose wisely now these will move with your upgrades.

The other major consideration is what feels good in the hand, pick up different models and feel what they feel like when you handle them. Can you manipulate all of the controls easily? Look at how the menus are set out; can you follow them? Are the menu’s easy to understand and to find what you want to change? These are things that are different on different brand of cameras and in some cases the same brand but different models, some people find Canon controls intuitive other find Nikon works well for them.

If you just buy a camera someone else recommends without trying it out before hand you will end up with an expensive paper weight and an empty wallet or purse. Generally having a very big Pro body if you can’t carry it for half a day isn’t a good situation as you will get frustrated and probably stop enjoying going out to take photographs.

Pick what works for YOU and not someone else! These are all questions you need to ask before handing over the cash.

Camera Features

Any camera system you buy you really need to have full control over the exposure settings, since exposure is the fundamental of good photography, get the exposure wrong and the images will be “binned”. You must be able to override the auto exposure settings, take control of the camera not have the camera make all the decisions for you.

  • I would recommend a camera that has a Depth of Field Preview button. It allows you to stop down the aperture to see the depth of field available at your chosen f-stop before you take the image. Normally you are seeing the depth of field with the lens set at its largest aperture and not what you have chosen to use for your image.
  •  Also I would want the ability to use a cable release, a way to trigger the shutter without touching the camera. This helps to eliminate vibration when shooting long exposures or static subjects, a must if you want to photograph macro or close-ups.
  • If possible I would also want a camera that has mirror lock up. This feature allows the mirror to be moved up prior to the final image being taken thereby reducing the vibration due to what is called “mirror slap”. Again it is something you would use only for static subjects as once the mirror is raised you can’t see through the view finder.

A final point I would like to make, when considering your camera system, if you are on a limited budget as most of us are, if need be, buy the cheaper camera and use the money you save on the camera to put towards a better lens, the optics are going to be what separates your images from the pack. As I said, any camera is capable of producing an incredible image but if you put a “beer bottle” on the camera you will always struggle to get good images. Buy quality lenses first and they can last you a lifetime as they can be used on upgraded camera bodies which was my point about camera systems.

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