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Cameras & Lenses

I use a 12 mega pixel Nikon D2X. My favorite lenses are my Nikon 70-200 mm F 2.8 VR zoom lens and my Nikon 300 mm F 2.8 VR lens. And for extra reach I use these lenses with either a Nikon 1.4x or a 1.7x teleconverter. Approximate cost $12,500.

My wife, Maggie, uses a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2, which has built in optical vibration reduction, with a Sony VCL-DH1758 1.7 x teleconverter which gives her the same reach as my longest lens combination (about 750 mm in 35 mm equivalent terms). Approximate cost $450.

Click here to see a comparison of pictures taken with Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2 and Nikon D2x. In reviewing these pictures I think the picture quality is close match to that of my more (much more) expensive DSLR setup. And I have been shooting for a few years now compared to Maggie's few months with her Sony!

As for recommendations, for beginners, I would start with a 10x - 12x zoom camera like Maggie's. With a 1.7x teleconverter, the price of a complete setup is less than $500. The alternative is to get either a Nikon or a Canon DSLR camera. But if you go this route, be prepared to spend at least $750 to $1000 or as much a $5000 for the camera and an additional $1500 to $5000 for a really good telephoto lens.

Note 1: There are numerous alternative cameras to Maggie's on the market. And many of them are good choices. Just make sure that the camera has at least 6 mega pixels (more is not necessarily better), at least 10x optical  (not digital) zoom,  built in optical (not digital or software) image stabilization, an optical viewfinder, and the availability of a 1.5x - 2.0x teleconverter offered by the manufacturer of the camera.

Note 2: If you decide to go the DSLR route, go with either Nikon or Canon as both have a wide variety of lenses available and both are in business for the long haul. That said, while I went with Nikon and am happy with my decision, I think Canon is probably a better choice today for wildlife photographers as their high end telephoto lenses in the $5000 price range are less expensive than their Nikon equivalents by about $1000.

Note 3: dpreview.com is the best place for unbiased, in-depth reviews of cameras. And if you get overwhelmed by the amount of detail, just read the conclusions.

  

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