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Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?
  
 
happygirl
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


I've been a photo bug for quite a few years. My main interests/subjects are birds and wildlife (some backyard, farms/ranches, some at state parks, open fields, lakes/water, etc.), as well as flowers, bugs, etc. I am not interested in people portraits, nor architecture. I am also not really interested in video capabilities. Not really planning on shooting anything that needs ISO in the 10's of thousands, either.

Not sure if this is where I should post, but thought I'd get more "unbiased" responses than if I posted in the Nikon column or Canon column.

I have the t2i and was looking to upgrade for more/better focus points, fast AF, better fps, great photo quality. Lens will be upgraded as well with the new camera body (I have the kit lens 18-55 and 55-250), as well as the Sigma 100-300.

I've done some research, watched videos, side-by-side comparisons, etc. and have narrowed it down to the Nikon D7100 and the Canon 70D. Both look like very good cameras, but what I haven't seen is anything indicating if one camera is actually more suited for birding/wildlife. I know Canon has more fps, larger buffer, while Nikon has a filter removed for sharp pictures, more focus points, and 6 fps with a slightly smaller buffer. I seriously doubt I'd use live view for the type of photography I do. Any comments on actual battery life would be helpful also.

Can any of you wildlife/birding photographers give me some insight as to the suitability of either of these cameras for this type of shooting? Which one has better focus speed or capabilities, better image quality, less mechanical problems, etc?

If there is a different model of either brand that would be more suitable for wildlife/birding/nature, than the two mentioned above, please feel free to suggest it.

I prefer not to go full frame b/c of cost and size. I am an avid amateur, not a professional. :-)






Nov 11, 2013 at 05:05 AM
acjd
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


Hi

It doesn't matter. Each brand is fine. Your also asking the wrong question. If you get serious, you buy into a system, not a body. Bodies come and go. What is new today is old and in the dump tomorrow.

Look at the glass and determine which set of glass suits what you intend to shoot in the future. I wouldn't worry about bodies. The real money is in the glass so you need to decide if the brand you buy sells the glass you want for what you intend to shoot.

Best of luck



Nov 11, 2013 at 09:23 AM
mabidally
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


Nikon and Canon are both excellent systems for wildlife and birding. Once one chooses a particular system it is usually necessary to stay with that system for lens compatibility reasons. I personally chose Canon and continue to use the Canon system as I felt that they had a better and more reasonably priced long lens offering range at the time I started out with DSLR about 7 years back. At the time Canon had the edge in sensor technology but today Nikon has more than caught up with the sensor technology and the D800 bodies are considered superb. Canons long lenses were in the past more reasonably priced, 500 f4 IS was US$ 5800 5 years ago today the same lens ver II is over US$ 10,000.




Nov 11, 2013 at 09:54 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


Both systems are excellent. If you are sticking with your lenses then might as well stick with Canon. But do consider the 7D also along with the 70D. The 7D still has a few better features than the 70D for birding. (spot AF an expansion AF being the most important) plus the extra FPS.

I believe Canon to have the edge in the expensive super telephoto prime lenses and even the edge with its top of the line high FPS body (1DX vs D4). But, if I had a blank slate right now and wanted a single body/lens combo for wildlife and birds, I'd buy the D7100 and new 80-400 lens from Nikon as I feel that combo would be better than Canon's equivalent stuff (100-400 and 70D or 7D).

But in the end what will matter most are the lenses and how far you see yourself going towards the higher end lenses like the super telephoto primes. The bodies come and go and lose value like crazy. Lenses hold their value and aren't replaced very often with newer versions.



Nov 11, 2013 at 01:33 PM
jeffryscott
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


As others have said, look at the lenses you want. Both systems are excellent. One thing to look at is the used market if you don't mind buying used or refurbished.

Very recently I went through the same decision process when coming back to DSLR from m43. I was starting from scratch and ended up Nikon simply because USED prices for what I wanted were better.



Nov 11, 2013 at 02:31 PM
happygirl
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


I hadn't thought about focusing on the lenses over the body, but sure makes sense. I'm not overly attached to the two Canon lenses I have now, so no tears shed if I switch systems. But I do quite like my Sigma 100-300 with the 1.4 TC.

I briefly looked at the Nikon lenses lineup, some great reviews, very expensive, but I'll look into lenses on both sides more closely. Reviews for Sigma lenses are good, so maybe I can get great quality for a little less $$. I don't know anything about Tamron, though I've heard they're good also.

I'll check out the 7D, but I thought the 70D had spot AF and expansion AF also?



Nov 11, 2013 at 02:43 PM
happygirl
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


I'm certainly not adverse to used lenses, but my biggest worry would be that I'd buy what was described as great lens/no flaws and end up with one of those lenses that got lost during quality control checks.


Nov 11, 2013 at 02:46 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


happygirl wrote:


I'll check out the 7D, but I thought the 70D had spot AF and expansion AF also?


No for some reason Canon left off the two best modes from the 70D. Otherwise it is the same AF system. The expansion mode is the most useful mode for birds in flight as it doesn't just focus on the nearest object like the 19 pt and Zone modes. Instead it acts like single point (i.e. you chose what it focuses on) but can then hand off to the surrounding points if the bird moves off the centre point of the cluster. The spot AF is great for small birds that are in trees and you need to focus past branches.

The 70D has the really good dual-pixel AF but that is only for Live View which most won't use for wildlife and birds. The dual-pixel could be useful if you have slower lenses with TCs and are at a maximum aperture of f/8 or higher as it will then allow AF. Would work for large animals or perched birds.



Nov 11, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Littleguy
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


What kind of birds and wildlife are you interested in. If you are looking for in-flight stuff - you better have a trust fund.

Those images you see in this forum are taken with the long exotic primes - 400mm/500mm/600mm at F4 - lenses of that range starts at about $5K USD and only go up.

100-400mm range is good for larger wildlife animals. You can also get by using shorter ranges if you go visit captive sites - e.g. zoos or other private farms that allow you to get closer to the animals.

m4/3 is also a good format for the budget folks because it has a 2x crop factor and is cheap but don't expect to be tracking birds in flight with CDAF systems. Good for static stuff.

Also don't forget the support systems you will need if you go with the exotic long primes - you are now looking at gimbal heads and at least a mono-pod if not a tripod.

Wildlife photography is not a cheap if you want the same kind of image quality you see on this forum. Like others have said - its about the lenses - the costs of the lenses for wildlife photography will far outweigh the money you will spend on the body.



Nov 11, 2013 at 03:18 PM
 

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Christian H
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


I can speak to the D7100. Very nice sensor (for a DX body), excellent AF system, limited buffer size. The latter is seen as a serious problem by folks who are "machine gunners," either by inclination or for lack of skill. But the image quality is excellent up to ISO 800; it's entirely usable up to ISO 1600. Past that you need to know what you're doing because there's not much tolerance for correcting exposure in post. Best used sparingly, I think.

Choice of focal length depends on the approachability of wildlife in your area. In mid-Atlantic wildlife refuges, for example, 300 or 400 mm is often entirely adequate even for small birds, given some 'refuge effect' and assuming decent fieldcraft on your part. (I actually prefer the intimacy sometimes conveyed by images taken with shorter focal lengths from around 10-20 ft, but tastes vary.)



Nov 11, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


Littleguy wrote:
What kind of birds and wildlife are you interested in. If you are looking for in-flight stuff - you better have a trust fund.

Those images you see in this forum are taken with the long exotic primes - 400mm/500mm/600mm at F4 - lenses of that range starts at about $5K USD and only go up.

100-400mm range is good for larger wildlife animals. You can also get by using shorter ranges if you go visit captive sites - e.g. zoos or other private farms that allow you to get closer to the animals.


What kind of birds and wildlife you are interested in has no bearing on whether you choose Canon or Nikon.

And you certainly don't need f4 primes from 400mm to 600mm.

These shots were all with the 100-400 and none were taken in zoos or private farms.






1

  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    375mm    f/8.0    1/350s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  







2

  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    400mm    f/7.1    1/3200s    800 ISO    -0.3 EV  







3

  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    320mm    f/10.0    1/3200s    1600 ISO    -0.7 EV  







4

  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    400mm    f/16.0    1/250s    1600 ISO    0.0 EV  




Nov 11, 2013 at 04:18 PM
morris
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


Keep your body. Get cannon 100-400 IS or Sigma 150-500 OS unless you can afford 500 IS

Consider used from reputable dealers that provide 90 day warentee



Nov 11, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Littleguy
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


I was just reminded that there are other ways to get close to the birds without the longer exotics lenses.

Use a blind, bait and bird calls.

Just don't let your birder friends know you are baiting or using bird calls - it will not be a good scene.
http://youtu.be/wbmWt-FSHSs



Nov 11, 2013 at 04:46 PM
happygirl
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


I hadn't thought of using a blind, I just usually park myself and lie (or sit) in wait til they come along.


Nov 11, 2013 at 06:52 PM
tfoltz
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


It's all about the glass, either camera brand is good and it also depends
on the photographer and your post processing skills.

-Tim



Nov 11, 2013 at 07:12 PM
happygirl
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


I've been looking at both brands, they seem pretty evenly matched. Canon looks like it may have a few more options in the telephoto range, but Nikon does seems to be more expensive.


Nov 11, 2013 at 07:56 PM
billsnature
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


Others have already said it but I will reiterate it.

Both systems are great.

Stay in Canon if the most glass you can afford to add is the 400mm f5.6 or 100-400 IS. Nikon does not have an equivalent to the 400mm f5.6 and the 80-400mm VR G is much more expensive than the 100-400mm IS. It is better, but way more expensive.

If you are buying the Sigma lens, you can get either system. I like the D7100 body better (sensor and AF system) but the buffer is only 7 shots so just over 1 second for string shots like fishing eagles. Dynamic Range in Nikons is outstanding.

If money is no object because you won the lottery while I was typing this. Buy the Canon 1Dx and 600mm IS II and hire someone to carry it for you. That could be me

Bill




Nov 13, 2013 at 12:25 AM
happygirl
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nikon or Canon best for birding/wildlife?


billsnature wrote:
I like the D7100 body better (sensor and AF system) but the buffer is only 7 shots so just over 1 second for string shots like fishing eagles. Dynamic Range in Nikons is outstanding.

If money is no object because you won the lottery while I was typing this. Buy the Canon 1Dx and 600mm IS II and hire someone to carry it for you. That could be me

Bill




If you add the battery grip, doesn't that add a couple seconds? I borrowed a D700 with the 70-200mm vr ed 2.8 and it is nice! Came with a battery grip and the fps is like a machine gun with it, but does add weight.

So far I like the AF much better than the 70D I tried out, and haven't had any problem with the controls being on both sides (so far). Too bad I don't really want a full frame but at least it's giving me an idea of how Nikon functions. What a shame Nikon's fps/buffer seem to be "below par" for the body. That seems to be the only real gripe I've heard about the D7100.

And unfortunately, money IS a big object, and since I don't play the lotto ... well, sorry, but I can't afford to hire you to carry my gear ... :-(



Nov 13, 2013 at 01:11 AM





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