Superzoom Bird Photography – About the Birds

We shoot with several (currently five) different small-sensor Superzoom cameras, and our primary subject is: the birds in our backyard. Our camera gear currently includes equipment from Canon, Fuji, and Sony, but we’re always interested in any technology or technique which might help us improve our photos. We study and admire the work of many talented bird photographers who use a wide variety of equipment, and we generally try not to evangelize for any make or model of camera, but we have made choices as all photographers must.

We shoot a lot of closeups and portraits of our birds because we love to see their beautiful detail, and the long superzoom lens with its short minimum focus distance allows us to capture very intimate views which normally just can’t be seen with the naked eye or in wider angle images. It’s a kind of bird photography which focuses almost solely on the birds rather than their environment, and tends to include very little else in the frame, save for a simple natural perch and a hopefully pleasing background. Some refer to this style as BOAS (bird on a stick)… and opinions vary regarding its artistic merit as a photographic genre. But it has it’s place and is especially well-received amongst painters, carvers, and those who enjoy and study the wondrous details of various bird species.
The birds we photograph are mostly songbirds and small, and we try to present them in their natural beauty rather than as fine art. But even when we shoot them in their environment, our photos are still mainly about the birds.

We hope that everyone who visits our sites will find something to enjoy.

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3 thoughts on “Superzoom Bird Photography – About the Birds

  1. Hi, love your site & those magnificent pics. I am trying to decide between a SX50 and the new Fujifilm HS50. I like the Fuji because it has a lot of useful features (i.e. manual focus with peaking), but the Canon seems to give sharper pictures. Do you have any experience or opinion on the HS50?

    • Hi Jeff, and thanks for your comment.

      Choosing a camera usually involves a lot of personal preferences, and every camera has both strengths and weaknesses which bear on any individual user’s decision.
      We’ve not used any of the Fuji HS series cameras and can only judge the HS50 based on images we’ve seen and what we’ve read from other photographers. It is somewhat larger than most other superzooms and employs a slightly larger 1/2″ 16mp sensor. It also offers a manual zoom lens, some speed advantages, and proprietary Fuji EXR jpeg processing, all of which set it apart from competing models.Some of these specifications will be of more significance to some users than others, and may be considered as either pros or cons.
      In my opinion, despite its many desirable features, the HS series has not led its class in high-resolution (pixel level) image quality, which is our highest prerequisite for the work we do. Based on what we’ve seen, the HS50 offers little or no improvement over its predecessors in this critical area of performance.
      But I’d recommend in-hand comparisons of any cameras you’re considering prior to deciding if possible, and basing your choice not on feature lists, specifications, manufacture’s ad copy, nor on anyone else’s opinion. Many camera vendors offer liberal return policies which can allow the buyer to evaluate how any given gear meets his or her specific requirements. Only you can decide which model best suits your specific needs.

      Best luck, and good shooting with whichever camera you choose.

      Kenn

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