Sunday 9 February 2014

Further Adventures with the Canon SX50hs

Feb 9 2014 Langley B.C. Below freezing

Sometimes when I am looking for new locations to photograph I often throw my Canon SX50hs super zoom over my shoulder. I have already written about the $300 camera in previous blogs so rather than repeat myself I will post this picture of my favourite bird, the Varied Thrush. With frozen ponds everywhere in the Lower I searched for some running water where I found a flock of four Varied Thrush.
Before I started birding seriously in 2011 I was never able to get close enough to this beautiful bird to get a decent photo, in fact my attempts were dismal. Since then I have some much better shots but not the definitive image I am happy with. Most often the Varied Thrush are seen on the ground, scratching away leaves looking for food, when I saw this one on a partially frozen waterfall I couldn't pass up the opportunity to shoot a few frames on the SCENE mode.
The shot was taken handheld at the full zoom of 1200 mm. The camera has a 28-1200mm zoom with image stabilization. I recommend this type of camera for those on a budget or if carrying lots of equipment is a problem. Panasonic has similar model with a 600mm F2.8 lens but lacks the reach of the Canon. It is also twice the price but lets but in three times more light (useful in the morning and evening) and MAY have a sharper lens. I haven't used myself but have seen many in the field and everyone I spoke to likes the Panasonic.
At my workshops and presentations I often get asked by birders what type of camera to choose. It really all it depends on what results are expected. Obviously a $10,000 kit is going to more flexible albeit much heavier. For many birders if an ID shot is all that is required then either of the above cameras will do just fine.
The next level outfit is a Nikon or Canon DSLR and 300mm F4 or Sigma 150-500mm lens which you'll need to spend around $2500. Recently Tamron just released a 150-600mm lens for $1300.
Here is the picture from the Canon SX50hs from yesterday photographed on a cloudy afternoon at 3.30 p.m. I think most birders would be happy with this quality.
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)
Good Birding
John Gordon


  1. I have never seen one of these in the wild I hope to be so lucky. Great shot.

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