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05-25-2021, 12:33 PM   #1
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Any suggestions on a beginners level wildlife camera/kit under $1000 CAD?

Hello!

I'm new to the photography realm, but have really picked up the desire to sink some money into a camera/ camera kit that could capture decent photos of wildlife from a distance. I work in a national park with an amazing diversity of wildlife, especially in birds, so it just feels like a waste not having a tool that can help me capture the amazing creatures I see during my time here.

I've set a budget of roughly $1000 CAD for this and would love to try and snag a decent camera with a decent zoom auto-focus telephoto in that price range. Weight is not an issue for me with the device.

I'm not sure if that's a reasonable goal? Any help would be appreciated as this is a very new realm for me. I've been eyeing this bundle, but I'm not sure how practical a manual focus telephoto lens would be for capturing birds during a hike/ on the job. Link below

Canon EOS Rebel T7/2000D DSLR Camera With EF-S 18-55mm , 75-300 III And 500mm Preset Lens With 2x Teleconverter (1000mm) Premium Accessory Bundle

I live in CANADA

05-25-2021, 12:50 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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I can't comment on any of that Canon stuff, but I bet that "500mm preset lens" is pretty much a tube with an element at the end - i.e. absolute garbage quality that isn't worth owning.

As far as manual focus, all of my wildlife shots are done with a manual focus 400mm lens, it just requires patience and practice. For your budget, I'd recommend picking up a used body, maybe here on the marketplace - you could probably find a K-70 with a kit lens (such as the 18-50 or 18-55) for five or six hundred - now, I can't compare to the Canon at all, but I'd hazard a guess it's a better camera all in all, take a look at the review here: Pentax K-70 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

As for something for wildlife, the harsh truth is that there isn't many options in that price range and you have to accept compromises, especially if you want auto focus. The Pentax 55-300 PLM is a really well respected lens for it's price and quality - can be had for $500 new here in Canada, or again, slightly cheaper used, here's the review: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

In short, the marketplace here is a great place to look for used stuff. And for your budget and wants, I'd go for a K-70 with 18-50, and a 55-300 PLM. That's a highly capable and modern kit, including weather resistant lenses and an overall about 17x zoom range to cover everything from landscapes to wildlife. After using that for a while, you can see if there's areas you'd like to improve your gear, and may have a better idea of what you want to potentially spend more money on in the future.

Whereabouts in Canada are you - I'm by a bunch of the national parks in the Rockies here.


EDIT: Also, with wildlife photography, there can only be a certain distance away that you are. A lot of this type of photography includes taking time to find animals and get close, all without disturbing them as well. Don't forget there's a learning curve involved, and that you will often get disappointing results as you get to know your gear (I know I did!). Anyways, good luck with whatever you decide, the Pentax kit or some alternative, and happy shooting

Last edited by bertwert; 05-25-2021 at 12:57 PM.
05-25-2021, 01:05 PM   #3
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I think you are lured by the 1000mm reach, but the 500mm lens actually is the cheapest item together with the 2x converter, price and also quality wise.

To stay in the $ 1000 range with good quality components, I only see one way to go, get a used sigma 150-600 contemporary or a used tamron 150-600 (only if you can get the G2 version) for $ 700 plus a Canon 7D for $ 300. I have no idea why you're asking for canon advice on a pentax forum though... however, welcome to the pentaxforum.
05-25-2021, 01:21 PM   #4
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Get a used K-5 IIs (say $500 USD) + HD55-300 PLM WR (new, say $400 USD). For used 3rd party gear, you might be able to beat these prices (+ tax) in Canada.


my 2 cents (USD)... M

05-25-2021, 01:24 PM   #5
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I am going out on a limb here given that this is a Pentax forum - but if you are truly a beginner, I would suggest holding off on a big investment in a DSLR and lens(es) for now. An excellent camera to get your feet wet with (without too big of an investment) is the Panasonic Lumix FZ300. This is a small sensor DSLR-like camera (as they call them) that I used for several years as a bridge camera before I decided to dive back into interchangeable lens cameras. It features a Leica designed zoom lens that maintains F2.8 through a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 28mm - 600mm. It is also fully weather resistant. Given the fast lens, long zoom and great auto-focus system, it makes a good beginner's camera for capturing wildlife. The FZ300 is going for about $450 USD right now (which is surprising given how long it has been around, but apparently it is still in Panasonic's current line-up).

Even though they call it DSLR-like, it is really more like a mirrorless camera in that it has both an electronic view finder and rear LCD screen, except that the lens is not interchangeable. The main drawback with the smaller sensor is more noise at higher ISO settings. Also the Depth-of-Focus (DOF) is not as narrow as a larger sensor camera such as APS-C or full-frame. This can be an advantage for a beginner trying to get in-focus shots, but it can also be a disadvantage when you are trying to highlight the subject with an out-of-focus background. All-in-all though, I have taken some really great pictures with my FZ300 and still use it from time-to-time, especially for video.

Last edited by cdw2000; 05-25-2021 at 01:35 PM.
05-25-2021, 01:26 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forums

you will find friendly members and a lot of knowledge here

and some of us ( moi included ) like to suggest gear to people who ask for help

first, do your own research under " camera " above there is a useful comparison tool:

Pentax K-5 II vs. Pentax K-3 II vs. Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-70 - Pentax Camera Comparison - PentaxForums.com

read the owners reviews and in depth reviews for the cameras and lenses you are interested in under " camera " and " lenses " above

decide how much of your budget will go to the camera and to the lenses you are interested in

and ask questions

we will answer
05-25-2021, 01:43 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
Get a used K-5 IIs (say $500 USD) + HD55-300 PLM WR (new, say $400 USD). For used 3rd party gear, you might be able to beat these prices (+ tax) in Canada.


my 2 cents (USD)... M

K-5 IIS does not work with PLM lenses unfortunately




05-25-2021, 01:47 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
K-5 IIS does not work with PLM lenses unfortunately
correct but the earlier versions of the 55-300mm lenses

SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED or

HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR

will

these charts will help explain the differences between types of Pentax lenses

QuoteQuote:
Pentax K-Mount Lens Series Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series
Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

and how different types of lenses work with different Pentax Cameras:

QuoteQuote:
Pentax K-mount Lens Compatibility Chart
The Pentax K-mount Camera Lens Compatibility Chart
05-25-2021, 02:50 PM   #9
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There are tons of different price vs performance options.considering both new and used gear,

I won’t go out on a limb and recommend anything just yet. But I think first and foremost, we need to define what exactly you want.

From the description it sounds like something you’d have with you ready to shoot at a moments notice. Is that correct? If so, you can rule out a lot of long lenses and tripods, because by the time you are set up it’s too late. Also although you say weight isn’t an issue bulk may be. I cannot imagine you out doing your job with my DA560mm and K1 handing over your shoulder.

Same would hoold true for my manual focus 200-500F5.6 zoom plus it’s 12 pound tripod.

Also, many times lighting is not great in a lot of wooded areas, so you need to consider a camera that also works well in low light. That might put the cost up considerably.

Do you want new or used. New nothing will be had for $1000 except for what is called a “bridge “ camera. These are usually compact single zoom lens cameras with 20:1 or higher zoom ratios that have a longest focal length expressed in 35 mm equivalent in the range of 600mm or more.

The bridge camera is compact, light, and some of the good ones are good in terms of image quality in good light conditions, the issue will be performance under low light. A secondary issue is viewfinder, you need an eye level viewfinder, you can’t see the rear LCD display in bright sunlight

Another option, and this depends on what is available through your work, specifically spotting scopes. If you have a good spotting scope available you could get a compact camera attachment for the scope and simply get a compact camera. Some people have camera / scope attachments that give them 1200mm equivalent

Nothing is for free, and you could easily spend upwards of $10k CDN

So think about my questions

- New or used,
- low light performance needs
- manual or autofocus
- compact camera based or SLR
- convenience and speed of use
- spotting scope options

Then we can discuss where you should go next
05-25-2021, 02:54 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thundershot Quote
. . . I've set a budget of roughly $1000 CAD for this and would love to try and snag a decent camera with a decent zoom auto-focus telephoto in that price range. Weight is not an issue for me with the device.

I'm not sure if that's a reasonable goal? Any help would be appreciated as this is a very new realm for me. I've been eyeing this bundle, but I'm not sure how practical a manual focus telephoto lens would be for capturing birds during a hike/ on the job. . . .
I have always had good luck finding good " experienced " gear in the forums' marketplace ( buy/sell )

it can be sorted by country where the gear is located:

The Pentax Marketplace | Buy & Sell Pentax Cameras and Lenses (United States) - PentaxForums.com
05-25-2021, 03:23 PM   #11
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The only way you are going to get a long lens DSLR set up for the sort of price you mention is by very smart used purchasing. As much as pentax has many virtues and is the camera with best compatibility for its legacy lens line up, the bottom line is that canon provides the most s/h options, speciifically:
- there's simply loads more canon kit out there;

- canon has the best adaptibility to old mount lenses eg easy cheap adapter for contax C/Y, contax was a premium marque and those manual focus lenses are high quality. (easy adapt any of: M42, OM, Nikon F, Contax/Yashica, pentax PK to canon). NB au contraire canon dslr does not adapt to old canon FD lenses, in fact only mirrorless cameras do.
- while you might hunt in vain for a pentax mount sigma 150-500mm, lenses like this for canon are readily available on the s/h market and prices are not high....BUT there is a complication. Many of the sigma lenses from the film era have a microprocessor incompatibility with a canon DSLR, throws an error
on the lcd screen. There is a fix - it is possible to replace the chip*. But this is the sort of thing you need to look into to pursue this.

Another option is to go mirrorless. The micro four thirds MFT cameras from Olympus and Panasonic have smaller sensors than most DSLR's and so you get higher effective focal lengths. A 400mm lens on a Lumix G1...9 would be the same field of view as a ~ 600mm lens on a pentax dslr (except K1) - 800mm full frame equivalent. MFT bodies can be picked up pretty cheap, and so can adapters for a whole range of different mount lenses. The own system long lenses are not cheap, but the whole range of legacy manual focus lenses are an option. This could be a good intermediate step with a view to learning the ropes re using long lenses.

PS +1 that 500mm lens in that bundle is not worth your time or money. Invest some of your time browsing the lens reviews here on pentax forums.

PS2 I was interested to learn from that video that the chip fix doesn't solve the aperture problem, only the error message.

Last edited by marcusBMG; 05-26-2021 at 06:22 AM.
05-25-2021, 05:28 PM   #12
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CAD1000, cannot go wrong with Sony RX10iv.
(Preowned RX10iv are pretty good catch these days).

You get 24mm field of view on the wide end.
And 600mm field of view on the long end.
And, you get superb AFC and AF tracking, at a level that, straight out of the box, you be snagging Birds in Flight shots.

And you get a superb all-in-one camera that you will not find bothersome to bring along when going far.

But of course, if it is Pentax you are after, K70 will fit into the budget, and with the 300PLM, should be the most suitable combo (if you dont get frustrated with the AF)

Else, if it is Nikon, preowned D7500 or D5600 ought to be in the list for consideration.
05-25-2021, 05:44 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
K-5 IIS does not work with PLM lenses unfortunately
OK...

Hey... even budget better... Get an earlier screw-drive version of the 55-300 (used) to pair with the K-5 IIs. The the screw-drive versions are perfectly capable lenses and save a few bucks, too.

Or...

Get a used K3, or K-3II, to pair with the PLM lens... both camera bodies can be had for cheap.

Cheers... M
05-25-2021, 05:55 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thundershot Quote
Hello!

I'm new to the photography realm, but have really picked up the desire to sink some money into a camera/ camera kit that could capture decent photos of wildlife from a distance. I work in a national park with an amazing diversity of wildlife, especially in birds, so it just feels like a waste not having a tool that can help me capture the amazing creatures I see during my time here.

I've set a budget of roughly $1000 CAD for this and would love to try and snag a decent camera with a decent zoom auto-focus telephoto in that price range. Weight is not an issue for me with the device.

I'm not sure if that's a reasonable goal? Any help would be appreciated as this is a very new realm for me. I've been eyeing this bundle, but I'm not sure how practical a manual focus telephoto lens would be for capturing birds during a hike/ on the job. Link below

Canon EOS Rebel T7/2000D DSLR Camera With EF-S 18-55mm , 75-300 III And 500mm Preset Lens With 2x Teleconverter (1000mm) Premium Accessory Bundle

I live in CANADA
I have to ask.. by "new to photography" do you mean no experience with cameras? If so.. I would not start trying to put together an expensive wildlife kit for $1000 canadian.. odds are that figure will ultimately be too low.... Honestly I would suggest picking up a used dslr and basic 17-50 mm & 55-300 mm kit lens to learn on. A used k3 would be more than enough camera and you can easily upgrade the lens down the road if you like photography and when you know realistically what you need for the type of wildlife photography you like. GOOD LUCK.

al
05-25-2021, 07:02 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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Used pentax kp for around $500 (k3 or k3ii for $400), new 55-300 plm $400 and a used DA 18-55 wr for $50. SD card for $20 and a bag with the remaining $30.

Would give you a nice wr kit

I don't know much about canon but that body looks really entry level and with 3 frames a second not a wildlife camera. Plus plastic and not weather sealed. Not a field camera
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