If you want to start photographing birds and want to get some decent shots, you are going to need some basic equipment. The first thing you will need to get is a decent digital SLR camera. You can use a compact camera but you will soon realize that you need to get a lot closer to the birds to fill the frame of the shot.
I, myself, like Canon but the best thing to do is have a look around at a few reviews of the different SLR cameras out there and then decide which one to go for. To start with I wouldn’t go for brand new unless you can afford it. eBay is a great place to look for second-hand cameras and believe me there are some fantastic bargains on there.
The next thing you are going to need will be a decent long focal length Telephoto lens. There are absolutely loads of these out there and for the beginner, it can be a daunting task to know which one to buy. The Canon EF 100-400mm L lens is one of the bird photographers favorite and if you search in Google you can see a review of this lens. This is a very good lens but can be out of the price range for most people just over £1,000 at the time of writing, especially if you are just starting out.
Another good lens which you can purchase for around half the price of the Canon lens on eBay is the Sigma 150-500mm which is also very good and a lot of bird photographers use this lens. It is again your choice as to which one to go for but I would definitely recommend that you review the lens from an unbiased site to make sure that it is the best one you can get for the price that you are paying.
The next thing you will need to buy is a tripod to stop camera shake which will blur your shots if the correct shutter speed isn’t selected (more on this on another post). Again which one you buy is your choice but you will need to think about the weight of the tripod, it needs to be quite lightweight as you may need to carry the tripod plus your camera over some great distances. It will also need to be very sturdy as you are going to get some knocks on it at some stage. Another thing you will need to consider is how low the tripod can be set as this can be very handy for taking photos of ducks on the water for example. Whichever one you choose make sure that it’s not too cheap because 9 times out of 10 you will end up having to buy another one. There are some good tripods from Redsnapper at reasonable prices, to be honest, I’m thinking of getting one of these myself.
OK, that is it, your basic kit for bird photography. You will always want to add to it as you go and you will read about this great lens that someone else is using. It is very addictive and you will find yourself wanting to buy the best kit that you can afford, but for now, this basic kit will be fine.