danob [D. L. O’Byrne]

Lenses:

It is better to spend more money on the lens than the camera. Investing your money into the best lens you can afford will yield
better photographs than a more expensive camera body. Birds are very small subjects and in order to get a reasonable image
size; you need long telephoto lenses. Each 50mm of lens is approximately equal to 1X on a binocular.
(i.e. a 300mm lens = a 6x binocular) A 300mm lens can be used, but 400mm and up is desirable. If you look at most
professionals, they use 500mm or 600mm lenses, often with teleconverters to increase the effective focal length. An Image
stabilizer can also give you up to two stops better and make it possible to hand hold which will open up more chances of
getting birds in Flight, when you should consider the use of Shutter priority and select at least 1/5OOth. Lenses are
categorized according to focal length and f-stop. The f-stop determines the light gathering ability of the lens.
Consider F5.6 as the minimum. The smaller the f-stop number, the more light it gathers and gasteer shutter speeds are possible.
However, the cost and weight go up exponentially with each f-stop. 400mmF5.6 lenses are excellent starting points and can be
had for a reasonable sum. Off-brand makers such as Sigma and Tokina offer good quality for the price. For example,
Tokina's AF400mmF5.6 was rated superior to a top brand in a recent lens review. For best value for your money,
watch the classifieds for a used lens, but test it appropriately before purchasing. (shoot some test images) Regardless
of the lens choice a lens tripod mount is essential.