Thursday, November 6

My new camera, and some birds!

White-bellied Sunbird on Cape Honeysuckle
I bought my first digital SLR (DSLR) camera 8 years ago, just before starting my career as a safari guide.

After much research I had decided on the Pentax K10D for 3 main reasons:-

1) on it was rated the best in it's class and price range
2) it had weather/dust seals and promised to suit rugged conditions
3) I still had a couple of Pentax lenses from the days of my film SLR camera.........

and overall I've never regretted that decision.

Crowned Hornbill
Approximately 36,000 clicks of the shutter later I knew I needed to upgrade. I was getting more & more frustrated with the limitations of my camera and this in turn meant that I was losing interest and inspiration in my photography.

A couple of years ago I acquired a Sigma 18-250mm super zoom lens and this gave me a boost for a while but I was always a little disappointed that it hadn't delivered as much as I thought it should....

Well after a few months of research & dithering I've just bought the Pentax K-3 DSLR, and WOW!!

African Open-bill

I mean it's obviously going to be better, just look at the difference in some of the specs......

a) K10D = 10 megapixels           K-3 = 24 megapixels

b) K10D = max ISO 1600           K-3 = max ISO 51200

c) K10D - released in 2006        K-3 released in 2013

The huge increase in megapixels plus the ability to increase my shutter speeds (to reduce my shake!!) and the reduction in noise at higher ISO values has definitely improved the sharpness of my photos in the usual outdoor, safari shooting conditions (the pictures above...) and has also given me the ability to take more advantage of low lighting..... (for example this pic taken at dusk of the Black-collared Barbet in it's nesting hole).

Another big improvement is the colour and white balance of the JPEGs produced by my new camera.

African Fish Eagle
Photo editing/processing really doesn't turn me on, except in exceptional cases. I have an old (very) version of ACDSee with which I crop as required, mildly sharpen, resize down to 100+/- kB and watermark before publication. With the old K10D I also had to do a fair amount of contrast, high and low lighting adjustments plus some colour correction. With the new K-3 this has significantly reduced and in cases where I've been lucky enough to have optimal lighting conditions I haven't had to do any adjustments on the JPEG at all :)

The new camera has all the pluses that took me the Pentax DSLR route in the first place plus a lot of the new features that the modern DSLRs have (video, larger screen etc.). And thankfully the buttons on the back are almost in the same places so I haven't had to re-acquire muscle memory for rapid shooting......

The only potential downside of the upgrade is that the average JPEG size has increased from 3 MB to 12 MB, so my disc drives are filling up rapidly and the software I use is now very slow...... more upgrades are obviously in the pipeline!!

Green-backed Heron

Kori Bustard

Bateleur Eagle (immature)

Grey Go-away Bird

Yellow-billed Stork
Well, I hope you like the results of my new camera as much as I do. In the 3 weeks that I've had it I've already taken 1300 shots and I keep looking for new subjects to capture even whilst sitting at home like now!


Gaelyn said...

These are great shots and you have a good eye with all the wonderful photo ops.

Coral Wild said...

Thanks Gaelyn.
It helped greatly this last few weeks that the birds made themselves so nicely available for photography.
As you know this isn't a given!

Andrew Pettit said...

I know Mike will just LOVE all of your bird photos! Glad to see you're doing well, Sue!

Coral Wild said...

Thanks for the visit Andrew.

I do remember we saw that impressive Martial Eagle with you guys - even though it was with my old camera it still came out really well :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - great shots and I love seeing names too - the Fish Eagle - always loved them, as too the Bateleur ... fabulous shots.

Great you're having fun with your new camera - sounds good .. cheers Hilary

Coral Wild said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting Hilary.

Even for people not too interested in birds, the eagles capture the imagination - I suppose it's the predator in all of us :)

The African Fish Eagle call strikes the heart of anyone who has been in Africa and fortunate enough to hear it.....

Anonymous said...

I love the barbet peeking out of its hole! I'm so glad you are enjoying your new camera. After all that research, it's often still a gamble. Looks like you hit the jackpot.