The pictures for this blog have been taken with rather humdrum types of camera, the best being my most recent one with a 20x optical zoom. Still, sometimes even low end cameras can deliver reasonable quality pictures, so in a way this site’s message is : you don’t have to have all the gear to attempt bird photography (although I did acquire the Powershot SX240 with the specific aim of going on safari to Botswana).
In short the digital cameras I’ve owned so far are :
Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS : December 2007 – July 2008
This camera didn’t last long since it got stolen on the ferry from Newcastle to Norway. As far as I’m aware I didn’t take any bird pictures that I can remember with this camera.
Canon Digital IXUS 85 IS : May 2009 – August 2010
This camera had a slightly longer lifespan, and its highlights were pictures from the rain forest in Ecuador (although that was more insects rather than birds) and from the Galapagos. Unfortunately I dropped the camera on the last day in the Galapagos, which was a pity, since of all the IXUS cameras this was undoubtedly the best.
Canon IXUS 105 : October 2010 – June 2016
This was my main camera in Cuba, Jordan and the Azores, and the back-up camera from Botswana onwards. It’s OK-ish for birds but not wonderful. Its main advantage is that it takes the same battery as the SX240, which means you can take a battery that’s run out of juice for the latter and still use it for a limited amount of time on the IXUS. Unfortunately this camera has got lost after I lent it out to my son for a trip to Cuba.
Canon Powershot SX240 HS : July 2012 – Now
My main camera from July 2012 onwards (until I bought the SX710, that is), when I bought it with the specific aim of getting reasonable pictures from my safari holiday in Botswana. It’s still doing OK, even though it has some small scratches on the lens, but at times (especially in poor light and high magnifications) I find that what looks fine on the viewfinder looks grainy or fuzzy on a larger screen.
Canon Powershot SX40 HS : July 2012 – Now
A bridge camera bought with the specific aim of getting decent pictures from my safari holiday in Botswana. Not many times used for photographing birds (although some of the Botswana pictures are from this camera), it may now find more use now that my SX710 has gone walkies. Only time will tell whether it can rival the newly acquired Powershot SX720.
Canon Powershot SX710 HS : April 2016 – March 2017
Bought this one in an attempt to see whether a 30x optical zoom does make a difference. It shares the same battery pack with the IXUS and the Powershot SX240, so can be part of the swapping of batteries between cameras. The provisional verdict is that at times it can make a difference between a reasonable picture and a fuzzy blob, but under poor light conditions the outcome is still grainy. It also sometimes suffers from focusing on some background object if the subject of interest fills only a small portion of the viewfinder. Unfortunately this camera was mislaid and lost on a trip to Cambridge.
Canon Powershot SX720 HS : April 2017 – Now
Bought this one as a replacement for the lost Powershot SX710, since for bird work the old Powershot SX240 falls just a bit short for long distance shots. While definitely an improvement over the SX240 (and the SX710), it has the same drawback of graininess in poor light. On top of this, it has the disadvantage of not sharing the same battery type with the Powershot SX240 (something it has in common with the Powershot SX40, which has its own incompatible battery).