Saturday, 9 April 2016

Purchases and kit change

I posted not so long ago about what camera equipment I use but as you will have seen from my last two posts things have already changed.

My Sigma 150-500 has got stuck at its minimum aperture which isn't particularly useful. I took it in to find out whether it could be repaired half expecting to hear that it would cost more than the lens is worth but was surprised to discover that even though I bought it in Aug 2012 it was still under warranty so providing they find no evidence that the camera had been damaged externally (wouldn't be difficult with a camera used nearly every day in that period) then I will get it repaired free of charge.

I had however already made my mind up to buy a bridge camera/compact super zoom. After a week now of carrying around the much smaller and lighter 70-300mm I find it difficult to contemplate going back to the bazooka for everyday use. But equally importantly I have heard and read reports from other people and not least seen the photographic evidence that these new superzoom compact camera can take really good pictures and with optical zooms up to the equivalent of 2000mm they offer record shot possibilities that I have not had before.

I have chosen to stick with Canon and have bought a Powershot SX60 which has a 65 x optical zoom (1365mm equiv). I considered a Nikon Coolpix P900 which has an 83x zoom (2000mm) but this costs a lot more without getting much better reviews - except of course regarding the considerably larger zoom but I reckon 65x should be enough.

The cost of the SX60 in Norway is 4000kr ($485). If I had updated my DLSR and lens then I would have bought a Canon 100D and a Sigma 150-600mm at a combined cost of 14,500kr ($1760) which would have been a cheap alternative.
Time will tell how happy I am with my choice but for a quarter of price I have nearly tripled my zoom and now have a camera I can take anywhere.
I will post a review at a later stage when I've given it a good run for its money.
I can give one piece of advice now though for my Norwegian readers: don't buy from Scandinavian Photo - incredibly poor service and no right to return the product. Buy from one of the large electronic stores and have a 30 day no questions asked return option.

A new camera was not my only outlay. My Leica 8x42 are in need of a serious service and repair (the left prism no longer focuses as far as the horizon). The cost of the repairs would seem to exceed the value of the 14 year old bins so I decided a while ago that I would buy a new pair. Initially I was set on Swarovski (they have almost cornered the market such that you could think a birder isn't serious if he doesn't use their brand) but after talking to people who were not as happy with their bins as they were expecting (given the huge price) I decided to look at other makes (it must also be said that I gave up on Swarovski after their sales manager in Norway ignored my attempts to make contact).
So what have I chosen? Opticron Countryman 8x42 for under a third of the price of 'Ovskis. My initial tests reveal a binocular a better and lighter product than my Leicas and so far I am very happy with this purchase.

Here are some shots from Maridalen today showing what the camera can do in slightly better light than yesterday.

Maridalsvannet in wide angle 21mm

5 Mallard taken at 84x optical zoom (1365mm). They are where the arrow is pointing above

a Pink-footed Goose (kortnebbgås)
5 Curlew (storspove)
And here is another video. The video is what has impressed me most so far.

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