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Just some comments on new Gear...

Both Canon and Nikon have recently released new mirrorless camera systems. These new systems were not created with Birders in mind. I.e., not for Birders unless you have other uses for such cameras.

However, Canon has also released new Big Whites – a 400mm F2.8 III and a 600mm F4.0 III. Both of these lenses are good for bird photography – if you can afford them. The main feature of these two lenses is weight reduction. About 20% reduction for each lens. And note that the Series II lenses were also marketed as being “lighter” than their predecessors. Of course there is an inverse correlation between weight and cost. So being 20% lighter, the new Series III lenses cost about 10% more.

Meanwhile Nikon has released a new Superzoom, the Coolpix P1000. This model reaches the 35mm-equivalent of a 3000mm lens. 125X optical zoom with a 16mp sensor. The F-stop at 3000mm is F8.0. It also takes RAW images. In the U.S., the price is $1,000.

Canon has announced the new SX70. This model has an optical zoom of 65X and a 20mp sensor. It can also shoot RAW and take 4k video. About half the cost of the Nikon.

I used to own a Nikon P900 which zoomed to an equivalence of 2000mm. The feature I didn’t like was the focusing speed. Too slow when one is used to DSLRs. It was also difficult to find your subject at the superzoom end through the electronic viewfinder.

I do own a mirrorless Sony RX-10 IV model with a zoom up to 600mm equivalent. This model has a larger sensor (20mp) and can take stills at up to 32 fps. Also does 4k video. Zeiss lens (vario) from F2.8 to F4.0 at maximum zoom. Very fast focusing. Costs a little less than twice the price of the Nikon P&S.

Sigma has announced the release of a 60mm – 600mm Sports DSLR lens. I have the 150mm – 600mm Sports Sigma and it is an excellent lens. I expect this new lens will be at least as good optically as my lens and likely cost a little more. Note that the “Sports” cognomen indicates better glass and more groups of glass. My “Sports” model is noticeably longer than the “Contemporary” version. This new Sigma zoom weighs about 6 pounds whereas the new Canon 600mm III lens weighs 6.7 pounds (the Nikon 600mm F4.0 weighs 8.4 pounds). The Sigma will cost nearly $10k less than the new Canon.

A camera with nice features for Birders is the new Fujifilm X-T3. This is a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. APS-C sensor, Back-side Illuminated, 26mp. It can take 4k video at 60fps with 10-bit colour. Its mechanical shutter fires at 11fps, but its silent mirrorless shutter fires at 30 fps. Also, a 3.7 million dot electronic viewfinder. Although Fuji has a reasonable set of lenses, its one super lens is a 200mm F2.0 model. With a 2X converter, it becomes a 400mm F4.0, which is fair. A Birder would need an adapter in order to use the big DSLR lenses on this body. These are the features I would expect a replacement for the Canon 7D II to boast. About $1500 in the U.S.
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By zwest
I’m getting excited about Nikon’s new 500mm F5.6 PF lens. An ultra-sharp 500 prime which only weighs 3 pounds! It is starting at around $4800 but eventually I expect the price to drop down to something reasonable - I would pull the trigger on it at maybe $3500. If it works as advertised, I think this looks to be the perfect handheld birding lens...

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