First Camera Recommendations

Don’t know if this is much help but my current equipment is a second-hand Canon EOS 60D and sigma 105mm macro. If I had more of a budget I would have probably gone with mirrorless or a newer model but the 60D is still great for what I do* - but yes as others have said one thing I can recommend is second hand.

*mostly plants.

1 Like

Just do us a favour and prioritise capturing identifiable features and not just the glamour shots. It’s such a shame to see an amazing photo posted to an ob but the user doesn’t bother adding any other details. Like the head shot of a snake. Lovely but wasn’t there another two feet of snake that might have been useful to look at? :see_no_evil:
For what its worth, I would say that the majority of my daytime macro photos are taken with natural light and with the insect undisturbed. Don’t let the extra costs of a flash or any of these advanced techniques put you off. I imagine we all started with very basic methods and with a bit of work you can find your own way within your budget.


Thank you for starting this thread @kenneth_g
I am right there with you and had no idea where to really start.

Every few months I try to go down this rabbit-hole and usually end up with an, ‘Ah, the phone works fine!’ result.

Heck, I started out DRAWING observations because I couldn’t afford a camera. The best camera to have is the one you have. And if you cannot afford a camera, draw. Makes no difference to me and maybe drawing trains you to look at important things anyway? :)


I did not have a camera when I drew this observation:

So I drew it. Considering that it got supporting IDs I am pretty proud. It’s one of my most favourite observations

or the head shot of a bird :man_facepalming:

In such cases it may be worth leaving a friendly(?) comment requesting to see more of the rest of the animal.

When an observer in my area went from adding just pretty flower photos from the top to including leaves, etc. I left a comment saying something like (not exact wording):

Thanks for including the whole plant, the leaves and stem, it really help with identification, so thanks for also including the less photogenic boring bits too!

It really might be a case of “You don’t know what you don’t know” so being gentle about how to phrase the feedback constructively matters, even if it’s frustrating as an identifier to see such photos.

Ditto for other issues like blurry photos or ones that are too far away.

Why does that matter? My latest observation was from 2 to 3 km away. Blurry. But I can see what it is

Edit: this was from about 2 kms away. I can see what it is. The comment about whether or not it it’s “Doryanthes palmeri” is not relevant (the plant is under review so that’s not relevant. At the moment it is what it is)

1 Like

That’s not blurry or far away, I have an observation that is the kind of photos people call blurry and far.

1 Like

I must be misunderstanding then :) That’s 2 km away from where I was standing and maybe it’s not blurry but it’s far away. I concede that it’s not really relevant though

Your photo is cool :)

1 Like

It’s more like blurry pic of a spider from 5 metres where all you can see a grey blob in a shape of arthropod, user can genuenly believe it’s idable, so kind comments could help them to try another approach next time.

1 Like

I’m not sure I’d approach an arthropod. Dangerous. I’d rather see a drawing ;) Edit: that’s a dot! I’d approach that

1 Like

got an ID
So I’m not sure far away or blurry is relevant. But I understand what you’re saying

Maybe the birders on iNat are amazing as pointed out in another topic. I’ve even uploaded this poor example and had it identified, but how much confidence is there in the ID? How many features did the identifier see that made them think it was correct? Is it someone following etiquette and being bold, basing it on probability and range instead of features? I’d rather see a more detailed observation like this where there’s obviously enough detail that anyone identifying it would have many features to look at.

All of that might be moot. I’m biased towards plants so I was thinking more about photos of trees from far away, where leaves are indistinct but necessary for identification or drive-by photos where the whole image is one massive motion-blur.

Edit: The doubtful tone about the poor example isn’t to say I’m ungrateful to anyone who does do ID by region and probability. I like the be bold stance and appreciate anyone willing to do IDs. Every little bit of identification helps and the generosity of identifiers is always appreciated.

1 Like

Those are Cathartidae with no doubt, based on numbers and location id is correct, maybe check others and comparing proportions would prove it too, but no white tips for black vulture. And surely you don’t even need to write they’re not corvids when you have birds looking nothing like them.)

1 Like

It’s obvious if you’ve taken the time to learn about birds. I focus on my local plants so I’m maybe at the creagle skill level of identification for now?

1 Like

close ups are not defacto useless. coloration and patterns in the head are useful for identification.

1 Like

Pretty sure seeing all the head scales is enough to id most of snake species.
Same with duck butts, usually quite distinct when they dive.

Possibly but I’m sure there’s still good data to be had from seeing the rest of the snake, or any other animal. I know I have a bad habit of trying to take nice macro photos of insects with the eye in focus but quite often it’ll be some detail of the rear leg or something that’s key to the ID and is too blurred to be useful. Now I just try to get as many photos as possible from all angles.
I’ve been looking at a lot of plant photos recently too and they’re often close shots that are good enough for an ID but some wider shots that show the whole plant would have given so much more information.