What do y'all use to take pictures for observations?

I use a Sony A-68 and Sony 70-400mm G2 lens. The combo is the equivalent of 105-600mm on a full frame camera body, weighs only four pounds, focuses down to four feet away and can photograph just about anything from an 10-point buck down to a ladybug. Sony has abandoned this camera mount, but their newer APSC mirrorless cameras and 100-400mm G lens is very similar and will focus down to three feet away.

IMO, editing of your photos is as important as taking them. Using just the basics will make you photos much easier to ID.


Personally, I use my Huawei Y6 2019 phone to take pictures of nature. Although it is not the best phone in terms of camera or photo quality, it does its job correctly.

Overall, it is quite effective and allows for quality zooms for macro photography. However, for photos of distant subjects such as birds, it is completely ineffective.

Despite this, I much prefer my phone to more traditional cameras which are often bulky and require a series of complex settings to be effective. Even though I am a naturalist, I am not a professional photographer.

That being said, it is important to note that everyone should choose the equipment that suits them best. What works for me may not work for other people. It is up to each person to find the equipment that best meets their needs and preferences.


Well said. How does the quote go – " The best camera is the one you have with you to get the shot"?


I feel seen! :heart_eyes:


And this is an excellent example of how needs vary.

I’m guessing you photograph a lot of birds/mammals or butterflies/odonates, stuff like that?

See, a large portion of my observations are arthropods ranging from about 2 cm max to well under 1 cm, and I’m reading this and trying to imagine attempting to photograph springtails or capture relevant details of fast-moving 6mm bees from over a meter away while wielding a four-pound camera…


Have a look at this thread https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/what-camera-do-you-use-for-nature-photography/28220.


Less than 2 kilos, actually pretty small for taking macro photos.


Yeah, full frame camera+teleish macro lens+extension tubes+raynox+twin flash+arms+diffuser can be much heavier than that.
I’d rather use small sensor+teleish macro+raynox+hotshoe flash+diffuser which won’t be as heavy, but still going to be like 1.5kg


Just weighed my current setup with the kitchen scale. 2.3 kg for Nikon D300 + 105mm lens + macro ring light. Helps train my grip strength :slightly_smiling_face:


As for me, I used my Nokia cellphone camera for a long time and was quite satisfied with it, but finally I found my old small camera, Lumix LX-3. It’s small and light and I just keep it in my handbag. I still often use my phone, the photos are really good, but the camera gives much better quality of macro photographs, and I take a lot of them. My cellphone helps me with localization.


Which 105 lens are you using? I’ve had a look at a few used Nikkor AF 105 f/2.8D for around 250€ (compared to more like 600€ for the stabilised VR one). I have no problem with not not getting the best and newest gear (the 500mm I used for a while is older than me), but I want to keep that lens a good while, not just be a cheap stopgap.

Couldn’t find any Laowa 100mm in F mount for less than 600€ unless it was a shady seller or the price was without customs duty paid (which often bring the price well above 600€).


Can’t speak too highly of the Sigma 105mm-F/2.8 AF macro. I’ve used it practically every day for the last 15 years in all weathers with little regard for its well-being and apart from a few minor cosmetic scratches, it’s as good as new. The autofocus is perhaps a bit “gritty”, but then I rarely use autofocus for macros anyway. I do have other macro lenses (the Sigma 150 mm and the Lowa 60 mm), but the 105 mm remains my go-to lens for just about everything. Mine is a Canon mount, but I’m sure Nikon is much the same.


I use a Pentax Lumix DMC-FZ60. It has a 24x zoom lense and provides 96x electronic zoom (which is better than my 60x spotting scope) and also macro zoom, so it lets me get that far away bird or a flower or bug. One major advantage is you don’t have to lug a variety of lenses - the built in lense does it all. It also has image stabilization which allows you to take amazingly long range high power photos without using a tripod.

It is known as a bridge camera and for the price, I don’t think the Lumix bridge cameras can be beat. I bought this particular refurbished from B&H photo - I don’t remember the price but it was below $300. Good luck.


It’s the Nikon VR AF model, which I bought used last year. Worth every penny to me for the photo quality and versatility.


Does anyone know about this Iphone kit?(https://www.amazon.com/Fisheye-Wide-Angle-Samsung-Android-Smartphone/dp/B08DQRKY6D/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=iphone+zoom+macro+lens&qid=1684631267&sr=8-4)
Is it good with insects and other small animals?

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Hm, ich bin hier völlig neu und war bezüglich der Camera überrascht. Meine Camera heißt TECHNAXX und ist Teil eines Futterhauses für kleine Vögel. Der Schärfebereich geht bis zur Sitzstange.

Kann ich die Bezeichnung “Hunter Camera” stehen lassen oder ist diese Bezeichnung zu nichtssagend oder irreführend? Wer selbst beim Discounter dieses Vogelfutterhaus gekauft hat, der wird es auf meinen Fotos erkennen. Eigentlich suche ich nur Austausch über diese Kamera und ihre Einstellungen, weil bei mir nur die Grundeinstellung (ab Werk) funktioniert.


I don’t even carry a flash. Just the Nikon P950 bridge, extra batteries and a Raynox-250 in my pocket. I shoot high ISO stills (use PureRaw for noise reduction) or use 4K video clips to grab low light frames, which I also use for stacking the sub 5mm realm.

This let’s me go from…


And pretty much all stops in between.

Two and a half pounds with strap, battery, and Raynox included.

And I still carry my phone. It gives me an ultrawide angle when I sometimes need it, and does surprisingly great night shots.


I saw your previous post too. Brilliant work! I actually have P900 which should work similarly (except that it doesn’t have a hot shoe for shooting with an external flash and iso 100 lol) , and raynox Msn-202 and Dcr-250 are coming soon. Very excited to try out them both at the 2000mm!


Welcome to the forum erhard10!

I hope that you won’t mind that I ran your post through the English translator for those (like me) with little or none multilingual abilities.

Erhard10’s post translated into English:

Hmm, I’m completely new here and was surprised about the camera. My camera is called TECHNAXX and is part of a feeder for small birds. The sharpness range goes all the way to the perch. Can I leave the name “Hunter Camera” or is this name too meaningless or misleading? Anyone who has bought this bird feeder at the discounter will recognize it in my photos. Actually, I’m just looking for an exchange about this camera and its settings, because only the basic setting (ex works) works for me.


I have the P950 and I use two tricks to get around poor light sensitivity. One, (and this is true for almost all my cameras), I rely heavily on a software package called PureRaw to gain at least a couple usable f-stops with high ISO RAW images. Their batch processing noise reduction is just short of miraculous, and it also works on the Olympus TG RAW files.

Second, 4K video. For the naturalist, it’s also the reason to pick the 950 over the 900. I find that shooting in 4k Video mode just performs better in lower lighting conditions because even though you’re basically working at a very slow shutter speed, the stabilization and the multitude of shots you get to choose from (as selected frames from the video clips), significant ups your odds. And as video is a slightly smaller format, you also gain decent results even in the ‘blue’ extended digital zoom shooting space like this one from two days ago.

I was about 25 feet away from this bird, in a thick woods, with pretty dim lighting. This is actually a crop of one of the video frames.

And this shot also is a 4k frame. About an hour after sunset.

And of course, the other ‘trick’ which is macro specific, is to get a Raynox macro lens adapter and some filter ring adapters to replace the plastic clip it comes with. This allows you to use a super zoom bridge camera’s built-in pop-up flash for macro work which is next to impossible with most DSLR- macro lens setups.

This is a low light shot. Overcast day. Video 4k to capture multiple frames which I stacked in Affinity Photo. No flash used.