The following thoughts on Backyard Bird Photography was submitted by NaturesPixel (our forum Administrator). You will need a tripod to steady yourself also I some times set my camera up in the yard closer to the feeders, sit back away from the camera and use my remote to fire off the shutter. I set my white balance manually although as I do tend to forget that sometimes I always shoot in RAW. I tend to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode when shooting birds that are feeding, that way you can control the depth of field. There are numerous way to attract birds and it will largely depend upon the type of birds that are in your area. Perches – Using perches made from broken branches and twigs can be good as they will provide a place for the birds to sit. I could go on and on about attracting birds to your backyard but the rest is up to you to research as each yard and bird species is so different.
There are a few things you can do here that will help you create a place that birds feel comfortable to visit without knowing you’re there. I don’t have many in-flight shots because they are harder to do, but here are a few tips that will help. You can get shots of birds flying off from the feeder by pre focusing just off the feeder and setting your shutter speed and aperture manually. For example, here in Ontario the Black Capped Chickadees need help, so feeding them through the year can help the species survive. TIP – Try using a fill flash or off camera flash to bring out the highlights and detail in the feathers.
Your recommendation of continuous autofocus when tracking a bird in flight is a good idea to which I would add that you might also wish to set continuous high speed for your shooting mode. Please inform me about to prefer between the resolution 3Mp or 10 Mp when I photograph a flying seagull.
Obviously, if you have no super-short flash, you must either use a super-short shutter speed or give up and allow the wings to blur. Very informative, will try taken pictures in Aperture priority, have been using manual only. Here is a shot of a couple owls where the sun was shining from the right side leaving a shadow on the left side of the owls.
Great review, thanks for taking the time to give a comparison from someone who OWNS both cameras, so there is not that my camera is better than your camera attitude!
The cost difference does represent some nice glass but in the end – I will be putting the wide zoom to better and intended use.
I have the 5D Mk II which I think is awesome, but it’s valuable to get such a good comparison.
The Nikon Coolpix P900 (user's manual) does not have the best IQ, but it's certainly appealing for bird photography. This (P900) will be terrible in low light or any high ISO, but in good light this looks like an amazing package. If you try to hand hold this thing at 2000mm and with clouded sky you will need higher ISO values!
I own a 16x Zoom camera and then purchased a 60x Zoom camera 2 years ago, both from a different manufacturer. You should get a job in Nikon marketing ?? With their sales dropping I think they could really do with someone like you. Actually, the entire market has contracted, so it is a bigger challenge for all camera manufacturers.
At a personal level, I would like to see Nikon prosper, but we have to respect the competition. Let me translate your comment: You are against Nikon and so you profusely dislike my positive views on the P900 because you think that it helps Nikon. Well, that is your personal problem and I am not here to provide comfort to your personal issues with Nikon – no disrespect!
But the good news is that they have really stepped up their customer support so overall you should have a great experience buying Nikon products. Now if you are accusing Nikon the same way that you are falsely accusing me of being a Nikon employee, then I must say that you really do have a personal problem. Your behavior towards Nikon will overtime affect your relationship with other people in your life. So Nikon has served me since the mid-1980s and they continue to make exceptionally great products and you want me to become disloyal for no justifiable reason? I have provided full disclosure by making my over 1,000 posts over the past few years available. Yes, the downsizing helps keep you from seeing the limits of the camera, but buyers of superzooms tend not to be worried about blowing images up to large print sizes anyways. You get 5-stops VR with the P900, so it is expected to get consistent image quality when taking zoomed-in pictures and videos.
When you teach the beginner the art of photography, one of the first things they learn is to breath-in, hold their breath, keep steady, and press the shutter making certain they do not shake the camera when pressing the shutter. Well, this could have well been taken by an experienced shooter, but the average person that will be buying this won’t know about any of that. What we are talking about here is 5-stops VR which I would think is equivalent to 125mm and there are enough pictures here on the web that are proving that his camera can handle 2000mm comfortable.
So if it turns out that the average person can get those shots at 2000mm, then the P900 may indeed represent Nikon’s attempt to respond to the market conditions in the most aggressive way possible. And don’t forget that you can do an awful lot of stabilizing with an Leica tabletop tripod by bracing it against walls and trees and resting it on rocks and tabletops. We can all learn from biathletes having to hold their gun steady when arriving at the shooting area, with a pulse of 160. Hold your breath when you are taking a photo and not only might you be wrong, you might end up dead!!!!!!

Whilst you’re at it you can send me the D810 as I need an additional paperweight for my desk. LMAO yeah I always find it amusing how they can take absolute crap security camera footage and zoom in until you can count nose hairs. Hell, with Piccard, Six, and MacGyver working together they could get by with a Fisher-Price system. But that is where self discipline comes in – just like on the web, I do not click on any image that plays on my emotions.
The only thing I use the computer for is to zap zits with the Spot Healing Brush tool and to send pictures to the lab for printing.
Yeah that blows but if it has decent JPEG quality (lack of artifacts) then it’s still quite amazing as a day zoomer. The funny thing is, if the zoom range were only moderately absurd, folks might knock it a whole lot more, but it seems to have broken some sort of absurdity barrier, passing into a whole new realm of usefulness, especially considering the price. I have looked at the official 5-stops demo video at least 20 times in the past few days looking at the details and making certain I am not overlooking anything. If I were reviewing this camera I would say, take a look at the sample pictures and go and buy it! Check out her Flickr account – particularly her bird photography (one of which is the second shot in this article). That way you have the opportunity to capture birds you wouldn’t normally see due to spring migration. You can even get good shots with an advanced point and shoot with 10x Zoom as I did with my Minolta Dimage Z5.
That way if I do forget to set my white balance or my exposure is off a little I can fix within my image editing software. For example planting a chokecherry will attract Cedar Waxwings and Robins to your yard for the 2 weeks that the berries are ripe. Keep in mind that most feeders are not aesthetically pleasing to the eye and could prove to be distracting in your shots.
Make sure that you use the right size branch for the size of bird you are trying to capture. You will toss many more shots into the trash then you keep, but that’s why we shoot digital. Head over to the forums where we have a bird photography thread for your questions, tips and photos.
I love shooting nature and animals, I’m sure this info will prove to be more than helpful in the future! I’ve never tried bird photography (find it very complicated), but i think i should try it. This will allow more opportunities to produce the great image (from many possibles)that you’re trying to achieve. Am looking for special two way window film to prevent birds noticing my camera at the window , I have only a small area on my roof garden and have taken some lovely shots so far but always want to improve !!!
Your external flash unit can reach out to illuminate birds (or anything) even at a distance of 50 feet.
I found my historic 70-210 Nikon was not up to the task so just bought the 70-300 VRII, and what a difference.
I love bird photography it is so rewarding when your photos turn out lol I have lots of feeders all year long ! I read everything I can get my hands on and have no hesitation in saying the above item is fabulous.
I’m not even a Canon shooter but I value your insights on these two wonderful cameras. I have been toying with the idea of getting a Mark II, until I learned that two of my lens are not compatible with the 5D Mark II. It’s a matter of knowing the limits of each camera and then choose the right camera for the right purpose.
High ISO: The small sensor may have close to a 1 inch sensor performance and that is why Nikon placed such a high-end (optics) lens on this camera. Zoom Performance: The closer the camera zooms in on a picture in low light conditions, the brighter the image becomes. I think all Nikon needs to do is get out products like the P900 which the mass market can embrace. Some are even justifying their purchase by saying it is light by comparing it to their DSLR lens kit; go figure! A couple of years ago I bought a 60x ultra zoom camera from a different manufacturer which was to replace my older 16x zoom camera.
Nikon really does not consider people who purchase gray market cameras their loyal customers if that is case. Seeing that you are so negative about Nikon, are we to also assume that you are working for Canon or another of Nikon’s competitors?
You will find yourself trying to hurt innocent people just because they like someone that you hate. Let me tell you something about myself, I will never praise anyone if I do not believe what I am saying. Secondly if I were an Nikon employee I would not have categorically denied working for them either directly or indirectly in responding to false accusations in the past.
And besides, if you lean against a wall, a tree, your car, sit down and rest your elbow on your knees, or put your elbow on a platform, you will be able to take pretty steady handheld pictures and movies without using a tripod. The VR will help somewhat, but at a 2000mm equivalent focal length, it’s only going to do so much. But there are other videos above that were no doubt taken by inexperienced persons and yet their handheld, zoomed-in videos are astonishingly impressive. Self-control and a strong will to resist temptations is to me the hallmark of a strong personality.

It has plenty of image processing power, accurate white balance, excellent exposure metering, and enough preset flexibility that I can get exactly what i want from jpegs (I actually figured out how to use D-Lighting). What’s even more amazing, is the sharpness that piece of glass can draw on such a small sensor area. Then rereading about the 5-stops, ED class, DSLR quality lens, massive size of the lens, shutter speed, etc., etc. You can shoot from whatever room you like, even the bathroom, as long as it gives you a clear line of sight. I plan to set my camera on a tripod just behind the feeder and, using my remote, I will fire off shots as they are coming into land.
Search via zipcode and eastern western cananda, there are many different sites that pertain to different parts of the world. Walking through the set up and settings make it sound easy, so that even I, may one day(soon)snap a focused pic of a backyard beauty. I find it wonderful to just be there in the midst of nature, camrea in hand, I dont use a tripod trying to capture its beauty ! When ever I am seeing the picture in camera it's looking good but when ti uploaded to laptop that time came to know the it's out of focus. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited. In different lighting conditions up to higher ISO, the colors, sharpness, and brightness are all amazing! But it is the fun factor that is selling this camera – bring distant objects amazingly close with stunning image quality.
I was not in the market for another zoom camera when all of a sudden, Nikon launched the P900. But unfortunately, the P900 is the worst thing that can happen to the competition at the moment.
Imagine, I write a post about Nikon and you are suddenly attack me and trying to discredit me because of my nearly consistent positive view of Nikon, what is wrong with you? That being true, this camera would create a massive opportunity for Nikon in the consumer market.
But as an artist and tech-head I like to tinker, and I also do most of my computing from bed on a big screen, so poor ergonomics isn’t so much of an issue for me, lol. Contrast is not obviously that great, but for x83 zoom $600 p&s, you cannot really complain. Then thinking that Nikon’s $17,000 lens does not have anything on this camera lens combo. This camera gives us high image quality zoom, stills, and videos with impressive shutter performance and image stabilization. That being said, any time of year can be good, in late Autumn you will get the migration coming back down south and winter you may have birds that live north during summer but live in your back yard during winter.
In the end I recommend you do the research for each bird that you want to attract as each will have it’s own unique things that attracts it.
For example try hanging extra large sunflower heads off trees, get semi hollow logs and placing them upright with seed in the top etc. This flash tactic can help add contrast and detail even on birds that lack the color of a cardinal or bluejay.
This is especially useful for freezing hummingbird wings because those wings beat at remarkably high frequency. I just wish I could get the Hummers wings in stop motion but heck I am working on that and am enjoying it thoughly ! Has anyone used flash magnifiers such as “Better Beamer” to beam the flash further than the normal range of the flash? Summarizing specifications and advertising makes for a good book report, but that’s about it. So in general with this camera, it is going to be all about the photographer and their photographic technique in getting the best quality images that will showcase this cameras capability. We should all remember that the camera can only point towards images we move it towards and nature is too diverse for a person to be fixated on the wrong things. Then I have looked at the videos being posted all over the web on this camera and walking away utterly impressed!
But the fine Zoom capability at 4000mm of the eagle in the official Nikon demo video above shows the incredible sharpness and rich colors the P900’s incredible lens picks up at extreme distances.
Basically it is a very fluent way of shooting and you are really holding your breath only for a tiny fraction.
But it all starts with our minds and the types of thoughts, images, and pictures we want swimming in there. Only three cameras have really impressed me in a while: the D810, D750, and now the P900; yes, the CoolPix P900! I bought a 60x zoom camera not too long ago but enjoyed my 16x zoom camera much more – which I purchased a few years earlier. Now all Nikon needs to do is advertise those sample videos to the mass market, they do not need much advertising talk, the camera will sell itself!
No one else made a defective product and instead of fixing it they ignore their loyal customers and release the same produxt with minor tweaks. And those massive lens, I can’t get away from thinking that Nikon is putting such powerful optics into our hands.

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