Bird Photography: Image Stabilization

One of the most popular types of nature photography is bird photography. By using the latest technological digital cameras and lenses, photos of birds can be taken with professional looking results.

Birds are typically camera shy. In addition to image stabilization, a good telephoto lens with a focal length from 300mm to 60mm will allow you to take photos from a distance so you will not alarm the birds.

Learn About Your Subject

Along with the right equipment, a key element of bird photography is to know your subject. Through observation, you will learn about the bird's personality and common actions. This will also help you understand spot cues a bird will give prior to doing something interesting or dramatic.

A little knowledge, along with having your digital camera easily accessible, will allow you to capture a great photo.

Stabilizing the Image

Bird photography requires image stabilization to capture clear shots of the subjects. It is used for the reduction of blurring that can be caused by movement of the subject or motion of the camera during normal operation.

This motion, also called camera shake, can occur if you are using a slow shutter speed or a telephoto lens with a long focal length. The latter is partially caused by the action within the lens, as well as an imbalance between the camera and the lens.

Another option to help with stabilizing your image is the use of a tripod. This may not be ideal if you are trying to capture action shots, however.

Methods of Stabilization

There are two different methods of stabilization for digital cameras. You can have stabilization with any new digital SLR camera. The device can be either built into the camera's body or built into a camera lens.

Manufacturers that have stabilization built into the body of the camera include Pentax, Samsung, Sony and Olympus.

Stabilization lens makers include Nikon and Canon. The lenses are marked either VR (Vibration Reduction) for Nikon or IS (Image Stabilization) for Canon.

Key Differences

When the stabilization has been built into the body, it allows the camera to work with any lens that will work with your camera. It does not have any impact on what you see through the viewfinder. However, when you use a camera with the stabilization in the lens, you will be able to see it working.

Compare Methods

The selection process of the right stabilization method for bird photography should consider the following points.

Built in stabilization can appear to be an advantage, as you can use any compatible lens with your camera. However, composing your shots may be more difficult if you do not know what to expect in your photo. Stabilization lenses will keep the image that you see through the viewfinder from jumping around, which will make it easier for you to compose your photos.

When looking at pricing, make sure to take the following into account. Stabilization lenses can cost significantly more than regular lenses and cameras with stabilization built in may be more costly than other cameras without this feature.

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