I was a birder before I was a photographer. I introduced birding to a friend who was a photographer and eventually he convinced me to combine the two. He also became a birder. The photography helped my birding. “Photo-birding” allows one to examine the pictures later, in the warmth and comfort of home, in confirming ID’s. But it can also distract you from the techniques of visual field observation if you’re not careful. When you see a new bird do you reach for your binoculars or camera? It can get confusing. You’re also faced with the challenge of becoming a pack horse–equipment can get heavy. My camera choices have evolved and improved over the years. Initially I had a Canon SX10, a good point and shot, but not a DSLR and without interchangeable lens. I did get some good shots, and it served to whet my appetite, but was clearly not up to the quality I sought. My first upgrade was a Canon T2i which served me well for years. The Canon Rebel series are a great way to enter the world of DSLR. This upgrade opened the world of interchangeable lenses (and more $), but was a great improvement. I’ll talk about lenses in a later post. My last upgrade was to the new Canon 7D II, with me still evaluating this in the field. My first impressions are great and others have posted raving reviews, calling this perhaps the ultimate birding and wildlife camera–that’s until the next upgrade. I also own a Canon 6D, bought to have a full field option. One needs to make the initial choice, Nikon vs. Canon, when getting into photography since the lenses are not interchangeable. Both have quality cameras and lenses. I chose Canon, under the influence of a friend, and don’t regret the choice. My impression is that most birders and bloggers go the Canon route. In a later post I’ll list my techniques and camera settings for bird photography.