Equipment

Over the years, I’ve used a fair variety of equipment, from cameras to computers – my first SLR was a Minolta X-9, with a variety of lenses, including a Sigma 70-210, an off-brand 2x-teleconverter, and a Centon 500mm mirror – this was eventually backed up with a Centon DF300 as a second body.

The whole lot got traded in for a Minolta 3Xi and Sigma 28-300 zoom, which I took around Europe a couple of times in ’93 and ’96 – this saw extensive use until my first hiatus from spotting, and was eventually replaced in 2003 (!) by a Nikon F65 and Sigma 28-300 zoom*, shortly after being replaced with a Nikon D50 and Sigma 28-300 zoom, which was used when I briefly came back spotting in 2006.

In 2013, I acquired a Nikon D3100, and initial attempts at Avgeeking with this were let down by the fact my existing zoom was manual-only on that body, so I bought a Sigma 70-300 to go with the kit 18-55 zoom, which is the setup I use today.

Occasional cameraphone shots are taken (Samsung Galaxy S5 and S7, and lately Huawei P20Pro), mostly to get round problems with fences.

I have recently been experimenting with a small GoPro-style video camera mounted on to of my D3100 – results weren’t very good, so a few days ago I bought a cold-shoe mount for my P20Pro, hopefully that will be better.

Until recently, editing was generally done on an elderly ASUS X53U running Lubuntu 18.04, using either Gimp 2.8 or Darktable, depending on whether I’m working with jpegs or RAW files.
Now, I use a hexa-core i5 powered Win10 desktop – Gimp 2.8 does in seconds on that what wouold take me 10 minutes on my old machine.

*The F65 was never used for spotting, instead it was used for another project, before being replaced by the D50, which was – barely!)