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Choosing the right camera system is a highly personal choice and no one camera is right for everyone. I started my learning experience with my father's old, manual Canon A-1 and AE-1 Program cameras. I really liked working with these manual cameras since the forced me to learn how to adjust shutter speeds and aperture settings to get the photographs I wanted.

Like many other photographers though, I was soon lured by more modern, autofocus cameras as well. I always enjoyed using manual focus cameras and still use one for some animal work, though most of it is done with a newer autofocus camera.

Since I like using both manual focus and autofocus cameras, I decided to buy Nikon cameras since I can use newer, autofocus lens with older, manual focus cameras and older, manual focus lenses on newer, autofocus cameras. This inter-operability allows me to use the same set of lenses for all my cameras.

When photographing animals, there are some features that have helped us increase the number of good photographs per roll and we encourage you to consider these features when choosing a camera system. These features include:

  1. A wide selection of accessories for your camera and flashes and lenses - This includes good support for macro (or micro, as it is also called) equipment for taking closeup pictures of cats and other small animals.
  2. Fast flash sync - A camera with a fast flash sync speed (1/250) is very helpful when using fill-flash outdoors. Fill-flash is technique that allows you to balance the light of your subject with the light on the background to get a nice, evenly exposed photograph.
  3. Motor drive - We usually spend about 10-15 minutes posing and reposing an animal to get four usable shots. The time when the light, exposure, and expression are just right totals about ten seconds of that time so the last thing I want to worry about is cocking my camera.
  4. Auto focus - I've worn glasses since the first grade so obviously my vision isn't that great. After shooting hundreds of rolls with my Nikon F100 I've learned that it can focus much faster than I can. This allows me to spend my time getting the best expression from my subject instead of searching for the right focus.

Also, you must decide if you will choose a digital camera or film camera.

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