- Crop Format as a Bird Photography Camera
- Bird Photography Camera - Sony a6400
- Bird Photography Camera - Olympus OM-D E-M1X
- Bird Photography Camera - Canon EOS R7
- Bird Photography Camera Lenses and Accessories
- APS-C format 24MP sensor
- 425-pt phase-detection AF system with Real-Time Tracking
- Tilting rear viewscreen
- 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder
- ISO range from 100-32000
- 11fps burst shooting (8fps with silent shutter)
- 4K/30p video capture
- 410 shots per battery charge (per CIPA)
- 20MP Four Thirds sensor
- 121-point hybrid autofocus system
- 50MP hand-held high-res shot mode
- 10 fps burst shooting with AF-C, 30 fps with electronic shutter
- Cinema (DCI) and UHD 4K video
- 7.5 EV of image stabilization with supported lenses
- 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder with an ultra-fast refresh rate
- Fully articulating touchscreen
- IP53-rated weather-sealed body
- 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor with Dual-Pixel AF
- Up to 30 fps shooting with e-shutter
- In-body image stabilization (IBIS), up to 7 stops
- Oversampled UHD 4K up to 30p
- 10-bit video in 'PQ' true HDR footage or C-Log
- 2.36M dot OLED viewfinder
- 1.62M dot fully-articulating touchscreen
- Twin UHS-II SD card slot
- Environmental sealing
Photo by MarkLane45 via iStock
Bird photography is so much fun! The colors, the surroundings, and the interesting aspects of different birds all add up to an enjoyable photography experience. Oh yeah, the resulting images are amazing as well.
If you’re new to serious photography, you may be wondering what the best camera for bird photography is, as well as what other bird photography gear you might want. As I show each bird photography camera I think is great, I’ll link to them at the online platform MPB, my favorite camera candy store.
MPB is the best place to buy, sell, and trade used photography gear, from cameras and lenses to specialty accessories and even drones. I have saved tons of money over the years I’ve been using them and have always been satisfied with the quality of each item and their 6-month warranty.
Let’s see what you might want to have as your bird photography camera.
Table of Contents:
Crop Format as a Bird Photography Camera
Photo by DieterMeryl via iStock
Three main formats are popular for digital photography: Full Frame format, APS-C format, and MFT format.
There are also two styles of camera design: DSLR (digital single lens reflex), which uses a mirror box and prism for through-the-lens (TTL) viewing, and mirrorless cameras, which use electronic viewfinders.
For a bird photography camera, I recommend a mirrorless camera in one of the crop formats, though you can achieve amazing results with whatever type of camera you own now by implementing tips and techniques we’ve discussed in other articles.
First off, a mirrorless design is nice for a bird photography camera for several reasons. Having no mirror mechanism, the cameras are usually much quieter than SLRs. The viewfinder display never blacks out, allowing easier tracking of a moving target. And they are generally compact and lightweight.
Photo by MikeLane45 via iStock
Secondly, the crop formats work very well, in my opinion, as a bird photography camera due to the lens crop factor.
Crop factor can be a confusing idea to grasp, but it basically refers to how a lens's focal length braves in the crop format as opposed to the same focal length on a Full Frame format camera. The lens focal length does not change, but the same focal length is longer in the effective field of view on the smaller formats.
APS-C cameras have a crop factor of 1.5X (or close to it), and the MFT cameras have a 2X crop factor. This really works well for sports, wildlife, and bird photography when it comes to telephoto lenses.
Photo by Anantha Jois via iStock
As an example, a 300mm lens on a Full Frame camera provides a reach of 6X over the normal focal length of 50mm. On an APS-C format camera, that same 300mm focal length is 9X over the normal lens for that format (35mm). With MFT format cameras, that is 12X over the normal 25mm lens for that format.
That 300mm lens focal length gives the same field of view and telephoto reach as a 450mm lens for 1.5X crop factor and a 600mm lens for 2X crop factor, if compared to the standard of Full Frame format.
While all of that figuring out factors may sound odd, the bottom line is that crop format cameras are very friendly to telephoto use, such as what we want from a bird photography camera and lens setup.
Now, on to the bird photography camera options!
Bird Photography Camera - Sony a6400
The Sony a6400 is a mirrorless APS-C format camera with interchangeable lenses in the Sony E-mount. You can get one in Like New condition with a 6-month warranty at MP for only $704, body only. Add the super compact normal range kit lens Sony E PZ 16-50mm for $83 in Like New condition for all-around use.
Watch this YouTube video from DP Review TV for an overview of this neat bird photography camera:
Here are the main features:
A couple things that stand out as great for a bird photography camera are the silent shutter, super fast AF, and a long battery life. Adding 4K video means any video footage you capture will also be superb quality.
Bird Photography Camera - Olympus OM-D E-M1X
The Olympus OM-D E-M1X is a fully professional-level camera with a 20MP MFT sensor and interchangeable lenses in the MFT mount, meaning you can use OEM lenses from Olympus, Panasonic, Leica, and others.
I found it in Like New condition for $984. A good kit lens is the M.Zuiko 12-45mm PRO zoom lens for $449 in Like New condition. A huge plus for this camera and Olympus PRO line lenses is the rugged build and weather sealing, making this a prime option as a bird photography camera.
DP Review TV on YouTube has an in-depth review of this fully professional camera system:
In addition to the weather sealing, some other specs that stand out as a bird photography camera are the enhanced level of image stabilization (great for those long telephoto lenses) and the high-resolution mode that can be accessed hand-held.
Bird Photography Camera - Canon EOS R7
The Canon EOS R7 has an APS-C format 32.5MP sensor and takes lenses with the Canon RF-mount. It is $1319 in Like New condition for the body on MPB. The $94 Canon RF-S 18-45mm lens for APS-C format is a good multipurpose compact lens in Like New condition.
Here is the DP Review TV YouTube review of this high-end mirrorless camera:
Features and specs:
Some stand-out features that add up to great benefits as a bird photography camera are the Dual Pixel AF for rapid autofocus, advanced video functions for pro-level results, weather sealing, and the 7-stop IBIS.
Bird Photography Camera Lenses and Accessories
To take advantage of the features for whichever bird photography camera you decide on, you’ll want to add some high-quality telephoto lenses and some other useful bird photography gear. I found all of these on MPB. If something is out of stock when you first look, check back in a little while since the inventory rapidly changes.
Canon has an amazing telephoto zoom lens in the RF-mount that will be awesome for bird photography, the Canon RF 100-500mm zoom lens. It runs for $2519 in Like New condition. With the 1.5X crop factor of the Canon EOS R7, this lens will provide 15X magnification over the normal lens (750mm Full Frame equivalent). You can even use this lens hand-held at times with the 7-stop IBIS of the R7 camera.
For those using Sony mirrorless cameras, see the Sony FE 100-400mm GM OSS zoom lens, which is currently selling for $1889 in Like New condition. A crop factor of 1.5X gives this lens an effective equivalency for Full Frame of 600mm for a 12X magnification over normal for the APS-C format.
The M.Zuiko 100-400mm ED IS zoom lens is in the MFT-mount for Olympus and can be found for $1259 in Like New condition. Enhanced image stabilization, advanced weather sealing, and ED elements make this an ideal lens for your MFT format bird photography camera. The 2X crop factor provides a Full Frame equivalency of 800mm for 16X magnification over normal, perfect for wildlife and sports.
After you get set up with your bird photography camera, lens, and accessories, post some of your pics on our Photography Talk forum so we can see those beautiful birds!