Best cameras for bird photography

best cameras
A photographer in the woods. Photo by welcomia/Shutterstock

Bridge cameras

Canon Powershot SX70 HS

Bridge cameras, more accurately described as “superzoom” cameras, look like SLRs but feature fixed, long zoom lenses. The latest Canon Powershot model, released last October, has a 65x zoom and a better higher-resolution image sensor than its predecessor. The electronic viewfinder, in particular, is comparable to those of higher-end cameras. As the least expensive camera in this roundup, it’s a good option for bird photography when the subject stands still or is moving side to side but isn’t a great choice for action shots.

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Nikon Coolpix P1000

The P1000 is the latest in Nikon’s long-running Coolpix series. Introduced in September 2018, it features an incredible 125x optical zoom, which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal range from 24mm to 3,000mm. Outdoor Photographer named the P1000 the “best new compact camera” of 2018. The camera weighs just over 3 pounds and is bulky, so it’s not for everyone, and it takes some practice to use well. But its ability to create images of distant wildlife means it’s worth considering.

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Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

This premium bridge camera is among the best in its class. Its 1-inch image sensor has phase-detection focus, allowing it to shoot at up to 24 frames per second. The 25x optical zoom gives it a 600mm reach, allowing users to get quite close to birds or other subjects at a distance. The 3-inch LCD features touch support, letting you tap the screen to set a focus point. Plus, the RX10 IV weighs only 2.4 pounds and is comfortable to carry in the hand, making it an ideal choice for a long day of birding.

Check the price on B&H! 

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William Jobes

William Jobes

William Jobes is a print and broadcast journalist from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, whose experience includes news and sports photojournalism, as well as reporting and editing on staff at several major daily newspapers. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Star, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today, among others.  He is the recipient of numerous journalism and photography awards and honors, including several Emmys. He has written several articles for BirdWatching, including Hotspots Near You in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

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