Nine top cameras for birders

Photo by Iam_Anupong/Shutterstock

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Years ago, most birders were not carrying cameras into the field. Binoculars, of course. Spotting scopes, less common but still popular. But cameras? They were often too bulky and expensive for most birders’ liking. Now, however, digital camera tech is incredible, and prices are more affordable, to the point where lots and lots of birders are photographing birds out on the trail and in backyards.

Below are nine cameras that we like. If possible, try out a few different models to find out which will work best for you.

 

CANON EOS 7D MARK II

Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Canon EOS 7D Mark II

This DSLR features a 65-point autofocus system (with compatible lenses), allowing photographers to track fast-moving objects.

Max frame rate: 10 fps

Canon | usa.canon.com | Check the price on B&H!

 

SONY A9

Sony A9
Sony A9

A full-frame mirrorless camera with a 24.2- megapixel stacked CMOS sensor. It makes 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second.

Max frame rate: 20 fps

Sony | sony.com | Check the price on B&H! 

 

SONY RX10 IV

Sony RXIV
Sony RX10 IV

An all-in-one compact with a 25x zoom lens. Approximately 20.1 megapixels and a phase-detection AF CMOS sensor.

Max frame rate: 24 fps

Sony | sony.com | Check the price on B&H!

 

NIKON D850

Nikon D850
Nikon D850

This DSLR can create 45.7-megapixel stills, and it offers a silent shooting mode when using its electronic shutter.

Max frame rate: 9 fps at full resolution

Nikon | nikonusa.com | Check the price on B&H!

 

OLYMPUS OM-D E-MI MARK II

Olympus OM-D
Olympus OM-D

This 20.4-MP Micro Four Thirds can shoot up to 18 fps with continuous AF tracking using its electronic shutter or 60 fps with focus locked.

Max frame rate: 60 fps

Olympus | getolympus.com | Check the price on B&H!

 

FUJIFILM X-H1

Fujifilm X-H1
Fujifilm X-H1

This mirrorless digital camera includes in-body image stabilization and a unique focus algorithm that keeps track of your subject.

Max frame rate: 14 fps

Fujifilm | fujifilmusa.com | Check the price on B&H!

 

SONY A6500

Sony A6500
Sony A6500

A 24.2-MP model that can shoot at up to 11 frames per second. Its Eye AF technology focuses on and tracks your subject’s eye.

Max frame rate: 11 fps

Sony | sony.com | Check the price on B&H!

 

CANON EOS REBEL T7i

Canon EOS T7i
Canon EOS T7i

This model features an optical viewfinder with a 45-point all cross-type AF system to help enable more precise focusing and a 24.2-MP sensor.

Max frame rate: 6 fps

Canon | usa.canon.com | Check the price on B&H! 

 

NIKON Z7

Nikon Z7
Nikon Z7

This new mirrorless camera has a 45.7-MP image sensor and integrates with Nikon’s DSLR system, including NIKKOR lenses.

Max frame rate: 9 fps

Nikon | nikonusa.com | Check the price on B&H!

 

A version of this article appears in the holiday gift guide in the November/December 2018 issue of BirdWatching magazine.

 

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and BirdWatchingDaily.com. He joined the staff of BirdWatching (formerly Birder’s World) in 2000 and has worn many hats over the years: reporter, story wrangler, photo editor, managing editor, and now editor. Originally from Omaha, he lives with his wife and two daughters in Milwaukee and holds a Bachelor’s in journalism from Marquette University. You can reach Matt at (617) 706-9098 and [email protected].

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