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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
This DSLR features a 65-point autofocus system (with compatible lenses), allowing photographers to track fast-moving objects.
Max frame rate: 10 fps
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 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
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
OLYMPUS OM-D E-MI MARK II
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
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
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
CANON EOS REBEL 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
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
A version of this article appears in the holiday gift guide in the November/December 2018 issue of BirdWatching magazine.