3 Cameras That Will Nail the Shot for Birding Photography

Birding photography is such a great way to have fun with your camera. 

One of the most satisfying things to do is to photograph birds in the wild. And appreciating nature is taken to the next level when photography is involved. These days, we don’t need extremely high-end gear to get better bird photos. Instead, you can do it with a decent lens and a powerful camera. So we dove into the Reviews Index to find the best cameras for birding photography.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge.

Pros Tips for Better Birding Photography

Want to get better at birding photography? Here are some pro tips for you:

  • Use face and body detection. Specifically, make sure that the setting is dialed in for capturing birds and animals. The cameras we’re recommending in this list can do just that. Plus, they’ve got great autofocus abilities.
  • You’re going to need a long lens for sure. Telephoto zooms are best in this case.
  • Look for stimulating compositions. Try to place important elements on one of the converging points of the rule of thirds. Make sure that the image stabilization in the lens is good too.
  • Shoot in continuous autofocus and tracking. 
  • Shoot at high ISO settings. You’ll need to typically be at at least ISO 1600. Luckily all these cameras produce clean rules at that level and above.
  • The best time to photograph birds is typically during the sunrise, so you’ll need to wake up early. This is when they’re usually most active.
  • Trust us; you’re going to care about weather sealing. And all these cameras on this list are weather sealed.

Canon EOS R6: Birding Photography Made Easy

In our review, we state:

“Canon has pulled an ace out of its sleeve when it comes to animal eye AF. I have been blown away with just how accurate and precise it has been. The eye AF starts almost instantaneously if you are close enough to an animal, and it does not matter if the animal is stationary or in motion. The Canon EOS R6 has no problems with birds in flight either…This Egret took off and soared past: in an instant, the camera was locked on and was tracking the bird’s eye as it flew by. I have tried the system out with my dogs too while they have been playing, and it’s the same great story.”

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Sony a1: The Largest Selection of Lenses

In our review, we state:

“Sony has introduced bird AF in the a1. This is a nice feature. However, it feels like this mode is in beta. The bird AF in the Canon EOS R5 and R6 is miles ahead of the a1. The a1 will indeed detect a bird, and a tracking box will be placed around it. If you’re close enough, the Sony a1 will track the bird’s eye. However, the tracking is erratic and not very accurate. With the Canon EOS R5 and R6, the cameras find the bird, then the eye, and the tracking stays locked on the eye almost all the time.”

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Panasonic S5: The Speed You Need

In our review, we state:

“Autofocusing is much better with Panasonic lenses. Though as a whole, the performance still degrades in low lighting. However, that’s not to say that it’s unusable. It’s just that you’re going to have to expect consistency similar to a Canon DSLR than Sony, Canon, and Fujifilm’s mirrorless cameras. Professionals have been using those and getting great shots for years. So with that said, I’d be confident with the Panasonic S5 for professional use. But I’ll be disappointed in knowing that I missed a number of shots.”

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.