Last Updated on 09/08/2022 by Chris Gampat
One of the cool things that we do here at The Phoblographer is update our past reviews. And we’ve worked to update our Canon, Sony, and OM System reviews as much as we can. Recently we added more to them after a head to head comparison we did. All three systems are capable of producing great photos. When it comes to making more visually grabbing photos though, we wanted to see which one does the best for bird photography.
Table of Contents
To do this, we used the following cameras and lenses. All of the following are on loan except for the Tamron lens, which we bought:
- Canon EOS R5
- Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS USM L
- OM System OM1
- Olympus 100-400mm f5-6.3 IS
- Sony A1
- Sony 400mm f2.8 G Master
- Tamron 70-300mm f4.5-6.3 VC
Everyone captures photos of birds being absolutely still or in flight. Those are all wonderful images, but what about capturing birds doing other things? I set up a bird feeder on my balcony and, in recent times, it began attracting a variety of birds. They were pretty peaceful except for the mourning doves who occasionally fought. But then after a while, the pigeons came. This annoyed me, but then they started to fight. Pigeons fighting one another provided some incredible moments to capture. So, I used the three systems I’ve got on hand: Canon, Sony, and OM System.
Canon EOS R5
I’ve got both the Canon EOS R7 and the Canon EOS R5 around. And honestly, this is too simple of a job for the Canon EOS R7. It’s one of the best cameras on the market right now for capturing birds. We encourage you to check out more in our review. So instead, I used the Canon EOS R5. To capture birds fighting, I had to change the settings a bit. First off, I enabled the animal detection setting; Canon bundles birds and animals into one section. Then I had to use eye-detection and face detection tracking combined with servo autofocus. Once that was set, I went into the many system to tell the Canon EOS R5 that I still wanted control over what it tracked in the scene. This made tracking birds easier on the camera because I gave it a bit of guidance.
After that, It was just about setting the exposure up. Thankfully, the Canon EOS R5 and the RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 make birding easy. At one point, I even did this in the HDR PQ mode and got fascinating photos and moments I otherwise couldn’t see.
I don’t own the Sony a1, so I called it in from Sony along with the 400mm f2.8 G Master. While I had it, I used it with the Tamron 70-300mm f4.5-6.3 VC lens. For the most part, the Sony a1 was the easiest to use in this situation. The only time it became more difficult was with tracking sensitivity. Still, though, I’d argue that I got great photos. The 400mm G Master lens does a great job and is a bit faster than the more affordable Tamron lens. But both lenses helped me capture fantastic moments.
400mm F2.8 G Master
OM System OM1
Finally, I asked OMDS if I could use the 100-400mm lens with the OM1. After they sent it to me, I was very surprised. The standard C-AF setting with Bird detection was alright, but once I set it to Pro Capture Mode, I got moments I never dreamed of. OM System is at an extra advantage because of its smaller lenses and deeper depth of field. Way too many people hate on Micro Four Thirds and aren’t aware of just how awesome it can be for stuff like this.
So, Which is Best?
They’re all good, and they’re all going to do a great job. But if you’re shooting more than just sports and wildlife, I’d probably go with Canon. If you want the lightest system with the most innovation on the market, reach for OM System. If you want a more balanced system with tons of lens options, Sony is the obvious choice. I’m agnostic, but our staff typically prefer Canon cameras.