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5 Best Bird Watching Camera You Can Buy (In-Depth Reviewed)

Anyone looking to buy a camera to capture beautiful bird shots already knows how frustrating it can be to choose one. With so many options in the market, it can be overwhelming.

One of the best bird watching cameras out there is Canon EOS 1DX Mark II DSLR. This is for those who are passionate about this hobby. It’s not only comfortable for a DSLR camera but also very easy to control and enhance your skills. Its beautiful image capturing ability will take your birding experience to a whole new level.

Each model is more unique than you would imagine! Plus, the prices could affect the quality of the pictures. Let’s dive in and find the best camera for your birding journey.

5 Best Bird Watching Camera You Can Buy

Among the thousands of options in the market, we have narrowed the list down to the 5 best bird watching cameras you can buy.

  1. Canon EOS 1DX Mark II DSLR Camera

The 1DX Mark II is Canon’s best digital SLR camera when it comes to bird photography. Though you might end up spending a few more dimes than usual, you can rest assured that it will live up to its price.

Birds are notorious for not sitting still for a long time. Fortunately, the high FPS and autofocus points on this camera will guarantee that every shot of photographs is crisp and detailed. If you’re serious about this birding life, the 1DX Mark II will serve you like a faithful dog for a long time!

Specification

  • Frames Per Second (FPS): 14

  • Autofocus (AF) points: 61

  • ISO Range: 100 – 51,200

  • Sensor: Full

  • Weight (Body): 2.95 lbs

Features

Beautiful picture quality: The EOS 1DX Mark II captures impressive crisp detailed bird pictures in any given lighting condition. If you struggle with lighting issues, this camera will take all your worries away! It enhances every photo to your desire with its full-frame CMOS sensor, Dual DIGIC 6+ image processors, and ISO range.

Unbelievable 4K video: This camera can shoot 4K video at up to 60 FPS! There are not many cameras with such features. The ridiculous cinematic results will make you fall in love with birdwatching even more than you already were!

Pros

  • 3.2in touch panel LCD

  • Comes with a built-in GPS

  • Fast wireless file transmitter

  • Comfortable grip and controls

  • Weather-resistant body and ports

Cons

  • Not cost-friendly

  • Bulky and heavy

 

  1. Nikon D500 Digital SLR Camera

When it comes to the best birdwatching cameras, there are only a few that can compete with the D500 DSLR. Many experienced birders’ top choice is this when it comes to taking quality pictures.

Every bird photographer’s worst nightmare is taking an almost stunning shot ruined due to poor focus. Thanks to the Nikon D500, you can say goodbye to such struggles. Why? Because even while capturing a moving bird, you will never have to deal with the disappointment of an almost flawless photo spoiled by low focus.

Specification

  • Frames per second (FPS): 10

  • Autofocus (AF) Points: 153

  • ISO Range: 100 – 51,200

  • Sensor: Crop (DX)

  • Weight (Body): 1.68 lbs

Features

Excellent ISO range: The ISO range on this model is what sets this apart from the crowd. It allows you to increase the brightness of your photos regardless of the time of the day. It can do so without adding grain, making it perfect for photographing at dawn, dusk, or in low-light conditions.

Outstanding Autofocus: The 153-point AF on this D500 DSLR camera ensures precise and steady AF regardless of the subject or the camera’s angle. It offers a consistent focus in dusty situations or even nighttime.

Pros

  • Works with all NIKKOR lenses

  • Water and shock-resistant

  • Superb ISO capabilities

  • 153-point AF system ensures top-quality pictures

  • Best model Nikon offers in DX-Format CMOS Sensor

Cons

  • A bit expensive

  • Will not include lenses

 

  1. Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera

Canon EOS 7D Mark II shares many same qualities, functions, and features as the expensive Canon models. So, if you want to enjoy the luxuries of high-end devices, you’re looking at this beast.

For most of us birders who want to capture birds, this camera holds tremendous value and produces beautiful pictures. It shoots with a high speed of 10 frames per second and features a configurable autofocus system. Plus, it is reasonably light to carry.

Specification

  • Frames Per Second (FPS): 10

  • Autofocus (AF) points: 65

  • ISO Range: 100 – 16,000

  • Sensor: APS-C

  • Weight (Body): 1.81 lbs

Features

Intelligent Viewfinder II: This camera is flexible for all types of photographers. Its Intelligent Viewfinder allows you to shoot, edit, and confirm camera modes and settings without taking your eyes away from the viewfinder.

Popular for beginners: If you are just getting into photographing birds, this is the camera for you to start with. Not only is it easy to operate, but amateurs get the hang of birding with it very quickly.

Pros

  • Full HD 60p

  • Wi-Fi Capable

  • High speed shooting up to 10 FPS

  • Large zone AF and Dual Pixel CMOS AF

Cons

  • Not an international model

  • Warranty does not cover USA or Canada

 

  1. Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR Body

The Nikon D7200 should be a decent pick for beginners on this list, based on its price. Not to mention it is among Nikon’s best cameras in the DX format, and it’s specially designed for bird photography.

Considering the price, it offers great AF points, a better ISO range, and more FPS. So, if you’re trying to avoid emptying your bank account, this camera might be it.

Specification

  • Frames Per Second (FPS): 6

  • Autofocus (AF) points: 51

  • ISO Range: 100 – 25,600

  • Sensor: Crop (DX)

  • Weight (Body): 1.49 lbs

Features

Stunningly rendered time-lapse movies: Film your daily birding trips in high quality. With this camera, you can create beautiful shots of birds with smooth exposure transitions thanks to its Auto ISO. It does not matter whether you’re shooting in day or night; it will bring real-life into pictures.

Tightly weather-sealed body: You can trust the D7200 to deliver top-tier results no matter where you carry it due to its robust, weather-sealed body. This is also a highly responsive camera, which makes shooting with it a joy.

Pros

  • Dual card slots

  • Fast mode switching and startup

  • Great burst mode speed for a DSLR

  • High-level image quality for its class

  • Video mode supports Auto ISO control

Cons

  • Dodgy autofocus issues

  • The built-in flash has a narrow coverage

 

  1. Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera

Canon EOS Rebel T5i is arguably the best camera for those who are on a limited budget. That is why it is ideal for most beginner birders, especially those who don’t want to spend a fortune on their first camera purchase.

When you’re more experienced in birdwatching, you might want to save up and upgrade to a better DSLR camera. In the meanwhile, the Rebel T5i will be more than enough.

Specification

  • Frames Per Second (FPS): 5

  • Autofocus (AF) points: 9

  • ISO Range: 100 – 12,800

  • Sensor: APS-C

  • Weight (Body): 1.16 lbs

Features

Incredibly cost-friendly: Not sure which first camera you should get that will be a worthy investment? Don’t worry because this one will deliver beautiful results without squeezing every last drop out of your credit card. For a camera, it truly is a bang for your buck.

Smooth touch screen: The Rebel T5i uses sensitive touch screen technology that can be found in high-end models in today’s popular smartphones. You can use up to two fingers to change, edit, and zoom when shooting birds.

Pros

  • Vari-angle LCD

  • Crisp Full HD video

  • Fast 9-point AF system

  • Multi-Touch screen operation

Cons

  • The lens might take longer to focus in video mode

  • Pentamirror viewfinder is small

 

 

Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Bird Watching Camera

Before buying anything, we must learn all the important things there is to know about it. Hence, we will cover six essential things you need to know to find the right direction for your shopping trip.

Weight And Size

A general rule of thumb would be to choose one that is easy to carry. Over the years, experienced birders have learned that it’s better to go with a lightweight camera than a heavier and bulkier one.

Not only will there be less pressure on your neck when you are out searching for a Golden eagle, but it will also help you click more pictures of them. Think about it, the quicker and easier you get your camera, the more photographs you will be able to capture.

Besides, a smaller and lighter camera will also save space. This is especially beneficial when you go birdwatching somewhere far.

Durability

Birdwatching in dry and dusty regions, wet jungles, and up steep hills will surely put your camera to the test.

  • Water: Rain, fog, snow, or any wet weather can take a toll on your device. This is where waterproof cameras come into play. These are getting popular by the day. If you’re one for birding outside, getting a waterproof camera is worth the extra few bucks.

  • Dust: When the weather is dry, there is usually a lot of dust around you. Such conditions can be more damaging to your camera than you would think! A dustproof camera comes in handy when birding in dry regions.

  • Shock: No matter how careful you are, you can always drop your camera on the ground or even swing it into a tree. So, it’s worth buying one that can endure some rough treatment.

Lens: Zoom And Wide Angle

Experienced birders use zoom lenses, which allows them to photograph stunning details from very far away. However, if you want to use your camera for things other than birding, you may want to invest in a wide-angle lens. This will allow you to film the African savanna or sceneries in all of their glory.

With a mirrorless or DSLR camera, you will be able to switch lenses depending on the kind of shot you want.

Frames Per Second (FPS)

When looking for bird watching cameras, an essential factor to consider is frames per second (FPS). Because the higher the FPS, the more photographs you can capture in a short period.

Don’t forget that you will also be filming flying birds. Split seconds will matter, especially when photographing the flutter of a hummingbird’s wings.

Standard settings will be enough when it comes to city or landscape shots. But, you have to up the level if you want to capture birds that move fast. Try looking for the one with as many FPS as you can afford.

Sensors

The quality and the size of the camera’s sensors will determine how good the quality of the picture is. In simpler words, a bigger sensor will allow in more sunlight, which can be either a good or a bad thing. While a larger one is great when you’re photographing birds at dusk or dawn, it can put more weight on the camera.

Though a lighter sensor camera will cost less and be easier to carry, it won’t perform as well as larger ones! It depends on what kind of light exposure you would want in your pictures. Do your homework before settling on a random sensor!

Price

Lastly, plan your budget. It’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars to take stunning bird pictures. Almost every birder spends around $400 to $1,500 on either a DSLR with a zoom lens or a superzoom. 

Make a list of the accessories you’ll need to buy along with the camera. If you’re also looking for lightboxes, lenses, and selfie sticks, you may need to spend more carefully than you thought.

Types Of Camera That Works Best For Bird Watching

Now that you know how to separate a decent camera from a bad one, let us start by looking at the many types of cameras for bird watchers. Every model is different from the other, so you need to know which one will suit you.

DSLR

Most professional bird photographers use digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs). The reason it’s their go-to camera is that it’s super easy to use! You’ll learn to operate it in a snap of a finger!

DSLRs include everything from adjustable dials to touchscreen. You can even change angles, switch lenses, apertures, focuses, and even fiddle with colors!

It does not matter whether you are photographing day eagles or night owls. Either way, this bad boy will help you click the perfect shot.

The only thing that’s kind of a red flag is its weight. Some DSLRs weigh twice as hefty as other models, even before you start adding accessories.

Superzoom

Superzoom cameras, as the name says, allows zooming and getting closer to your favorite birds than ever before. While a standard camera may have a maximum magnification of 10x to 20x, a superzoom one will have magnifications of 50x to 80x.

The single issue of superzoom is that their structure is different from their cousins. Instead of many lenses, they have one big lens.

You might need to get a bit used to it, so spend some time with your superzoom camera before going birding. But, if you want to learn it on the go, your image quality is naturally likely to be disappointing.

Point And Shoot

Point-and-shoot cameras have been in the game for a while – and rightfully so! Though they might lack some of the cutting-edge features that newer models have, they can make up for the loss with other features.

With magnifying lenses and consistent filming at high FPS rates, they’ll get the job done. As an added plus, if you wish to bring one as a backup camera, it won’t take up much space in your luggage.

However, if photos require a lot of flashes, point-and-shoot cameras fall short. So, these are not the most ideal ones to take during nighttime birding.

Mirrorless

Mirrorless cameras have many similarities to DSLRs. However, there are some significant functional and usability differences.

For instance, these cameras weigh lighter than DSLRs, which is due to the lack of an optical viewfinder. But hey, at least it won’t be a drag to strap it around your neck all day.

Not a fan of electronic LCD screens? If not, then this might won’t fit your comfort zone as it will force you to use one.

If you’re trekking through low-light environments, you might want one that’s easier to carry. And mirrorless cameras should be one of the easiest to carry when it comes to birdwatching.

It’s safe to say that taking the best bird photographs will require the best cameras. As you get more experienced in this field, you will need a decent one by your side.