7 Best Cameras For Bird Photography | 2022 (Reviews & Guide): Top For Birding, Wildlife And Nature

Best camera for bird photography

best camera for bird photography

Are you bored with the same routine every day, or do you want to try something new? Photography is an art that keeps you engaged always. It is the most sought after hobby and requires a lot of skill. Wouldn’t you love to capture the beautiful movements of different birds while they fly or feed their little ones? However, a lot of focus and patience is needed to obtain one best shot.

Brand

Optical zoom

Mega Pixel

Resolution

 Price


1. Nikon Coolpix P900

83x

16

FHD 1080p

2. Panasonic Lumix Fz300

24x

12.1

4K UHD 2160p

3. Canon PowerShot XS420 

42x

20

HD 720p

4. Kodak pixpro Astro AZ421-BK

42x

16

HD 720p

5. Canon PowerShot XS530

50x

16

FHD 1080p

6. Kodak pixpro Astro AZ401-BK

40x

16

HD 720p

7. Kodak Pixpro Astro AZ252-WH

25x

16

HD 720p


Bird photography is said to be the most challenging; however, it is equally enjoyable. Any skill is enhanced when you use the right tool. So, a great camera with the best technical features will give you the optimum results. All the features of the best camera for bird photography has to be compatible with each other. It will significantly improve the quality of the photograph giving you and your viewers a broad smile across your face.

flying hummingbird

hummingbird

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Capturing once in a lifetime moment of birds is something that has its own charm. When it comes to encountering a beautiful bird, even people who aren’t interested in photography take out their phones to take a photo. Wildlife photography is a passion that almost every photographer has some bits of. But bird photography is different and a sub-category of natural photography. Once you get to photograph that magical moment of your feathered friend flapping their wings, your heart would desire more. In this age, whether it's for research or just for passion, we have advanced technology to make our bird photography dreams come to life.

Today’s camera market has given bird photographers so much advanced equipment to make their passion more interesting. Every bird photographer looks for a camera that catches that perfect glimpse that they want. Thanks to technological advancements, these cameras are available to be bought at affordable prices. Birders actually have a broad variety of cameras to choose from. If you’re starting as a beginner birding photographer and need the best camera for the job, then this article is for you. Before we get to our list of best cameras for birding, newbie photographers must get a slight idea of what they should be looking for in the ideal birding camera.

Qualities Your Camera Should Have for Photographing Birdies

Zoom is the first and most emphasized quality that you should look for. Since birds get scared and fly away when you approach them, your camera must capture high-quality images from a distance. The next feature is speed. Bird photographers require a bit more agility in terms of photography. That is why your camera needs to be as fast as flash. You don’t want to lose that perfect moment so you should bring time on your side. The next thing you need to look for is tracking. Birds are quick. So, the best way to get the most out of your photographs is by opting for a camera that has a good tracking system. Through a viewfinder, your camera would be able to catch most of the details while the birdie is on flight mode. Another quality you should look for is your camera’s ability to give you multiple options during low light situations. Sometimes birds would land on a shady spot or it could get dark. Nature is unpredictable, so you should be prepared. Lastly, the feature that a bird photography camera must possess is its ability to capture several pictures at a time. The quicker your camera is to do that, the more variations of pictures you’ll get. This would prove out to be a blessing when you’re photographing birds during their flight mode. zoom

Now that you know what the best camera for bird photography should do, let us move on with our list. Below are the top 6 best cameras that are carefully handpicked to suit your bird photography needs.

1. Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital camera: The best camera for bird photography

The Nikon COOLPIX P900 is the first on our list of best cameras for bird photography. The reason why the P900 made it to the top is its astonishing ability to capture high-resolution images with its spectacular zooming. The 83x optical zoom is basic but next comes the 166x dynamic fine zoom which is an enhanced zooming feature. With the P900 wildlife photography camera, you can take gold standard photos of birds far away from you. The P900 also gives you full manual control over setting exposure settings which can be of great benefit in difficult shooting situations out in the wild.

  • 16 MP CMOS sensor
  • 6 levels of brightness adjustment
  • List 83x optical zoom
  • 166x dynamic fine zoom
  • Vari-angle LCD screen for bird watching 
  • HD 1080/60p video shooting
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS
  • Electronic Viewfinder
  • Good ISO range and AF system
  • Excellent low light performance
     And Beautiful camera body

2. Panasonic FZ300 for wildlife photography

Up next is the Panasonic FZ300. This brilliant piece of tech would capture ultra HD 4K videos out of which you can extract 4K images. If you get to capture your desired moment in a video, you can easily extract it from there and the quality would still be top-notch. The 25-600mm zoom is also something that would take your bird photography to the next level. Combine all these features with a rugged camera design that is both waterproof and splashproof. And you’ll get the best camera for not just photographing birds, but all of nature’s wonderful beings in marshy jungles. Long story short, if you are looking for the best camera for bird photography, then you should consider buying a Panasonic FZ300.

  • 12.1 MP MOS sensor
  • 4K video and 4K photo
  • 30 frames per second and excellent shooting speed
  • 24x zoom for bird watching 
  • Incredible autofocus for capturing fast-moving birds.
  • Splashproof and Dustproof
  • 5 axis hybrid image stabilization for capturing birds in flight

3. Canon SX420 Digital camera for birding

#3 on our list of best cameras for bird photography is Canon SX420. The Canon SX420 is a wonderful camera that offers a lot to bird photographers. Firstly, the incredible 42x optical zoom allows you to take pictures from extraordinarily long distances. The image stabilizer helps you get noise-free images in HD quality. The Canon SX420 also comes with the feature of Intelligent IS used to correct shaky pictures taken in emergencies. This correction also works while shooting HD 720p videos, hence eliminating the possibility of motion blur occurring. 

  • 20.0 MP 
  • DIGIC 4+ Image processor and good shooting speed
  • 42x optical zoom for bird watching 
  • 24x 3.0” LCD
  • 720p video shooting and excellent AF points
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Perform well in low light

4. Kodak PIXPRO for bird watching

Another one of the best cameras for bird photography is Kodak PIXPRO. Similar to the above-mentioned devices, the Kodak PIXPRO can zoom in far places and deliver high-quality images at your service. The 244mm wide-angle gives you more to capture when you set your camera towards a visual worth saving. Other than that, the Kodak PIXPRO comes with the feature of advanced face detection. Whether it’s humans or animals, the Kodak PIXPRO focuses on the head of the body and produces crisp and clear shots of the focused area. This camera is ideal for nature and wildlife photography. If you are interested in nature photography then you should consider buying this camera.

  • 16.1 MP CCD sensor for different light conditions
  • 42x optical zoom
  • 24mm wide-angle for bird watching 
  • Optical Image stabilization
  • Enhanced face detection
  • Panorama mode 
  • 720p HD video recording
  • Lithium-Ion battery
  • Low light performer
  • Excellent zoom lens for taking photos of birds in flight

5. Canon SX530 Digital camera

The Canon SX530 takes the win of the optical zoom competition on our list best cameras for bird photography. With a superb 50x optical zoom that comes with framing assist, you can make the best out of your wildlife photographs. The high-speed autofocus system lets you quickly lock on to moving objects and focus on the relevant component. Another amazing quality of the Canon SX530 is its hybrid auto that shoots four seconds of video whenever you capture a still, then molds all those frames into one. This results in a stunning photograph that captures the most intricate details.

  • 16 MP CMOS sensor
  • 50x optical zoom
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • 1080p HD video
  • DIGIC 4+ image processor for bird watching 
  • High-Speed autofocus
  • Good battery Life(Battery Included)

6. Kodak PIXPRO for high quality photos

Similar to its above-mentioned variant, the Kodak PIXPRO offers you a brilliant zoom. While the AZ401 is quite similar to the AZ421, this wildlife photography camera gives you AA batteries, unlike the AZ421 which comes with Lithium-ion batteries. The AA batteries are more convenient in case you run out of battery at an unlikely time in a place where there are no means to charge. You can simply swap new ones and carry on with your bird photography session with no tension. This can be very handy for wildlife photographers who spend most of their photograph sessions in jungles or deserts.

  • 16 MP
  • 40x optical zoom For best Image quality
  • 3” LCD
  • Optical Image stabilization
  • 180 degrees panorama
  • 24mm wide-angle lens
  • 720p HD video
  • AA batteries

So, those were our top picks of the best camera for birding. While the abilities of the camera are important, the skill of the photographer matter just as much. Especially in the case of bird photography, bird photographers must be able to act quickly with the settings of the camera. Since birdies don’t wait around to get photographed, the element of speed matters a lot. Therefore fast shooting and fast autofocus is an important factor to consider while buying a birding camera. In addition, focus points are equally important.

Eight Factors that You Must Look At While Buying the best Camera For Bird Photography

Many cameras have come up in the market with a wide variety of models. However, do not get fooled through the advertisements on television, social media, or elsewhere. Every camera is different and is meant for a unique purpose. Types of cameras are DSLR camera, point and shoot camera, bridge camera, mirrorless camera, and action camera. DSLRs are advanced cameras that are used by professional photographers. A mirrorless camera is a camera that is without a mirror. Both cameras can be used for wildlife photography. Mirrorless cameras are compact and small while DSLRs are heavy and bulky.

Read further to know the eight things you have to look for when buying a best camera for bird photography. 

1. Sensors: Automatic Adjustable Shutter Speed for Capturing Birds in All Lights

It’s essential to buy a camera that has well-developed sensors. The sensors play a crucial role in adjusting to the light. When capturing images of a bird, you might need to photograph in bright sunlight or sometimes even in little light. Suitable sensors will improve the shutter speed when capturing pictures in extreme light conditions. A good Birding camera should handle a shutter speed of 1/2000 seconds per frame.

The new generation cameras have evolved very well. New generation cameras have better low light sensitivity. The clarity of the image captured and extracted from highlights and shadows depends on the dynamic range of the sensor. There is a better opportunity to lift good quality and minute details from the shadows of images captured in bright light with a sensor that has a broader dynamic range. The resolution of the image depends on the sensor size. It is better to use larger sensors. A larger lens will capture more light; hence the dynamic range will be more, and the noise while clicking the image will be less. Two different cameras can have the same sensors. What differentiates these cameras are the size of the sensors.

2. Auto Focus: Automatic and Quick Focus on the New Position of the Moving Object

Capturing images of birds is nearly impossible if the camera does not have good autofocus. Birds rarely stay in one place. They move around quickly. Moreover, birds are tiny when compared with other animals. A camera should have excellent autofocus to capture these creatures. The autofocus should be able to adjust quickly even then there is a slight movement. The other thing to note about this feature is that it should be able to provide the best results even in low light. With the help of a motor inside the camera or lens, autofocus systems focus on an object. These objects can be selected manually or automatically. Almost all the cameras provide both manual and autofocus settings. Autofocus is a sign of whether a camera is best for bird photography or not.

Most photographers use autofocus because it makes the task simpler. While photographing birds, you cannot rely on the manual focus settings by the time you set the focus the bird would have moved away. Phase detection and contrast detection are the two types of autofocus systems. Phase detection can quickly and very accurately focus on moving objects. Different kinds of Modes in autofocus are continuous-servo mode and single servo mode. For wildlife and bird photography, the continuous-servo mode is the best option.

man doing bird photography with DSLR

Always look for a camera that offers good AF points. AF points can make or break your photos of birds. 

3. Ergonomics: Customization for Better Comfort while capturing birds

Most of the bird photographers will love things that they can customize according to their needs. Then why not look for a camera that lets you customize the control. Wildlife photography takes a lot of effort, especially if you are trying to capture the perfect picture of a bird. You will always need to be alert. Sometimes there is a chance of missing the perfect shot because you were not able to change the settings fast. This problem can be solved. Many cameras offer the service of making the controls customized as per your needs.

If you are the type of person who is most comfortable using manual settings, make sure to look for a camera that feels comfortable. Look at the position of the shutter and aperture controls. Buying a camera that feels like it was made for you is most important. Before purchasing a wildlife photography camera, have a proper look at it. Hold the camera in your hand and look at the position of all the controls. More importantly, it depends on what images you want to capture. Buy a camera that suits your work. If you are a wildlife photographer, then buy the camera that can work well in low light. If you are a bird photographer, then buy a camera that has good shutter speed. In this way, you can choose the best camera for bird photography.

Focus Photography OF Bird

4. Crop Factor: Magnification of the Object while using Smaller Lens for Better Coverage of wildlife

Most wildlife cameras today are coming with a good Crop Factor. The advantage of having a crop Factor is that it magnifies the objects. This magnification can come to your help when you are out in the field. Crop sensor plays a significant role when clicking images of birds. The chances of you scaring away the birds are low. You can get an excellent picture with a far smaller lens with the help of the Crop Factor. While traveling, using a small lens will prove as a benefit for you. The weight and size of the camera will reduce. You would want to buy a camera having a full frame sensor.

Having a wildlife photography camera with a good crop sensor means you will not have to spend much on the big lens. You can still get the same quality image with a lens that is 2/3rd the size of the standard lens used for wildlife photography. The crop frameworks best in bright light. If you want to capture images in low light, then choosing full frames is the best choice. The crop frame cameras are less expensive due to the crop factor. Investing in a high-end lens is not required. The crop sensor cameras provide better resolution, too, and are the best cameras for bird photography.

camera for birdwatching

5. Protection: Safety Measures for a Long Lasting best Camera for bird photography

Birds tend to be active in almost all seasons. If you want to capture the images of some rare species of birds, then the camera will also have to face some very harsh conditions. While looking for a Birding camera, make sure to buy the ones that have extra protective gear. Check for all the warranty available. If there is access to an extended warranty, then buy it without thinking twice. Buy a camera from a company that has extraordinary customer service. Check the reviews from the customers before buying the camera. The same rule applies to the lens. Look for a lens that suits your requirement. Don’t compromise on the quality. Buy the best quality available in your budget. Otherwise, it will cost more for maintenance later.

While buying the camera, buy all the extra protective gears. Cameras are a considerable investment, and you should invest adequately. Spend a sufficient amount of time on research before purchasing a camera. The camera should be able to survive all the harsh conditions. If your camera cannot stand the situation, then all your efforts will go to waste. Even if the camera is damaged, make sure that it does not delete the pictures in them. Hunters are recommended to buy a game camera

6. Megapixels: Define the Resolution of a Picture

A sufficient number of megapixels will give you a crystal clear photograph. A megapixel is nothing but a cluster or group of pixels, which is an element of a picture. Every pixel will have brightness and color. So, a professional wildlife photography camera with 8 MP is sufficient to give a natural and lively photograph. Even when you crop the picture, the clarity does not fade. If you go for a camera that provides a lower number of megapixels, the photo will be a little or more blur.

However, the sensor and lens add more to the quality of the photograph, and the megapixels play a vital role. Although mobile phone cameras are available in 20 Megapixels, it cannot deliver the quality of a professional camera. It is because a phone does not have a proper lens and sensors that can allocate sufficient space to the pixels. Don’t go for cameras that provide excess megapixels since the pixels may distribute in the given sensor space. So, the megapixels shall be sufficient enough to deliver you the best quality pictures.

Photography of Flying Birds

7. Lens of best camera for birding: Store the Image through Light

A lens is like a memory. It stores the image electronically or chemically. Choose the type of glass you would need among the various options available. You can go for a camera that has a macro lens if you prefer capturing birds from very close. It has a single focus giving you a sharp, detailed image. Sometimes a flock of birds at a further distance might seem very attractive. In such a case, you shall use a camera with telephoto lenses that provide multiple focal areas.

if you feel like capturing the entire vast area along with the birds, then use a wide-angle lens. Standard lenses cater to the needs of different types of photography. The angle of view is small at the lower end and broad at the upper end, taking both more comprehensive and narrower images. This lens is perfectly suitable when the birds are flying above a lake. A fisheye lens takes the entire one eighty degrees radius at a time. They add a creative touch to the birds captured. Use a tilt-shift lens if you want to obtain a large number of birds at the same time. Infrared lenses act more like a visual effect. They provide various shades of the light giving it a cinematic look. You should try this on a wild eagle, and it will scare the hell out of you.

You can read about different lenses and go for the one that fulfills your needs.

8. Shutter Speed: Generate Multiple Frames Per Second while bird watching

It would be fantastic if you could capture the wild action birds. Birds are fast, and so has to be your camera. You can achieve this by using a camera having a greater number of frames per second. Make sure that the Birding camera you are purchasing can achieve at least at the 1/2000th second. It will deliver you the best shots freezing the bird. A modern camera such as the DSLR and the mirrorless camera can provide you with a maximum of 30 frames per second. You would want to buy a wildlife photography camera having a higher number of frames per second.

Canon 7D Mark II or the Nikon D500 are well suited for action-packed photography. The shutter of the camera allows you also to adjust the brightness. The top end of the camera screen displays the speed of the curtain. There should always be a proper match of the shutter speed with the focal length of the camera lens. This will give the optimal results of capturing images with high resolution. The majority of the digital cameras are providing you with the option of manual shutter adjustment along with other options such as aperture priority, program, and manual. As a result, you get the option of changing the shutter speed in your camera up to a certain extent that allows the ISO to manage the brightness. You can even set the minimum and maximum, avoiding to change repeatedly. So, go through the shutter settings while purchasing the best camera for bird photography.

Shooting speed matters a lot in wildlife photography. It can break or make your photos. High shooting speed means you can capture fast-moving objects. Hight FPS(Frames per second) are extremely important for wildlife photography. If you are into wildlife photography then you should go for a camera that offers high frame rates. Usually, you should aim for at least 10 frames per second.

Making the decision for buying the best camera for bird photography

Make your wildlife photography experience a memorable one with the right camera. Do not buy a camera going by the suggestions of your friends or family. The purpose and art of photography are unique for everyone. Every person has a different comfort zone with the same camera. Go to the shop and hold the camera with your hands to understand what is best suited for you. Firstly, list down your priorities in detail concerning the type of birds you want to capture, the locations, the type of photos, etc. This plan gives you a clear picture of what exactly you want. It is best if you experiment with as many cameras as possible to purchase the best option. The angle in which you hold and handle the camera is critical. It might be a good idea to consider Frames per second, zoom lenses, camera body, ISO capabilities, sensor size, and autofocus system while buying a camera for nature photography.

Grayscale Photography of Bird

A good quality camera for wildlife photography is one in which there is a perfect compilation of the technical features. Not one single best factor can define the quality of your image. So, you have to testify every element firmly, whether it matches your requirements and whether it is in a good fix with other features. The productivity of part, for example, megapixels, Frames per second depends on the lens and sensors. So, spend enough time exploring different cameras for wildlife photography and arrive at the right decision.

Frequently asked questions (fAQs)

What is the best camera for bird photography?

According to professional bird photographers, Nikon Coolpix P900 is the best camera for bird photography. This device allows you to capture extremely high resolution of birdies thanks to its 83X optical zoom. It comes in a beautiful design and has an electronic viewfinder. Built-in Wifi makes it easy to share photos with family and friends. Long story short, Bird photographers should consider buying this camera for bird photography.

What is the best camera for wildlife photography?

The best camera for wildlife photography is Panasonic FZ300. This beast can record videos in 4k. This device offers incredible image stabilization and allows you to record at 30 FPS(Frames per second). This top-notch camera for wildlife photography is dustproof. Professional wildlife photographers recommend this camera for beginners. You can also use Nikon Coolpix P900 for wildlife photography.

Is 40mm enough for bird photography?

According to experts, 40mm should be the minimum focal length for shooting birds. This range is pretty good but sometimes it may not work as there are several species of birds that are extremely small. It depends on personal choice and varies from person to person. Nevertheless, 40mm works most of the time.

Should I go for a full-frame sensor or crop sensor?

You can use either a full-frame sensor or a crop sensor for bird photography. Full Frame sensors are expensive as compare to crop sensors but they reveal more details in images. If you are a professional photographer, then go for a camera that offers a full-frame sensor. On the other hand, a crop sensor is recommended for bird photographers who are just starting out as they are cheaper.

Are mirrorless cameras are good for bird photography?

Some mirrorless cameras are good for bird photography. You can buy mirrorless cameras for bird photography as they are easy to carry due to their small size. Their features are similar to DSLRs but you have to educate yourself before making the purchase.

Whatever camera you buy always choose the one having High Frames per second, good Af points(autofocus system), high ISO range, and a good Crop sensor. Don't overlook the continuous shooting of the camera.

What is the best bridge camera for birding?

According to bird lovers, Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K is the best bridge camera for birding. This digital camera allows you to record beautiful birds in 4K UHD. The highlighted features of this wildlife photography camera are LCD display, 30 frames per second, MOS sensor, excellent low light performer, and WiFi connectivity. Most bird photographers prefer this camera as it provides value for money.

What is the best point and shoot camera for birding?

The best point and shoot camera for birding is Canon PowerShot ELPH 360. This small device is easy to use and carry. 12X optical zoom lets you take high-quality photos of birdies. It has a fixed LCD and offers 1080p video recording. The screen size of this camera is 5 inches and has image stabilization. Long story short, if you can't afford a high-end DSLR camera, then you should consider buying this point-and-shoot camera.

Are DSLR cameras are best for wildlife photography?

DLSR cameras are recommended for wildlife photography as they offer legendary shooting speed, excellent ISO ranges, fantastic autofocus capabilities, and several lens options for shooting birds. Make sure you buy a Full-frame DSLR camera for the best results.

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