The best cameras and lenses for birds photography

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Bird photography is often a delicate exercise. Their small size, speed, and discreet nature make them challenging subjects for photographers. In the field of ornithological photography, fieldwork and knowledge of the subject are essential conditions for photographing wild birds. But the choice of the best camera and best lenses can make the difference between capturing fleeting moments of behavior or completely missing them.

In this article, in addition to the best cameras and lenses for bird photography, we will explore the key features to consider when choosing a camera for ornithological photography. Indeed, before presenting you with the best photo equipment for photographing birds, it is essential to understand the important elements to consider when selecting the appropriate gear.

Les Meilleurs Appareils Photos Et Objectifs Pour Photographier Les Oiseaux
Les Meilleurs Appareils Photos Et Objectifs Pour Photographier Les Oiseaux

1. Key elements of a good camera for bird photography

In the field of bird photography, the choice of camera can have a significant impact on your ability to capture birds and the quality of your photos. Indeed, a camera dedicated to bird photography must meet specific needs in terms of functionality, performance, and robustness. Here are some important points to keep in mind when choosing your camera.

Fast and reliable autofocus

To photograph birds in flight, it is essential to have a fast and responsive autofocus system. The camera's autofocus system must be able to automatically recognize birds and adjust the focus according to their movements.

Burst speed

The shooting speed is crucial for capturing fast moments, such as a bird in flight or feeding. A camera that can take many photos per second increases your chances of capturing the right moment. Most modern cameras can take between 6 and 8 photos per second, which is generally sufficient. However, for photographing birds in full flight, you may need an even faster model, capable of taking between 20 and 30 photos per second.

The impact of the camera sensor

For bird photography, cameras with APS-C or micro 4/3 sensors offer an interesting advantage over full-frame sensors. Although the latter provide better low-light performance, smaller sensors benefit from a crop factor that increases the effective focal length of lenses. Thus, a 300mm lens becomes equivalent to 450mm on an APS-C sensor and 600mm on a micro 4/3 sensor. This ability to achieve longer focal lengths at a lower cost is particularly appreciated for bird photography, where the distance to the subject is often a challenge.

The choice of lens

It is essential to select a suitable lens for bird photography, even with an excellent camera, to ensure satisfactory results. It is recommended to use a powerful telephoto lens to fill the frame with the bird, especially due to the difficulty of approaching wild birds. For those opting for a bridge camera with a built-in zoom, it is crucial to check that the included lens meets their requirements for bird photography.

2. Hybrid or DSLR: Which camera for bird photography?

Birds are fleeting and fast. Therefore, it is essential to have a camera with a fast shutter speed. Mirrorless cameras typically have faster shutter speeds than DSLR cameras, making them often more efficient in terms of burst shooting. They allow you to capture multiple images per second (ips), which is particularly useful when trying to photograph a quickly passing bird. With this capability, you can always aim accurately.

Another important aspect is fast autofocus to avoid blurry photos when birds pass quickly. Usually, DSLR cameras are known to excel in this area. But hybrid cameras are not far behind. Many of them have advanced features that enable automatic subject detection and tracking, including animals.

Moreover, hybrid cameras offer the advantage of being more compact and easier to carry. DSLR cameras, on the other hand, are generally bulkier and heavier, especially when paired with a telephoto lens, which is essential for bird photography.

Our Recommendation: The Fujifilm X-H2S

The X-H2S from Fujifilm is a camera designed to track moving subjects and is particularly well-suited for wildlife photography. Its fast and accurate autofocus can detect birds as well as other elusive targets. The body is also designed to withstand tough conditions, with weather sealing against rain, dust, and shock.

The X-H2S can capture up to 40 frames per second in electronic shutter mode, with no blackout. This makes it a hybrid camera with a fast shooting speed, ideal for photographing birds and wildlife. It is also equipped with a CFexpress Type B slot, enabling fast writing of large amounts of data, thus avoiding any risk of buffer overflow.

The X-H2 camera is also perfect for bird photography due to its image stabilization, which helps reduce motion blur, and its ergonomic design, which facilitates quick adjustment of settings without having to navigate through menus.

Finally, the X-H2S is compatible with a wide range of lenses, including telephoto lenses, which are essential for bird photography and other wildlife photography.

3. What is the best lens for bird photography?

For birds watching, it is recommended to use a lens with a long focal length, typically 300mm or longer. This allows you to get closer to the birds without startling them and capture sharp, detailed images from a distance. Prime lenses are often preferred for their superior image quality, while zoom lenses offer more flexibility in terms of shooting distance. Lenses with a large maximum aperture are also useful for low-light shooting.

It is also important to choose a lens with image stabilization to avoid motion blur. Lenses with optical stabilization are most effective, but lenses with in-camera stabilization can also be helpful.

Les Meilleurs Appareils Photos Et Objectifs Pour Photographier Les Oiseaux
Les Meilleurs Appareils Photos Et Objectifs Pour Photographier Les Oiseaux

Our lens recommendations for bird watching

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR Lens

The Fujifilm XF150-600mm lens is particularly well-suited for bird watching thanks to its extended focal range of 150 to 600mm, allowing you to capture distant subjects without needing to change lenses.

The built-in optical image stabilization effectively reduces motion blur, which is essential for handheld shooting with a super telephoto lens. This lens also offers superior image quality, with great sharpness and vibrant colors.

Finally, its wide focal range provides valuable flexibility, allowing you to vary compositions from wide-angle to telephoto as needed.

Fujifilm XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens

The XF100-400mm telephoto lens is also ideal for bird photography. This lens provides sufficient telephoto reach to capture birds at a distance without needing to change lenses.

Additionally, the built-in optical image stabilization (OIS) effectively helps reduce motion blur, which is crucial for handheld shooting with a telephoto lens. It is also worth noting that this lens is compatible with the Fujifilm XF1.4X TC WR teleconverter, further extending its telephoto reach.

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Les Meilleurs Appareils Photos Et Objectifs Pour Photographier Les Oiseaux

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