Disclosure: We earn a commission on qualifying purchases made through backlinks at no extra cost to you. We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Please read our privacy policy for how we use your data and GDPR.

Table of Contents

Bird photography is challenging and exciting.

You need to wake up early in the morning if you want to see birds catching the worm. Knowing the behavior of birds and how best to photograph them will help you get better results.

You may need specialized camera equipment to get the results you want. If you have it, you can set it up almost everywhere, even in your backyard.

The following cameras and lens combos are our recommendations for bird photography. You can choose other lenses, but these are our suggestions based on research and testing.

Bird Photography Tips

The camera system is dependent on your budget. Once have a budget in mind, you can proceed with choosing your body of choice. You’ll also need to factor in the lens cost and maybe a tripod.

We recommend getting a camera with an excellent autofocusing system since you will photograph subjects on the move. 

A high continuous shooting rate is a welcome feature too. Consider picking a camera with weather sealing if you anticipate shooting in wet or dusty conditions.

Apart from the camera body, there are three things we recommend preparing before getting into bird photography.

Tip #1 Buy a Telephoto or Zoom Lens

Most birds fly away when humans are close, so keeping a distance is essential. We recommend getting a zoom lens with a minimum focal length of 100mm. A longer focal length is better because it allows you not to disturb the birds in their natural environment.

Tip #2 Use an App to Identify Birds

There are thousands of bird species, and it is impossible to memorize all. Download an application, such as the Merlin Bird ID. These apps listen to the bird’s song and identify the species. Google reverse image search is also a possibility.

Tip #3 Get a Field Guide

Identifying birds using field guides is helpful, and they shine in knowing the behaviors. Things like nesting, food preference, and migration routes are some information you can get from these guides.

Tip #4 Use a Tripod

Heavier lenses in the +300mm range will tire out your arms. Using a tripod or monopod to photograph birds will reduce fatigue. You can evening use a monopod as a trekking pole.

Best Bird Photography Tripods:

  1. Manfrotto Befree 2N1 Aluminium Tripod and Monopod (View on Amazon or Manfrotto)
  2. Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod (View on Amazon or Peak Design)
  3. SIRUI Traveler 7C Carbon Fiber Tripod (View on Amazon or SIRUI)

Related: Best Tripods under $100

12 Best Cameras for Bird Photography + Lenses

We have listed 12 cameras plus lens combos in this section. These belong in different price categories. Some cameras have distinct features, setting them apart from the rest. We think going through each will help you get a better understanding.

1. Sony Alpha 1

Sony Alpha 1 camera for bird photography
Sony Alpha 1

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Sony Alpha 1 is an incredible full-frame option for bird photography. It comes with a 50.1-megapixel Exmor RS image sensor and an 8x more powerful BIONZ XR image processor.

The result is a 30 fps blackout-free shooting, allowing you to capture every moment. It also comes with a few worlds first, such as the 240 fps refresh rate and the anti-flicker electronic and mechanical shutter.

Pros:

  • High burst rates
  • Excellent electronic shutter performance
  • 50.1-megapixel sensor is one of the highest in the market

Cons:

  • Highest fps mode degrades the resulting image quality
  • Ergonomics is not compatible with all hand types

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Sony Alpha 1

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Sony FE 70-200mm has a constant aperture of f/2.8, making it an excellent lens for low-light photography. It delivers sharp images throughout the focal length. It has one extreme aspherical element and two aspherical elements, allowing high resolution captures possible. 

Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Sony FE 200-600mm is slightly cheaper than the FE 70-200mm, and has a longer focal length range. It is less expensive because the aperture is not constant throughout the focal length. There is little to no camera shake at 600mm because of its optical steady shot (OSS).

2. Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS R5

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon EOS R5 is a full-frame mirrorless camera offering 45-megapixels and 8K video. The new DIGIC X image processors allow an ISO range of 100 to 51200, which is excellent in low light.

However, higher ISO means more noise. The dual pixel feature enables an autofocus area of 1,053. Two SD card slots allow you to write images simultaneously, so you always have a backup. Eye and face detection features make subject tracking easier.

The electronic shutter allows continuous shooting up to 20 fps, while the mechanic shutter allows up to 12 fps. The body weighs approximately 1.63lbs, which is quite hefty.

Pros:

  • Sturdy and high-quality build
  • Focus tracking is one of the best in the market
  • 45-megapixel image sensor delivers excellent image quality

Cons:

  • 8K video feature may not be practical or not have a use-case for this camera

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Canon EOS R5

Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM
Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM
Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon RF 70-200mm has a constant aperture of f/2.8, allowing more light to reach the camera’s sensor. Despite having a focal length of 70-200mm, it is lightweight and compact. The built-in optical image stabilization has shake correction for up to five stops. 

Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM
Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM
Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon RF 100-500mm packs a long focal range of 100-500mm, allowing you to zoom in on your bird subjects from a greater distance. The built-in optical image stabilization prevents shakes, so get better shots at slower shutter speeds.

3. FUJIFILM X-H2S

FUJIFILM X-H2S camera for bird photography
FUJIFILM X-H2S

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Fujifilm X-H2S is a flagship model released in 2022. It is the first X-series camera packing 26.1MP and the X-Trans 5 back-illuminated sensor. 

The X-Trans color filter array unique to Fujifilm help minimize false colors and moiré by placing the circuit on a different layer from the pixels. It also offers fast performance for more demanding situations.

All these excellent features make your bird photography a more pleasant experience.

Pros:

  • It shoots up to 40 fps continuous shooting
  • Reliable battery life
  • The hand-grip is comfortable, and there are several customizable buttons

Cons:

  • The continuous autofocus mode struggles when the camera is at the highest continuous shooting mode
  • Its subject recognition feature is not the most reliable

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Fujifilm X-H2S

FUJIFILM XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Fujifilm XF 70-300mm is a weather-resistant lens with optical image stabilization (OIS), making it an excellent choice for shooting bird photography.

It can endure the harshest weather conditions and temperatures as low as -10 C. Its long focal length lets you shoot your subject from a distance. The XF 70-300mm has a minimum focusing distance of 32.7in/0.8m. 

FUJIFILM XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 150-600mm

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Fujifilm XF 150-600mm extends a longer focal length than the XF 70-300mm. It has an equivalent focal length of 229-914mm and a maximum aperture of f/5.6-8. This lens has quite some weight to it, measuring 5.30lbs. 

4. Nikon Z7 II

Nikon Z7 II
Nikon Z7 II

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Nikon Z7 II packs a powerful 45.7-megapixel image sensor, Nikkor Z lenses, and excellent autofocus performance. It has a more accurate and precise buffer capacity than its predecessor — the Z7.

If you want flexibility when shooting, the dual card slot can write the media on both cards. For more power, the Nikon Z7 II is compatible with the brand’s new battery grip, providing more battery life and easier shooting operations. These are only some of its excellent features, making it a great camera for photographing wildlife and birds.

Pros:

  • One of the lowest base ISO in the market at only ISO 64
  • Menu design is intuitive, and the button layout was well thought
  • Accurate and fast single autofocus mode
  • Option for a 900-second shutter speed

Cons:

  • LCD only tilts
  • Button illumination is not available

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Nikon Z7 II

Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Nikon Z 70-200mm lens has a constant aperture of f/2.8. The long focal length and fixed aperture make it an excellent lens for low-light photography.

It comes packed with Optical VR, Nikon’s optical image stabilization, so you can worry less about capturing blurred shots at slower shutter speeds. OIS is also effective in handheld videography. 

Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S

View on Amazon or Adorama

If you need further reach, the Nikon Z 100-400mm is more suitable than the 70-200mm. However, it does not have a constant aperture.

Shooting at 400mm makes shakes more prominent. Vibration reduction in the lens lessens vibration for up to 5.5 stops, allowing sharper images even at slower shutter speeds. 

5. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon EOS-1D Mark III packs a high image quality 20.1-megapixel CMOS sensor. It now has a low-pass filter, eliminating moiré. The DIGIC X processor extends the ISO range to 102400. There is a 191-point autofocus system, allowing face and head tracking.

You can optionally download the EOS utility webcam software to use your camera as a webcam. The utility webcam is available on Mac and Windows. 

Pros:

  • JPEG and RAW image qualities are excellent for a camera in this category
  • Burst speed up to 16 fps in the viewfinder and up to 20 fps in the live view
  • The battery life is reliable and strong
  • The touchscreen is responsive

Cons:

  • Viewfinder subject tracking is not 100% reliable
  • Subject tracking does not work with viewfinder

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon EF 70-200mm has a constant aperture of f/2.8, making it an excellent lens for all-around bird photography. This lens is compatible with Canon’s EF mount series, their DSLR line-up.

Optical image stabilization is built-in with the lens, allowing up to 3.5 stops of shake correction. It is also weather-resistant, withstanding water and dust even in the harshest conditions, allowing you to shoot birds in your backyard or the jungle. 

Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Tamron SP 150-600mm classifies as an ultra-telephoto lens because of its 150-600mm focal length. The generation II of this lens is a significant upgrade from the previous version, featuring improvement in overall autofocus speed and optical performance.

Its minimum focusing distance is lowered to 86.6 inches / 2.2 meters, allowing you to enjoy more dramatic bokeh and tele-macro shots.

6. Sony a7R IV (IVA version 2)

Sony a7R IV
Sony a7R IV

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Sony a7R IV claims the title of the world’s first 61-megapixel full-frame camera with a back-illuminated sensor. It features an incredible 15-stop dynamic range and an ISO range from 50 to 102400. At 61MP, users can shoot up to 10 fps continuously, so they will never miss a moment. 

The real-time eye AF for animals, humans, and movie mode provides accurate and immediate detection and tracking to get ultra-sharp results.

Pros:

  • Improve ergonomics from the previous generations/models
  • Upgrade in weather sealing makes it more robust
  • Eye-tracking autofocus is reliable

Cons:

  • The body is not proportional to most available lenses
  • Autofocus is not reliable in low-light

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Sony a7R IV

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens for bird photography
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Sony FE 70-200mm offers more than a constant aperture of f/2.8. It also has an excellent zoom range from 70 to 200mm, covering a good length for bird photography.

Sony is using linear motors to boost the autofocus performance in this lens by up to 4x from the previous model. An improvement of 30% for autofocus tracking while zooming enables better focusing accuracy. 

Despite all these features, it is the world’s lightest 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, weighing only 2.3lbs/1,045gm. 

Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Sony FE 200-600mm joins Sony’s G lens series, featuring lenses of the highest quality. The supersonic wave motor enables precise, fast, and quiet focusing throughout its focal length.

At a max 600mm focal length, you’ll be able to photograph birds almost any distance.

7. Canon EOS R6

Canon EOS R6
Canon EOS R6

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon EOS R6 has lower specs than the R5, making it cheaper. It packs a lot of powerful features, such as a 20-megapixel full-frame sensor.

The DIGIC X processor enables an ISO range of 100-102400. However, you will unlikely have any use case for 102400 in bird photography. The mechanical shutter allows 12 fps, and the electronic shutter up to 20 fps.

Dual Pixel CMOS enables autofocusing coverage of up to 1,053 AF points. Animal and people tracking make capturing these subjects more convenient than before.

Pros:

  • In-body image stabilization
  • Autofocus system is one of the best in the market
  • High burst mode works well with the autofocus

Cons:

  • Menu is not intuitive

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Canon EOS R6

Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM
Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM
Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 is Canon’s lightest and shortest lens in the category. Its length extends from 5.75 inches to 8.05 inches while zooming in.

The optical design in the RF 70-200mm f/2.8 includes one UD element, two aspherical elements, and one super UD element. These correct chromatic aberration and lens distortions

Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens
Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens
Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon RF 100-500mm classifies as a super-telephoto lens because of its furthest focal length at 500mm. It has built-in optical image stabilization, correcting shakes up to five stops. However, it does a variable aperture of f/4.5-7.1.

These features make it an excellent choice for shooting subjects from afar.

8. Nikon Z5

Nikon Z5 camera body for bird photography
Nikon Z5

View on Amazon or Adorama

Introduced in 2020, the Z5 fits into Nikon’s mirrorless camera line-up. It captures 24-megapixel images and 4K UHD videos.

An in-body image stabilization feature stabilizes photo and video capture. The 273 autofocus points allow you to focus across the entire area and make tracking more precise.

Data loss in your SD card is inevitable, so having a backup of your photos might save you. The dual card slot takes up to two, so you can store all images on both cards simultaneously.

Pros:

  • Ergonomics is great
  • Body has VR built-in
  • AF system is capable and works
  • Dual SD card slot

Cons:

  • The display only tilts
  • Shooting 4K video applies a 1.7x crop

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Nikon Z5

Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Nikon Z 70-200mm has a constant aperture of f/2.8, letting you shoot in low light with minimal issues. It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.5 meters at its widest focal length of 70mm.

It works excellently in weddings, sports, wildlife, portrait, and sports photography. The built-in optical image stabilization reduces camera shakes, allowing you to shoot sharp images at a slower shutter speed. 

Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S

View on Amazon or Adorama

If you are looking for a lens with a long focal length, the Nikon Z 100-400mm is the one for you. Although it does not have a constant aperture, it does have a further reach of 400mm.

The in-body vibration reduction system reduces camera shake up to 5.5 stops. Faster autofocus is possible thanks to the two high-speed motors.

9. FUJIFILM X-T4

FUJIFILM X-T4 camera for bird photography
FUJIFILM X-T4

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Fujifilm X-T4 features 6.5-stop in-body image stabilization, letting you shoot at slower shutter speeds — great for photographing perched birds in the early morning twilight hours. It has a 26.1-megapixel sensor, allowing you to capture great stills and videos.

The X-T4 dual card slot allows you to store images on two SD cards, so you can always have a backup of all images you capture.

Pros:

  • Color modes are attractive and work
  • Battery life is excellent and reliable
  • In-body stabilization reduces camera shakes even with lenses without OIS

Cons:

  • Autofocus performance greatly depends on the lens attached to the body
  • Short buffer when shooting 15fps at RAW

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for FUJIFILM X-T4

FUJIFILM XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Fujifilm XF 70-300mm is a versatile lens with weather-resistant, optical image stabilization, and a linear motor. This lens is excellent for outdoors, such as bird and nature photography. 

FUJIFILM XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF 150-600mm

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Fujifilm XF 150-600mm does not have a constant aperture, so you will need to mind it as you zoom in. The lens packs a linear motor, optical image stabilization, and weather resistance, making it great for taking outdoors.

Related: Best Lenses for Fujifilm X-T4

10. OM System OM-1

OM System OM-1
OM System OM-1

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Olympus OM-1 has a cross quad autofocus system with 1,053 AF points. Its 20-megapixel sensor provides low noise and excellent resolution images.

The OM-1 has a rating of IP53, making it freeze-proof to -10 C, splashproof, and dustproof. 

Pros:

  • Autofocus is responsive, fast, and reliable
  • Subject detection autofocus mode is reliable
  • Excellent customization options

Cons:

  • Continuous autofocus mode is not reliable and disappointing

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for OM System OM-1

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 100-400mm has an equivalent 35mm focal length of 200-800mm. It is weather-resistant, so you worry less about splashes and dust.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm II has a variable aperture of f/4.8 to f/6.7. It produces sharp images and has a fast autofocusing system.

11. Panasonic Lumix S5

bird photography camera Panasonic Lumix S5
Panasonic Lumix S5

View on Amazon or Adorama

If you are looking for a full-frame mirrorless camera that shoots 4K video, has 5-axis dual image stabilization, and a flip screen, the Lumix S5 is a strong candidate. The autofocus in this camera is fast and accurate.

Pros:

  • Battery life gives a solid performance
  • Image stabilization in the body is reliable
  • Autofocus has excellent perfromance
  • Head, body, face, and eye detection work well

Cons:

  • Continuous autofocus mode is still not the most reliable
  • Although it has a dual SD card slot, only one can support UHS-II

Recommended Bird Photography Lenses for Panasonic Lumix S5

LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm f/2.8 OIS

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Panasonic S Pro 70-200mm packs a constant aperture of f/2.8, so you do not have to worry about it as you zoom in and out on your subject. The lens’ in-body optical image stabilization enables seven-stops slower shutter speed.

Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary

View on Amazon or Adorama

The Sigma 100-400mm is a telephoto lens with the average optical performance. The LD glass elements in this lens result in accurate colors and high-clarity images.

12. Canon EOS Rebel T8i

Canon EOS Rebel T8i
Canon EOS Rebel T8i

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon EOS Rebel T8i has a 24.1-megapixel image sensor capable of an ISO range of 100-6400 extendable to 12800. The optical viewfinder has a viewing coverage of 95%, which is okay for a camera in this category. Its nine-point autofocus system captures images with minimal effort.

Pros:

  • EF and EF-S lenses are compatible with the Rebel T8i
  • Battery life is solid if you only shoot using the viewfinder
  • Display is fully-articulating and touch-responsive

Cons:

  • Points for the autofocus are in the frame’s center

Recommended Bird Photography Lens for Canon Rebel T8i

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

View on Amazon or Canon

The Canon EF-S 55-250mm STM lens is an excellent pair to the EOS Rebel T8i. Its compact, lightweight design with optical image stabilization is a welcomed feature.

Related: Best Canon Rebel T8i Lenses

Conclusion

We recommend shooting before dawn because birds are most visible and more stationary during this time. At sunrise, they start singing as the sun rises. We refer to this as the dawn chorus. Their activities change as the day progresses, and they become less stationery.

There are several factors worth considering in bird photography. The best way to fully understand your needs is to go out to the field and start capturing images. However, doing some research before and after should go a long way.