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The five best mirrorless cameras for wildlife and bird photography


Wildlife and bird photography have grown immensely in popularity over the past two years; now, more mirrorless cameras than ever can help make these once challenging genres easier than ever before.

Seriously. Do you remember how hard it was to capture birds in flight before mirrorless camera technology? As photographers, we had to anticipate action; we needed impeccable panning techniques and the timing of the gods. Wildlife and bird photography used to be hard.

Now, many cameras do some or all of the heavy lifting for you. This is not a bad thing at all. I’m all for technology making photography more accessible. I hope the technology truly inspires more people to get out and about in nature. It’s a beautiful place to be.

So, what about these mirrorless cameras that can make wildlife and bird photography easy? Well, below, we’re going to look at five mirrorless cameras with sensational sensors, AI-enhanced autofocus systems, blazing-fast burst rates, and copious amounts of weather sealing. The cameras are not listed in a particular order. They’re all on this list because we love them all equally. So, let’s get into it.

Canon EOS R7 — A mirrorless APS-C camera wildlife and bird photographers can flock to

wildlife and bird photography

One of the newest kids on the block, the Canon R7, happens to be one of the best mirrorless cameras for wildlife and bird photography. The camera — a spiritual successor to the fantastic Canon EOS 7D II — features a 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF II and 30 fps burst modes with the electronic shutter, and 15 fps with the mechanical shutter. Make no mistake about it. This mirrorless camera, which costs less than $1,500, is an absolute beast for wildlife and bird photography.

On top of the features listed above, you’ll also get incredible IBIS, dual UHS-II card slots, a 2.36-million dot OLED EVF, weather sealing and ergonomics that make this camera melt into your hand during long sessions. For the price, the Canon EOS R7 is one of the best bang-for-the-buck mirrorless cameras for wildlife and bird photography on the market.

Sony A1 — Real Time Animal Eye AF makes this a winner for wildlife and bird photography

A list of wildlife and bird photography cameras that doesn’t include the Sony a1 should be ignored. The fact is, Sony killed it when they released this camera. This 50-megapixel camera was the first that allowed continued use of the electronic shutter with no penalty to image quality and no rolling shutter.

The stacked 50-megapixel sensor is a thing of beauty. You can rattle off 30 frames per second with full autofocus, including animal eye AF, and the camera won’t break a sweat. The Sony a1 features improved weather sealing which is vital to those who spend time in the great outdoors. The ergonomics have been improved, and so has the IBIS. The a1 is expensive, but Sony went all in on this camera, which has paid off. If you want wildlife and bird photography to be easy, this might be the camera for you. Find out what we think about the a1 in our full review.

OM SYSTEM OM-1 — Micro Four Thirds magic

wildlife and bird photography

The OM SYSTEM OM-1 makes wildlife photography easy thanks to its size, weight, excellent ergonomics, autofocus system and AI tracking modes. On top of all of these features that make the OM-1 one of the best cameras for wildlife and bird photography, OMDS gave the OM-1 IP53 rated weather sealing, which means it will keep on clicking even when the going gets beyond brutal.

The OM-1 uses the new BLX-1 battery, which gives it some of the best battery life of any mirrorless camera. There’s an articulating screen. A new, stacked 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor offers increased dynamic range and low light performance. You’ll also find dual UHS-II card slots, class-leading IBIS, 120 FPS burst modes with the electronic shutter, 50 fps of continuous shooting with continuous autofocus and more, a crystal clear 5.76-million dot EVF and a high-resolution LCD. You can get all of this for under $2,200! Craziness! Read our full review of the OM SYSTEM OM -1 here.

Canon EOS R3 — Innovative features, incredible build and top-tier performance

The Canon EOS R3 is a Pro body camera with oodles of weather sealing. There’s no doubt that it’s designed to be used and abused in the great outdoors. The EOS R3 uses a stacked 24-megapixel full-frame sensor. The R3 can shoot 30 frames per second with the electronic shutter and 12 frames per second with the mechanical shutter.

However, the real party piece is the eye-controlled autofocus. Look where you want to focus, and the camera tracks what you’re looking at. It’s not a new concept, but Canon has perfected it in the R3. On top of this, you’ll get the standard pro-body dual card slots (CFexpress and UHS-II). 5-axis image stabilization, a 120 frame per second EVF and a vari-angle touchscreen round out the features nicely. For serious wildlife and bird photography, cameras don’t get much better than the Canon EOS R3.

Nikon Z 9 — A wildlife and bird photographer’s dream camera

wildlife and bird photography

The pro-body Nikon Z 9 rocked the photography world upon its launch. The Z 9 welcomes back the 3D tracking that made Nikon DSLRs so formidable. The camera uses a whopping 493 autofocus points, a blackout-free real-time EVF, and AI-based tracking and subject recognition that’s game-changing to catapult this camera to the tippy top of the camerasphere.

Powering the Z 9 is a 45.7-megapixel stacked full-frame sensor with no mechanical shutter. There’s a built-in vertical grip and two CFexpress card slots. The Nikon Z 9 can shoot 20 frames per second, and the buffer can handle 1000 RAW files. This camera is a monster that will take on the great outdoors with its weather sealing. It’s arguably one of the best mirrorless cameras to date. The Z 9 is undoubtedly one of the best wildlife and bird photography cameras. Save your pennies if you want to add this mirrorless camera to your arsenal. It isn’t cheap at $5,496.95.



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Rafael Jones

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