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The 10 Best Cameras for Birding Safaris

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Antoinette Booyse

Safari Travel Planner

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Antoinette Booyse

Author: Antoinette Booyse - 13 November 2023

Last Update: 6 May 2024

While Africa might be world famous for its wildlife, its birdlife is spectacular too. Endemic species and seasonal specialties fill the skies, lakes, and pans. Epic backdrops are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that birding safaris are ever-popular, and with excellent guides to show you the way to the best locations, you can look forward to spotting a vast number of species, even on one trip.

If you’re shopping around for a camera to make the most of your African birding excursion, have a look at this list of arguably the 10 best cameras for birding safaris. We’ve also suggested some useful settings for the top three to help make sure you get the shot:

1. Canon EOS R7

Canon EOS R7 | Photo credits: Canon

Specifications:

  • Full-frame mirrorless camera with 32.5MP sensor
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system
  • Up to 30 fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather-sealed body

What makes the Canon EOS R7 best for birdlife?

This camera is an excellent choice for birdlife photography thanks to its powerful autofocus system which can actually track fast-moving birds. Its high-resolution sensor captures stunning detail, while a weather-sealed body can handle the African elements.

Settings you might find useful for birdlife photography with the Canon EOS R7 include:

  • AI Servo AF: This setting will automatically track moving subjects, making it great for capturing birds in flight.
  • High Frame Rate Shooting: This setting allows you to shoot at up to 30fps, which is perfect for capturing fast-moving action.
  • Bird Detection: This setting will automatically detect birds in the frame and focus on them, making it easy to get sharp shots.

Shop the Canon EOS R7 here.

2. Nikon Z9

Nikon Z9 | Photo credits: Photography Life

Specifications:

  • High-end full-frame mirrorless camera
  • 45.7MP sensor
  • EXPEED 7 image processor
  • 120fps continuous shooting
  • 4K video at 60fps
  • Advanced autofocus system

What makes the Nikon Z9 best for birdlife?

A weather-sealed body, potent autofocus system, and high-resolution sensor all add up to make the Nikon Z9 a great pick for getting excellent birdlife shots.

Special settings you’ll find useful when using the Nikon Z9 for capturing birdlife include:

  • AF-C with Subject Tracking: This setting will automatically track moving subjects, making it great for capturing birds in flight.
  • 120fps Continuous Shooting: This setting allows you to shoot at up to 120fps, which is perfect for capturing fast-moving action.
  • Animal Eye AF: This setting will automatically detect and focus on the eyes of animals, making it easy to get sharp shots of birds.

Shop the Nikon Z9 here.

3. Sony a7 IV

Sony a7 IV | Photo credits: Amateur Photographer

 

Specifications:

  • High-end full-frame mirrorless camera
  • 45.7MP sensor
  • EXPEED 7 image processor
  • 120fps continuous shooting
  • 4K video at 60fps
  • Advanced autofocus system

What makes the Sony a7 IV best for birdlife?

This is a great all-rounder camera with solid capabilities that make it well-suited for birdlife photography. The addition of the bird eye autofocus frees you up from manual focusing so you can concentrate on framing to get the perfect shot.

Special settings you’ll find useful when using the Nikon Z9 for capturing birdlife include:

  • AF-C with Tracking: This setting will automatically track moving subjects, making it great for capturing birds in flight.
  • 10fps Continuous Shooting: This setting allows you to shoot at up to 10fps, which is perfect for capturing fast-moving action.
  • Bird Eye AF: This setting will automatically detect and focus on the eyes of birds, making it easy to get sharp shots.

Shop the Sony a7 IV here.

4. Fujifilm X-T4

Fujifilm X-T4 | Photo credits: Amateur Photographer

Specifications:

  • APS-C mirrorless camera with 26.1MP sensor
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system
  • Up to 15fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather-sealed body

Shop the Fujifilm X-T4 here.

5. Olympus OM-D E-M1X

Olympus OM-D E-M1X | Photo credits: Cameraland

Specifications:

  • Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera with 20.4MP sensor
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system
  • Up to 60fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent image
  • Weather-sealed body

Shop the Olympus OM-D E-M1X here.


6. Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H | Photo credits: Panasonic

Specifications:

  • Full-frame mirrorless camera with 24.2MP sensor
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system
  • Up to 9 fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather-sealed body

Shop the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H here.

7. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | Photo credits: Digital Trends

Specifications:

  • Full-frame DSLR camera with 30.4MP sensor
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system
  • Up to 7 fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather-sealed body

Shop the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV here.

8. Nikon D850

Nikon D850 | Photo credits: Cameralands

Specifications:

  • Full-frame DSLR camera with 45.7MP sensor
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system
  • Up to 7 fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather-sealed body

Shop the Nikon D850 here.

9. Sony a9

Sony a9 | Photo credits: Cameraland

Specifications:

  • Full-frame mirrorless camera with 24.2MP sensor
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system
  • Up to 20 fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather-sealed body

Shop the Sony a9 here.

10. Nikon Coolpix P1000

Nikon Coolpix P1000 | Photo credits: Rtings.com

Specifications:

  • Superzoom bridge camera with 125x optical zoom
  • 16MP sensor
  • 4K video at 30fps
  • Excellent image quality for a bridge camera
  • Weather-sealed body

Shop the Nikon Coolpix P1000 here.

Some tools and lenses that you might want to use with your camera for birdlife photography include:

  • A telephoto lens: A telephoto lens will allow you to get closer to the birds and capture more detail.
  • A tripod: A tripod will help you to keep the camera steady, especially when shooting at high shutter speeds.
  • A remote shutter release: A remote shutter release will help to prevent camera shake when you press the shutter button.

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