Bird Watching Camera


Brown Thornbill at Nest

A commonly asked question is, what is the best bird watching camera and I will try to answer that question.

There is no doubt that the best type of camera for bird watching is the digital single lens reflex camera. This type of camera shows exactly what is on the cameras sensor in the viewfinder. In the Nikon brand there are in general two categories of these cameras, FX cameras which have a sensor the same size as 35mm film, which is 24x36mm, and DX cameras which have a smaller sensor with dimensions of 23.6 x 15.6 mm. The DX camera sensors have a much higher pixel density than the FX sensors.

As a result of DX sensors being smaller than FX sensors the DX sensors offer a multiplication factor to the focal length of the lens being used, for example 300mm lens on an FX camera will become a 300×1.5=45mm.

One of the best and newest reasonably priced cameras for bird watchers is the new Nikon D7000 camera or the more expensive D300s camera. The D300s will be the better camera for this type of photography as it has slightly faster focussing, however the D7000 camera will perform excellently for this type of photography.

It is best to use lenses with vibration technology to help reduce the effects of any camera movement when used for bird watching. The most desirable lenses for birds are in the 300-500mm in focal length range.

Some of the following accessories will also be very useful for bird watching:

  • Tripods with a remote control are somewhat inconvenient to carry.
  • Monopods give excellent stability and are more convenient to carry.

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