Small camera for birds and wildlife

Started Dec 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
drj3 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,959
Re: Small camera for birds and wildlife
1

You did not say maximum cost for the camera.  That would certainly be an important determinant of any recommendation.  Also climate conditions are important and depending on location in Costa Rica a camera that can be used in humid/wet conditions may be necessary.

Any good P&S super zoom should be better than a cell phone for animal/bird photography.  However, one should not expect them to perform as well as any 4/3 or APS sensors in image quality.  They will tend to give reasonable results in very good light, but will suffer in both noise and dynamic range when lighting is less than ideal.

The new Olympus and Sony Nex, mirrorless camera all have very good sensors (at least as good as any of the Canon APS sensors) and can do very well in almost any light.  Equivalent lens for the Sony NEX will be larger than the Olympus 4/3 lenses.  However, I believe only the Olympus OMD is appropriate for use in rain or very humid environments.  Unfortunately not inexpensive nor all that small, especially when one adds a telephoto lens.

For serious animal or bird photography, the DSLR still provides the best performance (phase detection focus is still better for moving targets and for focus in wooded environments), however, the cameras are no longer small.  The Canon 7D is a very good camera for animal/bird photography, but it is expensive and not small or light weight.  While I have not used them, the Pentax DSLR cameras are often recommended as alternatives to the mirrorless cameras, since they are relatively small, have internal stabilization and weatherproofing.  However, they are again larger than the 4/3 mirrorless.

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drj3

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