Hi there. I'm wondering if the new mirrorless cameras are suitable for bird photography.

Started Jan 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
drj3 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,397
Re: Seems a convincing argument for a compact.

Almost any camera, including any good P&S, can take good bird photographs as long as the bird is sitting in the open in good light.  Most cameras with prefocus can take reasonably good photographs of large flying birds against the sky.  In order for the camera to be good for general bird photography for BIF's in less than ideal situations, it needs to be able to continuously focus,  the camera needs to have the ability to focus on a small area, and the photographer needs to be able to adjust the shutter speed and compensate for changes in exposure while following the bird.  I don't know how you can do this without wheels on the front and back of the camera to adjust these.  However, this is something that takes much practice and something that I believe most photographers are willing to sacrifice in a camera that otherwise takes excellent photographs.  I personally have a couple of DSLR's which I use for this type of photography.

My question about the current mirrorlss cameras for bird photography concerns photos of sitting birds that are small and likely to be sitting in trees or with other birds.  Can a mirrorless camera focus on a 5-10 incn bird sitting in a tree when there are branches both in front and behing the bird when the total depth of field is 1.5-2.5 inches and the distance beteen the bird and other objects is a few inches.  See the attached photos which I took yesterday as examples of what I think is needed for photographing sitting birds.  


Focus on the top Redpoll and not the bird house or other Redpoll.


Focus on the Junco and not the branches in front or behind.

Downy Woodpecker

Focus on the Woodpecker and not the suet log.


Focus on the Sparrow and not the evergreen five in to the left or the deck boards five inches behind the bird.


Focus on the Sparrow and not the branches.

In each of these the depth of field is between 1.5 and 2.5 inches and manual focusing is not possible since the birds are continually moving.  If a mirrorless camera is able to do this, then I am ready to purchase one, since most of my photography today does not involve BIF's.  My concern is what I have read about the lack of ablilty to set very small focus points with contrast detection focus.

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