Canon 7D Mark II or 90D for Bird Photography

Started 3 months ago | Questions thread
TheBlackGrouse Veteran Member • Posts: 3,533
Re: Canon 7D Mark II or 90D for Bird Photography

BirdFan2000 wrote:


I am seeking recommendations on the above camera bodies.

Some background first. I am an amateur photographer seeking to get back into pursuing my hobby. I currently own a 5D Mark II with 24-105 L, the original 100-400 L, a Rebel XSi and a variety of other lenses and camera bodies. I had purchased the equipment back in 2010 when I was actively pursuing this hobby. Then, life events happened and I couldn’t pursue my hobby for several years. In the last few days, I feel inspired again to be outdoors and get back into wildlife photography in general and bird photography specifically. I intend to keep my 24-105 permanently on my 5D II for landscape.

As I reflect on my bird photography experience from several years ago reflection, I feel I missed opportunities because of limited autofocus capabilities of my Rebel. I mostly shoot smaller birds like finches and sparrows. From memory, I find them in a busy background with twigs and leaves with very low or no sunlight. I do not pursue Birds in Flight as much, although I take photos of birds flying from tree to tree.

My needs:

From experience, I have found myself in situations where I wish I had more light or better ISO performance. A superior AutoFocus would be ideal for my needs. Where I live currently is cloudy most days in the winter and I need a camera that works around poor lighting. I feel that I have such a good lens in my 100-400 (original), that I should get a camera that’s able to fully utilize its potential.

I have done my research online and in the DPReview forums. Here’s my assessment:

Benefits of 7D II:

- Demonstrated capability for bird photography.

  • As already said here: 10 fps.
  • Heavy weather sealing.
  • Rugged workhorse.
  • Presets and all sorts of buttons and dials that you need with your eye on the VF.
  • Extremely customizable (important when shooting birds).
  • AF built for shooting action.
  • Lots of settings for better AF-performance.
  • Great high ISO performance (for cropping you use fast shutter speeds).
  • Spot focus for birds in trees and bushes
  • Point-Expansion for moving birds.

Concerns with 7D II:

- Doesn’t have WiFi / Bluetooth connectivity (somewhat important to me).

  • For me, I'm happy it doesn't have WiFi/Bluetooth. However, GPS is really nice, use it a lot, helps me to locate the spots where I shot the birds.

Benefits of 90D:

- 10 fps.

- Has WiFi / Bluetooth connectivity.

- Tilt screen will help with difficult angles.

  • Correct, but it also makes the camera more vulnerable.

- For my bird photography needs, would single point AF meet my needs? I read a comment that the performance of 90D exceeds that of 7D II for single point AF.

- Higher megapixel count will allow me to zoom in more (by cropping).

  • Yes, everything helps.

- Better IQ

  • More modern sensor so yes.

Concerns with 90D:

- Saw comments that its AF doesn’t perform as well using viewfinder. However, that concern is offset by its good performance using live view. - Dual pixel AF also seems to be a feature that I might make use of.

In 10 years with a 7D and 7DII I've never used Live View for wild birds. In the zoo a few times.

Between a new 90D or used 7D, what would you recommend for my specific needs?

For these specific needs I would say the 7DII.

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