Canon 7D Mark II or 90D for Bird Photography

Started 4 months ago | Questions thread
TheBlackGrouse Veteran Member • Posts: 3,534
Re: Canon 7D Mark II or 90D for Bird Photography

acollins wrote:

TheBlackGrouse wrote:

fairfaxian wrote:

TheBlackGrouse wrote:

tphotog wrote:

I've gotten the best ever (which isn't really a whole lot) bird photos with my 90D. The 10 frames per second is a HUGE upgrade to what I got with my 5D Mark III.

Only positive intentions, have you tried the 7DII with fully customized AF?

That's still the best after the 1Dx series. Since you mention the 10 fps I assume that you shoot action and for that AF is very important. High pixel density is nice but if the camera misses the bird it's all over.

You have offered excellent feedback -thanks.

I'm still shooting with a 7DII ("saving" for the R5) You mentioned fully customized AF for the 7DII. Would you mind elaborating on that? I get good results with my current setup (mostly getting sharp eyes on BIF) but there's ALWAYS room for improvement. And after many years, I'm still learning to optimize the settings.

(I could use better glass, but can't afford during covid: Canon 400mm f5.6; Sigma 150-600S)

That's difficult from the top of my head, five years ago it took me weeks to get the right settings. They are now 'hidden' in presets, dials, knobs etc. There are thousands of options. In fact, I changed more than 90 percent of the menus to get three working presets:

C1: landscapes and macro.

C2: perched birds, stationary animals.

C3: emergency action settings for everything that moves.

Action is on C3 so you can't make a mistake when your eye is at the viewfinder and you are following a bird. Simply rotate to the end. And so on, writing them all down takes days

In addition to the presets mentioned above, there are also the 6 different 'Case' settings in the AF section of the menu that allow you to set each 'Case' for a different type of photographic situation and within each 'Case', you can adjust the sensitivity of the AF further. The degree to which you can customize just the AF alone on the 7D2 is amazing, let alone the rest of the camera. In my opinion (and it's just that-my opinion) if you're not getting very good results from the 7D2 it's because of user error or you haven't utilized the full potential of what the AF system on this camera has to offer.


Correct, in hides they sometimes say that you have to be 'lucky' to get the shot. No, it's all about preparation, fine-tuning the camera (and of course skills and knowledge of your subjects).

Over the years I have adjusted about 100 7D (II) cameras in the field for users who didn't understand the menus. Often, minor changes made a huge difference, like changing the 'hunting' setting to prevent that the camera keeps focusing when you go from 5 meter to 200. Turn it off and make the first throw manually (or use AF on a huge object with a lot of contrast close to the bird), then the camera does the rest. Or disabling all these settings that slow down the processor, like in-camera noise reduction. And above all, replace the full zone with point expansion. I always tell them that the large zone is for moving turtles, not for fast flying birds.

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