New Wildlife Set-up -- from 7D ii to Canon/Sony Mirrorless

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
ChelseaPhotographer Contributing Member • Posts: 953
Re: New Wildlife Set-up -- from 7D ii to Canon/Sony Mirrorless

Mike-G wrote:

My daughter's remaining college tuition is taken care of, so I'm now free to start seriously shopping.

I use a Canon 7D ii with the Canon 100-400 IS II lens for wildlife photography (probably 90% birds, other critters as able). I also have a 1.4 iii TC that I've used sparingly.

I'm asking for any additional insight and a sanity check.

I'm primarily looking for improved AF and image quality. My favorite flying subjects are swallows, Kingbirds, and waterfowl, but quite honestly I'll try to shoot anything that flies. I live in Nebraska, where even the Robins and Grackles can be skittish, so reach is always an issue.

With my $6K budget, I thought of switching to the D500 with 500mm pf until the mirrorless craze hit with the R5 and the used market for the Sony a9ii greatly improving thanks to the A1. I'm not concerned with super high frame rates (anything above 10 fps would be fine), but the silent shooting that mirrorless provides and improved AF in recent mirrorless models makes me lean away from DSLRs and towards mirrorless. I also understand there are good/bad trade-offs between EVFs and OVFs.

With my budget I'm either looking at a used Sony A9ii and 200-600 lens with the possibility of adding the TC at a later time or sticking with Canon and my current lens with to possibility of adding the 100-500 and TC later...probably much later.

The only problem with the Canon is that I'm still not sold on the R5 with my lens. I don't know how a 45 mp with a 400 mm lens stacks up against a 24 mp sensor with a 600 mm lens in terms of reach. And in terms of cost, in addition to the body and EF adapter I'm looking at another $400 for a couple of those outrageously expensive CF Express cards. At that point I'm only about $1k behind the Sony set-up.

As far as other Canon bodies, the R6 won't get it done with my current lens, and I'm very pessimistic about any "R7" model appearing soon.

I like Canon's ergonomics, but I didn't have any problem with the Sony when I held one.

Switch to Sony? Stick with Canon? No idea at this point. I'm not sure if I'm overlooking anything. Thanks.

AF between DSLRs and mirrorless are very different. DSLRs like the 7DII acquire focus very fast. Mirrorless are not as fast, but when they acquire focus on the right subject, they are very good at tracking. Personally I prefer DSLRs, and using my Sony A7RIV for birding has given me mixed results. If I were you I would rent first. The 7DII that you have is great for birding. Personally I prefer the D500 over the 7DII and the Nikon 200-500 is a very good lens, but you might find that keeping your current gear and spending your money on a nice photography vacation makes more sense

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