Birdwatching is a hobby for many people, but it can be hard to find the right photography camera. A point-and-shoot camera will work just fine for taking the sharp birding and wildlife photos. The best point and shoot camera for birding is one that can capture high-quality photos in low light, has a powerful zoom lens, and produces fast shutter speeds.
Some point-and-shoot birding cameras are more expensive because they have features like GPS tracking or the ability to take long-duration shots. This blog post will offer some insight on what type of point and shoot camera is best suited for bird and wildlife photography and how to pick out the perfect one!
Things to Consider while buying a Point and Shoot Birding Camera
If you are a birdwatcher, then you know that finding the best point-and-shoot camera for your hobby can be a real challenge. There are many manufacturers in this business and their cameras all look alike, so it is difficult to choose between them. However, certain things can help you find an appropriate device for yourself. All in all, when you are about to purchase the best point-and-shoot camera for your birding hobby, you should know what exactly you are looking for.
Ease of Use
The first thing that is very important for any birdwatcher is how easily he can use the device. Some of these cameras have features that only experienced photographers can understand and this fact alone makes them useless to both novices and experienced birdwatchers. That’s why the first thing you should consider when buying the best point-and-shoot camera is whether or not it has special settings for photos of birds.
When you are looking through reviews, make sure that they mention this feature because otherwise, you might end up buying a camera that will be useless to you. Additionally, birdwatchers should pay attention to the quality of the lens that the camera has. Because you will often have only short moments to take photos, this feature is very important for any high-quality photographing. Also, when buying one of these cameras, try not to get too caught up in megapixel ratings.
Some companies that produce devices for birdwatchers offer 8 or even 10-megapixel lenses. However, in many cases, this number simply means that the camera will be less useful than it could have been when taking photos in low-light conditions. If you want to really take great photos of birds, look more closely at optical zoom and choose a lens with as big a range as possible.
One more thing that should be taken into consideration while buying a camera for birding is that the size of the device itself should be comfortable for you to carry with you. It doesn’t matter how great photos it can take if the camera is too heavy or bulky for you to carry it all day long. That’s why make sure that point-and-shoot cameras for bird watchers are light enough and very easy to carry.
Furthermore, birders should pay attention to additional features in addition to photos of birds. These can be high-quality night vision mode or a big screen for easier navigation in the menus. Also, if you are an experienced photographer, you might want to go with a GPS that will tag every picture with exact geotags making it easy to find pictures of the particular bird on the map later.
Finally, if you think that the camera has everything you need for your hobby, but it is too expensive, make sure to check out refurbished or used cameras. These devices are often only slightly used and their prices are significantly lower than their standard retail price. However, make sure to choose reputable sources to avoid buying broken or defective products.
5 Best Tips for Bird Photographers
Here is a video of 5 Best Tips For Taking Razor Sharp Images
List of The Best Point And Shoot Cameras for Birding
1. Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV Camera
Best professional point and shoot camera for birding
Packed with most of the latest technology including 4K Video and High Frame Rate shooting up to 1000fps this is one of the feature-packed cameras that will be able to handle most photographic situations.
It’s a very capable camera and will perform well in all but the most extreme conditions. It has a great lens, which opens up a range of possibilities for wildlife photographers. And it’s fast too, with continuous shooting rates of 24fps when in full resolution RAW mode. This means you’ll never miss a shot again whether that be at the London Zoo or out in the Serengeti.
It’s a great all-rounder – meaning you can carry just one lens with you if you’re going on safari. The image quality is stunning and the build quality is fantastic – it feels very chunky, which makes it a nice camera to use that will stand up to any abuse that may be thrown at it.
The 24-600mm lens is a huge range and will cover every eventuality, from wide shots of animals to a sweeping landscape image. It’s also capable of 4K video with full pixel readout (no line skipping) for high-resolution footage without the need for additional equipment like an external recorder.
It has a very flexible 24-600mm equivalent lens, which is great for wildlife and bird photography as well as wide landscapes. It’s a very capable camera that offers a lot of advanced features at a reasonable price.
The RX10 IV is a wonderful companion if you want to move away from the confines of your car and explore a little more of the great outdoors. It’s a nice choice for those wanting a capable, all-purpose point-and-shoot travel camera – its lens means you won’t have to carry several lenses with you and it’s lightweight enough to keep in a small bag when not in use.
With its great lens, advanced specifications, and lightweight body, this camera will meet the needs of most photographers.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
2. Nikon COOLPIX P1000
Best Sony Point And Shoot birding camera for beginners
For the past ten years, Nikon COOLPIX P900 has been one of the best-selling cameras in its price range. However, when this company decided to make an update, they made it even better. The new model released in 2018 is Nikon COOLPIX P1000 which features a super-zoom lens with a 23mm wide range and various stabilization systems that make it perfect for all birdwatchers.
The best thing about this camera is that it is one of the most advanced point-and-shoot cameras on the market. It has a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 which makes it perfect for low light photography while offering a small camera size at the same time.
Additionally, Nikon COOLPIX P1000 has an amazing digital image stabilization system that allows photographers to take clear and sharp images even in situations when they should use a tripod. Moreover, this device is equipped with a GPS that allows you to tag every picture with exact coordinates so it’s very easy to find photos of particular birds on a map later.
This camera can also record video in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second making it perfect for wildlife videography. However, it should be noted that Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is an expensive camera with a price higher than $1,000.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
3. Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II
Best Superzoom Camera
The new Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II is a compact superzoom which offers the longest zoom ever of 25-400mm at f/2.8 throughout its range, with Panasonic claiming this to be 400mm equivalent on the Micro Four Thirds sensor. That lens allows you to bring distant subjects close and capture them in fine detail, with a bright f/2.8 aperture for low-light or shallow depth of field fast action photography.
The FZ1000 also has a 1 inch sensor, allowing more light to be captured in those dark conditions and therefore producing better images at high ISO speeds, as well as giving you more control over your backgrounds with smooth bokeh.
With the 20.1MP 1 inch sensor, you also get 4K Photo and Post Focus features, allowing you to shoot at high speed and choose your focus point after the shot has been taken in-camera. The FZ1000 uses a similar system as used on recent G Master lenses from Panasonic, including Panasonic’s 100-400mm lens, which is used by bird photographers.
The camera has a simple and effective 4K video mode with focus peaking and zebra patterns for better control over your videos, plus all the controls you need to get that perfect shot. Panasonic FZ1000 allows you to record in stunning detail both at 1:1 pixel readout and Super-35mm 4K movie crop modes. Click here for a list of Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II compatible Micro Four Thirds lenses
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II is a superb camera, with excellent build quality and performance. It’s the best all-in-one, go anywhere, shoot anything with a camera for bird photography.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
4. Canon Powershot SX70
Best Canon point-and-shoot camera for birdwatchers
Canon PowerShot SX70 is another great camera for birdwatchers which is equipped with a 20.3-megapixel image sensor and a 65x optical zoom lens. This device also has a good stabilization system that allows you to take sharp images even without a tripod.
However, it should be mentioned that Canon Powershot SX70 is not as easy to use as point-and-shoot cameras and it is more suitable for those photographers who need an advanced camera with a huge zoom range.
What makes Canon Powershot SX70 better than other cameras with similar capabilities is the ability to record videos. Not only can it record high-resolution 1080p Full HD video, but it can do that at impressively smooth frame rates of 60 fps (at 720p) and even 120 fps (at VGA).
What is more, this camera has a built-in stereo microphone which is great for recording videos, but it also allows you to record sounds from outside the camera.
It should be noted that Canon Powershot SX70 is compatible with SDXC cards and can store up to 60 minutes of Full HD video.
Other features include a 3-inch LCD screen, face detection, RAW format support. In addition, this device can and focus on objects as close as 1cm from the lens which makes it the perfect solution for macro photography.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
5. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Best point and shoot camera for bird videography
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Camera is a brand new point-and-shoot camera in the popular travel zoom category. It packs a 20 MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor and TruePic VII image processor which provides an impressive 10 fps continuous shooting speed along with 4K video recording capability at 30 fps.
The E-M10 Mark IV is an amazing little camera that packs lots of features into a sleek body. It does lack weather-sealing, which would be my main concern for a new travel companion.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Camera is an advanced enthusiast compact with great image quality, superb ergonomics, and a range of features that will keep most photographers happy. It’s an excellent all-rounder travel performer, with support for 4K video capture, and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ is a great kit lens in my opinion.
The camera offers lots of advanced options, with the ability to shoot raw files, improve dynamic range and reframe images in-camera. The camera is very well made, with a great handgrip and all the controls you’d expect from an advanced enthusiast compact.
The autofocus system is good but falls short when compared to more expensive mirrorless cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. However, its impressive image quality more than makes up for this and I would highly recommend the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Camera if you’re looking for an advanced compact that’s great at shooting stills or 4K video.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
6. Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
Best point-and-shoot camera for hunting
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS is another great device for birdwatchers which is equipped with the same optical zoom lens as the legendary SX50 HS but with the added benefit of the extended 35mm focal length.
In addition to that, this device also features a great High-Resolution 16.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor and Digic 6 processing engine which enhances its capabilities even further. The result is a camera with great light-gathering power, thanks to its lens range and aperture, as well as high image accuracy even in challenging conditions such as low light or at maximum zoom.
It is also capable of recording full HD 1080p at 60fps or 30fps for crisp slow-motion videos. This model has a 65x optical zoom lens, 21-1365mm equivalent in 35mm format with an aperture range from F2.8 to 6.5. The lens construction features 22 elements in 19 groups, including five UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) elements and two aspherical lens elements.
On the front side, we can find stereo microphones, in addition to a Zoom mic for recording high-resolution sound in videos. There is also a built-in flash, hot shoe for external flash units, and an extra LED lamp that provides illumination of macro subjects at close ranges. The autofocus systems in the SX60 HS have 9-point cross-type AF, allowing it to capture moving subjects quickly and precisely.
On the other hand, Canon PowerShot SX60 HS is a bit slower at full autofocus speed than the previous model – SX50 HS – but it still offers fast and accurate autofocus in most situations.
Other features include a flip-out vari-angle LCD screen, 18x wide-angle zoom lens, built-in GPS, and Wi-Fi connectivity which make it a perfect choice for bird photographers who want to share their best photos with the rest of the world instantly. If connectivity is your priority in point and shoots, have a look at the best point and shoot cameras with wifi and bluetooth.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
7. Panasonic LUMIX FZ300
Best long zoom bridge camera for birding
The Panasonic Lumix FZ300 is a long-zoom bridge camera that packs a lot of features into its body. The most important one for birders is the optical zoom, a stunning 24x range from 24 to 720 mm equivalent, which goes well beyond what you can get on any other point and shoot camera out there today.
Combine that with the camera’s excellent image stabilization (a must when zoomed in), focus peaking (which highlights in-focus areas of your picture, making them stand out against the blurry parts like human eyes), and contrast autofocus system for faster focusing speeds, and you’ve got a very capable tool at your disposal.
The LUMIX FZ300 is quite similar in terms of hardware to its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix FZ200. It features a bright 24-600mm equivalent Leica lens with a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, which is capable of delivering an amazing level of detail throughout the entire zoom range thanks to the excellent Ultra High Refractive Index lens element.
The camera is capable of capturing stunning high-resolution images due to its 16.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor. It also features a built-in pop-up flash, a hot shoe for external units, and a 3″ LCD screen which features a vari-angle design, so you can set it at any angle to suit your shooting needs.
On the front side, we can find built-in stereo microphones, in addition to a Zoom mic for recording high-resolution sound in videos. There is also a built-in flash, hot shoe for external flash units, and LED lamp which provides illumination of macro subjects at close ranges.
Other features include a CCD sensor with 5184 x 3888 pixels, high-speed burst mode, and the ability to fire off 12fps for up to 40 JPEG images at full 16:9 aspect ratio (9 fps for RAW), and Advanced DFD autofocus system, and a touch screen around the LCD monitor.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
8. Nikon COOLPIX P900
Best superzoom camera for birding
The Nikon Coolpix P900 is the latest superzoom offering from Nikon, which features an 83x optical zoom range. This image-stabilized superzoom camera can go from wide-angle to telephoto focal length in no time at all, thanks to its 24-2000mm equivalent lens with ED glass element for reducing chromatic aberrations and VR vibration reduction system.
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 has a 16MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor for delivering high-resolution images and Full HD 1080p videos with stereo sound. It also has a built-in pop-up flash, hot shoe for external units, and a 3″ LCD screen which features a vari-angle design so you can set it at any angle to suit your shooting needs.
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 packs quite a bit of feature into its compact frame, yet it is still easy to use thanks to its ergonomic design. The camera has an accessory shoe for attaching additional lighting equipment and a GPS unit, an HDMI port for connecting the camera directly to your HDTV or monitor for large-screen playback, a USB port, and a port for connecting the AC adapter.
The majority of wildlife shots are taken from a safe distance, which means you have to rely more on the lens rather than the camera’s autofocus abilities. In this case, it is recommended to shoot with a camera that has a long focal range as it will make your job easier when trying to compose and capture those elusive subjects in their natural environment.
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 offers a focal range of 24-2000mm equivalent, which is more than enough to cover most wildlife subjects. Not only this camera can go from wide-angle to telephoto in no time at all but it also features Vibration Reduction technology so you can shoot at a slower shutter speed and still get sharp images.
If you are looking for a camera that delivers high-quality photos with an impressive zoom range, then this Nikon COOLPIX P900 is something you should consider.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
9. Fujifilm X100F
Best camera for wildlife photography
Fujifilm X100F is a 24.3-megapixel APS-C digital camera that has got the same classic design as its predecessor Fujifilm X100T. However, this time it is even more compact thanks to its newly added electronic viewfinder on the back of the camera. The lens has also been improved.
It is rather compact, fast, and with the same great image quality as its predecessors. The focusing capabilities are excellent – with a DSLR-like 91 point AF system.
The most important feature for bird photographers is the lens which has got an extended zoom range, combined with a faster maximum aperture of F2. It will be ideal not only for taking photos of birds but also flowers, portraits, landscapes, etc.
Another feature that is interesting for bird photographers is the silent mode. Using this model one can shoot discreetly and avoid disturbing the birds. The camera has a RAW capture option, a tiltable LCD screen, and a built-in flash. The continuous shooting speed of 8 fps might be useful as well.
Other features include a one-touch portrait mode, 4K video recording, and a very good build quality which also make it the best point and shoot camera for vlogging. There are various accessories available as well which can be useful for bird photography such as Fujifilm LH-X100 lens hood, ND filter, or Conversion lenses.
All in all Fujifilm X100F will be a great fit not only for street and travel photographers but also for bird photographers. It will be a great addition to your camera bag if you are looking for the best point-and-shoot camera for birds.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
10. Kodak PIXPRO AZ252 Astro Zoom
Best budget bridge camera for wildlife
Kodak Astro Zoom AZ252 digital camera is a DSLR-style bridge model that comes with a massive 52x optical zoom lens. It features 16MP 1/2.3″ CCD sensor, ISO up to 12800, multi-coated precision glass zoom lenses, a built-in neutral density filter for minimizing the amount of light entering into the lens when shooting in very bright conditions, and an integrated image stabilization system to allow you to shoot steady images at slower shutter speeds.
The Kodak PIXPRO AZ252 Astro Zoom has a 3″ LCD screen with 920K dots for monitoring your subject during live view recording. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity which allows you to share your photos on social networking sites through an iOS or Android device, control the camera remotely with your mobile devices, backing up images, and recording of videos directly on cloud storage services.
The Kodak PIXPRO AZ252 Astro Zoom comes with a 52x optical zoom lens, which covers focal lengths from 18mm wide-angle to 1090mm super-telephoto. Its aperture goes from f/3.5 at the widest angle of the lens, to f/6.5 throughout most of its range and up to f/8 at full telephoto. The camera has a built-in neutral density filter that reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by 2, 4, and 8 stops to allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds or in bright conditions without introducing too much noise into your photos.
The camera features 16MP 1/2.3″ CCD sensor and DIGIC 5 image processor. It allows you to shoot photos at a maximum resolution of 4608 x 3456 pixels and record Full HD videos with 1920 x 1080p resolution, 30 fps.
Overall, Kodak Astro Zoom AZ252 digital camera is a well-designed model with a large optical zoom lens which makes it an ideal choice for wildlife photography.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
Related: DSLR VS Point and shoot Camera: Which is better?
Features to Consider when buying a Point and shoot camera for bird photography
Buying a Point and shoot camera, DSLR or interchangeable lens camera is not enough if you want to take good pictures of birds and other wildlife. Here are some features you should look for when shopping for a point and shoot camera:
1- Optical zoom
Most pocket cameras come with only 3x optical zoom, but that’s just the beginning. An ideal camera should have at least 10x or 12x zoom.
2- Image Stabilization
You must avoid cameras without this feature because you can never hold them perfectly still when shooting hand-held, especially in low light conditions. It is also more critical than ever with small sensor point and shoot models that produce noisy images at high ISO speeds.
3- Manual controls
Auto mode will never work for bird photography, so look for cameras that have full manual controls.
4- RAW image mode
If you plan to shoot images in JPEG format instead of RAW, make sure the camera has the option to save the original file without any alterations to its settings. You can do it using Adobe Camera Raw software even with JPEG files, but the original file should be saved in 16-bits mode.
5- Panorama mode
All cameras today, DSLR or point and shoot, come with an option to take panoramic images. But it’s often not so easy to do it perfectly unless you have a feature that locks the camera on a moving object as you pan across the scene.
6- Macro mode
You should have the option to choose from several close focusing distances that work well for your lens and sensor size. Many cameras have very short minimum focusing distance, but they miss out on shots just a few inches away from the subject because of their tiny lenses. If you want to closely observe wildlife on the ground without disturbing them, buy a camera with macro mode that can focus on objects as close as four or five inches away.
7- RAW+JPEG mode
If you really want to work more like a pro, look for cameras that provide an option to save RAW and JPEG images at the same time. That way you can delete the JPEG version right away if it doesn’t meet your standards, and keep the RAW image for further editing on a computer.
8- Big LCD screen
The bigger it is, the easier it is to take pictures from different angles without asking another person to hold the camera for you. It also helps a lot in daily use like checking photos you’ve taken before transferring them to your computer, deleting unwanted images and setting up your shots.
9- Zoom Framing Assist
This feature automatically zooms in or out when the camera senses that the subject is moving further or closer away from it, making it easier to keep track of birds in flight.
10- Video Recording
The best cameras today are capable of shooting HD movies. You can use them to record that rare and fleeting moment you witness in the wild, like a rare bird’s mating dance or a mother and her young one enjoying an afternoon bath.
This might be irrelevant if you always shoot using the LCD screen, but it’s still a good idea to look for cameras that give you the option to use either type of viewfinder.
12- Memory Card
The size and speed of the card will determine the number of images the camera can save. So don’t skimp on memory when buying a point and shoot camera with only 16MB built-in memory…get a memory card to go with it.
13- Tripod mount
It’s a good idea for photographers who like to shoot long exposures at night, or use the self-timer while shooting very low light images without a flash.
14- Flash hotshoe
Only dedicated photographers will use external strobes on small compact cameras…but if you have the budget for it, you might as well get a camera that has a hotshoe instead of a regular tripod mount.
15- Manual focus modes
if you plan to shoot macro images at a short distance, this mode is vital because it will let you fine tune your shots using either the main LCD screen or the viewfinder.
16- Hand grip
It’s often found on more expensive cameras and it makes a big difference in the way you hold the camera, reducing strain on your hand and fingers.
17- Customizable buttons
Good idea to have at least one button that can be programmed to perform a certain task, like changing ISO levels quickly.
18- Time Exposure mode
Time exposure lets you set the shutter speed manually, giving you full creative control over your photos. It’s ideal for shooting very low light images without a flash or a tripod.
19- Digital or Optical Zoom
A digital zoom increases the size of a cropped area of the picture by magnifying it – it’s not recommended to use digital zoom because the resulting images are of lower quality. Optical zoom, on the other hand, increases the magnification of a particular lens element for higher-quality photos.
FAQs of the Point and Shoot Birding Cameras
To make sure your camera is of excellent quality for bird photography, make sure it has the megapixels you need. For example, Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV camera has 20.1MP and if you use a high-quality lens with it then images will be rendered beautifully with lots of details and sharpness. However if you want to print really large images then more megapixels are better.
It is possible to take great images of flying birds with a small compact point and shoot camera, but you need to select the right settings. First, choose continuous shooting mode for fast moving subjects and then check which shutter speed is optimal (1/250 or higher) in order to minimize blurriness and increase sharpness.
Sure it is possible, but you need to research and try different settings and positions until you get the best results. The most important thing in bird photography is that you need a great interest and passion to learn from your mistakes and take more images until you finally capture the perfect one.
A telephoto lens with 300 mm or more is enough to get detailed and sharp images of birds in close range. These lenses are very expensive and they require a sturdy tripod to minimize blurriness.
The most important thing in bird photography is getting closer to the subject, making sure you are at the right distance with it before releasing the shutter button. So if your camera has image stabilization then use it when necessary because it will reduce blurriness when shooting handheld in low light conditions.
You can also use a natural perch or a feeding station to get great images of birds in close range.
The super wide-angle lens with large zoom range works best because you can capture most of the subjects that move around in different distances without changing your position. So if you want to buy a new camera then my advice is to get a point and shoot camera with optical zoom lens.
If you travel to remote places and want to capture wild animals without bringing your expensive equipment then a compact point and shoot camera with optical zoom would be a better choice.
For example, Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV camera has 25x optical zoom and it works beautifully with Nikon D90 DSLR as well.
To make sure your camera is of excellent quality for bird photography, make sure it has the megapixels you need. For example, Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV camera has 20MP and if you use a high-quality lens with it then images will be rendered beautifully with lots of details and sharpness. However if you want to print really large images then more megapixels are better.
To find the best point and shoot camera for birding, you should keep in mind that not all cameras are created equal. You need to be able to identify features like zoom capability, speed of shutter release, lens size/type (wide-angle or telephoto), image stabilization technology, etc., which is why it’s important to do some research before making a purchase decision. If you want help finding the right camera for your needs or more information about how these factors work together to make up an amazing photo capturing device, read the features to consider before buying a camera you need.