My Gear Setup for Bird Photography

I spent my first nine years as a hobby photographer with my original Canon camera setup, a Rebel T5i and EF 400mm lens. Earlier this year I upgraded my equipment to Canon’s mirrorless lineup and RF lens line. I‘m not a spec expert, but I’ll share why I selected each piece and what I appreciate.

EOS R6 and 1.4 teleconverter

I spent my first nine years as a hobby photographer with my original Canon camera setup, a Rebel T5i and EF 400mm lens. Earlier this year I upgraded my equipment to Canon’s mirrorless lineup and RF lens line. I‘m not a spec expert, but I’ll share why I selected each piece and what I appreciate.

EOS R6 and 1.4 teleconverter

What’s in my bird photography setup

CameraCanon EOS R6
LensRF 100 – 500mm F4.5-7.1 L is USM
TeleconverterRF 1.4x Extender Teleconverter

The camera

Canon EOS R6

Why I chose it

In Canon’s mirrorless lineup, I chose the R6 because I didn’t need the added megapixels offered by the pricier R5.

Favorite features

  • Animal Eye Autofocus – The camera has a mode that detects animals and locks the focus on the subject’s eye. It works amazingly well.
  • Focus anywhere – I love not being limited to specific focal targets on the viewfinder
  • Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) – This mirrorless camera has a small OLED screen in the viewfinder. The benefit of this over a DSLR is that what you see in the viewfinder is what the image captured will look like. This enables you to adjust camera settings and see the results in realtime.
  • In-body Stabilization – Helps reduce shake and improve sharpness.

The lens

RF 100-500mm

Why I chose it

Coming from a 400mm prime EF lens, I was looking for a bit more reach and versatility. The 100-500mm RF lens hits the sweet spot. One of the reasons I chose it, other than the superior image quality, is the in-body stabilization. This works in concert with the stabilization in the R6 camera body. I love this for video and when shooting on the wide end of the zoom.

Favorite features

  • Customizable function ring that can be assigned to various settings
  • Sharpness across entire zoom range
  • In-body stabilization

The teleconverter

RF 1.4 Extender Teleconverter

Canon teleconverter 1.4x

Why I chose it

Birds are almost always small and far away. This recent addition to my setup gives 40% further zoom to every shot. It has a downside of letting less light into the camera and restricting the zoom range of the camera. It’s easy enough to pop on and off as needed.

Favorite features

  • No learning curve or large adjustment needed to benefit
  • Passively enlarges your shots
  • Compact and easy to add or remove

Also see: My Gear Setup for Birdsong Recording

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