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Fast camera recommendations for birding/action


Hi all,

I have some old cameras i was using for sports and they're fast for birds, but because they are old models i am thinking about to upgrade them to something new, so what are your recommendations for birding/wildlife and sports/action cameras?

The cameras are 1DX/1D3/30D.



A lot will depend on your budget, but the top performing current model similar to your 1DX / 1D3 would be the EOS R3. If that exceeds your budget threshold then consider an EOS R6 Mark II. 

A similar replacement of the EOS 30D would be the EOS R6 Mark II or EOS R10 depending on your budget. 

You can use old EF lenses on the new models using the EF EOS R lens mount adapter. 

EOS specialist trainer, photographer and author
-- Note: my spell checker is set for EN-GB, not EN-US --

Thank you Brian!

I am surprised that you didn't mention something like R5 or even R7, in fact i am very much looking at R7 as a replacement or upgrade to 1D3 and 30D first, then later i can think about something either Canon R3 or another brand like Sony as replacement for 1DX, i am still happy with 1DX, but 1D3 is already so outdated and i am very rarely using it.

If i go with something like R3 or R5 or R7, then how fast my EF lenses can be, i mean i might not replace the lenses, but i will try to know what i can do or decide, if i can win a lottery or sell my house then i can buy big lenses, but is the future now only for mirrorless so i don't hold any longer on DSLRs?

EOS R7 is a suitable update, but the resolution on the smaller APS-C sensor means that it is less capable in low light than the full frame models. 

EOS R5 is widely expected to be due for replacement by an updated model in the near future, so while it is a good choice that's why I didn't mention it. Also it has the least sophisticated AF of the models mentioned. 

Yes you can use your existing lenses, they will operate as fast as they are capable. The RF lenses may be faster depending on the models being compared. I've kept many of my EF lenses and use them on the mirrorless cameras just fine.

The last DSLR introduced by Canon was the EOS Rebel T8i in February 2020 and the EOS-1D X Mark III in January 2020. It's clear that no more new DSLRs will be developed.

EOS specialist trainer, photographer and author
-- Note: my spell checker is set for EN-GB, not EN-US --

Ah ok, now i understand, then i better not rush and think about R5, and for R7 in fact it is a new camera so the ISO capability is definitely much better than old models, i try to stay maximum ISO 3200 even under low light, i use it in the field so i try not crank ISO so high, and with f2.8 lens i can even live with ISO2000 maximum, those new cameras are regards for as high as ISO20000 also, that is a lot of exposure crank, even in the worst lighting in the stadium i rarely go as high as ISO 6400, and the main thing about R7 is that it is a crop factor camera, i always crop with my 1D3 which is also 1.3x and i crop a lot with my 1DX, so R7 with its higher MP and crop factor could be better, but i have to listen to you.

I saw two of old press photographers i know moved from DSLRs to R3, i am sure they moved to R3 for a reason, so you mentioned that camera, in fact R3 is an upgrade to 1DX to me, while for 1D3 or even the sold 1D2N i used to have i don't need to go with a full frame camera, and i always use two bodies where one is having 300mm and the other is either 70-200 or 24-70/24-105/16-35 depends on the situations, i think the prime is always fast with many bodies so i use it with 1DX, while my new 70-200 mkii with 1D3, i think this 70-200 will shine with R7, but i will look at R6II, not interested in R10.


What cameras do you have now? Are you looking for more lens speed? The community can judge what capabilities they have and go from there.

Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG

John, thanks for reply!

I have many cameras but all are old, my main landscape and Portraits is Sony A7R which i will replace to another Sony latest one and also Hasselblad digital medium format, but my first cameras were all Canon such as 1DX which i still have and want to replace it, and 1D3, 5D1, 30D, 1Ds3/1Ds2, i believe i will replace them all, in fact my A7R replaced all my Canon full frame, i use 1DX for sports, but it is outdated anyway.

The only lens i have for sports are EF 300mm f2.8IS mk1, 70-200 f2.8IS mkII, 135 f2 and 85 f1.8, other lenses aren't much of use such as 100 macro and 100-400 mk1, i stopped photography back in 2015-2016 due to many issues in my life, and now i am trying to upgrade to latest i can for another decade maybe, i don't do much of photography so i am not after new models always, but i think like 8-10 years is long enough to hold anything and time to upgrade for another long time, and i will try to get back to photography and sport photography also.


You still have not stated a budget.  I recommend the R3, to you.  Older L Series lenses may not be able to take full advantage of the highly advanced AF and subject tracking features in camera bodies with Dual Pixel AF image sensors.  Expect degraded performance if you do not disable the advanced tracking features.


"The right mouse button is your friend."

The budget depends on my situations financially, i mean if i manage to sell my 1DX and 1D3/30D at good prices and i save more then i could go up to $3500-5000, but if i sell my house [second one] then i can afford $10k easily, but i try to make a list for now so i know what i decide later when the time is coming with budget.

From the list it sounds only my 70-200 mk2 is compatible, in this case either i buy another prime lens for R cameras or just keep my 1DX or upgrade it to 1DX3 and buy another camera of R series for my 70-200, i don't think i will replace ALL my equipment only to go newer and don't do much photography, i was trying to upgrade one by one, first i have to let 1D3/30D go first with appropriate upgrade, then later i can think about letting 1DX go.


A little different take, but any of the new R series are up to this task of birding and BIF. It does not take a super camera to do this. I would advise to look more in to the lens than the camera made. Personally I would prefer the best lens I could get over the best camera. You can have the best camera in the world and stick it with a mediocre lens and cripple it.

Secondarily, make sure you use raw format and get a good editor. If you don't do that part you can pretty much forget good bird or BIF photos. Both of these are not budget dependent if you get Canon's free editor DPP4 and raw is a simple camera setting. Of course if you decide to go the best in class editor and get Photoshop there is a monthly fee.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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