Best Sony Camera And Lens For Bird Photography On A Budget


best-sony-camera-and-lens-for-bird-photography-on-a-budget

Like you, I was wondering what the best sony camera and lens for bird photography on a budget might be. Instead of spending hours on the internet doing research, I reached out to the Sony Alpha Technical Support Team and got the answer. Now I’m sharing that information with you.

The best Sony camera and lens for bird photography on a budget is the Alpha 6600 coupled with the Sony E 55-210 f/4.5-6.3 lens. The a6600 has fast autofocus, image stabilization, real-time eye AF for animals, and shutter speeds up to 1/4000 of a second. There are of course other lens options.

Continue reading to explore the other lens options available for pairing with the a6600. We’ll also look at some great bundles that will save you money and explore other money-saving options. Any of these camera and lens combinations will get you great bird photos.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Birdwatch World earns commissions from Amazon and similar affiliate programs from any purchases made via links in this article.

Best Sony Camera For Bird Photography On A Budget

The best Sony camera for bird photography on a budget is the Alpha 6600. A 24.2 megapixel, crop sensor E mount camera with amazing autofocus and shutter speeds as fast as 1/4000 of a second. Real-time eye AF for animals is just one of the features that will help you to get great bird photos.

The Sony Alpha 6600

This is a fantastic crop sensor mirrorless camera with amazing autofocus capabilities and great image quality. Let’s look at some of the specs:

DimensionsApprox. 120.0mm x 66.9mm x 69.3mm (4.7 x 2.6 x 2.7 in.)
WeightApprox. 503 g (1lb 1.8 oz)
Lens MountE mount (Sony E lenses)
Image Sensor24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor (23.5 x 15.6mm)
Image FormatJPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.31, MPF Baseline compliant),
RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
ISOAuto, 100-32000 (expandable to 102400)
Shutter Speed1/4000 sec. to 30 sec.
Focus Points425 points (phase-detection AF)/
425 points (contrast-detection AF)
Image Stabilization5-axis
Continuous Shutter11 frames per second
LCD Screen75 mm (3 in.) tiltable touch screen
Video4K @ 30p, 1920 X 1080 @ 100p
Compatible SD CardsMemory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo,
Memory Stick Micro (M2), SD memory card,
SDHC memory card (UHS-I compliant),
SDXC memory card (UHS-I compliant), microSD memory card,
microSDHC memory card, microSDXC memory card

Are your bird photos blurry? Find out why in this article from Birdwatch World

Image Examples

The following images were taken with the Sony a6600. Click/tap each image to view it full size.

Image by Alan Sandercock from Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)
Image by Keijiro Takahashi from Flickr. (CC0 1.0)
Image by Chad Kainz from Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Learn more about the Sony a6600 and check the latest prices via the buttons below:

Learn more about crop sensor cameras in our ‘How Much Zoom Do You Need For Bird Photography?’ post


Best Sony Lens Options For Bird Photography On A Budget

In this section of the article, we will look at five options for lenses to pair with the Sony a6600. These lenses occupy different price points as I realize that everyone’s idea of ‘budget’ is a little different.

1. Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS

The best Sony lens for bird photography on a budget is the E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS. A lightweight and very affordable lens that takes great photos. The built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization helps to steady your shots and the various other features make it perfect for bird photography.

Weight345 g (0.76 lb)
Diameter63.8 mm (2.5 in.)
Length108 mm (4.3 in.)
152.5 mm (6 in.) fully extended
Focal Length55-210mm
35mm Equivalent
Focal Length
82.5-315mm
Mount TypeSony E
Max. Aperturef/4.5 @ 55mm
f/6.3 @ 210mm
Min. Aperturef/22 @ 55mm
f/32 @ 210mm
Min. Focusing Distance1 m (3.3 ft)
Filter Size49 mm

Image Examples

All of the following image examples were taken with a Sony E 55-210mm lens. They were taken with camera bodies other than the a6600. Click or tap the images to view full-size.

Taken with an a6000. Image by Miguel Discart from Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Taken with an a6400. Image by Guido Konrad from Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)
Taken with a6400. Image by Guido Konrad from Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

You will find some great deals on the 55-210mm lens on Amazon, some as low as US$240.00. Click the buttons below to search now on various retailers:


2. Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE

The next cheapest lens option to pair with the Sony a6600 for bird photography. This lens will leave a slightly bigger hole in your pocket but takes great shots, still at a reasonable price.

Weight460 g (16.2 oz)
Diameter68 mm (2.7 in.)
Length97.1 mm (3.8 in.)
172.2 mm (6.8 in.) fully extended
Focal Length18-200mm
35mm Equivalent
Focal Length
27 to 300mm
Mount TypeSony E
Max. Aperturef/3.5 @ 18mm
f/6.3 @ 200mm
Min. Aperturef/22 @ 18mm
f/40 @ 200mm
Min. Focusing Distance50 cm (1.6 ft)
Filter Size62 mm

Image Examples

All of the following image examples were taken with a Sony E 18-200mm lens. They were taken with camera bodies other than the a6600. Click or tap the images to view full-size.

Taken with an a6300. Image by Francisco Daum from Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Taken on an a6000. Image by Olivier Blitzblum from Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The 18-200mm focal range is quite big. Not only will you be able to get close-up shots of birds but you can also get wider shots to show them in their environment. You can use this lens for everyday photography, landscape photography, or photos of the family too.

Discover the latest deals on the Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE on Amazon and digiDirect via the buttons below:

Should you use a tripod for bird photography? Find out in this article here on our blog


3. Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS Lens

We are still under the US$1000 mark with this lens. You will get great reach with this one as it becomes a 105-525mm lens on the crop sensor a6600.

Weight625 g (1.4 lb)
Diameter77 mm (3 in.)
Length142 mm (5.6 in.)
Focal Length70-350mm
35mm Equivalent
Focal Length
105-525mm
Mount TypeSony E
Max. Aperturef/4.5 @ 70mm
f/6.3 @ 350mm
Min. Aperturef/22 @ 70mm
f/32 @ 350mm
Min. Focusing Distance110 cm (3.6 ft)
Filter Size67 mm

Image Examples

All of the following images were taken using the 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS Lens and an Alpha 6000 camera body. These images have been used with the permission of Ann Tardif from Flickr and remain the copyright of the owner:

Taken with an a6000. Image by Ann Tardif from Flickr.
Taken with an a6000. Image by Ann Tardif from Flickr.
Taken with an a6000. Image by Ann Tardif from Flickr.

As you can see from the above images, this lens takes wonderfully sharp images and would make a great bird photography lens.

Learn more about and/or purchase the Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS Lens on Amazon and digiDirect via the buttons below:


4. Sony FE 24-240mm F/3.5-6.3 OSS

The 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS is an FE lens which means it is designed for full-frame cameras. Do not be concerned though as full-frame lenses work fine on crop sensor cameras like the a6600.

Weight780 g (1.7 lb)
Diameter80.5 mm (3.2 in.)
Length118.5 mm (4.7 in.)
Focal Length24-240mm
35mm Equivalent
Focal Length
36-360mm
Mount TypeSony E
Max. Aperturef/3.5 @ 24mm
f/6.3 @ 240mm
Min. Aperturef/22 @ 24mm
f/40 @ 240mm
Min. Focusing Distance50 cm (1.6 ft)
Filter Size72 mm

Image Examples

The following images were all taken with the 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS using various camera bodies which are listed below each image:

Taken with an a6500. Image by Miguel Discart from Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Taken with an a6500. Image by Miguel Discart from Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Taken on an Alpha A7II. Image by Lutz Blohm from Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The 24-240mm lens takes very nice images. It will also be a little better in low light conditions as it has that f/3.5 maximum aperture when zoomed out to 24mm.

Discover the best f stop for bird photography in this article here on Birdwatch World

Learn more about and/or purchase the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens on Amazon and digiDirect via the buttons below:


5. Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS

The final lens option for the a6600 is another lens designed for use with full-frame cameras but it is perfectly fine to use on a crop sensor camera.

Weight854 g (1.9 lb)
Diameter84 mm (3.3 in.)
Length143.5 mm (5.6 in.)
Focal Length70-300mm
35mm Equivalent
Focal Length
105-450mm
Mount TypeSony E
Max. Aperturef/4.5 @ 70mm
f/5.6 @ 300mm
Min. Aperturef/22 @ 70mm
f/29 @ 300mm
Min. Focusing Distance90 cm (2.9 ft)
Filter Size72 mm

Image Examples

As above, the following images were all taken with the FE 70-300mm lens but with different camera bodies (listed beneath each image):

Taken with an a6500. Image by Ansel.Ma from Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Taken with an a7r IV. Image by Joseph Gage from Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Taken with an a7r II. Image by yollstory.com from Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

While being the most expensive lens I’ve recommended here, the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS takes amazingly crisp photos and you would not go wrong adding one to your kit.

Learn more about and/or purchase the Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens on Amazon and digiDirect via the buttons below:


Money-saving Options For The Sony a6600 And Lens

If you are a studious person, you’ve probably done the math and realized that some of the above options are going to cost you a fair amount. Let’s break it down (all prices in USD):

OptionLens CostTotal Cost
Sony a6600 +
E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS
$298.00$2096.00
Sony a6600 +
E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE
$848.00$2646.00
Sony a6600 +
E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS
$998.00$2796.00
Sony a6600 +
FE 24-240mm F/3.5-6.3 OSS
$1048.00$2846.00
Sony a6600 +
FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS
$1273.00$3071.00

As we’re trying to look at “budget” options here, you might be thinking that these are slightly expensive options. Don’t worry, there are some ways you can save a bit of cash here.

Renewed Camera Body

Renewed cameras are used gear that has been inspected and cleaned by qualified professionals. They look and perform like new and are backed by Amazon’s 90-day Renewed Guarantee.

In regards to the a6600, purchasing a renewed body will save you US$200 on Amazon. Find out more by clicking the button below:

Renewed Lenses

You can also find renewed lenses on Amazon.

E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS

In regards to the 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS, you can save US$59 by purchasing the renewed option. Find out more on Amazon via the buttons below:

E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE

At the time of writing this article, there were no renewed options available for the E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE. Check Amazon to see if any are now available.

E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G

At the time of writing this article, there were no renewed options available for the E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS. Check Amazon to see if any are now available.

FE 24-240mm F/3.5-6.3 OSS

This one is an incredible saving if you buy the renewed version. You stand to save US$206.51 on Amazon:

FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS

At the time of writing this article, there were no renewed options available for the FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS. Check Amazon to see if any are now available.

Bundles

Camera bundles are a great way to save some money when purchasing new gear. The best bundle on offer at the time of writing this was this one on Amazon:

The above deal comes with an 18-135mm which on the crop sensor a6600 will give an effective 27-202mm which is great for starting bird photographers.

This deal is also available to Australian shoppers from digiDirect. Click the button below to check the latest price:

References


barrycallisterphotography

Barry is a bird photographer and bird watcher with over 7 years of experience. He runs his own YouTube channel about photography and promotes his nature photography on his personal website barrycallisterphotography.com.au.

Recent Posts