Cheap Birding Cameras

Currently I am using a nixon coolpix l330 for most of my bird photos and I want an upgrade. Does anyone have any suggestion on birding cameras under 100$ ?

At that price point you are likely limited to similar (used) cameras from about the same time period. I would look for Canon PowerShot SX series on eBay - SX50 may be the best you will find in that price range. You would be trading some resolution for extra zoom but the lens is probably more important here. Honestly the camera you already have looks pretty good and I’m not sure you will do much better for $100.

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Under 100? I’m not sure. I’m assuming by birding camera you mean a camera with high optical zoom capabilities, which tend to be pretty expensive. The cheapest compact megazooms(cheaper than a DSLR + lens usually) I know tend to be around the 250-500 range. The Nikon P900 is an amazing camera for distance photography and you can find them used on eBay for around 300 usually. If you want something more compact, I’ve had good experiences with the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS, with its 40x optical zoom. It tends to be around 400

For more discussion about bridge cameras, see


Can consider the ultra cheap route: aiming smartphone camera into binoculars and hope for the best :laughing:.


Not just a comedic suggestion, there’s precedent with this project: Digiscoped Photos


This is what most of my observations are now. My son has an adapter to hold his phone right onto the binoculars so it stays in place. No aiming/struggle to aim required.


If your looking for an upgrade to that camera in that price range, it will have to be something secondhand. You may be able to find a decent zoom bridge camera like the Lumix FZ80, PowerShot, or Sony DSC used if you look around.

I found a mint condition (used) Canon Powershot 540 HS this summer for $150 (Canadian, which is close to $100 US!).

Almost all of my birding is accidental but the 50x optical zoom also works great on nervous bugs like butterflies and flies.

Plus, if you ever want to switch to macro, I discovered that it works great with a Raynox clip on 250 (about 75 US). The bigger zoom number gives you around 6 to 10 inches of space to the subject with clear ID captures of stuff as small as 1mm.

It’s pretty cool to be able to go from catching a bird at 100m…

… then turn around, clip on the Raynox, and get a clear shot of say, a little bug crawling up your leg.

Unless it’s a tick, I suppose.

Oh, and there’s also this option to play around with…


Yeah, I did that for about 2 years it was super annoying.

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Except that is not a tick

Hey I should put some of my observations there too!

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Sorry, I didn’t mean that to be taken as a caption. (You may have noticed that there wasn’t a leg either).

OTOH, the juvenile bug is definitely climbing a leg. :thinking:

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