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By MDB8
#89164
Canon today officially announced the 90D APS-C DSLR body. It has been rumoured for a long time so no real surprises. 32.5 Megapixel sensor. It has been claimed that it will supplant the 80D and the 7D Mark II, a body used by many Birders. However, it appears that the 7D II will continue to be sold by Canon. I use the 7D II, but also the Sony RX10-IV, a mirrorless camera with a 24mm - 600mm F2.4/4.0 Zeiss lens. The Sony is lighter and quieter (noiseless shutter), but only tops out at 600mm. With a 600mm lens on the 7D II, the reach is equivalent to 960mm. Both have 20 MP sensors.

If you are using Canon, but a lesser model than the 7D II, then the forthcoming 90D is a no-brainer wrt purchasing it. Its price will be less than that of the 7D II, but a little more than the 80D.

I expect that the 90D will boast 50% more pixels than does the 7D II, 33% more than the 80D. It will fire at 10fps using the viewfinder, the same as the 7D II, but faster than the 80D. It is claimed to have superior ability to follow-focus a moving target (like birds). It will likely have the same spot focusing ability as the 7D II, a feature named "Spot AF". This is very important when trying to photograph birds. For example when photographing a hiding Long-eared Owl last Fall, this feature enabled me to focus on the bird and ignore branches that partially obscured the body. I know that the 70D did not have this spot focusing ability (only a "big" spot).

I think Canon (and other camera makers) expend too much technology to fancy-up exposure. With ISO-invarient sensors and if you take RAW images, minor exposure errors are irrelevant. Such "errors" may not even be possible to validate when using a computer monitor that is not set up properly.

I'll probably purchase the 90D, but am not anxious to do so. Firstly, I shall download the full manual and carefully read the section regarding focusing methods in order to determine what "Spot AF" means. As this model uses cross-type focusing points, I expect it means I can attain the equivalent focusing ability as I have now with the 7D II. Spot focusing is also useful when trying to photograph a bird that is very far away.

Meanwhile Sony is zipping along. The recent model A7R IV is particularly appealing to me WRT bird photography. It has a full-frame sensor of 61 MP. This is equivalent to 24 MP WRT Canon's APS-C bodies. It also can take images at 10fps. It also has in-body 5-axis stabilization and likely better follow-focusing capability than any Canon body. It's also a mirrorless body and hence need not make any noise when taking images. It is expensive, though - about 3X the cost of the new Canon 90D. Of course, it will also require mirrorless lenses. Sony currently offers a 200mm - 600mm zoom lens for its mirrorless bodies. This lens costs about the same as the Sigma Sport 150mm - 600mm zoom.

As the Sony is mirrorless, the viewfinder is electronic. For this high-end model, the EVF has 5.7 Megapixels of resolution, about 2.5X the resolution of an HD TV set. Also EVFs have the capability of digitally zooming in on a target to aid in the focusing. My experience with the Sony RX10 IV is that the EVF needs improved contrast and a faster frame rate. E.g., Hummingbirds have wings that [...] while in flight. The information on the Sony AVR7 IV does not elaborate on these issues.

I expect that both the Canon 90D and the Sony AR7 IV will allow me to take improved bird photos over my current Canon 7D II model. The Sony will also allow for general usage - family et al. I also fiddle with macro photography and a 61 MP sensor should dramatically increase the quality of such images. For me, the Sony is a much larger investment, though.
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