5 Best Cameras For Wildlife Photography

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wildlife photography cameras

Learning wildlife photography is the most challenging photography business. With fast-moving subjects and unpredictable lighting, a good camera is an absolute must!

There are several factors to consider when choosing a camera for wildlife photography. Some of the more important ones are:

Sensor Size

A full-frame camera has large sensors that allow you to crop an image to achieve a “zoomed in” effect. But, a higher quality, a smaller sensor can achieve the same effect with higher magnification.


Because wildlife photography subjects move fast, you want a camera with a fast, accurate focus for sharp images. Evaluate the entire autofocus system because, while a camera with more autofocus (AF) points is advantageous, newer, more powerful systems and advanced focus-tracking and phase detection can achieve similar results with fewer AF points.

Frames Per Second

A faster continuous shooting rate produces more frames per second, so you can capture that perfect movement, wing position, or facial expression. Also, consider how many frames can be stored in a single burst.

photographer taking wildlife photos with a DSLR camera.

ISO Range

Better quality images have lower ISOs, but higher ISO ranges are needed for low-light conditions common to wildlife photography. Cameras that offer wider ISO ranges provide a significant advantage.

Camera Build

Lastly, there are some less technical aspects to consider for wildlife photography. Cameras must be weather sealed and portable.

5 Cameras that are Consistently Rated among the Best for Wildlife Photographers:

1. Canon EOS 7D Mark II

This is an ideal entry level camera with a powerful APS-C sensor and image processor. It also has an AF system that allows you to track moving subjects with accurate focus, and it is optimized for shooting in low-light conditions.

Canon Mark II camera for wildlife photography.

• 20.2 MP APS-C Sensor
• Dual Digic 6 Image Processor
• Burst Photo Mode: 10fps
• 65-Point Cross-Type Dual Pixel CMOS AF System
• Expanded ISO Range of 100–16,000 (51,200)
• Weight: 2 lbs

2. Nikon D5

This high-end camera has a high-resolution sensor, up to 153 AF points, and a revolutionary processor, all of which will allow you to produce up to 12 spectacular images per second. It also has two shutter release buttons for easy shooting in vertical and landscape modes.

nikon d5.

• 20.8MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
• EXPEED 5 Image Processor
• Burst Photo Mode: 12fps
• 153-Point AF System (55 Cross-Type)
• ISO Sensitivity Range of 100-102,400 (50-3,280K)
• Weight: 3.1 lbs

3. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

The fastest DSLR currently available and arguably, the best camera for wildlife photography, given its speed and available lens options. Field testing has shown it to be a superior camera for capturing subjects in action.

canon dslr camera.

• Sensor: 20.2 MP full-frame CMOS Sensor
• 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system (41 Cross-Type)
• Burst Photo Mode: 16 fps
• Max Burst: 170 RAW
• ISO Sensitivity Range of 100-512,00 (409,600)
• Weight: 1.76 lbs

4. Sony A711 DSLR

With its impressive sensor and image processor, the Sony A711 DSLR is among the best wildlife photography cameras. It makes a great entry level camera at a more affordable price.

sony dslr camera.

• 24.3MP (APS-C) Exmor CMOS Sensor
• BIONZ® X Image Processor
• Burst Photo Mode: 14fps
• 79-Point AF System (15 Cross-Type)
• ISO Sensitivity Range of 50-25,600
• Weight: 1.49 lbs

5. Nikon 1 V3 Mirrorless Camera

This camera has amazing power and speed with an advanced hybrid 175-point AF system. It can shoot up to 60 fps, weighs less than a pound, and is exceptionally affordable!

nikon dslr camera.

• 18.4MP CMOS CX Sensor
• EXPEED 4A Image Processor
• Burst Photo Mode: 60fps
• 175-Point Advanced Hybrid AF System
• ISO Sensitivity Range of 160-12,800
• Weight: 0.69 lbs

With the right wildlife photography camera, you can capture spectacular images, such eagles in flight.
Fast-moving subjects make wildlife photography one of the most challenging niches.

The choice of a camera is the most important decision a wildlife photographer can make. These 5 cameras offer a range of features and prices, and are consistently rated among the best for wildlife photography.

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Catherine Gaither<span class="bp-verified-badge"></span>
Catherine Gaither
Catherine Gaither is a professional bioarchaeologist. She has traveled the world photographing archaeological sites and artifacts, and studying human physical remains. She has written numerous professional publications. She continues to work as a forensic consultant and author.

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  1. I found this so helpful in thinking about DSLR cameras in the challenging niche, even I’m mostly loving good landscape photography with a nice wide angle lens. So far I think, running out of battery is just the worst thing that can happen.

  2. Clearly no clue.. Entry level Sony DSLR A711.
    One would expect that such “articles” are written by well informed people.

    Only by the given price and one can see the Sony is no entry level camera.
    The model is called A7 ii (or mark ii), and it is not a DSLR – which is the acronym for Digital Single Lens Reflex – this Reflex part supposes the existence of a mirror that bounces the light between the optical viewfinder and the sensor. The Sony A7ii does not have a mirror. This makes it a mirrorless camera.

    Sure, not everybody must/should know all these technical details, but when writing such an article, the author must inform himself/herself. Hell, it’s like saying Formula 1 cars are diesels. Or, to come closer to the speciality of the author, like confusing an australopithecus skeleton with a sapiens’.

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