Wildlife photography is one of the most challenging niches in the 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:
A full-frame camera has large sensors that allow you to crop an image to achieve a “zoomed in” effect. But, a higher quality, 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 AF 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 capture 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.
Lastly, there are some less technical aspects to consider for wildlife photography. Cameras must be weather-proof and portable.
Here are 5 cameras that are consistently rated among the best for wildlife photography:
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
• 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
• Price: from $979
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.
• 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
• Price: from $4899.99
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 mode.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
• 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
• Price: from $4348
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.
• 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
• Price: from $1,399.95
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.
Nikon 1 V3 Mirrorless 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
• Price: from $318.97
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!
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.
If you would like to learn more from professional photographers, here are the top 3 wildlife photography courses:
- Wildlife Photography: Capturing Portraits of Your Favorite Animals
- The Art of Wildlife Photography
- Wildlife Photography: How To Get Close
Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash