When you first go out to start shooting nature photography, it can be a bit overwhelming. You may even feel pressure to learn everything about photography at once. While it is one of the most beautiful forms of photography, it is still challenging.
Unlike in a studio, the wild world is unpredictable, you cannot ask a wild bird to pose, or know exactly what the weather will be like.
So, when you are learning, you will have to try out different techniques and styles that will provide you with a basis for what you will do.
This is a big reason why ensuring that you choose the best camera for a beginner at nature photography is so critical. A good beginner camera should give you easy use but also should have enough features that are advanced, so your camera grows with you.
You don’t want a camera that is beginner only, and will only last you the beginner years. A camera that can also bear the elements and will help you to capture a wide variety of subjects from forests to skyscapes, and more.
So, what cameras will be best for you? Let’s take a look!
Today we have collected information on the best cameras for beginner nature photography, looking at factors such as cost, features, shooting ability, weatherproofing, and so much more.
Whatever you need, you can find it here!
OUR TOP PICK
We start with the Nikon. Now, although the Z6 and the Z7 are both incredible cameras, however, not every photographer wants the full-frame option. Thankfully, though, Nikon has this camera, the Z50 mirrorless.
This camera caters to photographers who want something different from Nikon's Z6 and Z7 options.
Experienced photographers can also appreciate the Z50’s very extensive list of features and its solid build. It also can capture fast-moving subjects with a great deal of precision, and it does so almost effortlessly.
It is so effortless in its capture of fast-movement thanks to it having a built-in autofocus system that is top tier, working well even in conditions with low light.
As well as this, it has Eye AF and subject tracking too, both of which are ideal for social events and portraits, which may sound pointless for nature but can work well in plenty of scenarios when you are looking to photograph outdoors.
This camera also has subject tracking which is available in AF Auto-area mode, and it is very beneficial for subjects who are more likely to move unpredictably.
By selecting a tracking point on your viewfinder, or the screen, this camera can track the movement of a subject while maintaining a sharp focus on it.
Let’s not forget its awesome 20.88Mp APS-C format sensor, which pairs it with an Expeed 6 processing engine. This provides a combination that has a sensitivity range for stills at ISO 100-51,200.
However, it also has expansion settings that can go up to ISO 204,8800, with a video range of ISO 100-25,600.
Our final favorite thing about this camera is that since it has the Expeed 6 processing engine, it is capable of shooting up to an incredible 11 fps, with continuous autofocus and even exposure metering in a Continuous High Plus mode.
Its maximum shoot rate in Continuous High mode is 5fps.
All of this is ideal for a beginner and an expert, so this camera is sure to last you from the first time you take a nature photo until you are an expert at snapping shots of our wild, wonderful world
- Excellent build with stellar handling.
- Fast autofocus with excellent low-light accuracy.
- There is no joystick fitted.
- You cannot use the screen to be able to set a point for autofocus when you look through the viewfinder.
This awesome camera happens to be the flagship of Sony’s APS-C format mirrorless camera. It is aimed at any enthusiastic photographer and videographer who ideally want to shoot in a wide variety of conditions.
Inside this camera are an epic 24.2MP Exmor CMOS image sensor, a front-ended LSI, and a BIONZ X image processor, most of which are also featured in the full-framed versions of Sony’s cameras.
However, this manages to improve both the video image quality and the still image quality.
One of the most awesome features of this camera is its system that ensures in-body image stabilization, providing photographers with an impressive 5.0-step shutter speed advantage, and making use of a 5-axis stabilization system.
The autofocus system of this camera is pretty impressive as well.
It has an impressive 425 phase-detection AF points as well as 425 contrast-detection AF points, all of which offer an autofocus acquisition time of a minuscule 0.02 seconds.
Real-time EYE AF and Real-time Tracking are both features in this camera, enabled with AI-based object recognition, which can improve the ability of the camera to track speed and performance for animals and humans alike.
This means that if you did end up deciding to switch from nature photography to something more human-based, this camera would enable that to be a real possibility with no issue.
The Real-time EYE AF feature also helps you to focus on the composition of your photo, which makes it outstanding for taking photos of animals and for portraits.
It also supports super high-res internal 4K film recording in Super 35 mm format, if that is something that you want to have for potential future use. However, it also allows for interval shooting for time-lapsing as well.
It also has a 180-degree tiltable 3-0 type 921k-dot LCD touch screen, which helps make the camera even easier to use.
Sure, it may be a bit different from other popular models such as the full-framed Sony A7 camera series, but it still applies plenty of the same technology.
You get a camera capable of snapping shots and video footage of a wide range of subjects in super high quality.
- The autofocus system is very accurate and very fast. This is useful for shots that may need to be taken quickly, such as capturing wildlife.
- Incredible battery life that should last around 800 shots or more.
- The camera has incredibly good video and image quality.
- There is little use that is made of the touch control on the tilting, instead of the vari-angle screen.
- The camera has only got one SD card slot.
- The video recording button on the camera has poor placement.
If you want a camera that is ideal for enthusiastic photographers but is also compact and lightweight, then this camera is perfect. It will do well in nature photography (see also "Best Lenses For Nature Photography"), and is ideal for travel too, so you can take it around with you .
Despite it being smaller and also much lighter than the Canon R7, this EOS R10 is very impressive in the features it comes with, and its super up-to-date technology, making it even more versatile than the Canon EOS M50 Mark II.
Its AF system is very capable, fitted with subject detection, and has super high-quality images that reach up to ISO 12,800.
Although it is a bit below the R7 in Canon's mirrorless camera line-up, it does share a fair amount of the same features as the flagship model. It also features the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology.
This camera allows for phase detection focusing every pixel capable of being used by the system for focusing. This trait allows you to focus anywhere at all across the image.
While the AF system of the R7 is very sensitive, all the way to -5EV, then the Canon R10 is around -4EV. As well as this, the EOS R10 features an intelligent subject detection system.
This allows you to focus easily on animals, people, or vehicles.
If eye detection is activated when you use it, you can put priority on the detected subjects, which makes it amazing for capturing wildlife.
It can make for the perfect way to capture ideal images of animals in complex natural environments, so they are distinguishable.
- Camera fitted with phase detection focusing and intelligent subject detection.
- Small and very light.
- It has the same mount as the Canon R3, R5, and R6, so works well with most other Canon equipment. (This makes it suitable for photographers who like to work with a single brand).
- There is no in-body stabilization fitted.
- It has a limited RF-S lens range.
Canon has also got the EOS RP. This camera has been equipped with a specific autofocus system which is very impressive to use.
We admit that most Canon cameras will have an imaging sensor that is fitted as part of a Dual Pixel CMOS AF device that uses phase detection.
This unique type of focusing that the camera uses is typically a speedier method than contrast detection.
This Dual Pixel type of design makes it possible for each photoreceptor to be divided into 2 parts, which allows them to all play a part in the camera's ability to focus!
The camera also has 2,779 user-selectable AF points which cover around 88% of the width of the frame, as well as 100% of its height. Canon does claim that the RP has an AF system that can function in super-low lighting.
Meaning that the camera’s autofocus would even be able to focus in lighting levels as long as -5EV when you use an f/1.2 lens. This is just a bit behind what the EOS R can do, but it is still highly impressive. Especially for beginners.
We love this aspect of it as it allows users to take stunning wildlife photos in low light levels, making photography opportunities much less restrictive than they would be otherwise.
This camera also can detect eyes and faces, much like most other Canon cameras. This feature works in function with continuous autofocus as well, so capturing animals in nature is even easier.
- This camera has a compact but full-framed body.
- Decent price for a high-quality camera, worth the cost.
- Vari-angle touch screen fitted.
- Sub-par battery life does not fare well on long days of photography.
- 1.6x crop is applied to 4K video.
- There is no joystick available for setting the autofocusing point.
Olympus may not be as well known as Sony or Canon, but the Olympus OM-D-E-M10 Mark IV is much like most other compact cameras that have smaller sensors.
However, this camera is mirrorless, and it accepts Micro Four Thirds mount lenses as well.
This camera has a styling of a mini-DSLR, which makes it very similar to most of the other Olympus OM-D cameras, including the Olympus OM-D-E-M5 Mark III.
It also includes a 2,360,000-dot electronic viewfinder, which can be found in the middle of the top plate.
On the back of the camera, you will also find a touch-sensitive 3-inch long 1,037,000-dot LCD which is capable of being tilted down or up and makes it extra easy to capture glorious landscape-oriented photos from below or above head height.
This LCD feature is also capable of being flipped down 180 degrees, so while you may use this camera for nature photography if you enjoy vlogging or taking selfies, it is also usable for this as well.
Even though this camera is listed as being entry-level in classification, it comes with very advanced features, such as the Olympus Live Composite mode, and the Live Time modes.
These modes make it so much easier for photographers to capture light painting shots and long-exposure photos.
- Compact camera.
- The tilting screen can make it multipurpose, or be useful for nature photography bloggers and vloggers.
- Live Bulb and Live Composite modes make it easy to do long-exposure photography.
- There is no weatherproofing for this camera, so it is not suitable for all climates and weather conditions.
- Sub-APS-C format sensor.
This is probably the most affordable camera on our list, it is below $500 in almost every location, so works well as the ideal budget camera for beginners who want to spend less.
The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is an easy-use camera that is lightweight and easy to carry around. Fitted with a fast, and very responsive autofocus it can shoot awesome 4K in a burst mode and has a 60x optical zoom fitted.
Like many of the other cameras we have looked at it also performs well in low light conditions, although perhaps not as well as some of the pricier options, it can take good images in low light settings.
The camera also has countless preset settings as well, allowing you to shoot in a wide variety of scenarios.
This is a super helpful feature for beginners in photography, as it can teach you about camera modes while you are taking photos.
This camera also has an attractive all-in-one styled design which allows you to focus on learning photography instead of worrying about having to change the lens, or anything else.
- Very beginner friendly.
- Many preset options to help beginners in photography learn.
- Great low-light performance for the price.
- Not as many features as many other cameras.
- Great for beginners, but as you advance you may outgrow it.
- A bit simple for some photographers.
- No face or eye autofocus specifications.
This camera, the Nikon D5600 provides photographers with awesome image quality, intuitive controls, and epic low-light performance, all of this adds up to give you plenty of room to enhance and grow your photography skills.
While this is more expensive than our previous mention, it also works as a great beginner to intermediate photographer beginner camera. It is also ideal for nature photographers as well.
It is probably the only entry to a mid-level Nikon camera that has a variable-angle screen, making it so much easier to capture those trickier shots.
While we admit, it has been around for quite some time in comparison to some of these other cameras, it is a DSLR that continues to outperform so many of the newer market cameras.
So, if you find Sony and Canon a bit out of your budget, but still want something that works awesomely for nature photography, then it is worthwhile considering this camera for nature photography.
It is available brand new, but for those on a tighter budget, there are also plenty online that have been refurbished as well!
For those who enjoy easy technology use, you can also pair the camera with an app so that your photos automatically transfer to your smartphone, or tablet, allowing you to share your images very quickly.
It has a lot of battery life, lasting nearly 1,000 shots, so it will last you a full day of photography.
If you invest in the NIKKOR lenses as well, you can get unique effects in your photographs such as rich-toned contrast and background blur, all just by switching out the lens!
It also has a powerful flash as well, while this is not always ideal for nature photography, it can work in your favor for some more close-up shots at night!
- Great image quality, intuitive controls, and low-light performance.
- Works well for beginners to intermediate photographers.
- Ideal for nature photography.
- Has a variable angle screen for difficult-to-get shots.
- It is available new or refurbished, so has multiple buying options.
- Awesome battery life, lasting over 970 shots.
- Does not have face or eye focus.
- DSLR, which does not always work for all photographers.
- Few unique features.
- Need to get an additional lens for near-silent autofocus.
This camera may seem a bit outdated to some, however, a successor to this camera has not yet surfaced. Amazingly, it is still seen as one of the best cameras for beginners to use for nature photography in existence.
A majority of its enhancements over its predecessor are a result of algorithms and firmware being improved.
One of these would be that it now has a better focus and improvements in low-light sensitivity, taking it up to -7.0EV when it is paired with an XF50 mm F1/0 lens!
It also has awesome face and eye detection, a feature which has been refined and is now much more dependable, however, it is only actually useful when taking photos of people.
This means that this aspect of the camera is somewhat useless when it comes to wildlife photography.
This camera also comes with 2 extra additional Film Simulation modes, which are classic Neg and Enterna Bleach Bypass. As well as this, there are controls that you can use to adjust the Tone curve, Clarity, and Monochromatic Color.
Meanwhile, you can set the Auto White Balance to White Priority, or Ambience Priority. However, if you were to use the Color Chrome FX Blue option, this will enhance any blue subjects in your photographs.
It also has a feature that is lacking in the X-T30, which is the fact that it is capable of recording 4K video for up to 30 minutes!
- Construction is very robust and durable.
- The controls are traditional and easy to use.
- The sensor is of very good quality.
- It is a bit too easy to accidentally press the Q button.
- It only functions as a minor upgrade to the X-T30.
- There is no in-body stabilization.
Before you pick any of the cameras we have looked at today, it is very important to consider the features and what is most important in a camera for high-quality photography.
The right camera should have certain qualities and features that will make it ideal for nature photography and beginners (see also "Ocean Photography For Beginners").
So, as you consider which of these cameras is best for you, consider the following features, if these features matter to you, and if your chosen camera has them.
The Camera Body
There is such a massive market for cameras, and there are so many camera body types out there. Canon and Nikon both release cameras that are much like one another. It is also worth noting that the more you spend, the more you get with your camera.
However, if you are a beginner, splashing out for all the fanciest features and bodywork is not a good idea. Most pro-DLSRs and Mirrorless cameras will have so many custom settings and dials which can be confusing.
You want a camera you can master easily enough. Besides, a majority of cameras do have a lifespan, they will only live as long as the shutter can before it wears out. This means it is much better to just get a cheaper camera body for you to begin with.
The Panasonic is probably the best choice for a cheap camera to begin with.
When buying a camera, it is worthwhile considering lenses. Some cameras will come with a multipurpose lens, and you can use it in multiple settings. However, not all cameras have this feature.
In some cases, you may have to get a camera and then separate lenses to capture the shots that you want. If you have a tighter budget then it is best to look for a camera that comes with a multipurpose lens.
Out of all the cameras we have looked at today, Panasonic also is the one camera that has this feature. So, beginners who are looking for an easy lens to use should choose this camera.
Different cameras will also have different types of sensors. There is APS-C which increases the reach of your lens, and you won’t need to sacrifice any features for a cheaper price.
Full-frame is the most common and is the gold standard for functionality in low light conditions, with gold standard resolution, however, they are pricier, heavier, and more bulky.
MFT is another type, but not as common, the sensor is even smaller. Most Olympus OM system cameras will have this. Finally, there is the super zoom which is the least ideal but still works to a decent standard.
Always consider the sensor. As a nature photographer, there is a chance you will need to shoot in low light, and you will need high-quality resolution for your images. This does mean, however, that a Full Frame sensor is best.
This is something worth considering. While it may not be 100% your priority if you are buying just to experiment before you get something more in-depth, it should be considered because the sensor will affect what you can do.
How much you are willing to spend is also a consideration. Many of the cameras we have looked at today are priced around $1,000. However, there are a few which are cheaper.
How much your budget will depend on how serious you are about pursuing nature photography. If you are considering it as a potential career, or even a paying hobby you may wish to fork out a little extra cash.
But, if you are only seeking to do this as a hobby, then a $1,000 camera might not be reasonable for you, and something like the Panasonic or Olympus may be more realistic.
Image Quality (Low-Light, Face & Eye AF, Etc)
Finally, consider the features that impact the image quality. Things such as autofocus, autofocus on faces and eyes, and low light capabilities all play into this. A camera that has all 3 features broadens horizons and allows for high-quality images.
Image quality can be good without these features, but not in all conditions. So, having these features just means that your image quality will be consistent in all of, or at least most of, your shots.
In this regard, a Sony or a Canon may be best for you, but if you have a tight budget then you can get a remodeled or used Canon, or even an Olympus for a decent enough price.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Type Of Camera Is Best For Nature Photography?
The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is probably one of the best cameras for nature photography. It has all you need to get started with nature photography and to get used to using cameras as a beginner.
It is a 2-in-1 that will help your journey as a photographer and in nature photography.
Who Do I Need To Start Nature Photography?
The main thing you need to do is have the right camera and equipment. However, you also need to plan, natural settings are rife with unpredictability and conditions that can surprise us. Ensure that you are prepared with good footwear and clothing.
Don’t forget to be patient.
Are DSLR Cameras Good For Nature Photography?
Both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras work well for nature photography. It depends on how you want the camera to act and what your usual shooting style is. However, if you are going to be taking the camera on long journeys, mirrorless is best for less weight.
Since mirrorless cameras weigh less, they are the best for hiking or traveling with.