Wildlife photography can be challenging as you face the outdoors in some tough weather conditions while trying to get close, but not too close to your subjects. This could be a herd of animals, a solitary bear in the woods, or simply a few birds in the trees.
These animals can move quickly so your camera has to match their speed as well as deal with low light and the rough demands of outdoor conditions.
There are several factors to consider when buying a camera for wildlife photography and this guide should help you decide which one to get. Below, we have collated ten of the best cameras for wildlife photography.
Each has been chosen for its ability to capture the best that wildlife has to offer so you can snap away with confidence.
10 Best Cameras For Wildlife Photography
OUR TOP PICK
Canon needed to bring out a camera that bridged the gap between themselves and Nikon, the R5 certainly brings them closer. With a 45MP sensor and 20fps, it can certainly keep up with a lot of wildlife.
You can also help yourself to a range of lenses, both in the traditional EF-mount or an RF-mount. Then there are eight-stops for image stabilization that are built-in with several compatible lenses.
For animals that are on the move, you need a camera that has an impressive sensor and quick performance. That’s where the Canon EOS 90D comes in as a 32.5MP APS-C sensor proves almighty in capturing those crucial details.
Then there is the option of an uncropped 4K video that is great for versatility. The touchscreen interface also proves exceptionally intuitive.
When it comes to capturing wildlife, you need a camera that can go toe to toe with their speed. What sets the Sony A9 II camera apart is a completely silent shutter so only you have to remain discreet while snapping away.
The sensor can be more vulnerable yet the burst shooting is top of the range with hundreds of shots at a promising 20fps while benefiting from a superb autofocus system.
The Animal Eye AF system from Sony also locks onto an animal’s eyes so you can have a failsafe for those portrait shots.
The Sony A1 camera goes a little bit further than the A9 II with almost double its resolution and even quicker burst shooting at 30fps. If you have particularly tricky wildlife in mind then the Real-Time Eye autofocus is ideal for birds.
There is even Real-time tracking which is AI-based to consider the color, subject distance, and pattern for those fast-moving scenarios. If there is a camera that is ideal for a safari then it may well be this one.
Professional photographers should be willing to pay that bit more and get bang for their buck. The Nikon Z9 is a hybrid for stills and video that should prove to be a fantastic investment.
With so many possible subjects in the field, you should benefit from a deep learning autofocus, 120fps burst shooting, and a shutter speed that goes up to 1/32000.
While 4K video is impressive, how about 8K 60p videos or two hours worth of 8K 30p, that should suffice shouldn’t it?
Next up from Nikon is the D850 which may prove to be the most accomplished DSLR on the market. Consider the 45.7MP sensor with plenty of room for cropping and a 153-point autofocus system.
Then there is the ever-exceptional handling that should set you apart with your shots. Finally, an excellent and rapid lens that will respond just when you need it.
Should there be a contest for the best Nikon camera for wildlife photography then the D7500 would triumph.
That includes the 20.9MP DX format sensor (APS-C) with some ideal noise control and a sensitivity range from between an ISO of 100 all the way to 51,200. That means only a little less detail than the 24 and 26MP competitors.
With a 51-point autofocus system, you can rely on its speed and accuracy, even when the wildlife is moving fast.
One of the great things about a Fujifilm camera is the range of lenses you can choose from. All of them match with the APS-C format sensor, whether that is a 100-400mm, 70-300mm, or 150-600mm zoom.
Just that factor alone makes it a highly sought after camera yet the 425-point Intelligent Hybrid autofocus system can take care of many rapid-moving subjects.
You can even customize the hit rate or shoot your photos up to 15fps with a mechanical shutter.
If you are not sure how close you need to get to your wildlife subject then this is the camera for you. You can take your shots from a fair distance with a 20x zoom and still rely on great image quality.
This is an ideal camera for those learning wildlife photography (see also "Best Tripods For Wildlife Photography")as you can still get to grips with the settings as you go. Though try not to take it out for too long as the battery life could be improved.
Another camera that proves to build on an impressive predecessor is the Olympus OM-1. This is a camera that is aimed at the wildlife photography market with a stunning AI Detection autofocus system to focus on birds and animals.
With the ability of shooting at stupefyingly quick speeds, you should try the Pro Capture mode for buffering frames prior to the shutter button being completely depressed.
Capture those moments that you thought would be pretty much impossible.
Best Cameras For Wildlife Photography Buying Guide
When you are looking for a camera to suit your wildlife photography, there are certain features you should prioritize over others. Forget about manual focusing and look at an autofocus that proves to be both fast and accurate.
If golden hour is your ideal light scenario then a camera that can deal with low light and still provide impressive detail is what you want.
Finally, the continuous shooting speed needs to be quick if you want to capture those fast-moving subjects and you should find a camera with weather sealing as standard.
- Autofocus System
- Continuous/Burst Shooting
- Cropped/Full Frame Sensor
- Battery Life
- Weather Sealing
- Zoom Range
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Camera Mode Is The Best For Wildlife Photography?
A lot of wildlife photographers use aperture priority mode to allow the camera to choose the most ideal shutter speed. While animals are on the move, this is ideal to get a proper exposure while still maintaining lots of manual control.
How Important Is A Manual Focus Or An Autofocus For A Camera That Is Dealing With Wildlife Photography?
For any photographer that is dealing with moving subjects, such as a wildlife photographer, the autofocus will be preferable to a manual focus. This is especially important with a quick autofocus as you will need to capture the action as it happens.
You may only have split-seconds to work with so your autofocus shows its worth in those brief moments.