Best Camera for Wildlife Photography

Best Camera for Wildlife Photography

In today’s market of wide choice and range, finding the best camera for wildlife photography is quite a task! The list is endless, and it is, therefore, possible to lose your focus among differing opinions and reviews. We offer a focused analysis of some of the most sought-after, excellent cameras that are ideal in the wild.

Finally, when you are ready to buy the best wildlife camera, it all boils down to what you are looking for, or to be more precise- the features. However, a disclaimer that always follows suit is, the best cameras for wildlife photography don’t come very cheap. So, if you are thinking to find a wildlife camera under 300 dollars, you will most probably be disappointed.

What do you look for when selecting the perfect camera for wildlife? 

  • High ISO performance – This is an important feature to shoot when the light is low – critical for photographers trying to get a shot at dawn or dusk.
  • Fast autofocus – If the background is not moving, a multi-point AF system will produce excellent results. But if you are looking to capture a fast-moving object against a busy background, a single-point AF will do the trick.
  • Image sensor – The image sensor plays a significant role as far as the reach of a camera is concerned. Since it is tough to get close to the wild animals, you have to depend on your camera, to ‘bring’ the creature to you. A smaller image sensor presents great reach. However, a smaller sensor only crops the image more tightly, and not increase the magnification of the picture.
  • Frames per second (fps) – The best camera for bird photography will always have an excellent fps system. The frame rate must be high to capture details like the flight, the formation or the exact wing position.
  • Buffer capacity – The bigger the buffer size, the better. Especially when it comes to shooting a series of picture. The higher-end DSLRs have larger buffer size.
  • Battery life – Battery life becomes critical when you are out there in the wild without a place to plug in your charger. It would be, therefore, a smart decision to stick to a model that offers a greater battery life.

While these are some of the key features that are considered by a wildlife photographer, there are many more factors that each photographer views on an individual basis. Their decisions generally lay the foundations for the best wildlife camera.

The Top Five Models

Canon EOS Rebel T5 Bundle (Two Lens: 18-55mm/75-300mm)

This Rebel model is a fresh and upgraded entry into the Canon EOS line. With a high-resolution 18MP sensor and a decent high ISO performance, it produces excellent images with good color accuracy. While it may not be the first choice, it is definitely on this list for the features it offers at the ridiculously low price for a DSLR.

Canon EOS Rebel T5 Bundle (Two Lens 18-55mm75-300mm)Features

  • Resolution: 18MP
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • Zoom: Up to 4x
  • Image Sensor: CMOS
  • Lens: Twp lenses EF-S (18-55mm) and IS Autofocus EF (75-300mm)
  • Aperture: EF-S Lens – f/3.5-5.6, EF Lens: f/4.0-5.6
  • Native ISO: 100-6400
  • Expandable ISO: 100- 12800
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000 – 30 seconds

Pros

  • The Rebel line of Canon is great for beginners as well as professionals.
  • This one, in particular, is great for macro shots and gives you full manual control over shutter speed and aperture.
  • The teeny tiny details come out in beautiful, crisp images.
  • It is lightweight and compact as well.

Cons

  • The burst mode is slow, and its high ISO performance along with dynamic range is not as good as many of its competition.
  • Its low-light AF can struggle quite a bit without AF-assisted flash.
  • Additionally, it does not have an external mic jack, mono sound or continuous AF in movie mode.

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Nikon D3300 Digital SLR Bundle with Two Lens (18-55mm/55-300mm)

The overall impression of this Nikon baby comes across as dependable. It’s an excellent beginner’s camera with a solid build and image quality. Its high ISO performance and great dynamic range make it a value-for-money buy.

Nikon D3300 Digital SLR Bundle with Two Lens (18-55mm55-300mm)Features

  • Resolution: 24.2MP
  • Image Sensor: CMOS
  • Sensor size: APS-C (23.5mm x 15.4mm)
  • Lens: Two Autofocus Lens (18-55mm and 55-300mm)
  • Native ISO: 100-12800
  • Extended ISO: 100- 25600
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000 of a second to 30 seconds
  • Maximum aperture: f/3.5-5.6 and f/4.5-5.6
  • Wi-Fi Enabled

Pros

  • The Nikon fans swear by this model. It boasts of some of the best low light and picture quality systems among mid-level DLSRs.
  • The shooting rate is relatively speedy, and the zoom-in gives you as sharp a picture as you took at the original size.
  • Wi-Fi enabled, that lets you share photos on the go.
  • The weight of the camera is just perfect for wildlife photography. Neither is it too bulky nor too light to become unsteady.

Cons

  • Its built-in flash is said to overheat with continuous use and eventually shut down. The video AF is not up to the standards of its competing models.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III 

This one is a huge advancement over its predecessor, the 5D Mark II. It boasts of great still and video capabilities and is popular among professionals. More so, because its weather-proof body is great for shooting outdoors. If you are fine with the idea of coughing up some money, this cannot be ignored.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIFeatures

  • Resolution: 22.3 Megapixels
  • Image Sensor: CMOS
  • Sensor size: 35mm (36.0mm x 24.0mm)
  • Native ISO: 100-25600
  • Extended ISO: 50- 102400
  • Shutter speed: 1/8000 – 30 seconds
  • Shooting Speed: 6FPS
  • Maximum aperture: 1.4

Pros

  • This model has aced its autofocus feature. In fact, this Canon camera is fitted with the best autofocus system. The speed, accuracy, and consistency are exceptionally good and has thus ‘captured’ many hearts.
  • Its low light photography is one of the best, and high-definition video capabilities can help capture some amazing visuals.

Cons

  • The dynamic range is somewhat limited, and there is no AF illuminator. The body of this model is a little overpriced compared to its competition.
  • Moreover in that price, it’s a bummer that it does not come with any articulating screen

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Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR (24-120mm)

This Nikon model packs quite a punch with an excellent autofocus system and burst mode, which generates brilliant, highly-detailed images. The fast EXPEED 4 processor, high ISO performance, tremendous dynamic range and the full-frame sensor make it quite an all-rounder among its competition.

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR (24-120mm)Features

  • Resolution: 24.3MP
  • Image Sensor: CMOS
  • Sensor size: 35mm (35.9mm x 24.0mm)
  • Lens: 24-120 mm
  • Zoom: Up to 5x
  • Max Aperture: f/4
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000 – 30 seconds
  • Native ISO: 100-12800
  • Expandable ISO: 50- 51200
  • In-built WI-FI

Pros

  • The D750 is extremely fast and smooth.
  • Thanks to its high FPS, you get more frames to choose from.
  •  It is an excellent full-frame DSLR, with an advanced AF system.
  • The low-light feature is smooth, as it hunts less and locks in much faster than many of its competition.
  •  One of the major improvements is the grip – the battery compartment has been rearranged to give you more surface area to hold the camera.

Cons

  • The camera does not offer too many manual control features and needs an improvement on its Wi-Fi remote functionality.

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Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Bundle with Two lenses (24-105mm/70-300mm)

This ultra-responsive DSLR is lighter and compact that provides a full-frame body at an affordable price. With a basic autofocus system, the well-designed model, however, produces crisp images. An integrated Wi-Fi and GPS system act as added bonus.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Bundle with Two lenses (24-105mm70-300mm)Features

  • Resolution: 20.2MP
  • Image Sensor: CMOS
  • Sensor size: 35mm (35.8mm x 23.9mm)
  • Lens: Two lenses (Kit lens: EF 24-105mm and Telephoto lens 70-300mm
  • Native ISO: 100-25600
  • Viewfinder: LCD/Optical
  • Extended ISO: 50- 102400
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000 of a second – 30 seconds
  • Processor: DIGIC 5+
  • Maximum aperture: f/4.5-5.6
  • Shooting Speed: 4.5FPS

Pros

  • It is light and compact, making it well-suited to travel.
  • It is an excellent model for a full-frame camera, with a great center focus point.
  • It also boasts of exceptional low light and high ISO performances.
  • And the best part – it comes at a reasonable price.

Cons

  • It does not have a built-in flash, and its card slot is a single SD/SDHC/SDXC vs. a dual one.

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It now goes without saying that the leaders of the best cameras for wildlife photography have always been Nikon and Canon. Sony is fast catching up and needs to be kept an eye on, but not quite in the same league as these two leading brands.

Verdict 

Now that all the cards are laid out on the table, it becomes easier to choose the best camera for wildlife photography.

If you carefully inspect all the cameras, Canon EOS 5D Mark III definitely has an edge over Rebel T5 in terms of low light performance, color depth, dynamic range, shutter lag, viewfinder size as well as screen size and resolution. But Canon EOS 6D and Mark III are more or less neck and neck, with 6D gaining an inch with its better dynamic range. In the case of Nikon, the D750 is a superior model, with a better low light performance, color depth, and dynamic range as well as screen specifications. However, when the Canon models are pitched against the Nikons, Nikon 750 beats them hollow, regarding all the criteria mentioned above.

Our vote thus goes to Nikon 750. Great news for all the Nikon loyalists!

While it is not exactly cheap, the Nikon 750 is not excruciatingly expensive either, and the features are absolutely worth the price. It has impressed both wildlife pro and an enthusiast with its remarkable still and video capabilities. Nikon has produced a superior model with improved features, at a great price. It has more ‘ups’ than ‘downs’ and is, overall, an excellent purchase for any wildlife photographer. Armed with this Nikon beast, the jungle is yours to ‘capture’!

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