We often get asked our recommendations for the best cameras for wildlife photography.
If you’re looking for a good camera to add to your travel photography gear to photograph wildlife, it’s important to know and understand the features you’ll need in order to make the best comparisons.
Wildlife photography requires patience and split-second reactions. Yes you’ll find good wildlife photography cameras in all price ranges to suit any budget, but keep in mind there are features you need specifically for taking pictures of wildlife.
Below are the top 10 cameras we recommend for wildlife photography.
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Features of a Good Wildlife Photography Camera
A good burst mode. This is important no matter what kind of wildlife you’re photographing. Animals don’t stay still very long so you’ll need to be able to capture movement in fractions of a second. Look for a camera that can capture a lot of frames within that second so you can capture THE shot.
Decent buffer depth. This refers to how many continuous shots a camera is capable of capturing without stopping. A bigger buffer means more shots, which gives you a longer burst, that gives you a greater chance of capturing that perfect moment. Be aware that cameras will generally be able to capture a larger buffer of JPEGs than RAW files, so if you don’t mind losing a little editing flexibility, this can be a good option. Note that the write speed of the memory card is also a factor, so it’s a good idea to use the fastest card you can.
Fast and efficient autofocus. In order to capture spot-on focus of an animal that’s moving fast and unpredictably requires a sophisticated autofocus system with good coverage of points across the frame.
Lens or lens range. In order to fill the frame with the animal or bird, you’ll need to use telephoto lens range. A compact camera needs a decent zoom lens already attached, or find a bridge camera. For cameras with interchangeable-lens capability like DSLR or mirrorless, check out telephoto lenses available for the mount on the camera that are within your budget.
The Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera can capture RAW format images at the full resolution of the camera at up to 20 fps with a buffer of 1,000 frames in a burst. It features the most advanced autofocus system, incorporating new subject detection algorithms and 3-D tracking that enable it to automatically recognize nine subject types, including animals and birds, without requiring the user to switch AF modes.
The Sony A9 II is a 24.2-megapixel full-frame gadget which makes it a great camera for wildlife photography. It can capture 20 frames per second and it has 5-axis image stabilization. It also has an advanced subject recognition for real-time tracking and eye autofocus for animals. This feature is something that makes it one of the best wildlife photography cameras.
The Canon EOS R6 is a wonderful mirrorless camera for wildlife photography. It offers high-quality images with its 20MP full-frame CMOS sensor. The 100% horizontal and 100% vertical AF system with face detection and auto selection modes adds to the image quality and sharpness.
The Nikon Z 6II tops our list as the best mirrorless camera for wildlife photography. It uses a full-frame sensor and is a good option for most wildlife shooters. Its weather-sealed body feels well-constructed and incredibly comfortable to shoot with, thanks to its large handgrip, high-res electronic viewfinder, and customization options.
Canon EOS 1DX Mark III is a great camera for wildlife photography if you are looking for a DSLR with a full-frame sensor. The wide ISO range, which is 100-819,200, lets you photograph in bad lighting conditions. It's perfect for wildlife photographers who like making videos as well. It can capture full-frame videos at up to 4K resolution.
The Nikon D500 is one of the best cropped-sensor cameras on the market today. It was first introduced in 2016 but it’s still an exceptional choice. We LOVE using this camera for photographing wildlife. ISO performance is best among all APS-C cameras, reaching 1.638.400. That’s just one stop below the D5’s industry-leading sensitivity.
One of the top cameras for wildlife photography is the Nikon D6. But it's a heavy camera so probably you may not want to move with it too much. With a 20.6-megapixel full-frame sensor and a range of ISO 100-102,400, it’s a powerful camera. It captures high-quality images even in low-light.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is a crop sensor camera. It doesn't perform as well in low light as the Nikon Z 6II because of its APS-C sensor, but it's significantly smaller and more portable, and APS-C lenses are generally cheaper. It offers good all-around performance and it's great for everyday nature photography.
The Panasonic G9 is an affordable Micro Four Thirds camera. It's a versatile camera for wildlife photography. For action photos, it has a 5-axis in-body image stabilization. If you use it with a lens that has optical stabilization, you can get 6.5 stops of correction.
This is a dual-grip 20MP Micro Four Thirds mirrorless option from Olympus. If you are looking for a durable, weather-sealed and sturdy option, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X could be the best camera for wildlife photography for you. A cool extra features is the Live ND option, which provides the effects of an ND filter without having to use one.
20.4MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds Sensor
Dual TruePic VIII Image Processors
Integrated Vertical Grip, Dual Batteries
2.36m-Dot 0.83x Electronic Viewfinder
3.0" 1.037m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
DCI 4K/24p & UHD 4K/30p Video Recording
5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
15 fps Shooting and Expanded ISO 25600
121-Point All Cross-Type Phase-Detect AF
If you also enjoy landscape photography in addition to wildlife photography, check out the gear we use and recommend.