Best camera for wildlife photography

Professional wildlife photographers know how hard it is to get close to animals in the wild and photograph them. It’s bad enough taking a nice photo of a pet, imagine how hard it could be to shoot a cautious and fast wild animal. The secret to taking high-quality and stunning wildlife photographs is the camera itself.

So, which is the best camera for wildlife photography?

Technically, a photographer can use just about any camera in the wild. However, the scope of focus, ease of use and low light performance features of the camera will determine how well the photograph turns out to be. In this case, it’s always best to use DSLR cameras for the best outcomes.

DSLR, which means digital single-lens reflex, cameras have been the top choice for professional and amateur photographers for decades. They are easy to use, offer the best image quality and are not too bulky to carry.

If you’ve just stepped into the photography, then you should check out our recommendation of best cameras for beginners.

Best wildlife photography camera comparison:

NameNikon D750

Nikon D750 Wildlife Camera
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on Amazon
Nikon D810

Nikon 810
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on Amazon
Canon 7D Mark II

Canon 7D Mark II for Wildlife Photography
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on Amazon
Sony a77 II

Sony a77II for Wildlife photographs
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on Amazon
Canon 1D

Camera for Wildlife Photography Canon EOS 1D
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on Amazon
Rating4.9 Stars4.9 / 54.7 Stars4.7 / 54.7 Stars4.7 / 54.8 Stars4.8 / 54.5 Stars4.5 / 5
Sensor SizeFull-frameFull-frameAPS-C
(22.4 x 15 mm)
APS-C
(23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Full-frame
Megapixels24.3 MP36.3 MP20.2 MP24.3 MP 18.1 MP
Display Size3.2 inches3.2 inches3 inches3 inches3.2 inches
ISO Upto12,80012,80016,00051,20051,200
Burst Mode6.5 fps5 fps10 fps12 fps12 fps
Video1080p1080p1080p1080p1080p

For wildlife photographers, they offer powerful zoom and focus lens that are crucial to capturing images of animals located far away. Also, they have interchangeable lenses and manual controls highly useful out in the field.

As great as DSLR cameras are for wildlife photography, not all are made equal. Some will do well to capture wild animals, while others are mostly only good for capturing the landscape.

If you are buying a DSLR camera especially for wildlife photography, you should particularly watch out for these features:

  • Quick autofocus mode
  • Large buffer
  • Super fast burst speed
  • High ISO
  • Telephoto lens compatibility
  • Weather-proofing capability

So, here is a list of the best DSLR cameras perfect for serious wildlife photography with all or most of these features:

1. Nikon D750 DSLR Camera

Nikon D750 Wildlife Camera

Our number one choice is Nikon’s D750 — for its price and performance. This is the perfect camera for still photographers and videographers alike.This full-frame camera has the important features from D810, and this is the best camera you’ll own without having to spend too much on D810. It has a fast EXPEED 4 image processor that can create high-resolution images that are highly detailed.

Wildlife videographers can record full HD 1080p/60 fps uncompressed videos and store the data externally. Additionally, this camera has an advanced multi-CAM 3500FX II AF sensor that can autofocus based in 51 distinct points, which comes in very handy when trying to capture animals in motion, like birds; and even insects. The Nikon D750 sensor can capture unmoving images at a greater accuracy rate than most.

Where to buy: Buy Nikon D750 on Amazon.com

2. Nikon D810 FX

Nikon 810

The best camera available in the market right now for underwater photography is Nikon’s D810 FX. It comes with Nikon’s acclaimed EXPEED 4 image processor combined with 36.3 megapixels that require no optical low-pass filter.

With ISO ranging from 64 to 12800, this camera can flawlessly capture highly-detailed and colorful photographs in very bright or low light conditions underwater. This camera pairs exceptionally well with fisheye lens to effortlessly capture sharp, close-focus and wide-angle photographs. All in all, this is an excellent heavy-duty camera to capture high resolution and highly accurate images of wildlife underwater.

Where to buy: Buy it now on Amazon.com

3. Canon 7D Mark II

Canon 7D Mark II for Wildlife Photography

This is one of the most popular DSLR cameras among professional photographers right now. Canon 7D Mark II is affordable than previous versions, and is very easy to handle. What makes this DSLR particularly great for wildlife photography is its powerful autofocus ability that lets photographers capture even super-fast animals like cheetahs.

The Canon 7D Mark II has a whopping 65-point autofocus capability powered by dual Digic6+ processors. It can capture an amazing 10 frames per second, and lets photographers capture over 100 JPEG shots before needing to buffer.

In the minimal RAW mode, you can capture as many as 31 frames per second. Additionally, you can attach auxiliary telephoto lens to alter scope of focus as needed. It comes with a 32GB memory card and a professional tripod.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon.com

4. Sony Alpha a77 II DSLR Camera

Sony a77II for Wildlife photographs

This is a highly versatile camera that can produce high resolution photographs even in extremely low light conditions. Sony Alpha a77 II has BIONZ X image processor that can shoot up to 12 frames per second (or 26 in RAW mode).

The ISO 25600 capability is perfect for capturing animals in the evenings or night. The processing and sensor ability of the camera is enhanced by Translucent Mirror Technology, which can direct light to the image and focus sensors simultaneously to improve accuracy. The continuous focusing ability of this camera can work in just about any environment (except underwater) for sharply-rendered photographs.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon.com

5. Canon EOS-1D X

Camera for Wildlife Photography Canon EOS 1D

This is the ideal DSLR camera to capture animals in low-light, or even nocturnal, conditions. Canon EOS-1D X has lightning fast autofocus that can capture up to 14 frames per second and generates excellent quality and highly accurate 5184 x 3456 images.

Though the ISO range is relatively normal at 100 to 51200, the camera offers expanded 50 to 102400 or 204800 sensitivity options to capture images in a varying number of light conditions. Additionally, with Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors, this camera works really fast.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon.com

The above cameras are mainly intended for professional photographers. However, beginner photographers can easily learn to use them, too.

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