How to Choose The Best Camera for Wildlife Photography


Picking the correct camera is the most important decision you’ll ever make as a photographer… Nah, we’re just kidding; even comfortable shoes are more important than making that decision. However, it is true that picking the correct camera could be challenging. Having an honest guide for surpassing that task is always a great thing to have, especially when investing money in such a serious way.

Photography is way more than the latest and greatest in gear, it is about creating meaningful photographs that have the power to move us and eventually compel some others. Nevertheless, wildlife photography is one of those genres that do require specialized equipment. And as you might have guessed already, wildlife is where those huge telephoto lenses come into play.

If you are a newcomer you’ll just dream about acquiring those someday, since they are extremely expensive. But when it comes to cameras, you might end up picking the wrong one since the price isn’t going to stop you from buying one.

So, let’s talk about how to pick the perfect camera for wildlife photography.

1. Built Quality

Wild-life photography requires getting messy, really messy; therefore, a poorly built camera will suffer a lot. Thankfully, camera companies have been constantly innovating, enabling them to build better-sealed cameras at friendlier prices. Perhaps the wisest way to go here is a chunky DSLR unless you’ll be certain that you won’t need to change your lens, then you could consider a mirrorless camera system. And actually this is very likely since a long telephoto lens would be enough under these circumstances.

2. Sensor and Image Processor

As technology evolves (and will continue its momentum of course), sensors and imaging processors have become surprisingly powerful, especially when handling high ISO values. Wild-life photography will require lots of patience, and sometimes sunlight will start to fade away in your pursuit of the sublime photograph in the wild. Therefore, having electronic components that will help you to handle low light situations is a must. This isn’t hard to decode, you’ll just have to:

  • Watch some reviews
  • Download some public raw files
  • Consider recent camera bodies

3. Burst Rate

This one is quite obvious since we all know that animals move fast, extremely fast. Burst rate is better known as frames per second and is usually abbreviated as FPS. Look at the number corresponding to that, and the higher the number, the more chances you’ll have of capturing the whole moment as it unravels in front of your eyes. You’ll decide later on the keeper, the important thing is to capture nature and wildlife in all its glory.

4. Battery Life

Wildlife photography is not the regular photography task, and battery consumption will be an issue when spending so many hours still on the wild. It is no surprise that some professional wildlife photographers still prefer using analogue (highly mechanical) film cameras since they basically don’t need batteries to work (just those tiny ones for the exposure meter and that’s it).

Little Gift: Watch this excerpt from Ben Stiller’s “The Life of Walter Mitty” in which that “stereotype” is pretty obvious in fact.

5. Weight

Wild-life simply doesn’t want you to capture it, therefore you’ll have to move deep into the outdoors, and a lightweight camera could be decisive between having a great time or just a rough one. Oh, and remember that those huge telephoto lenses are anything but light. Investing in a sturdy carbon fibre tripod will also be a wise move when pursuing wild-life imagery.

There are various cameras on the market that perform incredibly when it comes to wildlife photography, hence the difficult task of picking up just the right one for getting the job done. Here we’ve tried to share with you our own knowledge (after futilely spending unnecessary bucks on bad gear) so you can make the best possible decision based upon your needs and your budget. Wild-life photography could feel unreachable if you aren’t at the pro level yet, but in some countries you can rent one of those huge lenses, making the experience less frustrating. If you would like us to make something about the benefits of renting gear, please let us know in the comments section below.


African Wildlife Photos

The Editor of African Wildlife Photos (Photography Blog)

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