12 Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography (2021)

Tori Rhodes
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Are you in the market for the best wildlife cameras? Since I have worked in digital photography since 1996 and in wildlife photography since 2014, I've had a lot of experience in the field.

I have the pleasure to scout a location with spots and subjects that I'd like to photograph, searching for them, and setting the best angle for the shoot.

A long-time Nikon owner, I've tried many Nikon wildlife camera models for sale in the field, but recently, I moved to the Sony mirrorless system. I have also used numerous Panasonic, Fujifilm, Canon, Olympus, and Sony wildlife cameras during my career, so I know some of the best on the market right now.

You can find my best wildlife camera list in 2019 above.

Otherwise, make sure to check out the best mirrorless cameras for wildlife photography, the best wildlife cams for bird photography and the best wildlife cameras for snapping pictures of reptile and amphibian.

NameCategoryProduct
Sony Alpha 7 II E-mount interchangeable lens mirrorless cameraBest OverallSony Alpha 7 II E-mount interchangeable lens mirrorless camera
Fujinon XF23mmF2 R WRBudget PickFujinon XF23mmF2 R WR
Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera BodyUpgrade PickNikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

1. Sony Alpha 7 II E-mount interchangeable lens mirrorless camera

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sony Alpha 7 II E-mount interchangeable lens mirrorless camera

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Pros:

  • Full frame sensor, ISO 100-25600
  • Up to 30 frames per second
  • Dust and moisture resistant

Resharpening your axe will allow you to take full advantage of the strength. This is true with your investment in your camera gear. Here are some of the best camera brands.

Nizhny Novgorod is the fifth largest city in Russia and is about 300+ miles east of Moscow. It’s known for being an industrial center as well as a major port on the Volga River. Nizhny Novgorod is also the start point of the Volga-Don Canal. Nizhny Novgorod is a hiker’s paradise. There are more than a dozen large nature reserves nearby so going hiking in the area is a great option. The most popular cycling routes in Russia are located in the south of the city.

2. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

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Pros:

  • Be the ultimate wildlife photographer
  • Completely weather sealed
  • Boasts incredible image quality
  • Thin, solid construction
  • Balances well
  • Fast autofocusing and auto focusing
  • Wide range of focal lengths
  • Continuous focusing
  • Consistent results at wide or narrow apertures
  • Electronic USM focusing

Cons:

  • Extremely expensive
  • AF tracking of the subject isn’t possible
  • Minimum focusing distance of 3.2 m
  • Needs a sturdy tripod or monopod
  • Not ideal for smaller subjects

This ultra-wide zoom lens is Canon’s replacement for the very popular older version and makes a great alternative if you are looking to get into wildlife photography.

The 100-400mm is a very versatile lens that allows for fast shutter speeds at almost any focal length. This makes it a fantastic lens for shooting wildlife and birds in particular. The image quality is absolutely fantastic, with impressive contrast, sharpness, and saturation. Featuring ultrasonic autofocusing, this lens will lock on and focus almost instantly.

3. Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR

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Pros:

  • Superb image quality with high resolution pictures
  • Great for wildlife photography
  • A lot of controls for fine-tuning
  • Very fast auto focus for capturing action sequences
  • Wi-Fi connectivity for uploading images to your smartphone
  • Fast frame rate for shooting video
  • Rugged and weather-sealed body
  • Sensor dust remover

Cons:

  • Battery life could be better
  • Low-light performance could be better
  • Not the best for beginners

The Nikon D500 is designed for shutterbugs who love taking photos of wildlife and fast action photography.

In order to keep its weight and size at a minimum, the D500 has several weather tight spots and is able to handle dust and debris.

This SLR is a great all-around camera for those who appreciate DSLR photo quality. It boasts a 20.9 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor and a EXPEED 5 Image Processor.

4. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera

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Pros:

  • 1080p/30fps video recording
  • 4fps continuous shooting even when using UDMA mode 9 CF cards
  • 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Optical Viewfinder
  • Dual Pixel Raw which enablees mixed pixel for Phase-detection autofocus, dynamic range and high-quality image capture
  • Weather-sealed and fully water/dust resistant
  • Canon EF/EF-S lens mount
  • EOS-dedicated Hot Shoe for Canon Speedlites as well as compatible 3rd party flashes

The Mark II of the Canon 7D lineup was a long time coming, but Canon users who have been anxiously waiting for an update to their beloved 7D can happily rest easier now that the Mark II is here. The Mark II brings a considerable jump in resolution, along with a couple of other incremental improvements, that all cumulatively add up to an awesome experience geared towards sports and wildlife photographers.

5. Canon DSLR Camera

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon DSLR Camera

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Pros:

  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Great image quality
  • Variety of lenses available
  • A vast array of shooting modes

Cons:

  • No viewfinder
  • ISO dial is not exposed
  • Only 5 fps

When I’m out in the countryside walking through the woods and along the rivers, and I come across a magnificent pond, I love capturing it on film. I know that I wouldn’t want to miss capturing it because I don’t have the right camera.

A versatile and feature packed camera such as the DSLR camera this Canon DSLR camera [EOS 90D] can be the right companion for the serious nature photographer. It’s the only DSLR camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which enables the capturing of breathtaking high-resolution images and videos with shallow depth of field and perfectly controlled background blur.

Also, its vari-angle touch screen LCD allows you to find just the right angle for capturing your target.

6. Sony FE 70-300mm SEL70300G F4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sony FE 70-300mm SEL70300G F4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens

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Pros:

  • Outstanding Image Quality
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Superb Sharpness
  • Low Distortion
  • Outstanding Bokeh
  • Outstanding Color and Contrast
  • Built-In Optical Stabilization
  • Excellent Vibration Reduction performance

Cons:

  • Fixed Maximum Aperture
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Not as lightweight as most

When i was asked to choose the best wildlife photography lenses, the Sony 70-300 was the obvious choice for me. Here’s why.

This lens boasts excellent image quality. Shooting at f/4.5 throughout most of the zoom range is rarely seen as it is only really possible when the lens is fairly large, and it generally isn’t possible to get fast autofocus at this angle. However, Sony has pulled it off, without sacrificing autofocus speed or making the lens too heavy.

It should be noted, that if you are a fan of nocturnal wildlife photography, a larger maximum aperture like f/2.8 would have been better. However for the majority of nature photographers and photographers in general, this lens will deliver excellent image quality throughout most of the zoom range.

7. Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

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Pros:

  • Dual card slots
  • Excellent for both still photography and video
  • Incredible battery life
  • Well-built

Cons:

  • Costs a lot of money
  • Heavyweight

Nikon D850 is the absolute best choice for wildlife and nature photography. This beast of a camera is well beyond what most photographers need, but at the same time is ideal for wildlife photographers.

Nikon D850 is the top model in the list of the latest full-frame DSLR cameras from Nikon. Its 45.7 MP sensor offers incredible resolution performance, dynamic range and high ISO performance.

This DSLR is able to take stunning photographs and videos and is capable of shooting at 6 frames per second continuously. It has outstanding battery life and can shoot up to 7,300 shots before running out of juice.

8. Fujinon XF23mmF2 R WR

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fujinon XF23mmF2 R WR

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Pros:

  • F2 aperture
  • WR Waterproof
  • Optical image stabilization

Cons:

  • Little distortion
  • A tad sharper right in the center of the frame
  • Distant subjects are a little soft

Fuji's second full frame lens released for the system.

Made of 13 elements in 10 groups.

Features an electronic aperture with a maximum of F2. It also has a weather resistant nano coating.

9. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • Very Sharp
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Beautifully designed
  • Vibration Reduction
  • Fast AF
  • Fast and accurate auto focus

Cons:

  • AF can be a bit slow
  • Lens hood is too short
  • Aperture range is limited
  • No image stabilization
  • AF is a little loud

For wildlife, bird watching or sports photography you need a long reach. This is what the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR provides you.

But be careful when it comes to its auto focus as it is not as fast as it would be in case of focussing on the closer objects. However, this is done on purpose to be sure that it can adjust for the longer distances and so you can focus quickly.

The lens comes with VRII image stabilization which ensures you have a steady picture. Another great thing about the lens is its ability to work with older Nikon camera bodies that don’t have the AF-S feature.

10. Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Fixed Zoom Digital Slr Camera Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Fixed Zoom Digital Slr Camera Lens

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Pros:

  • It features vibration reduction, which helps create clearer, sharper photos
  • Waterproof

The Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR is a relatively simple lens, however, it is great for photographing concerts, wildlife, or sporting events.

As this a non-zoom lens, you will have to change your position to capture a different portion of the subject. The vibration reduction and waterproof features are great for shooting wildlife as they give you added comfort and flexibility when it is raining or if you are too close to the water.

11. Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Digital Camera

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Pros:

  • A built-in sensor cleaning mode that uses ultrasonic waves.

4K video support at up to 29.97fps (NTSC) for excellent quality footage.

Precision autofocus allows you to easily zoom in on your subject.

The large 2.36-million dot EVF display makes it easy to view the subject with perfect clarity.

12. Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens

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Pros:

  • 1/8000 sec. shutter speed available for faster, sharper photos
  • The high quality lenses and fast focal length makes this lens perfect for wildlife photography.

Cons:

  • May feel heavy.
  • It isn't cheap

Sigma is one of the most preferable brands for lenses among photographers and film makers. The Sigma 150-600mm who came out in 2017 and has been deemed by most photographers and film makers as one of the best lenses in the market.

Its lightweight design that comes with electromagnetic diaphragm and vibration reduction feature makes it possible to take shots from longer distances.

The focal length of it is 500mm to 600mm when paired with APS-C or 24x36mm, and its aperture of 6.3 makes it appropriate for different conditions most especially during events such as sunrises and sunsets.

13. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Incredibly fast focus
  • Fast, accurate phase-detection autofocusing

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Built-in battery grip does not support external battery packs

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a fullframe DSLR camera featuring a high-resolution frame size of 5,472×3,648 pixels.

The 5D Mark IV is capable of recording video up to 4K resolution at 30FPS. The camera also features a new 61-point AF system, which is certainly a great advancement over the previous iteration.

This DSLR camera features a powerful processor that enables it to perform almost like a second computer. The camera also features a multi-cadence accelerometer to automatically detect the camera position.

14. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to Keep On Target
  • Good Image Quality
  • Takes Acceptable Macro Shots
  • Solid Build Quality for the Price
  • The Wide Zoom Range is Fantastic

Cons:

  • Slow Focus in Macro
  • Build Quality is Good, Not Great
  • Uneven Distortion at the Extremes

The Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5 – 5.6 IS is a fast, standard zoom lens with a 3x zoom ratio. It offers a 35mm focal length range of view equivalent to approx. 29-105mm on a 35mm camera.

This lens is part of the Canon EF-S series of lenses, which means that it has an image stabilizer built right in and is only compatible with APS-C sized digital cameras.

The EF-S 18-200mm is a relatively compact lens, at least when zoomed out to 18mm. The lens features 8 elements in 7 groups, with 7 rounded aperture blades for nice out of focus areas. The minimum focus distance of .89ft is decent for a lens of this type.

15. Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

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Pros:

  • This is an advanced camera
  • Professional quality images
  • Shoot in RAW mode for the greatest flexibility in post-processing

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Takes a long time to charge completely

The Nikon D750 is a fantastic camera that is definitely for more advanced users. It is a full-frame DSLR, which means it will capture images that are far larger in size and far more quality than what you would find with most lower budget DSLRs.

The camera comes with a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, which helps to make this sturdier and more durable than standard cameras.

This camera can capture high-quality images in nearly any light situation, which is perfect for photographers that shoot outdoors. Many of these photographers take their images to post-processing and tweak the settings to get the image looking exactly how they want it.

16. Canon Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

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Pros:

  • Weather Resistant
  • Carbon Fiber Body
  • 4k Video Recording

Cons:

  • Cramped Controls
  • Noisy Shutter sound
  • Not as good image quality as the Canon 5D Mark IV

The new Canon EOS R is an affordable full frame mirrorless camera. The camera’s AF system is fast and accurate with 425 phase-detection focusing points that cover the entire viewfinder area. It shoots 4K video at 30 fps and 60 fps slow motion HD video at 120 fps. Pictures are designed to be vibrant with the 30-megapixel full-frame sensor, which also bests the Sony A7R II and the Nikon D850.

The camera has a newly designed 24-105 f/4 IS Canon lens that is not only accurate and fast in AF, but also with the promise of superb image quality from its extra-low dispersion (ED) glass and high-refractive lens elements.

The body of the Canon R is made from carbon fiber, which helps to make it extremely lightweight yet rugged.

17. Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera

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Pros:

  • 18.1 Megapixel high-resolution CMOS sensor that delivers stunning detail and clarity
  • 20x optical NIKKOR super zoom with ED glass provides ultra-telephoto reach and an expanded
  • High magnification NIKKOR lens to see the tiniest of details
  • NIKKOR ED glass lens elements provide optimal clarity
  • Waterproof to a depth of 15m with a built-in lens cover and an easy-access front panel
  • Capture stunning 1080p Full HD video with stereo sound, a 30-frame-per-second rate and dedicated movie button
  • Record high-quality stereo audio to capture moments in vivid clarity
  • Smart Portrait System creates a beautiful bokeh effect
  • Wireless connectivity for easy sharing of photos and videos to Wi-Fi enabled devices
  • Add an optional GPS unit to geotag your photos and videos

Cons:

  • Zoom button is uncomfortable to use as it is located on the back of the camera and requires a two-handed operation
  • High-resolution RAW files are heavy to upload and offload

16MP, 20X Zoom, VR II: (3.2 inch) Touchscreen LCD, Internal Stabilization, Long-lasting Battery (EN-EL23) & Accessories

18. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

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Pros:

  • Provides incredible image quality.
  • Another L-Series lens you will be proud to own
  • The lightweight design doesn't sacrifice performance
  • Exceptional image stabilization capabilities
  • Professional grade lens at a consumer grade price
  • Excellent price for professional photographers
  • Attractive, high quality build
  • Designed for full-frame Canon SLR cameras with APS-C-sized sensors.
  • Can shoot portraits, landscape, travel, and interiors
  • The lens can take really sharp photos

Cons:

  • It's not weather-resistant
  • Expensive
  • Heavy

Whether you are just learning about photography or a seasoned pro, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens is the best all-purpose zoom lens for all of your photo needs. If you are going for a travel photography, a sports photography, or just a general photography, this is the lens you are looking for.

This is a popular lens among Dan Winter, one of the most famous wildlife photographer.

19. Canon EOS-1DX Mark II DSLR Camera

Our rating: 7 / 10

Canon EOS-1DX Mark II DSLR Camera

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Pros:

  • 45.4MP CMOS sensor
  • APS-H size sensor for major depth of field and stunning sharpness
  • Canon Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processor, which is at the core of a camera’s image quality
  • A total of 25 cross-type AF points to accurately track action
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for fast and efficient file transfer
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for access to the Canon Camera Connect mobile app

Cons:

  • Built-in GPS would’ve been a killer feature
  • The LCD doesn’t tilt or rotate
  • Battery life is not great. One battery is good for just about an hour and a half
  • Considering the price, the camera is on the heavier side

The Canon EOS-1DX Mark II is the ultimate high-performance sports camera, with superior speed and an extensive ISO range. It gives users the ability to capture both wide angle image and high resolution images and also has a longer battery life than any other camera on the market.

20. CANON Lens RF24-240mm F4-6.3 is USM

Our rating: 7 / 10

CANON Lens RF24-240mm F4-6.3 is USM

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Pros:

  • Outstanding picture-taking capabilities
  • Awesome optical zoom range
  • Perfect for wildlife photography
  • Built-in image stabilizer
  • Dust and moisture resistance
  • Reliable battery life
  • Multiple shooting modes
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Convenient auto focus capability
  • Ability to connect to your smartphone or tablet

Cons:

  • The battery life significantly shortens when taking photos
  • A bit expensive

Canon is always asserting itself as the best camera for wildlife photography on the market today.

The RF24-240mm lens is an ideal choice for camera users looking to go beyond the ordinary in their picture-taking capabilities. Its focal length is good for taking photos in different environments. The wide angle, moreover, is perfect for capturing all the elements in both indoor and outdoor scenes.

The camera has an optical zoom range of 96.36-332.00mm with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 21.04-141.46mm. A 50mm focal length is perfect for small indoor living spaces and tight outdoor areas.

21. Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR Body

Our rating: 7 / 10

Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR Body

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Pros:

  • 24.2MP DX format CMOS sensor
  • 49 point AF system
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 3.2 inch 922k dot LCD screen
  • Full HD 1080p video at 60 fps
  • Ultrafast 0.30 second hybrid AF
  • Expeed 4 processor
  • 1920 x 1080 60p/50p video recording
  • WiFi and NFC included
  • ISO 100 to 12800, Expandable to 51,200

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which camera is best for wildlife photography?

Which is the best Canon camera for wildlife photography?

There’s a lot more to wildlife photography than snapping pictures of the cute animals in your backyard. It includes a technical element as well as a creative one. Capturing movement and natural action is easier said than done because a camera that supports rapid fire shooting and good low light capabilities can cost a pretty penny.

You’ll also need a bag to carry all of your equipment into the outdoors and it’s preferable to have a bag that’s waterproof to protect your gear from rain and snow. Lastly, it’s also beneficial to have a zoom lens that covers a wide array of focal lengths to accommodate varying scenes.

These cameras are the ones I’d recommend to you if you’re looking to capture everything from birds and animals to landscapes and urban scenery on your next photo outing.

What is the best camera for an intermediate photographer?

If you’re looking for a camera that will help you improve your wildlife photographs, you’re likely looking for a DSLR. The problem with DSLRs is that they’re expensive. It’s hard to put a price on photography, but I feel it’s safe to say that something is good if it helps you improve your photography.

While gear really isn’t everything, it is important. Finding the best camera for an intermediate photographer can be tricky because you want something that will enable you to grow as a photographer and that will allow you to take the best photos possible. The camera you purchase on day one needs to be able to do that and continue to do so for the lifetime of the product.

What is the best camera and lens for wildlife photography?

There is no one specific brand or camera which can be called the best for wildlife photography. Since it depends on many factors such as budget, intended use and requirements, it can be considered as subjective. For wildlife photography, the best camera is the one you have with yourself.

To capture wildlife without disturbing its natural behavior, you need a telephoto lens. However, if you are only just beginning in wildlife photography, you can go with almost any digital camera.

More experienced photographers know and understand the behavior of different animals. A photographer who has spent years studying animals would have enough experience to predict their movement. While taking shot, they also know the best timing and place for shooting.

Conclusion

This is a comprehensive list of wildlife photography cameras for beginners, intermediate, and the more experienced photographers available online that you should take a look. We hope our wildlife photography guide will help you provide the best information about wildlife photography that is available: the cameras that are the best wildlife photography cameras for your needs and of the year.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Sony Alpha 7 II E-mount interchangeable lens mirrorless cameraBest OverallSony Alpha 7 II E-mount interchangeable lens mirrorless camera
Fujinon XF23mmF2 R WRBudget PickFujinon XF23mmF2 R WR
Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera BodyUpgrade PickNikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body