Taking great wildlife photography is probably one of the most difficult tasks for a photographer, and for a camera too. It requires the best specifications all round to get top quality results, and the small details will make all the difference to the end results. Paying a premium doesn’t guarantee the best quality, but it is essential if you want to get hold of the best wildlife photography cameras on the market.
Given a certain price point, there are certain things to watch out for to maximise your value for money. Some of the most important considerations include the following:
Firstly, you’re likely to need a high quality lens with multiple automatic focus points and a sensitive detection system that will allow your camera to quickly adapt as animals move. Capturing movement within a split second and getting a high quality image depends on this.
Most high end cameras will have vastly superior ISO functionality, which means you can take better pictures with low levels of light and have less noise disrupting your images.
Another key feature for capturing images of moving animals, burst speed will also be better on the higher specification cameras, and this means you’ll be able to capture those key moments that only last a tiny fraction of a second.
As a wildlife photographer you’re likely to be working outside and exposed to the elements. Extreme temperatures and adverse conditions can make it harder for cheaper cameras to get the best results, and if you add things like sand, rain and wind into the equation you can risk damaging your equipment. The best wildlife photography cameras will be designed to resist these problems, such as the Pentax K50 and its matching lenses which have protection built in.
The body of your camera might be expensive and fine-tuned, but if you fit it with a lens that isn’t up to scratch you’re wasting your investment and missing out on great picture opportunities. Depending on the animals you’re photographing, you might need a very long range lens or you may need to be taking extreme close-up shots, so make sure you have the ideal lens on hand.
If you’re a beginner, you won’t want to spend a huge amount of money on a camera at this point, but you still need your images to turn out great. The Nikon D3200 and Canon T5i are both excellent entry-level DSLR cameras with plenty of options for different lenses. For a more experienced photographer looking to get more into the details, the D7100 is a great upgrade for the Nikon while the Canon 7D MkII follows close behind.
If you’re a professional you should be able to compare the features of the different models on offer and make an informed decision, as long as you’re weighing up all the points we made above. Nikon and Canon are still the leading brands, so almost any of their high-end models will offer you great results for wildlife photography.