ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST CAMERAS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHYWILDLIFE CAMERAS REVIEWSSONY A77IICANON 7D MARK IICANON EOS 80DNIKON D7200NIKON D500NIKON D5CANON EOS-1D X MARK IICANON EOS 5D MARK IVPENTAX K-3 IINIKON 1 V3COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST CAMERAS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHYHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CAMERAS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY AUTO FOCUSFRAMES PER SECONDISO EQUIVALENCEQUALITY & SIZE Picking the correct gear for outdoor photography can be an overwhelming process if you don’t know what you’re looking for in a camera or in a lens for that matter. Our aim here at The Adventure Junkies is to remove all that pressure and provide you with a helpful guide for you to pick the best camera for wildlife photography and that will also fit your needs as a photographer. The task is much less daunting once you know what you’re looking for in a camera and what your expectations of it are. Although there are many powerful functions available on today’s cameras from both the high and low ends of the pricing spectrum, there are specific functions that should be focused on when purchasing the best camera for wildlife photography. For more of out top outdoor photography gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Landscape Camera | Landscape Lenses | Landscape Tripods Travel Camera | Travel Lenses | Travel Tripods Wildlife Camera | Wildlife Lenses | Wildlife Tripods QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST CAMERAS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY Sony A77II DSLR Canon 7D Mark II Canon EOS 80D Nikon D7200 Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Pentax K-3 II Nikon 1 V3 WILDLIFE CAMERAS REVIEWS SONY A77II Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Beginner Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 14 AF POINTS: 15 PROS: 79-point phase detection and contrast detection CONS: One memory card slot and not water resistant CANON 7D MARK II Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Professional Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 10 AF POINTS: 65 PROS: Natural ISO expandable to 51200 with Dual Pixel CMOS AF system for fast focusing CONS: Weighs 2.1 lbs with model release date in 2014 CANON EOS 80D Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Beginner and Professional Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 7 AF POINTS: 45 PROS: Weighs 1.4 lbs with built-in image stabilization CONS: Relatively low ISO range and fewer AF points NIKON D7200 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Beginner and Professional Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 6 AF POINTS: 51 PROS: Very extensive battery life of over 1,110 photos CONS: Model release date in 2015, lacks built-in image stabilization NIKON D500 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Professional Photography FRAMES PER SECOND: 10 AF POINTS: 153 PROS: 3.2″ LCD touchscreen CONS: No built-in image stabilization NIKON D5 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Professional Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 12 AF POINTS: 153 PROS: High-performance sensor for low-light conditions CONS: Weighs 3.1 lbs with no built-in image stabilization CANON EOS-1D X MARK II Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Professional Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 14 AF POINTS: 61 PROS: Up to 16fps in live view mode, extensive battery life, and overall weight of 0.66lbs CONS: Higher end pricing CANON EOS 5D MARK IV Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Professional Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 7 AF POINTS: 61 PROS: High Optical Sensor Resolution CONS: Fewer frames per second PENTAX K-3 II Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Beginner Photographers and Budget FRAMES PER SECOND: 8.4 AF POINTS: 27 PROS: Dual SD card slot and weather resistant CONS: Short average battery life with no flash NIKON 1 V3 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Beginner and Professional Photographers FRAMES PER SECOND: 20 AF POINTS: 175 PROS: Very fast for a compact mirrorless body, can reach up to 60fps once focus position is set CONS: Mount adaptor isn’t included for flash COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST CAMERAS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY PICTURECAMERABEST USEFPS*AF POINTSPRICERATING PICTURECAMERABEST USEFPS*AF POINTSPRICERATING Sony A77II DSLROverall1415$$4.6 Canon 7D Mark IIOverall1065$$4.6 Canon EOS 80DOverall745$$4.7 Nikon D7200Overall651$4.7 Nikon D500Professional Use10153$$$4.6 Nikon D5Professional Use12153$$$4.7 Canon EOS-1D X Mark IIProfessional Use1461$$$4.6 Canon EOS 5D Mark IVProfessional Use761$$$4.4 Pentax K-3 IIBudget827$4.7 Nikon 1 V3 Budget20175$4.4 HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CAMERAS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY AUTO FOCUS Auto Focus (AF) is one of the most important considerations when it comes to buying a camera for wildlife photography. When it comes to shooting wildlife, the AF system will help you capture sharper photos and improve your overall accuracy when taking the shot. Having more AF points or a multi-point AF is beneficial because more information from cross-type points is being relayed to the AF processor. This then drastically improves the accuracy of focus during the shot. The capability of the processor is vital as well when considering a camera for wildlife photography. Generally speaking, buying a camera with fewer AF points than other camera bodies is absolutely fine as long as the processor makes up for it with increased power. It’s wise to keep in mind that the lenses you buy will also impact the overall performance of your AF system. Your camera body might be capable of a certain number of focus points or have a performance motor. However, your lens could potentially change these factors due to its own limitations. As always, you should expect to pay more for a lens with superior performance. In line with most technological advances today, anything on the higher-end of the buying spectrum or even newer models will offer improved AF performance by default. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t lower priced cameras out there with adequate AF systems for shooting prime wildlife shots. Newer cameras will almost always boast an AF system with better performance than older models even if the latter ones actually have more AF points than the former. FRAMES PER SECOND It’s no surprise that speed also plays a large factor in successful wildlife photography. You can’t direct the animal how to stand or what direction to face for the best lighting. You also surely can’t convince them to stand still for any amount of time. As a result, the camera’s speed or frames per second is an important consideration for anyone looking to find the best camera for wildlife photography. Imagine you’re all set up in the field and ready to capture shots of bald eagles that live on a lake. You see an eagle tuck into a dive toward the water. You focus your camera and begin to shoot at your camera’s max burst with the eagle only seconds from impact. The eagle stretches out its wings, slowing its free fall, and grazes the surface with its talons, emerging with its catch within their grip. Capturing a bird of prey in such an act is very rewarding for any photographer. So, you can imagine how disappointing it is to later find that the prime shot was lost between two frames. Having a camera capable of more frames per second will greatly increase your chances of capturing the perfect shot. Not only is increased frames per second vital, but the speed of which your camera can store those shots is as well. Using burst mode to your camera’s full potential means providing your camera with the fastest memory card you can afford. The faster the memory card, the more images per burst you can get. Your camera will be able to perform at its full speed as well. Of course, shooting in JPEG over RAW will help reduce the buffer time, but purchasing the fastest-rated card for your camera is a must when it comes to wildlife photography. ISO EQUIVALENCE If you already have some experience with wildlife photography, then it’s no surprise that your prime time to shoot is during the golden hours. This would be during the low-light hours of dawn and dusk when most animals are active and on the move. Low-light requires higher ISOs. However, higher ISOs mean reduced image quality. So naturally, finding a camera with a larger sensor will allow for higher ISO equivalents due to the increased sensitivity of the sensor. As you consider your options when selecting a camera for wildlife photography, make a wide ISO range one of your considerations. Even though the higher ISO means grainier, low-quality images, much of the noise can be removed during post production and it’s better to have a sub-par shot than none at all. QUALITY & SIZE When choosing a camera for wildlife photography, it’s vital you also consider the less technical aspects of the camera body itself. Speed and sensitivity are very important when it comes to catching the perfect shot. But what about all that down time in the pouring rain or gusts of sand and dust? Your camera will be exposed to all the same elements you’re exposed to, so you want to ensure that it is weather sealed and resistant to the tough conditions of the wild. The same consideration should go for the lens you buy along with your camera body. As long as both are intended for outdoor use, they will be durable enough to withstand the elements. The size and weight of your camera are also pretty important because a tripod won’t always be available or possible in some situations. When the time comes for you to hold your breath and keep your camera steady while waiting for that instant of action for the perfect shot, you don’t want to ruin it all because of camera shake. Your arms will fatigue fast with a camera and lens. Know your own limitations and consider them in your decision. You want something that is an extension of you in order for you to shoot with confidence and reliability. OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSOUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHYTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. TRAVEL PHOTO 3. LANDSCAPE PHOTO 4. WILDLIFE PHOTO 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. TRAVEL PHOTO 3. LANDSCAPE PHOTO 4. WILDLIFE PHOTO Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.