Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography (2024)

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Updated: January 4, 2024
Feature photo by Federico Di Dio
Welcome to the world of wildlife photography, where nature's wild, untamed beauty meets cutting-edge tech! You've come to the right place if you're an aspiring wildlife photographer or a seasoned professional looking to upgrade your gear.

We've rounded up the best wildlife cameras, taking you on a journey from budget-friendly options to high-end tech marvels.

How we picked the best cameras for wildlife photography

We at Conservation Visual Storytellers Academy have extensive experience in nature and wildlife photography. Our writers and editors use the major camera systems available and have decades of experience in the field.

To choose the best wildlife cameras for you, we combine personal experience, insights from fellow pros and industry experts, editorial and user reviews, and details from manufacturers. We've carefully weighed the pros and cons of each wildlife camera and put only what we feel is the best selection available into our recommendation guides.

We've curated a selection of cameras meant to meet the needs of different goals and budgets to help you pick the best camera for wildlife photography for you! Factors we consider include weight, ISO capabilities, autofocus points, frames per second, buffering, image stabilization, and more features that allow you to have the best wildlife photography experience.

We focused on interchangeable lens cameras since wildlife photography requires a mix of lenses. We also included a mix of entry-level and professional camera bodies and a variety of camera manufacturers.

For advice on what to consider in a wildlife photography camera and how to choose the right camera body for you, use the table of contents to jump to those sections.

Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography: Our Reviews & Recommendations

Sony Alpha 1

Top-tier choice for wildlife photography

Sony Alpha 1
Pros:
  • Captures high-quality images with incredible detail, definition, and clarity
  • High speed continuous shooting
  • Superb low-light performance
  • Advanced and accurate autofocus system
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Long battery life
Cons:
  • Relatively expensive
  • Not all lenses may be compatible
  • No 4K video at 60 fps
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full-frame CMOS (35.9 x 24 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 50.1
  • Autofocus Points: 759 (in-phase detection)
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 30 fps
  • Buffer: 155 compressed RAW frames or 165 JPEGs at 30 fps
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100-32,000 (expands to 50-102,400)
  • Weight: 1.6 lbs (with battery and memory card)
  • Price Range: $$$
WHAT WE THINK

The Sony Alpha 1 stands out as a superior choice for wildlife photography, boasting a 50.1 MP full-frame sensor that delivers exceptionally detailed and high-quality images.

Its remarkable speed, with continuous shooting of up to 30 fps, makes it perfect for capturing wildlife in motion.

The camera excels in low-light conditions, courtesy of its wide ISO range, while the advanced autofocus system effectively tracks moving subjects.

Its robust construction endures the challenges of outdoor environments, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ensure easy sharing and backup of images.

The battery life is also commendable, supporting extended shooting sessions.

While pricey, the Sony Alpha 1's features make it a worthy investment for serious wildlife photographers, and it has quickly become a top choice among professional wildlife photographers.

BEST PRICES

Canon EOS R3

Impressive speed and an even more impressive autofocus system

Canon EOS R3
Pros:
  • High speed of up to 30 fps
  • Superior image quality
  • Advanced and accurate autofocus system
  • Magnesium alloy body and weather-sealing
  • Impressive low-light performance
  • Large buffer capacity
  • Excellent battery life
  • Integrated connectivity
Cons:
  • High price point
  • Robust build contributes to its weight
  • Dual card slots are for two different types of cards
  • Complex features and settings
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full-frame CMOS (36.0 x 24.0 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 24.1
  • Autofocus Points: 1053
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: ~30 fps with electronic shutter and up to 12 fps with mechanical shutter
  • Buffer: 540 JPEG or 140 RAW files at 30 fps
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100-102,400 (expands to 204,800)
  • Weight: 1.81 lbs (camera body only), 2.2 lbs (incl. battery and memory card)
  • Price Range:$$$
WHAT WE THINK

The Canon EOS R3 is a top-tier professional wildlife camera with drool-worthy specs.

It fuses mirrorless technology progression and potent performance powered by the DIGIC X Image Processor. Its unique design boasts a back-illuminated stacked 24.1MP full frame resolution that ensures quicker read-out speeds and significantly reduces “rolling shutter” distortion. This results in crisper images in low light conditions and the capability to capture authentic 14-bit RAW files in the electronic shutter mode.

While the sensor size is smaller than the R5, it makes up for it with these other aspects.

And, with the impressive 30 fps in electronic shutter mode, it is perfect for shooting wildlife.

A drawback is that while it has dual card slots, one is for the CFexpress Type B, and one is for SD/SDHC/SDXC. Why Canon didn't simply put in two slots for the superior CFexpress cards – which write up to 6 times faster than the best SDs – is beyond us. If you're investing in a camera body this pricey, you'll pony up for the more expensive, better cards.

With that minor check against the R3 aside, we love it. Coupling the resilience of the EOS-1D series camera with the finesse of the EOS R5, the R3 doesn't just merely stand its ground, it sets itself apart in a league of its own.

We are BIG fans of this full-frame camera body, and if you're looking for something with all the bells and whistles, the R3 is a great choice.

BEST PRICES

Nikon Z 9

The ultimate in performance and versatility

Nikon Z 9
Pros:
  • High resolution
  • Essentially bottomless buffer depth
  • Fast and accurate autofocus
  • Impressive burst shooting speed
  • Excellent low-light performance
  • 8K video recording
  • Durable, weather-sealed body
Cons:
  • Pricey
  • Relatively heavy
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Stacked CMOS sensor (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 45.7
  • Autofocus Points: 493
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 20 fps
  • Buffer: 1000 RAW or JPEG frames at 20 fps
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ISO Sensitivity: 64-25,600
  • Weight: 2.95 lbs (with battery and memory card)
  • Price Range: $$$
WHAT WE THINK

The Nikon Z 9 takes wildlife photography to the next level with its outstanding feature set. The high-resolution full-frame sensor captures beautifully detailed and vibrant images, and the speedy, accurate autofocus ensures you never miss a moment.

The impressive burst shooting capabilities, coupled with excellent low-light performance and 8K video recording, make the Z 9 an exceptional tool for capturing wildlife.

Although the high price and weight may be a concern for some, the Z 9 is a worthwhile investment for those seeking top-notch performance and versatility in wildlife photography.

BEST PRICES

Nikon D850

Efficient and versatile camera for wildlife photography

Nikon D850
Pros:
  • Impressive dynamic range
  • High resolution
  • Weather-sealed
  • Commendable ISO range
  • Long battery life
  • Dual card slots
  • 4K UHD video
  • Silent shooting mode
Cons:
  • Heavier weight
  • No built-in image stabilization
  • No built-in Wi-Fi
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: Full-frame CMOS (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 45.7
  • Autofocus Points: 153 (99 cross-type)
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 7 fps (9 fps with a grip)
  • Buffer: 51-54 fps of 14-bit RAW files with lossless compression
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • ISO Sensitivity: 64-25,600 (expands to 32-102,400)
  • Weight: 2.02 lbs (camera body only)
  • Price Range: $$$
WHAT WE THINK

The Nikon D850 stands out as a strong mid-range camera for wildlife photography, boasting a full-frame CMOS sensor with a superior 45.7 MP resolution to capture detailed images of wildlife.

While it lacks built-in image stabilization, the ISO range, expandable to 32-102400, ensures excellent performance in varied lighting conditions.

The continuous shooting burst rate of 9 fps with a grip (and 7 fps without) and buffer capacity for up to 51-54 fps of 14-bit RAW files could be higher, but still work for most enthusiast photographers.

All in all this is a truly stand-out camera body that is a great option for both pros and hobbyists alike.

BEST PRICES

Canon EOS R5

Superior autofocus capabilities and high-resolution sensor

Canon EOS R5
Pros:
  • Excellent image quality
  • High-resolution sensor
  • Fast autofocus performance
  • Robust image stabilization
  • High-speed continuous shooting
  • Durable and weather-sealed body
Cons:
  • Complex menu system may be overwhelming for novice photographers
  • Potential overheating issues when shooting in 8K for extended periods
  • Shorter battery life compared to other competitors
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full-frame CMOS (36 x 24 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 45
  • Autofocus Points: 1,053
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 12 fps (mechanical shutter), 20 fps (electronic shutter)
  • Buffer: 182 RAW images at 12 fps
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100-51,200 (expands to 102,400)
  • Weight: 1.62 lbs (incl. battery and memory card)
  • Price Range: $$
WHAT WE THINK

The Canon EOS R5 is a stellar choice for wildlife photography, combining a high-resolution sensor, a robust image stabilization system, and high-speed continuous shooting capabilities.

Designed with sports and wildlife photography in mind, the excellent image quality, the fast autofocus system, and the durable, weather-sealed body make it an obvious contender.

Its full-frame CMOS sensor and wide ISO range contribute to its high performance in various lighting conditions.

Plus, the huge sensor makes it a great option for shooting distant wildlife, as you have plenty of room to crop in during post-processing.

Overall, it's a well-balanced, high-performing camera that offers great value for its price range, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced wildlife photographers.

The downside is the relatively short battery life. Plan to have several spare batteries ready to go, or opt for the additional battery grip.

But overall, this is one of the top wildlife photography cameras on the market for a mid-range budget and a great option if you're moving from a Canon DSLR camera into mirrorless.

BEST PRICES

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Affordability without compromising quality

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Pros:
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Good image quality
  • Impressive continuous shooting rate for the price
  • In-body image stabilization
Cons:
  • Limited ISO range
  • Shorter battery life
  • Lack of weather sealing
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Live MOS Micro Four Thirds (17.3 x 13.0 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 20.3
  • Autofocus Points: 121
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 15 fps
  • Buffer: Continuous shooting of up to 150 ORF (Olympus Raw Format) images at 10 fps with a mechanical shutter. The buffer can hold about 30 photos before the camera slows down, but it clears in about 6 seconds when using a UHS-II card. In high settings, its buffer depth provides 42 RAW images and virtually unlimited RAW images in low settings.
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ISO Sensitivity: LOW (approx. 100)-25,600
  • Weight: 0.84 lbs (incl. battery and memory card)
  • Price Range: $
WHAT WE THINK

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is an excellent entry-level choice for wildlife photographers.

Its compact and lightweight build makes it convenient for photographers who need to venture deep into the wilderness. The 20.3 MP sensor, while lower in resolution compared to some high-end models, still captures nicely detailed wildlife images.

One big drawback is the slower speed for burst shooting in mechanical mode. It can be as slow as 5 fps with the mechanical shutter. But it can do as much as 15 fps with the electronic shutter. Having fewer frames per second means more missed shots of fast-moving subjects. So, you'll want to switch to the electronic shutter to get the most out of burst mode.

Despite a few drawbacks, the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV's features are still quite impressive for its price range, making it a top choice as an affordable camera for wildlife shooters.

BEST PRICES

Sony Alpha 7R III

Exceptional image quality and performance

Sony Alpha 7R III
Pros:
  • Exceptional image quality
  • High-speed autofocus and tracking
  • Impressive ISO range for the price
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Supports 4K video recording
  • Dual memory card slots
  • Weather-sealed body
Cons:
  • Complex menu system
  • Limited battery life compared to similar bodies
  • Slow writing speed
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor (35.9 x 24.0 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 42.4
  • Autofocus Points: 399 (phase-detection), 425 (contrast)
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 10 fps
  • Buffer: 76 Large/Extra Fine JPEGs, 28 uncompressed RAW images, and 28 for uncompressed RAW + Large/Extra Fine JPEGs
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100–32,000 (expandable to 50-102,400)
  • Weight: 1.45 lbs (incl. battery and memory card)
  • Price Range: $$
WHAT WE THINK

The Sony Alpha 7R III stands out with its exceptional image quality and robust performance.

The 42.4MP full frame resolution captures incredibly detailed and vivid images, making it perfect for highlighting the intricate beauty of wildlife.

Its high-speed autofocus and tracking, supported by 399 phase-detection AF points, ensure precise capture of fast-moving animals. The camera's robust, weather-sealed body can withstand harsh outdoor conditions, and the dual memory card slots offer both ample storage and backup solutions.

For enthusiasts wanting to take their photography to the next level, the Sony Alpha 7R III will help you get there.

BEST PRICES

Nikon D7500

Solid blend of features at an accessible price point

Nikon D7500
Pros:
  • Excellent image quality for the price
  • Wide ISO range allows for excellent performance in low-light situations
  • Dust-resistant and water-resistant body
  • Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Cons:
  • No in-body stabilization
  • Limited buffer capacity
  • Single memory card slot
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: DX-Format CMOS (Crop Factor: 1.5x)
  • Effective Megapixels: 20.9
  • Autofocus Points: 51
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 8 fps
  • Buffer: 50-100 Raw files depending on the bit depth and compression settings. For JPEGs, the buffer can accommodate up to 100 images.
  • Image Stabilization: No, but some Nikon lenses that can be used with the D7500 come with Vibration Reduction
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100-51,200, Expanded ISO 1,640,000
  • Weight: 1.41 lbs (body only)
  • Price Range: $
WHAT WE THINK

The Nikon D7500 20.9MP DX-format sensor captures wildlife with clarity, even in challenging light conditions.

The camera's resilience, featuring dust and water resistance, makes it perfect for rigorous outdoor photography sessions.

Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth add to its appeal, making image sharing and backup convenient.

The slower 8 frame per second is considered kind of slow these days, as many other camera bodies can reach blazing-fast burst speeds. It means you'll have fewer keepers… unless of course you train yourself to rely less on spray-n-pray and more on predicting the perfect moment to hit the shutter button.

Despite a few drawbacks – including lacking a second card slot and no optional battery grip – the Nikon D7500 still stands out as a cost-effective camera offering high-end features, making wildlife photography accessible to hobbyists and those on a budget.

BEST PRICES

Sony Alpha 6400

Budget-friendly option for wildlife photography

Sony Alpha a6400
Pros:
  • High-speed autofocus
  • Advanced real-time eye AF and real-time tracking
  • Impressive continuous shooting speed for the price
  • 4K video recording
  • Tiltable LCD touchscreen
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Weather-sealed body
  • Compact and lightweight
Cons:
  • Limited battery life
  • No in-body image stabilization
  • Single card slot
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: APS-C CMOS (23.5 x 15.6 mm) (Crop Factor: 1.5x)
  • Effective Megapixels: 24.2
  • Autofocus Points: 425 (phase- and contrast-detect)
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 11 fps
  • Buffer: Can maintain its top speed for 46 RAW+JPEG, 49 RAW, or 114 JPEG shots
  • Image Stabilization: No, but there are a number of Sony e-mount lenses available that do include image stabilization
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100-32,000 (expandable to 102,400)
  • Weight: 0.89 lbs (with battery and memory card included)
  • Price Range: $
WHAT WE THINK

The Sony Alpha 6400 proves to be a formidable contender for budget wildlife cameras. The high-resolution 24.2MP APS-C sensor ensures high-quality, detailed images, while the commendable continuous shooting speed with autofocus and auto exposure tracking allows for accurate capturing of wildlife actions.

The sturdy, weather-sealed body is designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor photography, and its compact, lightweight nature is ideal for extended fieldwork.

The Alpha 6400 presents a good balance of value, performance, and quality, making it arguably the best beginner camera.

BEST PRICES

Canon EOS Rebel T8i

Affordable and user-friendly option for beginners

Canon EOS Rebel T8i
Pros:
  • High resolution for the price
  • Impressive continuous shooting speed for a budget camera
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly
Cons:
  • Lacks 4K video capability
  • Relies on lens-based stabilization
  • Plastic build
  • Single card slot
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: APS-C CMOS (22.3 x 14.9 mm) (Crop Factor: 1.6x)
  • Effective Megapixels: 24.1
  • Autofocus Points: 45 (all cross-type phase-detect)
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 7 fps
  • Buffer: 170 JPEG Fine images in a single burst and up to 40 images when shooting in RAW format
  • Image Stabilization: It does not have in-body image stabilization; however, many Canon lenses, including the 18-55mm kit lens often paired with the T8i, do come with built-in optical image stabilization
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100-25,600
  • Weight: 1.13 lbs (incl. battery, recording media)
  • Price Range: $
WHAT WE THINK

The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is an excellent entry-level wildlife photography camera and one of the best budget camera choices out there if you're dipping your toes for the first time into photographing wildlife.

Its 24.1MP APS-C sensor, although lower resolution than some competitors, and the efficient 45-point all cross-type AF system deliver solid image quality. The vari-angle LCD touch screen, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and lower weight add to its user-friendly appeal.

While it has a slow-ish frame rate in burst mode, and the limited ISO range and lack of in-built image stabilization may pose challenges in varied lighting and handheld shooting scenarios, the affordability of the EOS Rebel T8i still makes it a top choice among wildlife photography cameras for beginners and budget shoppers.

BEST PRICES

Canon EOS 90D

Balance of price, performance, and functionality

Canon EOS 90D
Pros:
  • Fast autofocus
  • 4K video recording
  • Weather-resistant construction
Cons:
  • Limited buffer capacity
  • No in-body image stabilization
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: APS-C CMOS sensor (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 32.5
  • Autofocus Points: 45
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 10 fps
  • Buffer: 58 JPEGs and 25 RAW files
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100-25,600 (expands to 51,200)
  • Weight: 1.55 lbs (with battery and memory card)
  • Price Range: $
WHAT WE THINK

The Canon EOS 90D offers a great value for its price. The 32.5MP APS-C sensor ensures rich, detailed images, and the fast Dual Pixel CMOS AF system ensures accurate focus on moving subjects.

The camera's weather resistance adds to its suitability for wildlife photography.

While the lack of in-body stabilization could be a downside, the Canon EOS 90D remains a solid choice for wildlife photographers looking for performance without breaking the bank.

BEST PRICES

Olympus OM-1

Combines robust features and affordability

Olympus OM-1
Pros:
  • Solid resolution and reliable autofocus
  • Good burst shooting speed
  • Respectable low-light performance
  • 4K video recording
  • Durable, weather-sealed body
Cons:
  • Limited battery life
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Four Thirds Stacked BSI Live MOS (17.3 x 13 mm)
  • Effective Megapixels: 20.4
  • Autofocus Points: 1053
  • Continuous Shooting Burst Rate: 10 fps
  • Buffer: 133 RAW, 169 JPEG LF
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ISO Sensitivity: 200-102,400 in Manual, Auto Mode (Extended: 80-102,400)
  • Weight: 1.32 lbs (with battery and memory card)
  • Price Range: $$
WHAT WE THINK

If you're in search of a mid-range wildlife photography camera, the Olympus OM-1 is an excellent choice.

This micro four thirds camera has everything you'd need in a good wildlife photography camera packed inside a light, compact body.

With its reliable autofocus system and impressive burst shooting capabilities, capturing those precious wildlife moments becomes effortless. Additionally, you'll appreciate the added advantage of 4K video recording.

Moreover, you can rely on its robust, weather-sealed body to withstand any weather conditions.

While it's true that the OM-1 may pose some challenges with its smaller sensor and limited battery life, wildlife photography enthusiasts will find that it strikes the perfect balance between performance and affordability.

BEST PRICES

An American dipper pulls prey, an insect larvae, from a stream

Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch

What to look for when shopping for the best camera for wildlife photography

When hunting for the best camera body for your wildlife and nature photography journey, there are a few critical aspects to keep in mind.

First and foremost, a solid autofocus system is a must-have, as wildlife tends not to pose for your convenience. A camera that can quickly and accurately lock onto your subject will allow you to capture those fleeting moments.

Next, consider the camera's resolution. More megapixels aren't always better, but a higher resolution sensor can give you more detail and flexibility in post-processing. This is particularly useful when you need to crop images to accentuate the frame's subject.

Burst shooting capabilities are also important. As any wildlife photographer will tell you, animals can be unpredictable, and the difference between a good shot and a great one can be a split second. A camera with a high frames-per-second (fps) rate improves your chances of capturing that perfect shot.

Let's not forget about low-light performance. A lot of wildlife activity happens during dawn and dusk, so a camera that performs well in low light can dramatically expand your shooting opportunities.

Finally, the camera's weight and robustness are also crucial factors. You'll likely be lugging your gear around in potentially harsh outdoor conditions, so a camera that can withstand the elements without breaking your back is a wise investment.

Recommended: Every great wildlife photography camera body needs an excellent lens to go with it. Check out our top recommendations for the best telephoto lenses for bird photography and the best lenses for wildlife photography.

A juvenile Wilson's warbler perched on a branch of green leaves

Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch

How many megapixels do you need for wildlife photography?

Megapixels, oh megapixels! The burning question on every aspiring wildlife photographer's mind.

How many do you really need to capture the majesty of an eagle in flight or the subtle beauty of a deer grazing at dawn? The answer might surprise you: it's not as many as you think.

Sure, having a ton of megapixels gives you a larger canvas to play with and the ability to crop images heavily without losing too much detail.

But remember, the most stunning wildlife photos are not just about sheer resolution but also composition, light, timing, and the story you're telling with your image.

Even a 12-megapixel camera – yes, you heard that right, just 12! – can deliver wonderful wildlife images full of detail and color. That's why camera trap photographers often use whatever older camera bodies are gathering dust on a shelf – they work just fine! Of course, most cameras have far more megapixels these days, but the point stands: Don't let the megapixel race distract you from the essentials, which is learning your craft and understanding your subjects.

So, bottom line? Don't overthink the megapixels.

Invest in a reliable camera that suits your budget and feels comfortable in your hands. Then head out into the wild, tune into the rhythms of nature, and let the magic happen.

An American dipper pulls prey, an insect larvae, from a stream

Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch

Is mirrorless better than DSLR for wildlife photography?

The question of whether a mirrorless camera is better than a DSLR for wildlife photography is a matter of perspective and usage. Both camera formats have their strengths and nuances that can make them a good fit for wildlife photography. We have detailed breakdown of mirrorless vs DSLR here. 

Mirrorless cameras, being the newer kid on the block, pack quite a punch with their smaller, lighter bodies, faster burst rates, and often quieter operation (so you don't startle off that shy woodland creature). Their electronic viewfinders also provide a real-time preview of your exposure, which can be a game-changer in the dynamic lighting conditions of the wild.

On the other hand, the DSLRs, with their robust build, extensive lens options, and impressive battery life. Their optical viewfinders provide a clear, lag-free view of your subject, and some photographers simply prefer the heft and feel of a DSLR.

How to choose the best camera for wildlife photography for YOU

Choosing the best camera body for you is, well, unique to you. It's not about the most expensive or feature-packed model but rather which camera feels right in your hands, aligns with your photography style, and fits your budget.

Here are some pointers to help you sniff out the best fit:

❂ Ergonomics and Feel

This is something you can't measure in specs. The camera should feel comfortable in your hands, and the controls should be intuitive and easy to access. Remember, you may be handling this device for hours while waiting for the perfect shot.

❂ Weight and Size

As a wildlife photographer, you'll be on the move quite a bit. A smaller and lighter camera may be beneficial, but don't sacrifice usability and performance for portability.

❂ Lens Availability

Check out the lens ecosystem that the camera supports. As a wildlife photographer, you'll likely need a variety of telephoto lenses. Make sure these are available and affordable for the camera body you're considering.

❂ Image Quality and Performance

Look for good image quality at high ISO levels for low-light shooting. Also, a high-performance autofocus system and a fast burst rate can be incredibly useful for capturing wildlife in action.

❂ Weather Sealing

Since you will be out in the elements, check if the camera and lenses are weather-sealed for resistance against dust, moisture, and the occasional bump.

Ultimately, remember that the best camera for YOU is one that complements your photography journey, helps you grow, and brings joy to every shoot.

PIN THIS FOR LATER

Jaymi Heimbuch

Author

Jaymi Heimbuch is a wildlife conservation photographer, photo editor, and instructor. She is the founder of Conservation Visual Storytellers Academy ®, and is the host of Impact: The Conservation Photography Podcast. Her photography and writing have appeared in outlets such as National Wildlife, Audubon, BBC Wildlife, and National Geographic. She is Senior Photo Editor of Ranger Rick magazine.

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