Best Nature Photography Camera

Best Nature Photography Camera

Nature photography encompasses a wide range of subject matter, from landscape vistas to birds in flight. Naturally, some cameras are better for some types of photography than others. For example, most would prefer a pro DSLR over a “flat”-style mirrorless camera for birds in flight. But today’s DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are quite good across the board, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a highly capable nature photography camera. In this article, we’ve selected the best cameras under $1,000 with interchangeable-lens models from the major manufacturers.
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Best Nature Photography Camera

Full Frame or APS? Telephoto reach is the most important requirement for wildlife photography, bringing you close to subjects without disturbing them. While full-frame cameras are in some respects superior to APS-C models, for wildlife photography, the magnification factor of a smaller sensor enhances telephoto reach. For example, comparing a 20-megapixel full-frame camera with a 20-megapixel APS-C camera, the APS-C model will give you approximately 1.5x magnification of your lens’ focal length, making a 400mm lens equivalent to a 600mm lens. Keep in mind that this is only true if you’re comparing two cameras with the same resolution, as a full-frame image from a higher-resolution camera can be cropped for a similar result. Learn more about working with extreme telephoto lenses for wildlife photography.
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Best Nature Photography Camera

While we are thinking specifically about gear for wildlife photography it might be a good chance for me to jump on my soapbox.  I’ve seen a lot of websites out there stating that you need to have a super fast camera for wildlife photography.  This is, quite simply, bull.  The majority of my wildlife images up to this point have been taken with a Canon 5D MK3 which anyone will tell you is not a very fast camera.  Now I’m not saying that a faster camera, say a 7D MK2 or a 1D-X, won’t help some people, I’m simply saying that it’s not a necessity.  Very rarely do I have the thought that I missed a shot because I was using a camera that was too slow.  More often than not, it’s a case of carefully watching the animal and anticipating their movement and gestures to capture a defining look.  I don’t “spray and pray”.  I carefully consider the shot and then formulate the perfect image in my mind’s eye.  Maybe it’s when the animal looks my way, or as in the case of the bear image at the top of this post, when he looked away which cast light onto both of his eyes.  Then I wait for that look and……. click. I actually take a lot of satisfaction from shooting only a few images from a particular encounter and it gives me a chance to observe the animals and learn from them.  Now there are some instances where a faster FPS can be a benefit, particularly with birds in flight where you are trying to capture a specific wing positioning, but again I would never say that it’s a complete necessity.  Food for thought.
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Best Nature Photography Camera

Nature photography is a broad category that can range from landscapes to seascapes, or from wildlife to flowers and bugs. With such a broad range of subjects, the required camera equipment is equally broad. Your exact setup will depend on your style of photography, as well as the type of nature photography you intend to pursue.
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Best Nature Photography Camera

The majority of good wildlife photography opportunities will be early in the morning or late in the evening when the light is less harsh.  This almost certainly means that you’ll spend some time in the darkness, whether it be before or after your photography session.  I personally like to carry both a headlamp and a torch (flashlight for US folks) with me.  The headlamp is perfect when you need two hands to rummage in a camera bag and they also do a great job of illuminating your immediate surroundings when you are walking in the dark.  A small, powerful LED torch can be great as well though as this allows you to light up distant objects and it can also be a handy light painting tool!  As featured in the travelling photography accessories, I use the Petzl Reactik+. You can recharge it via USB and it also has a red LED mode which is great for illuminating closer objects, like your camera, but without affecting your night vision.
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Best Nature Photography Camera

As cameras continue to evolve and impress, their newest features often play to the fast-paced multimedia world. For landscape photographers, the ability to minimize or eliminate the time it takes to print an image or display it online can have limited use, and tends to overshadow a range of core camera functions that appeal to our genre of photography. Landscape photography can arguably be one of the slowest-paced schools of image-making. As such, it does not have the same subset of requirements as many other categories of photography. Ranging from the most basic features to some of the most advanced technologies, this article strives to highlight a range of specs to look for when shopping for a new camera with the intention of making landscape photographs.
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Best Nature Photography Camera

When looking for a camera suitable for landscape photography, a number of factors come into play that might not be considered when browsing cameras for other applications. Speed is not nearly as important a feature as image quality, for instance, and exposure control is paramount among most other concerns. High-resolution sensors tend to be most highly favored due to the immense detail they can garner, as well as the larger print sizes made possible by the files they produce. Unlike sports, wildlife, or street photography, landscape shooting tends to be slow and methodical; lower ISOs, slower shutter speeds, smaller apertures, and working from a tripod are essentially obligatory, whereas with other genres of photography, high ISO sensitivities, fast continuous shooting rates, and quick autofocus systems tend to be the most prized elements of a camera system. This isn’t to say that those features should be overlooked—they are often welcomed—but they are not nearly as crucial to landscape work as they are to faster-paced shooting applications. Fewer frames will also be recorded during a day of shooting in the wilds of Yosemite versus shooting the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Montreal, so file size, buffer capacity, and card speeds do not stand as much of a limitation for the work you can do.
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Best Nature Photography Camera

There are only a handful of full-frame camera models to choose from, but a new release stands out from the pack: the Canon EOS 5DS R. With a whopping 50.6 megapixels of resolution, the 5DS R offers a whopping 20.1 more megapixels than the Canon 5D Mark IV and a healthy 14.3 more than the Nikon D810. This camera is built for still photography with fewer video options than the competition, but we appreciate the split from the hybrid model at this end of the spectrum. The cameras above not named the Canon EOS 5DS R certainly aren’t slouches, and you can even explore some budget full-frame options like the Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D750. All offer impressive resolutions for landscape photography and are among the best cameras out there.
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If you’re looking to take up wildlife photography, you’ve probably wondered what the best camera is. Digital SLRs are numerous now, with plenty of options on the market. However, wildlife photography is notoriously difficult – especially to those new to the field – as you can’t direct animals and tell them what to do! Your camera needs to deal with fast movement, low light, and other tough conditions in the outdoors.
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Finally, a faster shooting speed (the number of frames per second the camera takes) is handy for wildlife photography. If your camera is slow, shooting around 3 frames per second, you’re more likely to miss the perfect shot that happens in the gaps between each time the shutter fires. Shooting in burst mode is highly recommended for wildlife photography.
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If you have an unlimited budget or the absolute highest standards, the best DSLR for nature photography is definitely currently the  D800, and it’s sibling-on-steroids, the D800E.  Currently the highest resolution DSLRs on the market, with by far the best overall image quality. (especially dynamic range!) Simply put, you can’t go wrong if these factors are your primary concerns; the D800’s image quality is the current reigning champion.  Its array of additional features, such as built-in bracketing / HDR, and built-in intervalometer / timelapse, make it a great nature photography tool.  The full compatibility with Nikon’s entire line of classic F-mount lenses is the icing on the cake.  The only down side?  It is considerably more sluggish at shooting high-speed action, compared to its predecessor the D700 which could hit a flagship-grade 8 FPS when used with a vertical grip.
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If I were buying my first DSLR camera for wildlife photography specifically, I would strongly recommend you chose a crop sensor camera. The extra reach opens you up to more opportunities for photos. It’s incredibly frustrating to find that you can’t get close to wildlife, and until your field craft skills are particularly good the extra reach will be a major advantage. The cost is also a major plus point. In fact, even though I have been shooting with full frame cameras for a number of years now, I’ve been strongly considering buying a Nikon D500 (read our review here) – it’s a crop sensor camera that performs extremely well for wildlife.