The Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography


In today’s day and age there are a ton of cameras to review when determining the best camera for wildlife photography. Nikon and Canon cameras continue to lead the way with incredible technological improvements in autofocus, low light performance, and ease of use.

At this point in time the obvious winners in this game go the the Nikon D4s, Canon 1DX, Nikon D810, Canon 7D Mark II, and  Canon 5DMIII.  Ideally if you shoot Nikon you would carry a Nikon D4s (for amazing autofocus and extreme low light capabilities) and a Nikon D810 (for video, ability to make enlargements, and landscapes).  A Canon shooter would ideally carry a Canon 1DX (for amazing autofocus and extreme low light capabilities) and 7DMark II (for the crop factor) or the  Canon 5DMIII (for video, enlargements, and landscapes). These are the cameras I recommend for serious to pro level photographers or those who have an unlimited budget. I always recommend carrying two bodies especially if you are traveling.  This gives you the ability to mount a different lens on one for quick shooting and serves as a backup in the event of a loss.

Keep in mind that the best camera for beginners will be different. Nikon and Canon have come up with some amazing digital SLR’s that won’t break your bank and or be too complicated to use for a beginner when you are starting out. The best Nikon cameras for beginners are the Nikon D7200 and the D750. The best Canon cameras for beginners are the the 7DMark II and a 6D.

Sony is a dark horse and a company to keep an eye on coming out lately with huge advances with their technology, especially with mirrorless. Although, at this point I don’t think they match the other brands lens selection or autofocus which are both critical factors to review when choosing a camera with nature and wildlife photography in mind.

I hope this information helps you gear up for all of your wild photo adventures. Let me know if I can help with a digital SLR camera recommendation. See you out there.

Aaron Baggenstos


Nikon D4s

I own this camera and am confident that it is the new king of wildlife photography cameras.  A few of my personal favorite features include the new unbelievably fast “group area” autofocus mode, 1080p video at 60fps, and exposure smoothing for time-lapse photography.  I can shoot clean usable photographs at ISO 10,000!

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Canon 1DX

I am always excited when on of my clients show up with this digital SLR wildlife photography powerhouse.  This camera is going to preform very similar to a D4s, amazing autofocus and extreme low light ability.  Not only is it lighting fast at up to 14 fps but I’ve seen this camera capture grain free images in near pitch black conditions!

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Nikon D810

The Nikon D810 DSLR Camera is a refreshing replacement to the Nikon D800 as the high resolution option in the Nikon DSLR lineup. It features a 36.3MP FX-format CMOS sensor without an Optical Low Pass Filter for particularly sharp and detailed still imaging. With the addition of the EXPEED 4 Image Processor, performance speed is noticeably increased compared to the EXPEED 3 and noise is effectively reduced throughout the ISO range.  This camera will just feel fast if you are used to a D800. Continuous shooting speed in FX format is 5 fps and in DX format hits a maximum of 7 fps.  I also notice a wonderful increase in autofocus ability with the added “group area” autofocus mode when shooting birds in flight.  In addition, the full HD video capabilities of the D810 have been upgraded to include 1080p capture at 24, 30 and 60 fps. Also, the improved efficiency of the processor enables up to 1200 shots on one battery charge and 40 minutes of video recording. Low light performance has been upgraded thanks to a wide native ISO sensitivity range that runs from 64 to 12,800 and can be expanded from 32 to 51,200.

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Canon 5D Mark III

Another great option if you enjoy shooting video and landscapes as well as wildlife.   A spectacular 3.2 inch LCD, built in HDR, great low light performance, 6 fps, and stunning video are just a few of my favorite features.  I have many friend that shoot with and love this camera.

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Canon 7D Mark II

An exciting game changing DSLR from Canon hosting 10fps and an improved autofocus and sensor for low light.  This camera takes the award for the “best camera for wildlife photography” for Canon shooters who don’t have a budget for the Canon 1DX.

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Nikon D750

This camera is very similar to the Nikon D810.  Some similarities and differences might make a photographer choose it over the D810.  Its buffer and MP are smaller, but it has faster fps and is less expensive, tough choice here.  More Info: Championing a multimedia approach to photography, Nikon’s D750 DSLR is an FX-format camera well-suited to both still imaging and video recording. Featuring a 24.3MP CMOS sensor, along with the EXPEED 4 image processor, this camera is capable of producing high-resolution imagery with smooth color gradations, low noise, and sensitivity to an expandable ISO 51200, at a continuous shooting rate of up to 6.5 fps. In regard to video recording, full HD 1080p/60 is supported, along with the ability to record uncompressed video to an optional external recorder. Working from high and low angles is possible due to the tilting 3.2″ 1,229k-dot LCD monitor or, for remote shooting, the D750 also features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Designed for the contemporary image-maker, this DSLR is poised to benefit still photographers and videographers alike with the versatility and performance to match any working situation.

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Canon 6D

The Canon EOS 6D DSLR Camera is a full-frame 20.2MP DSLR offering exceptionally high image quality and detail while providing compatibility and convenience through its design and features. When paired with the powerful DIGIC 5+ image processor and 14-bit A/D conversion, the full-frame sensor is capable of recording vivid imagery with expanded sensitivity up to ISO 102400.

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Nikon D7200

I haven’t had a chance to use this camera yet but here is what they are saying about it.  Looks promising.  Poised to deliver in the most challenging of situations, Nikon’s D7200 is a versatile DX-format DSLR that caters to both still photography and video users. Featuring a 24.2MP CMOS sensor which lacks an optical low-pass filter, and an EXPEED 4 image processor, the D7200 is able to record up to 6 fps at full-resolution, or 7 fps at a 1.3x crop, with a 100-frame buffer for extended high-speed shooting. This sensor and processor combination also avails a top native sensitivity of ISO 25600, which can further be expanded to black & white-dedicated ISO 51200 and ISO 102400 sensitivities. Full HD 1080p video recording is supported up to 60 fps, and in-camera time lapse shooting with automatic exposure smoothing is possible for up to 9,999 consecutive frames. In addition to the sheer imaging benefits, the D7200 also incorporates a large 3.2″ 1,229k-dot LCD monitor, dual SD card slots, and features built-in snapbridge Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC for simple linking of your mobile device. Capable of performing in both still and video realms, the D7200 is an all-around shooter that blends sophisticated imaging technologies with refined handling and design.

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Canon 70D

An inexpensive option for beginners.  The Canon EOS 70D DSLR Camera features a 20.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ image processor to ensure high-resolution images and excellent low-light sensitivity. Both the sensor and processor work together to produce well-detailed, clear imagery that exhibits natural tonality and color gradations with minimal noise when working in difficult lighting conditions. The processor also provides notable speed throughout the camera system, including the ability to record up to 7 fps in full-resolution, quickened AF speeds, and full HD 1080p video recording in multiple frame rates with manual exposure and audio level control.

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Sony Alpha a77II DSLR Camera

A great option for sony wildlife shooters.  The Sony Alpha a77II DSLR Camera is a versatile and advanced digital camera featuring a 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor to produce high-resolution still images and full HD movies with marked low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 25600. Beyond notable imaging traits, the image processor also lends itself to continuous shooting up to 12 fps for up to 26 RAW frames. The processor and sensor combination are also significantly benefitted by the unique Translucent Mirror Technology, which effectively directs light to both the image sensor and focus sensor simultaneously. This enables the expansive 79-point AF system, which includes 15 cross-type points, to work continuously even while recording video and photographing in a continuous shooting mode.

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Aaron’s Photo Tours specializes in small group photographic tours, workshops, and instruction, in the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone, Alaska, Canada, & beyond. If you are looking for a one of a kind wildlife adventure, designed for both beginner and advanced photographers alike, you have come to the right place.

Wildlife Photo Tours

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