Are you searching for the best camera for nature photography? In this article we review the top cameras used by nature photographers and let you know which models are worth investing in. No matter what skill level you are at, you will find the top camera for you below.
I started doing nature photography in college and I’ve spent a lot of time testing out cameras until I got the shot I wanted. And for this article I have reviewed the top nature photography cameras and after reading this article you will know my recommendations.
Top Cameras for Nature Photographers
Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera
This Canon Rebel T7 camera bundle is an ideal all in one package for the nature photographer.
The EOS Rebel T7 DSLR offers a 24.1 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4+ image processor for incredible image quality. The camera comes with a 3 inch LCD monitor that offers full HD 1080p video recording at 30p. This is an excellent camera for capturing nature stills and videos if image quality is important to you (and it is for most). The sharp details and vivid color comes out in good and poor lighting. Comes with a Canon 18-55mm II lens and a 60″ video tripod, and a Ritz Gear LPE10 battery.
The included XIT 58mm wide angle lens is an excellent lens for capturing nature in clear and vivid images. You will also get a Vivitar 2x lens extender and a 500mm Vivitar f/8.0 telephoto lens, two memory cards and much much more. This is a seriously good value for nature photography considering the quality and amount of gear in this camera bundle.
- Ideal all in one nature photography camera bundle
- Wide angle and telephoto lens
- Exceptional image and video quality
- Tons of quality gear included
Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera
The Canon Rebel T6 Bundle is the previous generation and offers exceptional performance and functionality for the nature photographer at a slightly lower investment. The EOS camera offers 18 megapixels APS-C CMOS image sensor with the DIGIC 4+ image processor. You will be able to capture incredible detail and color both in still images and video with this camera making it ideal for wildlife and nature photography. The three inch LCD monitor offers 920,000 dots and this camera records in 1080p at 30 frames per second. The nine point AF has cross type point and an extended IOS 12800 3 fps shooting.
This nature camera offers built in WiFi for quick and easy image and video uploading directly from the camera to the web. It has scene intelligent mode and creative auto mode as well.
The Canon Rebel T6 has an everyday EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens which is ideal for wide angle and portrait pics but the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III telephoto preset lens that is included will shine in nature photography. This bundle has a bunch of great gear additions including a SanDisk 32gb SDHC memory card, a shoulder case for your camera, high definition UV filters a slave flash, and a high speed USB card reader. It also comes with a professional quality tripod. This is an exceptional value nature photography camera kit.
- Exceptional nature photography camera bundle
- Comes with two lenses including a telescopic lens
- 1080p video capture
- Comes with many extras
- Excellent value
Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera
This is the best camera for nature photography for beginners. The Nikon D3500 features 24.2 megapixels DX APS-C CMOS image sensor with the EXPEED image processing system for exceptional image quality. This will provide you with high resolution wildlife and nature photos and video. The camera is lightweight and easy to use making it ideal for the beginner. The three inch LCD display screen allows a 170 degree viewing angle. If you utilize the Nikon SnapBridge app you can sinc your smartphone to the camera.
This nature camera bundle comes with two lenses allowing for versatility without needing to buy your lenses separately. The Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens is perfect for landscapes and wide angle pictures while the 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED telephoto lens will allow you to get those far off shots perfect for the nature photographer.
- Ideal camera for the beginner nature photographer
- Comes with two lenses, one for landscape and wide angle, the other a telescopic lens for distance pictures
- Send pictures and video directly to your smartphone
- Excellent value
Canon EOS 1300D
This is a smaller Canon T6 bundle perfect for the nature photographer who doesn’t need all the extras in the option above. You will get the same exceptional performance with the 18mp APS-C CMOS sensor with the DIGIC 4+ image processor. This will redice noise and the native sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400. This can be expanded to ISO 12800 if you intend to shoot in low light environments. You can continuously shoot at 3 fps which is perfect for wildlife on the move. This Canon camera will also take video at full HD 1080p at 30fps.
The three inch LCD screen provides bright and clear image playback for quick review allowing you to get back to taking pictures without delay. With the built in WiFi you can send your pictures directly to social media, video hosting, or anywhere on the web. This camera package comes with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens which can take wide angle and short telephoto shots.
- Ideal nature photography camera for those who do not need a large bundle of gear
- Takes high quality images and video
- Comes with SD card reader and a 16gb memory card
- Excellent value
This camera offers a truly impressive 45.7 megapixels for amazing resoltution and dynamic range. The D850 is an epic top full frame camera. This camera provides absolutely amazing image quality with stunning detail and color. It offers some of the absolute best ISO performance on the market providing you with exceptional performance. It comes with a 153 point autofocus system and the ability to shoot video in Ultra High Definition 4k with a max 9fps burst rate.
This camera is very well designed offering a tilting touch screen monitor with the great feature of Focus Shift mode. It also offers focus peaking making this one of the top all around performing cameras. It is immensely popular with professional nature photographers and I personally shoot with this camera all the time.
- Incredible 45.7 megapixel
- Amazing resolution and dynamic range
- Tilting touchscreen monitor
- Top performer for nature and landscape photographers
Canon EOS 5DS R
This is an amazing DSLR from Canon. With 50.6 megapixels this camera is one of the highest available on the market. This full frame camera is very popular with pros who focus on still shots. This camera is not designed for shooting video but if you are looking for a top performing still shots model this is a truly great camera to shoot with.
This is not the fastest camera on the market but landscape and nature photographers won’t be bothered by that at all. This camera is fully weather sealed making it rugged enough to withstand the rigors of shooting in the field. It provides impressive image clarity and sharpness while minimizing the occurrence of image artifacts.
- Ideal for shooting still shots
- Impressive image sharpness and clarity
- 50.6 megapixel resolution
- Very popular with professional landscape photographers
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon 5D Mark IV is another excellent full frame camera for the serious photographer. It offers an impressive 30.4 megapixels for excellent image resolution. This camera is designed to provide you with great still shot quality as well as HD 4k video capture. It has a fast burst rate at 7fps. This Canon is an excellent all around performing camera that is quite popular with pros and hobbyist alike. With it’s excellent performance and relatively low price point this is a great value as well.
- 30.4 megapixel
- Full frame camera capable of great stills and video capture
- Popular with professional and hobbyist photographers
- Excellent value
Sony a7R IV
This full frame Sony offers an insane 61 megapixel resolution with the Exmore R CMOS image sensor. This camera provides truly stunning image quality. The burst speed is fast at up to 10fps and it offers AE/AF tracking mode. The 567 phase detection AF is fast and accurate. It provides real time subject tracking and recognition as well. The color contrast is sharp and realistic helping you create stunning shots. The color accuracy is one of the best on the market. This camera not only takes amazing still shots it also captures HD 4k video making it a very versatile model.
- Impressive 61 megapixels
- Stunning image quality
- Realistic color and contrast
- Excellent still shot and video capture performance
Nature camera Features To Look For
Landscape and nature photographers do not require high frame rates or the fastest autofocus systems as the majority of their subjects are not moving fast. There are times when a more sophisticated ISO system is needed but all of the picks above provide what you need. Most of the time you will not need to go above an ISO of 400, especially if you will be shooting with a tripod.
The primary feature to consider when shooting landscape and nature is the megapixel count. A high resolution camera is needed to capture the natural occurring contrast in your subjects. Another key point is that most pros will tune their images in their software system later.
Because you will be outside and subjecting your camera to the elements, a weatherproof camera is going to be best. The build quality of the top rated cameras is very important as a poorly built camera will not be as durable and require replacement more frequently. The top picks on the list offer weather proofing so that your camera can withstand moisture and bumps while out in the field.
Pros spend much of their time out in the rain, snow, and sleet to capture epic shots and you will have to do the same to get the shot. Every season has it’s own set of particular weather challenges and being prepared for them all is key. Having a camera that can handle these rugged conditions is a must if you are a serious landscape or nature photographer.
Camera Styles to use
DSLR cameras are very popular with landscape photographers. They offer numerous features ideal for the style and they are often well designed and easy to shoot with. These cameras have a mechanical mirror system that reflects the light from the lens to the image sensor. Once the shutter is triggered the shutter opens to allow the light in, the amount of light let in depends on your aperture setting. Then that light goes to the sensor.
This system works very well for landscape settings and it is very fast with a max of 14fps. This varies depending on the specific camera model. But remember that being fast is not usually necessary in this particular photography style. As a matter of fact, most of the time you will be shooting with a smaller aperture meaning that a fast shutter speed is not ideal.
DSLR cameras are popular in nature photography because they are very versatile and come with numerous lens and gear options.
What is the right Sensor size
You will notice that both crop frame and full frame models are recommended. These terms refer to the size of the camera’s image sensor. The key to remember is that the full frame sensor is larger than a crop frame.
A crop frame sensor will take the focal length of your lens and multiply it. It multiplies it between 1.3x and 1.6x, and the exact amount varies between makes and models.
The rule of thumb is that the larger the image sensor the better your image quality will be. Because of this, full frame cameras generally will provide you with a better dynamic range which will produce clearer image detail and lower image noise. On the flip side, crop sensor cameras are great for shooting at a distance so it is a balancing act.
Mirrorless camera advantages
Many professionals prefer shooting with a mirrorless camera. Many of these cameras meet and even exceed the performance of the top DSLR cameras. A mirrorless camera is designed so as the reflective mirror is no longer needed. This makes a lighter and more streamlined camera. The images are instead created via an electronic viewfinder, LiveView, or a rear facing LCD screen.
The sensor sizes in these types of cameras varies a lot. Some offer small crop sensors while others offer full frame sensors. Many of these models provide you with focus peaking and enhanced video capture. One downside is that these cameras generally offer a significantly shorter battery life to that of an SLR.
Mirrorless cameras can be an excellent option for those looking to shoot nature and landscape photography but there are considerations to take into account. The smaller size is very attractive to those hiking deep for their shots. They are usually very lightweight and so are their compatible lenses. This alone makes these cameras something to consider.
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