Which are the best beginner cameras for wildlife photography? Is there one camera that we can lay our hands-on and say this is the greatest ever? One that will give us the best result, especially as beginners? These are some of the more popular questions that beginner wildlife photographers tend to ask.
While every camera brand is vying for that coveted top spot, it is very hard to say that one camera is the best. With technology changing at such a breathtaking pace that no single camera continues to dominate the segment for long.
When trying to find the best beginner’s camera for wildlife photography, one tends to look at the budget range. Here are some of the cameras best paired with beginners for photography that also stand out when it comes to wildlife photography. Quite simply, the best beginner cameras for wildlife photography:
1. Nikon D7500
The D7500 is a mid-range crop DSLR that should interest a lot of users who are interested in wildlife photography and are looking for a budget or beginner camera. The reason we selected the D7500 is that it comes with a fast continuous shooting speed. This is important for shooting wildlife photography. Plus, the D7500 is a very well-made camera with a host of other features.
Sensor: The sensor of the camera is a 20.9-megapixel CMOS crop unit. In terms of resolution, the D7500 has a decent resolution.
Image Processor: Paired with the sensor is an EXPEED 5 image processor.
Continuous Shooting Speed: The D7500 can shoot at 8 fps. While that is not the best in the industry it is still reasonably fast. You have to keep an eye on the buffer though. Continuous shooting at high mode will quickly exhaust the buffer. Shorter and measured bursts will ensure that you get more shots without overrunning the buffer. This applies to all the other budget segment cameras.
AF points: The D7500 uses the 51-point Multi-CAM 3500FX II autofocus system. It includes 15 cross-type AF points.
Eye-AF: The D7500 does not come with Eye-tracking. However, it comes with a decent subject tracking feature. Plus, you can use the Group-area AF mechanism that ensures that you have a better lock on the subject.
Card Slots: The D7500 comes with only a single card slot that accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) cards.
Image Stabilization: There is no in-built image stabilization on the camera. You can, however, use lenses that come with image stabilization built-in.
Rear LCD Screen: The rear 3.2-inch LCD screen on the D7500 is a tilting unit with a resolution of 922,000 dots.
Viewfinder: The 18.5mm optical pentaprism-powered viewfinder gives you 100% frame coverage.
Who should buy it
This camera should interest beginner wildlife photographers and those looking to graduate from a smartphone or a small point-and-shoot camera. Please note, this is a budget unit, costing under a thousand bucks. But for that, you get a robust build quality, excellent handling, sharp images, and the ability to use a wide range of lenses according to your choice. This camera is compatible with all of Nikon’s existing lineup of full-frame and crop lenses including a bunch of D lenses as well.
2. Canon EOS 90D Camera
We love the EOS 90D. It is a great all-around camera perfect for several reasons. One of those reasons is that the camera is a good wildlife shooter.
Sensor: The EOS 90D is powered by a 32.5-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. In terms of image resolution, the EOS 90D is the best camera on this list.
Image Processor: Paired with that sensor is a DIGIC 8 image-processing engine.
Continuous Shooting Speed: The continuous shooting speed of the EOS 90D is up to 10 fps. Do take a note of the buffer size though. Always shoot in short bursts to save buffer space. Shorter bursts allow more time for the camera to process the images and save them to the memory card.
AF points: The EOS 90D uses a 45-point all cross-type AF system. The system also comes with Canon’s Dual-pixel CMOS autofocusing mechanism.
Eye-AF: There is no Eye-AF mechanism on the camera.
Card Slots: The EOS 90D comes with only a single card slot that accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II) compliant cards.
Image Stabilization: There is no in-body image stabilization system on the camera. But the camera works with a range of lenses that come with built-in image stabilization.
Viewfinder: The 22 mm optical pentaprism-powered viewfinder offers a bright view of the entire frame.
Who should buy it
The EOS 90D is a semi-budget camera. It is not the cheapest unit in the market. That said, the cheapest camera will be utterly at sea when shooting wildlife photography. You need at least 7 to 8 frames per second continuous shooting speed. And that can only be provided by cameras which are in the mid-range.
Plus, handling and AF performances are also important aspects of the camera. The EOS 90D, therefore, fits that specification well.
3. Canon EOS Rebel T8i (EOS 850D)
Sensor: The sensor inside the camera is powered by a 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor.
Image Processor: The EOS Rebel T8i is an entry-level camera. Under 800 bucks this is one of the most reasonably priced camera bodies that you can find for shooting wildlife photography. Considering that wildlife is one of the most demanding genres of photography. Let’s dive right in and check the specifications of the camera.
Continuous Shooting Speed: Continuous shooting speed on the EOS Rebel T8i is 7 fps. It is great? No, but reasonable. If you can fire the shutter release in measured bursts, then you can get a few keepers.
AF points: The EOS Rebel T8i uses a 45-point all cross-type autofocusing system.
Eye-AF: The EOS Rebel T8i does not have a dedicated Eye-AF tracking system. You can however use one of the cross-type points to continuously track your subject when it is moving. That said the system comes with a face detection system. However, it does not work that reliably when shooting animals and birds.
Card Slots: The EOS Rebel T8i comes with a single memory card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Image Stabilization: Canon’s DSLR systems don’t come with a built-in body image stabilization system. But, it is compatible with all EF-S lenses that have image stabilization built-in.
Viewfinder: The 19mm viewfinder on the EOS Rebel T8i offers only 95% coverage of the scene in front of it. Please note that it is powered by a pentamirror and not a pentaprism.
Who should buy it
Entry-level and beginner wildlife photography enthusiasts should be able to get the most out of this camera. This is a budget unit and you still have to add a proper telephoto lens to complete the set-up. But we feel this is a nice camera to start your wildlife photography career.
4. Pentax K-70 Camera
Pentax makes one of the most well-made camera systems in the world. The thing one likes about their cameras is the robust build quality and often weather sealing which is available even in the mid-segment DSLRs. The Pentax K-70, however, does not have weather sealing. It is rated as weather-resistant only, able to withstand temperatures down to -10°C. Let’s quickly take a look at the main specifications of the camera.
Sensor: The sensor inside the K-70 is a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS unit.
Image Processor: Paired with the image sensor is a PRIME MII image processor.
Continuous Shooting Speed: The K-70 is capable of shooting at a speed of 6 fps when shooting at continuous high mode. Though the buffer capacity of the camera is not that high. That is true with all of the budget cameras that we have listed here.
AF points: The K-70 uses the SAFOX X autofocus system. This system uses an 11-point phase-detection mechanism with 9 cross-type sensors in the middle.
Eye-AF: The K-70 does not have an Eye-AF mechanism.
Card Slots: There is only one card slot that uses SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) cards.
Image Stabilization: The K-70 is also the only camera on this list that comes with a built-in sensor-shift type image stabilization system.
Viewfinder: The 20.5mm optical viewfinder is decent in size. It is powered by a pentaprism and offers 100% coverage of the view through the lens.
Who should buy it?
The Pentax K-70 is an excellent budget camera for wildlife photography. Apart from the excellent build quality, good weather-resistant quality of the camera, there are a bunch of other reasons too. It is one of the few cameras in this budget range that comes with a selectable Anti-aliasing filter. This allows you to increase the sharpness of the images by bypassing the effects of the anti-aliasing filter.
Budget cameras have several limitations when it comes to shooting wildlife and other demanding photography genres. These genres require the very best in terms of resolution, handling, image quality, and overall performance. We tested out several beginner cameras and we finally feel that the Canon EOS 90D is the overall best beginner camera for wildlife photography.