Wildlife photography is a highly specialized type of photography that isn’t suitable for everyone — but those who enjoy capturing images of beautiful creatures in their natural habitat experience a thrill unlike any other. If you are considering getting into wildlife photography, you will need the proper tools to get started. This begins with nailing down the best camera for wildlife photography that will help you capture interactions without disturbing your subjects. Stick with DSLRs, as they maintain the fast shooting rate, autofocus performance, ISO capabilities, and telephoto reach required for this particular type of photography. Check out our Top 5 list below featuring the best cameras suited to wildlife photography.

1. Canon EOS 5DS R

Canon EOS 5DS R Digital SLR

The Canon EOS 5DS R is an excellent camera for wildlife photography as it delivers a stunning amount of detail. Even after producing your work as large prints, the sharpness remains to provide ultra-high resolution images. The incredible image quality and performance is owed largely to the low-pass filter effect cancellation that this camera maintains. Further, if your goal is to capture beautiful wildlife creatures in action, you can use this camera to easily film exquisite videos in Full HD 1080p.

  • Sensor: Full-Frame CMOS
  • Image Processor: Dual DIGIC 6
  • Megapixels: 50.6
  • Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second
  • Autofocus: 61 Points (41 Cross-Type)
  • ISO: Auto, 100-6400; Extended, 50-12800
  • Continuous Shooting: 5 frames per second

The Canon EOS 5DS R costs $3,699. A suggested lens pairing is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens, which sells for $1,749.

2. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Parent

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is an amazing camera, delivering a very high continuous shooting rate of a maximum 16 frames per second, which is quite astounding. The fast rate by which camera can shoot makes it ideal for capturing images of all sorts of animals, especially those who largely prefer to stay out of the limelight. Providing great images even in lowlight conditions, thanks to the expanded ISO range maximum of 409,600, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is the perfect camera for wildlife photography.

  • Sensor: Full-Frame CMOS
  • Image Processor: Dual DIGIC 6+
  • Megapixels: 20.2
  • Video: DCI 4K at 60 frames per second
  • Autofocus: 61 Points (41 Cross-Type)
  • ISO: Auto, 100-51200; Extended, 50-409600
  • Continuous Shooting: 14 frames per second; 16 frames per second in Live View

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II costs $5,999. A suggested lens pairing is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens, which sells for $1,749.

3. Nikon D5

Nikon D5 20.8 MP FX-Format Digital SLR

Another superior camera for wildlife photography is the Nikon D5. Although a bit bulky and heavy in the hand, the lowlight performance that it offers really can’t be beat. The 153-point autofocus system, including 99 cross-type points, makes it easy to keep an eye on your subject at all times. This camera was built for capturing fast sports and similar events, so you won’t have a problem snapping a photo of a speedy animal just before it disappears. The weather sealing of this camera also makes it ideal for exterior shooting in any condition.

  • Sensor: FX-Format CMOS
  • Image Processor: EXPEED 5
  • Megapixels: 20.8
  • Video: 4K UHD at 30 frames per second
  • Autofocus: 153 Points (99 Cross-Type)
  • ISO: Auto, 100-102400; Extended, 50-3280000
  • Continuous Shooting: 12 frames per second

The Nikon D5 costs $6,497. A suggested lens pairing is the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Lens, which sells for $2,397.

4. Pentax K-1

Pentax K-1 Full Frame DSLR Parent

What makes the Pentax K-1 an excellent camera for wildlife photography? The highlight here is the magnesium alloy body because it can effortlessly handle whatever type of weather conditions you decide to brave. Whether in frigid temperatures, snow, sleet, rain, or anything else, it simply doesn’t matter — this camera was built for the rugged outdoors. Also, this unit offers a great bang for your buck, given the overall quality that it provides. The Pentax K-1 serves as a professional-level camera due to its functionality and is user-friendly enough to suit a beginner photographer as well.

  • Sensor: Full-Frame CMOS
  • Image Processor: PRIME IV
  • Megapixels: 36.4
  • Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second
  • Autofocus: 33 Points (25 Cross-Type)
  • ISO: Auto, 100-204800
  • Continuous Shooting: 4.5 frames per second

The Pentax K-1 is available in four configurations: the body only at $1,897; the body with a 28-105mm lens, priced at $2,394; the body with a 24-70mm lens, priced at $2,994; and the body with a 15-30mm lens, priced at $3,197.

5. Sony a7S II

Sony a7S II ILCE7SM2-B 12.2 MP E-mount Camera

Finally, the last notable camera for wildlife photography is the Sony a7S II. This is an extraordinary camera when it comes to capturing images of the great outdoors. The lowlight capabilities are incredible, making it so that you can capture the smallest creatures in the dimmest of lighting — that alone makes the Sony a7S II a stellar choice for any wildlife photographer. Take note, however, that this camera does not maintain the same caliber of weather sealing as other options mentioned above. So, if you intend to explore an area in which the weather can be unpredictable, keep that in mind.

  • Sensor: Full-Frame CMOS
  • Image Processor: BIONZ X
  • Megapixels: 12.2
  • Video: Internal 4K UHD at 30 frames per second and 1080p at 120 frames per second
  • Autofocus: 169 Points
  • ISO: Auto, 100-102400; Extended, 50-409600
  • Continuous Shooting: 5 frames per second

The Sony Alpha a7S II is available in four configurations: the body only at $2,498; the body with a 24-70mm f/4 lens, priced at $3,724; and the body with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, priced at $4,796.

Summing Up

As you can see, there are various options in terms of the best camera for wildlife photography. While some cameras excel more in ISO or continuous shooting rate than in autofocus or something else, each camera has a strong suit that makes it perfect for taking photos out in the wild. Regardless of which camera option you select for your adventures, you are sure to experience great success in capturing images of these beautiful creatures. Feel free to reach out to us — leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts on the camera selections above.

Images: depositphotos.com.