Best Wildlife Camera: 10 Cameras For Wildlife Photography

best wildlife camera

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my options for upgrading my old camera. I’m certainly not a professional photographer but I do enjoy photographing wildlife out there in nature. 

The difficult question is, how to choose the right camera for the job. Modern cameras are not cheap and I’d like to give you some solid advice before pulling the trigger(squeezing the shutter) on your next purchase.  

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In this article, I’m going to cover a few different types of cameras that I’ve used and give you a quick rundown on what they can be used for. Before we get into that, here are the top picks for wildlife cameras: 

Top Picks

  • Best budget wildlife camera – Panasonic Lumix
  • Best point and shoot- Nikon Coolpix p1000
  • Best Deal – Nikon D3500 bundle 
  • Best camera for Bird photography – Canon EOS 90D
  • The best point and shoot camera for wildlife photography- Canon Powershot SX70

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6 Best Wildlife Cameras Comparison:

Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ901-BK 20MP Digital Camera with 90X Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black)
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch...
Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen...
Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2" LCD, Black with Universal Camera Strap with Quick...
Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with AF-P 18-55mm and 70-300mm Zoom Lens + 32GB Card + Accessory Bundle
Canon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual...
Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ901-BK 20MP Digital Camera with 90X Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black)
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch...
Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen...
Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2" LCD, Black with Universal Camera Strap with Quick...
Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with AF-P 18-55mm and 70-300mm Zoom Lens + 32GB Card + Accessory Bundle
Canon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual...
Optical Zoom
90x
60x (1200mm equivalent)
65x (1365mm)
125x(3000mm equivalent)
300mm 
N/A
Megapixels
20MP
16.1MP
20.3MP
16.7MP
24.2MP
32.5MP
Weight
1.1lbs
1.24lbs
1.36lbs
3lb 2oz
12.9oz (Body only) + 14.2oz 70-300mm lens
1.32lbs
Type
Bridge point and shoot
Bridge style Point and shoot
Bridge Point and Shoot
Bridge style point and shoot
DSLR
DSLR
Video
HD 1080p
Full HD 1080i/p
2160p
4k HD
1080p
2160p
Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ901-BK 20MP Digital Camera with 90X Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black)
Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ901-BK 20MP Digital Camera with 90X Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black)
Optical Zoom
90x
Megapixels
20MP
Weight
1.1lbs
Type
Bridge point and shoot
Video
HD 1080p
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch...
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch...
Optical Zoom
60x (1200mm equivalent)
Megapixels
16.1MP
Weight
1.24lbs
Type
Bridge style Point and shoot
Video
Full HD 1080i/p
Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen...
Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen...
Optical Zoom
65x (1365mm)
Megapixels
20.3MP
Weight
1.36lbs
Type
Bridge Point and Shoot
Video
2160p
Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2" LCD, Black with Universal Camera Strap with Quick...
Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2" LCD, Black with Universal Camera Strap with Quick...
Optical Zoom
125x(3000mm equivalent)
Megapixels
16.7MP
Weight
3lb 2oz
Type
Bridge style point and shoot
Video
4k HD
Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with AF-P 18-55mm and 70-300mm Zoom Lens + 32GB Card + Accessory Bundle
Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with AF-P 18-55mm and 70-300mm Zoom Lens + 32GB Card + Accessory Bundle
Optical Zoom
300mm 
Megapixels
24.2MP
Weight
12.9oz (Body only) + 14.2oz 70-300mm lens
Type
DSLR
Video
1080p
Canon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual...
Canon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual...
Optical Zoom
N/A
Megapixels
32.5MP
Weight
1.32lbs
Type
DSLR
Video
2160p

The Bridge Point and Shoots

Bridge point and shoot cameras are, in my opinion, the best place to start when looking for the best camera for wildlife photography.  Beginner-friendliness, versatility, user-friendliness, and affordability are the real selling points of this group of cameras. 

While they don’t offer the image quality of the DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, if you’re looking for a compact camera that can be used for close-ups and long-distance wildlife photography, the bridge point and shoot category is the best place to look.

1. Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ901-BK

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This camera by Kodak has all the right specs. This model packs features like a shooting speed of 5 frames per second, a massive zoom with image stabilization, an articulating LCD display, the ability to shoot in RAW format, and wifi connectivity. 

At this price point, you can expect this model to perform a little less well than its more expensive competitors. Nevertheless, this is an affordable camera for wildlife photography.  

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: 90x
  • Megapixels: 20MP
  • Weight: 1.1lbs
  • Type: Bridge point and shoot
  • Video: HD 1080p 
  • Lcd: 3 inches

Pros:

  • Good price point

Cons:

  • Slow autofocus

Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ901-BK 20MP Digital Camera with 90X Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black)
  • 90x Optical Zoom and a 20 MP CMOS Sensor
  • 5 fps Burst Shooting
  • 3" Articulating LCD (920K Pixels)
  • 360 Degree Scan Panorama
  • JPEG and RAW file format ; Wi-Fi Connection ; Wirelessly Control with your iOS/Android Device

2. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70

best a, best camera for nature photography

One of the most important things to look for in a camera for wildlife photography is the ability to take a lot of pictures in a little time. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 answers this call with up to 9 frames per second(fps) in 3 shot bursts or 2 fps in continuous autofocus. 

This camera has a powerful zoom and the image stabilization system needed to reduce shaking and blurring at those immense magnifications, especially in low light situations. This camera also has a decent battery life and can take up to 400 stills per charge.

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: 60x (1200mm equivalent)
  • Megapixels: 16.1MP
  • Weight: 1.24lbs
  • Type: Bridge style Point and shoot
  • Video: Full HD 1080i/p
  • Lcd: 3 inches

Pros:

  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • Lower quality screen than competitors

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch...
  • 16.1MP 1/2.3" BSI MOS Sensor Venus Engine Image Processor
  • Lumix DC Vario 60x Optical Zoom Lens 35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 20-1200mm
  • 3.0" 460k-Dot LCD Monitor 0.20" 202k-Dot Electronic Viewfinder
  • Full HD 1080i AVCHD Video at 60 fps Built-In Windshield Zoom Microphone
  • POWER O.I.S. with Active Mode Creative Controls, Panorama, and Retouch

3. Canon Powershot SX70

affordable camera for wildlife photography

The Canon Powershot SX70 offers a powerful, 65x optical zoom which is great for getting shots of wildlife at long distances without disturbing their natural behavior. This camera features a continuous shooting mode capable of capturing up to 10fps.

This camera features wifi and Bluetooth connectivity to share your images with other devices. For those interested in filming, the 4k resolution means life-like nature filming is easy.

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: 65x (1365mm)
  • Megapixels: 20.3MP
  • Weight: 1.36lbs
  • Type: Bridge Point and Shoot
  • Video: 2160p
  • Lcd: 3 inches

Pros:

  • Fast continuous shooting
  • Lightweight 

Cons:

  • The settings on this camera are not as easy to figure out as in other models

Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen...
  • Powerful 65x optical zoom
  • 203 Megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor
  • 4K video and 4K time-lapse movie
  • 039-Type Approx 236-million dot, OLED EVF
  • Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your compatible Canon camera into a high-quality webcam

4. Nikon COOLPIX P1000

best camera for wildlife photography beginner

The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is a serious point and shoot. This camera will capture up to 7fps and has shutter speeds as low as 1/4000s for ultra-fast action shots. This camera has full manual controls but will also do all the hard work for you with an excellent auto mode.

What really sets this camera apart, however, is its zoom. With 125x optical zoom, this is a seriously powerful camera, capable of amazing close-up and long-distance photography.

After a charge of 3 hours, this camera will take around 250 shots.

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: 125x(3000mm equivalent)
  • Megapixels: 16.7MP
  • Weight: 3lb 2oz
  • Type: Bridge style point and shoot
  • Video: 4k HD
  • Lcd: 3.2 inches

Pros:

  • Exceptional zoom

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Poor battery life

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2" LCD, Black with Universal Camera Strap with Quick...
  • 3000mm optical zoom-the Most powerful zoom Lens ever put on a Nikon COOLPIX camera
  • 4K ultra HD video with HDMI out, stereo sound and an accessory hot-shoe
  • Quick Release
  • Extra Fine Corduroy and Italian Top Grain Leather

The DSLRs

DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras have traditionally been the choice of serious and professional photographers looking for the best camera for nature photography. These cameras are larger, heavier, less versatile, and more expensive than the point-and-shoot models. 

Although entry-level DSLRs are often sold as package deals with lenses included, if you plan on getting serious about your photography, you will most likely be buying the camera body and lens separately. 

5. Nikon D3500

best camera for nature and wildlife photography

As an entry into the intimidating world of DSLR cameras, this one checks all the right boxes because it comes out of the box, ready to use with lenses. 300mm is about the minimum lens size usable for distance wildlife photography but is just fine for larger animals and birds at close distance. 

This camera will take up to an impressive 1550 shots on a single battery charge and can shoot at 5fps.

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: 300mm 
  • Megapixels: 24.2MP
  • Weight: 12.9oz (Body only) + 14.2oz 70-300mm lens
  • Type: DSLR
  • Video: 1080p
  • Lcd: 3inches

Pros:

  • High-quality images
  • Great battery life

Cons:

  • Large size
  • Weaker zoom with supplied lenses than point and shoots

Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with AF-P 18-55mm and 70-300mm Zoom Lens + 32GB Card + Accessory Bundle
  • This Grace Photo Camera Bundle Comes Complete With Manufacturer Supplied Accessories(U.S. Compatible) and a 1 Year Seller Provided Warranty,...
  • Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera (International Version) 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor; EXPEED 4 Image Processor; No Optical Low-Pass Filter; Native...
  • Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens - F-Mount Lens/DX Format , 27-82.5mm (35mm Equivalent) , Super Integrated Coating , Pulse...
  • Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens ,F-Mount Lens/DX Format,105-450mm (35mm Equivalent),Aperture Range: f/4.5-6.3 to f/32,One...
  • 32GB High Speed Class 10 Memory Card + USB SD Card Reader + Nikon Deluxe Digital SLR Camera Case + 55mm 3 Piece Filter Kit + 55mm Threaded...

6. Canon EOS 90D

best point and shoot camera for wildlife photography

The Canon EOS 90D is a great camera body, ideal for the serious wildlife photography enthusiast. Capable of taking 10 frames per second at shutter speeds of 1/8000 and an ISO rating of 25,600, this camera is able to freeze action for great wildlife photographs. 

Features:

  • Features Bluetooth and wifi connectivity
  • Optical Zoom: N/A
  • Megapixels: 32.5MP
  • Weight: 1.32lbs
  • Type: DSLR
  • Video: 2160p
  • Lcd: 3 inches

Pros:

  • Superior image quality
  • Superfast shooting

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a lens

Canon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual...
  • High image quality with 32.5 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
  • High-speed continuous shooting of up to 10 fps with no time Lag during ovf shooting
  • 4K UHD 30P/ Full HD 120P video
  • 45-Point All Cross-type AF System supports up to 27 points with an F/8 metering
  • Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your Canon camera into a high-quality webcam, or do the same using a...

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are one of the newer innovations in photography. These cameras offer almost all the benefits of the DSLR but tend to come in a smaller, lighter package. Being a newer design, there are fewer lenses available for these cameras, although more and more are being introduced. 

7. Sony Alpha A6100 Mirrorless Camera

camera for nature photography

The Sony Alpha A6100 has blisteringly fast autofocus and takes up to 11fps, making high-speed photography easy. This camera features a tiltable 3-inch touchscreen for user-friendly functionality.  

This package comes with a 210mm lens which is usable for wildlife photography, but you’ll want to upgrade to something a little longer in time. 

Features:

  • Optical Zoom:  210mm
  • Megapixels: 24.2MP
  • Weight: 1.6lbs
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Video: 2160p
  • Lcd: 3 inches

Pros:

  • Ultra-fast shooting speed and autofocus
  • Touch screen display

Cons:

  • Low zoom lens

Sony Alpha A6100 Mirrorless Camera with 16-50mm and 55-210mm Zoom Lenses, ILCE6100Y/B, Black
  • World’s fastest AF at 0 02 sec W/ real-time AF & Object tracking
  • Wide 425-phase/425-contrast detection AF points over 84% of sensor
  • 24 2MP APS-C Exmor sensor w/ front end LSI and ISO up to 51 200
  • Up to 11fps continuous shooting at 24 2MP RAW w/ AF/AE tracking
  • Real-time AF Tracking Real-time Eye AF for human and animal

8. Nikon Z6

 best camera for bird photography

This full-frame mirrorless camera body is able to capture images at 12 fps at shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000s, all in near-perfect silence. 

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: N/A
  • Megapixels: 24.5MP
  • Weight: 1.29lbs
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Video: 2160p
  • Lcd: 3.2 inches 

Pros:

  • Excellent low-light performance

Cons:

  • Does not come with a lens

Sale
Nikon Z6 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Body
  • Large, full frame Z mount for Revolutionary optical performance
  • Nikon-designed 24. 5MP backside illuminated image sensor
  • 273-Point on-sensor Phase detect AF system
  • Up to 12 fps; 4K Ultra-HD video; 6K time-lapse; 1080P/120Fps slow motion
  • Compatible with NIKKOR Z lenses, over 360 F-mount NIKKOR lenses

Waterproof Compact Point and Shoots

This type of camera isn’t your traditional wildlife camera but I thought I’d include it here because of all the fun I’ve been able to have taking wildlife photos underwater with this camera. 

From coral reefs to cold mountain streams, cameras like this are great for diving with or just sticking underwater to photograph things like frogs in a new and interesting way. Of course, this camera can also be used on dry land for taking photos of reptiles, bugs, and other things that you can get closer to.

9. Olympus Tough TG-6

 best camera for bird photography

This camera is almost indestructible, so you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged on your next outdoor adventure. The obvious weakness of this camera is its lack of zoom, but with a respectable 12MP sensor and a super macro function allowing you to focus on subjects less than ½ inch from the camera lens, the Olympus Tough will allow you to photograph things you’ve never thought about capturing before.

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: 4x
  • Megapixels: 12MP 
  • Weight: 0.56lbs
  • Type: Ultracompact point and shoot
  • Video: 4K UHD 2160p
  • Lcd: 3 inches

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Ultra-tough
  • Compact

Cons:

  • Weak zoom

OLYMPUS Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera, Red
  • Water proof (50 feet /15 meter), dust proof, shock proof (7 feet / 2.1 meter), crush proof (100 kgf), freeze proof (14 degree Fahrenheit /...
  • High resolution F2.0 lens, maximum 8x zoom, true pic VIII, back illuminated CMOS image sensor
  • Variable macro system comprised of 4 macro shooting modes, magnified shooting up to 1 centimeter from the end of the lens
  • 5 underwater shooting modes including underwater microscope, 3 underwater white balance modes
  • 4K movie and full HD 120 fps high speed movies can be recorded. Battery life - Approx. 340 Images (using Toshiba SDHC UHS-I Card Exceria...

Trail Cams

Trail cameras, also known as trophy cameras, are designed to be tied to a tree, or set up on a tripod and left to take pictures for you. They do this by means of a motion sensor that triggers the camera into taking pictures or videos when an animal or bird passes by.

I must admit to really enjoying these cameras. With these trail cams, I’ve been able to capture images of all sorts of shy and interesting wildlife (birds and mammals) that I would otherwise never have been able to see, let alone photograph. 

These cameras are also great for setting up at your bird feeder or birdbath, so you can see who’s been coming and going, while you’re away from home. 

10. Bushnell Trophy Cam Trail Camera

 best camera for bird photography

This trail camera from Bushnell is a great camera for nature photography. It records still images and video footage. A data stamp recording time, date, temperature, GPS coordinates, and moon phase can even be saved to each image, allowing you to learn more about the habits of wildlife. 

This camera takes 8 AA batteries (not included) and can be run for up to a year on a single set, meaning you don’t have to worry about missing anything if you leave this camera out for long periods of time.

Features:

  • Optical Zoom: N/A 
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Weight: N/A
  • Type: Trail camera
  • Video: 720p
  • Lcd: N/A

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Excellent battery life

Cons:

  • Lower quality images

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best camera for nature and wildlife photography can be pretty bewildering. 

When it comes to wildlife photography, it’s best to think about the image you want to capture rather than the machine you want to use to capture it.

If you want a specific type of image, of the best quality and resolution possible, proceed straight to purchasing a DSLR or mirrorless camera and a lens that is suitable for the shooting conditions you’re likely to encounter. 

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a general-purpose, easy-to-use camera to cover a wide variety of subjects and shooting conditions, the modern bridge point and shoots offer the ideal solution. 

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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