There is a lot to consider when searching for the best cameras for nature photography. Many wild animals are known to be skittish, especially birds. Plus, you will want to be able to take clear macros of flowers and catch plants swaying in the breeze without a blur.
If you want to get quality photos, then you are going to need a powerful camera to match. You want a camera that can focus on moving animals, rivers, flowers, and much more.
You will first need to decide if you want a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. From there, it is going to be easier to pick what you think would be best. This guide is going to cover some of our favorite cameras for nature photography and let you know their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Nikon D850
If you want to take professional quality nature photos, then this is the perfect camera for you. The Nikon D850 works wonders at showcasing all of the small details in your scene. It has great performance in low light and a great battery life. You could spend all morning shooting quality photos before you need to recharge.
The D850 is a DSLR, but it’s not overly bulky and pretty easy to hold. The shutter activates immediately, so you can trust this camera to get perfect last-second shots. The viewfinder window is amazing at letting in a lot of light as well, making it easier to see what you’re doing and allowing you to capture better quality in your macro pictures.
The autofocus feature is great for tracking your subject, making it perfect for photographing animals as they move or a flower swaying in a breeze. The camera can focus on them and retain clarity in the photo, even if the subject is moving rapidly.
To find out what else we like about this camera and see how it performs, head on over to our complete Nikon D850 review.
2. Fujifilm X-H1
As a nature photographer, you want a camera that focuses and reacts fast. When it comes to animals, you need to capture photos in a fraction of a second, with the image still turning out clear. The Fujifilm X-H1 has an extremely fast trigger, locks onto your subject, and can do rapid burst shots. As a bonus, the camera includes many filters and a crisp viewfinder that is helpful in macro photography.
When spending a lot of time outside, you also need a camera that isn’t going to get damaged by the elements. The water- and dust-proofing on the X-H1 is solid. If you get caught in rain, you don’t really have to worry about the camera getting damaged. But still, best to keep some extra bags handy to use as a camera covering just in case.
This unit is mirrorless and compact, making it easy to hold and transport, which is perfect if you plan on trekking out in the woods. If you have a shaky hand, then you’ll be happy to know the X-H1 also has optical image stabilization and is fast, smooth, and quiet. This combination makes it perfect for capturing birds that are easily startled by the smallest noises. The image stabilization also helps when photographing running water or leaves falling to the ground.
This model has excellent autofocus. You can customize it to follow the speed of your subject or let it know where you want it to focus if the subject starts to move. These features are helpful for any nature photographer. The only real downside to the X-H1 is that it does not have a long battery life. So, you’ll need to bring a backup if you are planning a long outing.
You can get even more info about this camera in our Fujifilm X-H1 review.
3. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon 5D Mark IV has an impressive burst shot speed of 7 fps and takes quality photos, even if your subject starts moving. It is definitely on the more expensive side, however.
It is a professional-grade 30.1MP full-frame DSLR. The autofocus, which is very important to nature photographers, is extremely accurate as well. It can focus on any subject, even at dusk. This makes it great for those who prefer to take pictures in the evening.
This well-rounded camera has many purposes and can be fitted with a quality macro lens. If you enjoy taking macros, then you will be excited to know that the 5D Mark IV can capture stunning close-ups. The value of it is not the best, but it works well and can take some pleasant nature shots if you customize all of your settings.
We go in-depth into the camera’s functions and pros and cons in our complete review of the Canon 5D Mark IV.
4. Sony a7R IV
Sony is a great alternative camera brand. The a7R IV mirrorless camera is compact and easy to hold, making it perfect when you expect to be shooting outdoors for a long time. The camera holds a 60.1MP chip, which makes it as powerful as other quality cameras.
It has features that enable it to record in high detail, with exceptional burst shots. If you want access to sharp photos of your wildlife subject, then this is a pretty good option. It is also a popular camera for underwater macro photography, as it captures close-ups of sea life in detail.
The only downsides of the a7R IV are that it has a high price and produces a larger file size for its photos than other similar cameras. If you can get past both of those, then you can expect to take quality and clear shots with this camera.
The Sony a7R IV was released last year and was immediately considered a heavy-hitter. It offers a lot of really cool features, living up to Sony’s reputation as a leader in the mirrorless camera world.
5. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS (Budget Winner)
In our opinion, out of the best cameras for nature photography, the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is great for those who are just beginning to get into the field. It has a lower price tag for a quality camera and has many of the basic features you want. It will give you clear images and can zoom up to 65x. It has a pretty good battery life and an effective viewfinder as well.
The SX70 HS also includes a feature that helps remove shake, making it perfect for long shooting periods when you might lose your focus. The autofocus feature is not as good as some of the others we mentioned in this guide, but it still works well considering this is a budget option.
So, What Goes into the Best Cameras for Nature Photography?
If you want quality nature images, then you need a high-quality camera that can perform well outside. You will want to look for burst shot capabilities, auto-focusing that can track your subject, and a weatherproof feature that repels both dust and water. Plus, many nature photographers prefer macro capabilities, so they can take close-ups of flowers and foliage.
If you can find all of those features in your camera, then it will work wonders at taking beautiful photos of wildlife and nature. In short, we recommend any one of the cameras in this guide, as they all have what you need to take great nature photographs.