One of the key aspect of our blog is capturing wildlife in its natural habitat, which definitely requires more of specialised Camera Gear and is largely not possible with a smartphone camera (due to the super tiny sensor & lens), especially when wildlife is most active during early mornings and late evenings. I started with 30x zoom Sony HX50V but as I learnt more about the photography basics, camera sensor sizes & formats, I soon upgraded to Canon 60D with 55-250mm Zoom lens. This was my kit for quite sometime till the Canon 60D met with an unfortunate accident. I have been using a Canon 7d Mark II with 400mm f/5.6 prime (scroll to the end for our entire gear list) for more than 2 years now.
We get a lot of queries on what’s our gear, so here is a listing of camera gear that we have tried and highly recommend. Note that these are our own recommendations and definitely not the best ones. They are also more in a range of hobbyist to semi-professional category considering a reasonable budget from Wildlife Photography perspective. In the end, its not the camera but the eye behind the camera that matters the most :-).
Few tips before buying gear:
– Make sure you get the basics right. A basic photography will help you to clear lot of basic concepts and if you have time, you can learn many of these concepts via Youtube videos as well. You don’t need a DSLR for this, a basic point & shoot camera will do. Many smart phones also have a manual mode where you can play around the settings to learn.
– Short list the gear as per your budget, and than rent the equipment over a weekend and give it try. Along with the image quality the equipment produces, its very important that you are comfortable with the equipment.
– Once you have invested in gear, stick to it. There will be better gear coming out every 6 months to 1 year. There will always be some or the other limitation with you gear, learn the strong and weak points of your gear and work accordingly to bring the best out of your gear.
– Before investing, compare the prices on Amazon, Flipkart, (Adorama / bnhphotovideo for US), as well as with local authorised dealers in your city.
– Do check for second hand gear as well. Most of these cameras & lenses are well built and can last real long. So if used well, you can get a very good deal.
– Do your research well on compatibility of Camera & Lens. e.g. the Canon 24mm STM will not work on a Canon Full Frame series camera like 6D, 5D & 1D. They are designed to work only with APSC format Canon DSLRS.
– Wildlife is one of the costliest hobby with lot of time, effort and money spent in a 2-3 day photography trip. And incase you are a hobbyist, do consider renting Camera Gear. Say you are interested only in photographing Bengal tigers and will be doing 2 trips in a year, the total renting cost for a Canon 80D with Canon 100-400 lens will be approximately Rs.15000/- for both the trips, while purchasing that Gear will cost you over Rs.2,00,000/-
So if we haven’t bored you enough already, here are some of our favourite recommendations from Wildlife photography perspective. We have never tried any Mirrorless (except the Advance Point & Shoot cameras) and MFT cameras hence they are not in the list however they also offer very good image quality and have their own advantages & disadvantages. Do check their reviews on Youtube and on other photography websites. Note that this is very basic guide and request everyone to do their own research before investing your hard earned money. Incase of any specific queries, do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
APSC Camera bodies:
Here are some of the the semi-professional to professional APSC format DSLRs one can buy who is keen on taking wildlife photography seriously.
Full Frame bodies:
Keeping budget in check, we found only these two bodies to fall within the price range. For someone who will be focussing on on Macro / Landscapes, these should be preferred over APSC format cameras.
These are specialised lens for photographing distant subject, wildlife in particular. Note that there are better lenses than the ones listed below, however the following are some of the best bang for lenses – keeping your budget in check and giving very good image quality. For optimum image quality, we would recommend you to check out the faster prime lens like 300mm f/2.8, 400mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4, 600mm f/4 and so on.
These is the most common category and has a lot of options, hence just listing some of the most budget friendly lenses here. There are many excellent lens here like the classic 24-70mms but they come at a cost. I have included these lens more from general nature / landscape photography perspective.