Wildlife photography is one of the most rewarding genres of photography. It’s also one of the most challenging. However, times have changed and technology has made it easier. Now there are cameras for wildlife photography that take all the guesswork out of it. Here’s a look at the best wildlife camera options for 2022.
Remember back in the day when you had to be able to anticipate action, pan, and track to capture images of birds in flight? It was hard work. Now, some cameras can do most of the heavy lifting for you. If you have the cash, and you want to get your hands on the best cameras for wildlife photography in 2022, this roundup is for you.
Below, we’re going to look at cameras with groundbreaking sensors, AI-enhanced autofocus and tracking systems, cameras with fast burst rates, and of course, immense amounts of weather sealing. Let’s get into it.
Real-time Animal eye AF? Sign us up! — Sony A1
A list that talks about cameras for wildlife photography that doesn’t include the Sony a1 should be thrown in the trash. The fact is, Sony killed it when they released this camera. This 50-megapixel camera was the first that allowed continued use of the electronic shutter with no penalty to image quality and no rolling shutter.
The stacked 50-megapixel sensor is a thing of beauty. You can rattle off 30 frames per second with full autofocus, including animal eye AF and the camera won’t break a sweat. The Sony a1 features improved weather sealing which is vital to those of us who spend time in the great outdoors. The ergonomics have been improved, and so has the IBIS. The a1 is expensive, but Sony went all in on this camera and it has paid off. If you want wildlife photography to be easy, this might be the camera for you. Check out what all the hype is about in our complete review.
One of the most innovative cameras — Canon EOS R3
The Canon EOS R3 is a Pro body camera with oodles of weather sealing. There’s no doubt that it’s designed to be used and abused in the great outdoors. The EOS R3 uses a stacked 24-megapixel full-frame sensor. The R3 can shoot 30 frames per second with the electronic shutter and 12 frames per second with the mechanical shutter.
However, the real party piece is the eye-controlled autofocus. Look where you want to focus and the camera tracks what you’re looking at. It’s not a new concept but Canon has perfected it in the R3. On top of this, you’ll get the standard pro body dual card slots (CFexpress and UHS-II), 5-axis image stabilization, a 120 frame per second EVF and a vari-angle touchscreen. Again, this camera is expensive. Still, if you want one of the best cameras for wildlife photography in 2022, you’re going to have to pay for it.
Wildlife photography made easy — Olympus E-M1X
The Olympus OM-D E-M1X received a major firmware update that added several features that makes wildlife photography easy. On top of the AI tracking features that made this one of the best cameras for wildlife photography to begin with, Olympus added bird autofocus and enhanced focus algorithms that make tracking even the fastest animals a painless task. The E-M1X also features IPX1 rated weather sealing which means it can withstand an intense amount of moisture and dust.
This pro-body camera houses two batteries. There’s an articulating screen and a 20-megapixel micro four-thirds sensor that captures a ton of detail. Dual card slots, 7.5 stops of IBIS, 60 FPS (single AF), 18 fps of continuous shooting with the silent electronic shutter, and more. You can get all of this for under $2,000! Craziness! The E-M1X is not a new camera, but it’s still one of the best cameras for wildlife photography in 2022. Still not sold? The lead image was captured with this camera. It’s a stunner; check out our complete review here.
Magic in your hands — Nikon Z 9
The Nikon Z 9 rocked the photography industry when it was announced. The 3D tracking that made Nikon DSLRs so formidable is back in the Z 9. There are 493 autofocus points, a blackout-free real-time EVF, and AI-based tracking and subject recognition that’s game-changing.
Powering the Z 9 is a 45.7-megapixel stacked full-frame sensor. There’s a built-in vertical grip and two CFexpress card slots. The Nikon Z 9 can shoot 20 frames per second and the buffer can handle 1000 RAW files. This camera is an absolute beast that will take on the great outdoors with its weather sealing. It’s perhaps the best mirrorless camera to date, and certainly one of the best cameras for wildlife photography in 2022. However, like other cameras on this list, you’re going to have to save your pennies for it.
Still one of the best cameras for wildlife photography — Nikon D500
Yes, a DSLR made the list. It should not shock anyone that the legendary Nikon D500 is here. This camera might be six years old now, but it is still one of the best cameras for wildlife photography. The Nikon D500 boasts fast burst rates (10 fps). Then there’s weather sealing, stunning high ISO performance and dual card slots.
The 3D tracking that Nikon used in this camera made sports and wildlife photography beyond easy. Photographers have access to 153 autofocus points, Wi-Fi connectivity and a large 3.2-inch LCD. Go to your local wildlife refuge or look along the sidelines at any sporting event and you’ll see plenty of Nikon D500s still in use. It’s that good. It’s one of the best cameras for wildlife photography in 2022.