best canon camera for wildlife photography

Best Canon Camera For Wildlife Photography In 2021

Wildlife photography is a challenging but rewarding job. There is something unique and mystical about capturing animals and birds in their full glory and that too in their natural habitat. You can further enhance the experience by having the right photography equipment. This is where the best canon camera for wildlife photography comes into the picture.

Why Canon Wildlife Photography Cameras?

Canon cameras have a reputation for being the best when it comes to taking stunning images in the wild. They are sharp, fast, reliable, and easy to handle. Wildlife photography is very difficult. You need a tough camera which you can put through rigorous use in all kinds of conditions. Fortunately, Canon has got you covered in this regard as well.

Similarly, Canon also offers a wide range of wildlife cameras and compatible telephoto zoom lenses to choose from. It includes the cheapest cameras with just necessary features as well as high-end cameras jam-packed with features and functions. Therefore, the majority of expert wildlife photographers use only Canon cameras.

Best Canon Wildlife Cameras

Our experts have compiled the list of the best cameras for wildlife after extensive research and use. Please keep in mind that they have decades of experience working in different wildlife reserves around the globe. Therefore, they are fully qualified to recommend best Canon wildlife cameras and kits for both aspiring and professional photographers.

So let us see which cameras end up on our list & what is a good camera for wildlife photography.

ImageModel NameSensor Type & ResolutionFrames Per Second Check Price
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II


20.2 MP Full-Frame


14fps


Check Price
Canon PowerShot SX620
Canon PowerShot SX620


20.2 MP Wide Angle


2.5fps


Check Price
Canon EOS 5DS R
Canon EOS 5DS R


50.6 MP Full-Frame


5fps


Check Price
Canon EOS Rebel T5i
Canon EOS Rebel T5i


1801MP APS-C


5fps


Check Price
Canon EOS 80D
Canon EOS 80D


24.2 MP APS-C


7fps


Check Price
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV


30.4 MP Full-Frame


7fps


Check Price
Canon PowerShot ELPh 180
Canon PowerShot ELPh 180


20 MP CCD


0.8fps


Check Price
Canon EOS 90D
Canon EOS 90D


32.5 MP APS-C


10fps


Check Price
Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D Mark II


24. MP APS-C


10fps


Check Price
Canon EOS R6
Canon EOS R6


20 MP Full-Frame


24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor


Check Price

1.    Canon EOS-1D X Mark II: Ultimate Canon Camera for Wildlife Photography

Canon EOS -1D X Mark II is crème de la crème of DSLR cameras. With it is unreal features and superb optic performance, you can use it for all kinds of tasks including capturing wildlife.

Although the camera does not have the highest of resolutions yet its lightning-fast autofocus, rugged body, and unbreakable weather sealing mean it is perfect to be used in the wild.

The impressive continuous shooting speeds of 14fps and 120fps in live view are ideal for shooting running animals and flying birds. You need that kind of speed when you are taking photographs of an adult cheetah sprinting at 120 kilometers per hour.

Similarly, the Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system is not only fast but accurate as well. It has staggering 61 points for you to quickly and accurately track fast-moving animals. In fact, it also enables the camera to capture movements that naked eyes would definitely miss. Besides, the advanced face detection and deep learning autofocus system take the autofocus performance to the next level.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II also delivers a continuous burst of up to 170 images in uncompressed 14-bit RAW format. Once again, such a high burst rate helps you photograph fast-moving wildlife with relative ease.

The camera also has an extremely ISO range and thus, it excels in low light conditions as well.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is a marvelous camera but it also has some drawbacks. The 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor is on the lower side. It is quite heavy and difficult to hold. Similarly, it is very expensive as well.

However, EOS-1DX Mark II does offer the best images and videos and that is what matters most to wildlife photographers.

Pros
  • Rugged and weather-sealed body
  • Lightning-fast autofocus
  • 61 autofocus points
  • Excellent low light performance
  • Fast and reliable animal tracking
  • Best for capturing fast action
  • 14fps continuous shooting speed
Cons
  • Quite heavy
  • Very expensive

2.    Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera: Best Point and Shoot Camera for Wildlife Photography

From the highest end of the price spectrum, we move down to the lowest. Available for only $300, Canon PowerShot SX620 is the greatest model from Canon’s PowerShot point and shoot camera range.

SX620 is an ideal camera for birdwatching because of its 25X optical zoom. Similarly, it has a very intuitive IS that enables you to stable the camera and image. It also a very nice feature for the taking shots of objects that move a lot and fast such as birds and cheetahs.

The camera delivers stunning image performance in all light conditions as it combines the powers of a 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor.

SX20 does not have 4K which is acceptable considering its price and type. However, it records marvelous videos in high definition 1080P. It has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, making it easier for you to share your images and videos on social media.

Pros
  • Very cheap camera
  • Best for birdwatching and fast objects
  • 25x optical zoom
  • Intuitive IS
  • Stunning image performance
Cons
  • The interface could be better

3.    Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR Camera: Best Camera for Detailed Images

best canon camera for wildlife photography

Canon EOS 5DS R is commonly used for wildlife photography and for good reasons. It does trail EOS 5D Mark IV in terms of burst rate and (only 5fps) other features. However, it surpasses all other cameras on our list when it comes to image quality thanks to the whopping 50.6 megapixel sensor.

You would miss some action due to the slow frame rate but the simply awesome image quality would surely compensate for your loss. Similarly, the 50.6 megapixel sensor provides you with a huge cropping bedroom which can be a real asset for any wildlife photographer.

You can also use a lens with a wider focal length to minimize the effects of a slow frame rate. It will help you capture most of the actions as well. Subsequently, you can crop images in the final composition to get the desired results.

Canon EOS 5DS R is an exceptional camera if you want extreme details in your images. The resolution also makes it a great camera for landscapes. It also features a low-pass cancellation filter for enhanced clarity. As a result, it is also an ideal choice for macro work and close-ups.

Pros
  • 50.6 megapixel sensor
  • Superb image quality
  • Extremely detailed images
  • Best for landscapes, macros, and close-ups
Cons
  • Very slow frame rate

4.    Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera: Best Camera for Bird Photography

Canon EOS Rebel T5i is also a very old camera. However, wildlife photographers are still wildly using it, especially for bird photography. It is also an ideal camera for people on a tight budget as well as beginners. It does not have as many bells and whistles as some of the more advanced cameras but it does the job fine, particularly for newcomers.

The Rebel T5i comes with a touchscreen and quite a fast autofocus system, necessary for bird photography. Although the continuous shooting speed of 5fps is somewhat low yet the 18 megapixel sensor delivers very good image quality. The Hybrid CMOS autofocus system and Movie Servo AF with EOS Full HD Movie Mode also catch the moving objects quite easily. This is also one of the best entry level camera for wildlife photography.

Pros
  • Affordable camera
  • Best for birdwatching
  • Best for beginners
  • 3-inch touchscreen
Cons
  • Very low frame rate

5.    Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera: Affordable Camera for Wildlife Photography

best canon camera for wildlife photography

You must consider Canon EOS 80D DSLR if you are looking for the best Canon outdoor camera. It is a step down from the EOS 90D but it is still a very capable camera for nature and wildlife photography.

The camera has 24 megapixel sensor that is good enough for taking high-quality and detailed images. Although there is no 4K recording yet you can record excellent videos in 1080P at 60fps. By the way, most wildlife or nature photographers do not need high video resolution.

The Canon EOS 80D delivers exceptional performance in low light conditions thanks to its extensive ISO range. The continuous shooting speed of 7fps is much less than EOS 90D but still good for capturing the action.

Just like all Canon cameras, the EOS 80D also features Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus coupled with a 45-point autofocus system. Similarly, you experience the thrill of wildlife photography using the camera’s Intelligent Viewfinder.

Available for just around $1000, Canon EOS 80D is quite an affordable camera. It does not have as many features as EOS 90D but it can easily meet your basic wildlife photography needs.

Pros
  • Affordable camera
  • 24 megapixel sensor
  • Excellent image quality
  • Good performance in low light
  • Reasonable burst rate
  • Intelligent viewfinder
  • Wi-Fi and NFC
Cons
  • No 4K

6.    Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Best Budget Camera for Wildlife Photography

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV enjoyed the status of the best Canon camera for wildlife photography for a long time. Now, it has been replaced by some advanced and better cameras such as EOS R6 but it still is a very capable camera for outdoors and wildlife.

It is pertinent no to mention that the Canon EOS 5D series has won more wildlife photography competitions than any other series or camera. EOS 5D Mark IV delivers great details in its images thanks to the 30.4 megapixel sensor. Similarly, its ISO performance is also second to none.

The camera features a fairly advanced 61-point autofocus system and the Dual Pixel autofocus, resulting in reliable and fast autofocus performance, especially in the live view.

The continuous shooting speed of 7ps is not really fast but good enough for wildlife stills.

Wildlife photographers mainly love this camera for its impressive image quality and great dynamic range. It is also light in weight and size. Best of all, it can control even the largest of lenses with the utmost ease.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has problems like old age, cropped 4K video, and limited buffer. However, it is still the best camera for wildlife photography in many aspects.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Superb image quality
  • Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus
  • 61-point autofocus system
  • Great dynamic range
  • Brilliant ISO performance
Cons
  • Heavily cropped 4K video
  • Moderate frame rate

7.    Canon PowerShot ELPh 180: Best Wildlife Photography Camera for Beginners

Back to point and shoot cameras, the PowerShot ELPH 180 is the cheapest yet the best Canon camera for wildlife photography in the PowerShot range. That’s saying a lot because this particular range comprises some terrific cameras.

The best thing about the ELPH 180 is that it is very easy to use and handle even for novices. Similarly, the camera only has 8X optical zoom and also best beginners camera for wildlife photography.

Another great feature of the camera is the Optical Image Stabilizer which you don’t normally find in such a cheap camera. The image stabilizer enables you to enjoy the most scintillating wildlife photography experience ever.

The combination of 20 megapixel CCD sensor and an extremely powerful DIGC 5 image process results in some magnificent images. The camera comes with Smart Auto features which automatically adjusts camera settings depending on the shoot location.

The Digital ID minimizes the effects caused by camera shakes and moving objects as well.

The only problem with Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is the lack of 4K or even High Definition 1080P video. The maximum video resolution it offers is high definition 720P.

Pros
  • Very cheap camera
  • Easy to handle and use
  • 8X zoom
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • DIGIC 5 image processor
  • Stunning image quality
  • Smart Auto feature
  • Digital ID
Cons
  • Only 720P video resolution

8.    Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera: Best DSLR Camera for Wildlife Photography

best canon camera for wildlife photography

The news of Canon EOS 90D DSLR’s release in 2019 came as a surprise mainly because Canon was putting all its efforts into its mirrorless cameras at that point. However, the camera has proved to be a worthy successor to the aging EOS 80D. More importantly, it has become an excellent camera for wildlife over time.

EOS 90D can record uncropped 4K video which is definitely an advantage while shooting wildlife. Similarly, the 32.5 megapixel APS-C sensor offers matchless images and videos. It also allows you to get bigger prints of your shots without compromising the all overall image quality.

Just like all Canon cameras these days, EOS 90D also features a Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus system. It truly shines when paired with the 45-point phase-detect autofocus system.

The camera also has a respectable burst rate of 10fps. Similarly, the intuitive and polished touchscreen makes it the best Canon wildlife camera for beginners as well.

Another great feature of the camera is the ability to record videos either in 1080P or 4K. The battery life of the camera is unbelievable 1300 shots. Wildlife photographers also love EOS 90D for its compatibility with a wide range of telephoto lenses.

Pros
  • Compatible with a wide range of telephoto lenses
  • 32.5 megapixel sensor
  • 1080P or 4K video recording
  • Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus
  • Burst rate of 10fps
  • Intuitive touchscreen
  • Excellent image quality
  • The battery lasts for 1300 shots
Cons
  • Limited buffer capacity

9.    Canon EOS 70D Mark II: Best Nature Photography Camera

Best canon camera for wildlife photography

You must consider the Canon EOS 70D Mark II if you are looking for a camera with an advanced autofocus system, high frame rate, and good continuous shooting speed.

Often referred to as the baby of the EOS-1D X camera, EOS 70D offers several great benefits to wildlife photographers. For example, it has a fairly fast burst rate of 10 frames per second. Similarly, you can keep up to all kinds of action, even the fastest of wildlife, because of the lighting fast Dual Pixel autofocus.

The camera also has a sophisticated metering system besides a weather-sealed and rugged body & best camera for wildlife and nature photography as well. Similarly, you would never get grainy photos thanks to the instinctive ISO system. It also means the camera delivers excellent performance in low light. The blasting fast DIGIC 6 image processor enhances the overall quality of the images.

The performance of EOS 70D Mark II improves considerably when you pair it with any of the Canon’s telephoto lens.

When talking about downsides, EOS 70D Mark II is quite an old camera. Canon has never bothered to upgrade it after it was released 7 years ago. Similarly, it does not have Wi-Fi and a touchscreen as well.

Pros
  • 61-point autofocus system
  • Autofocus is very fast and reliable
  • Sophisticated metering system
  • The continuous burst of 10fps
  • Rugged body
  • Excellent low light performance
  • DIGIC 6 image processor
Cons
  • No Wi-Fi and touchscreen
  • Old camera

10. Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless: Best Mirrorless Camera for Wildlife Photography

best canon camera for wildlife photography

Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame is an excellent mirrorless camera for wildlife photography, especially for capturing fast action.

What makes EOS R6 Full-Frame the best Canon best digital camera for wildlife photography & outdoors, its mindboggling Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus. The 1053-point autofocus is simply out of this word.  On top of that, the camera also has a dedicated animal autofocus mode. The autofocus in general tracks every object with great precision. The deep learning autofocus also gets better as the time passes.

The continuous shooting speeds of 12fps and 20fps with an electronic shutter make shooting fast-moving birds and animals a teat. The low-noise full-frame image sensor also delivers images of very high quality. The camera has a very sophisticated in-body image stabilization system as well.

EOS R6 comes with a high-resolution electronic viewfinder as well as a weather-sealed and rugged body. Not to mention, it allows 4K video recording up to 60fps. All these features combine to make Canon EOS-R6 a behemoth of a mirrorless camera for action photography and also best canon full frame camera for wildlife photography.

Pros
  • Incredible autofocus system
  • Sophisticated image stabilization
  • Large sensor with better dynamic range
  • Excellent low light performance
  • 20fps continuous shooting speed with the electronic shutter
  • Weather sealed and rugged body
  • 4k recording at 60fps
Cons
  • Relatively low megapixel count
  • Very expensive

How to Choose the Best Camera for Wildlife?

It is a cumbersome task to choose the right camera for any task because of the complex nature of cameras. Similarly, wildlife photography is different from landscape or nature photography. What works wonders for one type of photography may not work at all for others. Therefore, the following are some criteria to keep in mind if you like to capture images of wildlife.

Autofocus

Autofocus is the king when it comes to wildlife photography. Superb autofocus and excellent object tracking are essential for taking stunning wildlife images. Go for a camera that features autofocus with phase-detection and very high numbers. Your camera must be able to quickly focus on the object. It is only possible if it can collect necessary information from the image in view. Therefore, try to buy a camera with at least 50 autofocus points.

Sensor Size

Most photographers prefer full-frame cameras for superb low-light performance and excellent image quality. However, you can take marvelous photos using APS-C and other smaller sensors as well. APS-C is a better option when you have to take photos of the animals in the distance. The choice of sensor size for wildlife photography depends on your requirements and preference.

Shooting Speed (FPS)

A high shooting speed or frames per second is necessary for taking stellar images. You can easily capture all the wildlife action and movements if you have an intuitively fast camera. The minimum frame rate you should look for is 10 fps if you want to capture fast-moving wildlife. However, beginners can also start with 5fps to have the vibe of what wildlife photography is about.

Decent Buffer Depth

Best cameras for nature photography also have decent buffer depth. It goes hand-in-hand with camera’s speed. A better buffer allows you to take more shots in a single burst. However, it also depends on other factors such as the writing speed of the memory card. Similarly, your camera will always shoot more JPEGS than raw files.

Lens Range

Subjects fill the frame in almost all the best wildlife images. To achieve this effect, you need a camera with a huge zoom lens. Most bridge cameras have built-zoom lenses. On the other hand, check the range of telephone lenses compatible with DSLRs or mirrorless cameras if you are considering any of them. While most DSLRs have a wide range of compatible telephoto lenses, it may not be true for modern mirrorless cameras.

ISO Equivalence

Experts often recommend setting lower ISOs for the best image quality. However, you need higher ISOs for wildlife photography because you often have to shoot near dawn and dusk or in low light conditions. Therefore, cameras with a high ISO range are inherently better for wildlife photography. Higher ISOs do mean increased noise but it is better to have noise than losing the sharpness in the image.

The best solution for the noise problem is to have cameras with large sensors. Large sensors reduce noise by collecting more light. That is why full-frame sensors deliver high image quality as well as high ISOs than smaller sensors.

Final Thoughts

Wildlife photography is an art and you need a good camera to master it. Our guide to the best Canon camera for wildlife photography makes it easier for you to find the right camera and make a name for yourself in this elite hobby or profession.

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