The Five Best Canon Cameras For Wildlife Photography!

By | April 22, 2017

When people speak of the ‘great outdoors’, the first thing that comes to mind is an adventure. For photographers, it is more than adventure. Wildlife photography has got to be the highpoint in a clicker’s existence. There are no boundaries, no pretensions, and no formalities. Subjects can range from the fauna to the forest and to the animals that lives in the expanse of the air, land, and sea.

We marvel at nature and wildlife pictures on the glossy pages of National Geographic as well as the talents of the faceless photographers who made the subjects come alive in colorful pictures. However, one vital cog from where great pics are produced is the camera.

For several decades now, Canon has answered the call of the wild. Most of the exciting photos we see were taken by snappers using Canon cameras. They have a formidable line-up for wildlife photography. And we present to you the finest of the pack including the best Canon camera for wildlife photography.

The Best of the Best Canon Camera for Wildlife Photography

Canon EOS-1DX Mark II DSLR Camera (Body Only)
  • Fastest shooting EOS-1D, capable of up to 14 fps full-resolution RAW or JPEG, and up to 16 fps in Live View mode with new Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors
  • Achieves a maximum burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, and 4K movies using CFast cards in the new CFast 2.0 slot
  • Improved AF performance through 61-point, wide area AF system with 41 cross-type points, improved center point focusing sensitivity to -3 EV and compatibility down to f/8
  • Accurate subject tracking for stills and video with new EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition AF with 360,000-pixel metering sensor
  • 4K video (4096 x 2160) up to 60 fps (59.94), with an 8.8-Megapixel still frame grab in camera. Full 1080p HD capture up to 120 fps for slow motion

Canon’s ‘King of Wildlife Photography’ is the EOS-1DX Mark II which the daring photographers bring along in their quest to capture the best nature and wildlife has to offer. Anyone looking at the model for the first time might think it doesn’t deserve to sit in the throne but in reality, it is the King.

This camera has a 20.2-million-pixel full frame CMOS sensor and that’s the first time Canon used an on-chip analogue to digital conversion. The objective is to shorten the signal pathways used when reading the signal off the sensor resulting the following: increased dynamic range and cleaner shadows at low ISOs and lower noise.

It’s also the first Canon camera model with full frame sensor to have Dual Pixel AF, previously seen on the EOS 70D and 7D Mark II models. This splits each pixel into two light-gathering segments, allowing on-chip phase detection autofocus across 80% of the image area with all Canon lenses (post-2009 releases). Operational wise, it aims to give smooth focus pulls from one subject to another during live view and during video recording. The transition speed can be adjusted and subjects can be selected by simply tapping on the touchscreen.

Canon has introduced a new AI Servo AF III+ mode for better tracking of moving subjects. It is a special motion tracking system using gyro sensors in image-stabilized lenses to measure the cam’s movements while pursuing the and analyzing the subject’s movements. This EOS 1D-X Mark II is a predator and is indeed the best Canon camera for wildlife photography

The Pros

  • Large 3.2″ 1.62m-dot anti-reflective touchscreen LCD monitor gives bright and high-resolution
  • The durable and tough magnesium alloy body design is dust and weather-sealed which is perfect for harsh wildlife conditions
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF, excellent AF coverage and speed
  • Solid image quality and very impressive lowlight performance 4K video at 60p
  • Extensive connectivity ports allow for the attachment of various accessories
  • Powered by an LP-E19 rechargeable lithium-ion battery for longer usage and allows up to 1210 shots per charge with the optical viewfinder.
  • Dual CFast and CompactFlash memory card slots for more file saving capabilities

The Cons

  • Lacks WiFi
  • Some cinema features missing
  • Larger and heavier than competing models

The Second Best Bet

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
  • 20.2 MP CMOS sensor and ISO 100-16000
  • High speed continuous shooting up to 10.0 fps
  • 65-point all cross-type AF system
  • Stunning Full HD video with Custom Movie Servo AF (speed and sensitivity)
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF enables you to shoot video like a camcorder

Canon’s Prince of the Wildlife is the 7D Mark II. Interestingly, the ‘Prince’ is priced below the royalty level and is not too hot to handle. What makes it great? This DSLR has a powerful autofocus capability to capture the strides of even the fastest animals on earth like the cheetahs, antelopes and the gazelles.

The Prince’s solid 65-point, all cross-type autofocus system is powered by Canon’s Dual Digic6+ processors. It also features a 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor the updated Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that provides continuous phase detect focusing during video recording. You can capture an incredible 10 frames per second, and take over 100 JPEG shots before buffering. In the minimal RAW mode, you can capture as many as 31 frames per second. Moreover, you can attach auxiliary telephoto lens to adjust scope of focus as needed.

Other notable features are the 3″ LCD with 1.04M dots, large optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and an LCD overlay that gives shooting information plus the dual memory card slots for CompactFlash and SD/SDHC/SDXC media. The 7D Mark II can capture Full HD video at varying frame rates, including 59.94 fps, with your choice of MOV or MP4 file formats. The camera has mic and headphone ports, as well as one for USB 3.0. While the 7D has built-in GPS, but does not have lacks WI-FI.

The Pros

  • Outstanding speed of10 frames per second shooting
  • Incredible 65 point all cross-type autofocus sensor
  • Distinct EV -3 sensitivity for center AF point
  • Solid iTR metering sensor with face detection and subject recognition and tracking
  • Dual-Pixel autofocus for live view and video
  • Silent Control when shooting video
  • Improved Jpeg rendering
  • Excellent color and tonality even at high ISO
  • Durable body frame and robust weather sealing
  • Dual SD and CF card slots

The Cons

  • The spot-metering is not linked to the AF point
  • There is a long screen blackout when doing live view shooting
  • No AF with continuous shooting in live view

Another Top Pick

Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera Body (Black)
  • 45-point all cross-type AF system* allows for superb autofocus when shooting with the optical viewfinder and focusing area selection modes.
  • Intelligent Viewfinder with approximately 100% viewfinder coverage.Approx. 730g / 25.75oz. (Based on CIPA Guidelines),Approx. 650g / 22.93oz. (Body only)
  • 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor helps provide impressive, high-resolution results.Shooting speed of up to 7.0fps makes it an excellent choice for capturing moving subjects
  • Improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF helps you shoot video with smooth, fast and accurate autofocus, and stills with instant and precise autofocus.

The EOS 80D is a menacing, well-rounded multimedia DSLR that is solidly built for the outdoors. Its ergonomics and design is typical of the Canon brand which redounds to nothing less than easy, comfortable functionality with an array of external controls. The higher-resolution 24-megapixel sensor gives it a strong fighting chance to compete with the fiercest rivals.

Our actual tests validated the 3rd best ranking of the EOS 80D in our view. In Raw files, this beast emitted faint noise but had better high ISO performance The camera received an upgrade in the AF department, coming from the 70D’s 19-point system to a hefty 45-point. Canon retained the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology to boost the 80D’s live view shooting experience, in stills and video.

On the overall, we felt the 80D is an all-around DSLR with a good mix of image quality, sophisticated features, sturdy build quality, and justifiable cost. A big lift for the advanced photographers looking for high-end features in a camera that is easy to tame and handle.

The Pros

  • Re-tooled version of the EOS 70D with a new imaging and metering sensors plus an overhauled AF system
  • The Raw dynamic range has increased considerably
  • The autofocus is largely reliable because of the new phase-detection AF system when shooting through the viewfinder using a single point or cluster of points
  • No trouble or difficulty keeping the cam in focus.
  • A standout in its class, both in quality and features.

The Cons

  • Dynamic range is not its best feature
  • Default settings for 45-point Auto Selection mode are not spontaneous
  • FlexiZone-Multi live view focus mode is puzzling
  • Multi-controller can be difficult to reach when assigned to AF point selection 

The Fourth Best Canon Camera for Wildlife Photographers

Canon EOS 700D EF-S 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS STM Digital Camera Kit - International Version
  • 18.0 Megapixel Hybrid CMOS AF sensor
  • Creative Full-HD movies and Hybrid CMOS AF
  • Vari-angle 3.0" Clear View LCD II Touch screen, Scene Intelligent Auto
  • ISO 100-12800 sensitivity, expandable to ISO 25600, 7 Creative filters with live preview
  • 5 fps shooting 9-point AF system, EOS System of lenses and accessories

The EOS 700D is the likely choice when one is deciding to level-up from a touchscreen smartphone or compact cameras to a bigger and better camera gear. Also known as the Canon EOS Rebel T5i, it has the distinction of being regarded as the top among Canon’s models in the enthusiast range. The specs of the EOS 700D’s are practically that of the 650D’s: the 18 million pixel APS-C sized sensor and the 14-point Digic 5 processor. It also has the identical hybrid autofocus system for live view or video mode as well as a 9-point, all-cross type phase detection system for use with the viewfinder.

The EOS 700D’s versatility is evident. It can shoot at 5 frames per second, and the sensitivity can be set in the native range ISO 100-12800, expandable to ISO 25,600 if necessary. But its biggest draw is the wide selection of Creative Filters: Grainy Black & White, Soft Focus, Fish-Eye, Art Bold, Water Painting, Toy Camera and Miniature effects. All these effects can be previewed on the screen when shooting in Live View mode. The expensive feel is deceiving but the EOS 700D is reasonably priced.

The Pros

  • Sensor can record a multitude of details
  • Comprehensive feature set
  • The Vari-angle touchscreen is very responsive
  • High-quality video outputs

The Cons

  • LCD prone to attract fingerprints
  • No Wi-Fi features
  • Dynamic range and signal to noise ratio is just average

Our Final Bet

The EOS 1300D is Canon’s entry-level model DSLR that is perfect for the wildlife. It features an APS-C-sized sensor and other interesting features, but nothing too complicated. In terms of upgrade from the EOS 1200D, the screen resolution improved slightly, the processor performs better and with Wi-Fi / NFC added.

The screen is a fixed, 3-inch, 920k-dot panel where images viewed in playback are more crisp and sharp. The layout of the menus and icons also look better too. The 1300D includes an optical viewfinder for a sensibly bright and clearer view, but it can show only 95% of the scene. That is typical for entry-level DSLRs,

Wi-Fi and NFC are plus factors for this entry-level DSLR. Download the Canon Camera Connect App, free on the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android) to be able to use it. The connection process, downloading and uploading to social media is easy and in a breeze once you have connected your device to the camera. This wildlife cam is reasonably priced, if any low, to make it an attractive investment proposition to first-time DSLR owners. It can also serve as a back-up camera to the more advanced Canon models. 

The Pros

  • Great value
  • Entry into huge range of EOS accessories
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

The Cons

  • 95% viewfinder
  • Screen isn’t touch-sensitive
  • Limited burst shooting rate

Choosing Cameras for the Wildlife

Wildlife photography is a daunting task even for the valiant and seasoned photographers. Spectacular photos can only be delivered by cameras made for the encounters with subjects in the Great Outdoors. Here are some tips when choosing a camera for the wildlife.

  1. Sensors

Cameras with low-light sensitivity and with fast shutter speeds are ideal bets for the wildlife. It should be able to record clean images in low light or twilight conditions especially when subjects are animals.

  1. Autofocus System

Your camera should have the plenty of autofocus points since most of the interesting subjects are moving targets. The camera needs to focus quickly and accurately.

  1. Lenses

A camera lens is as important as your choice of camera. Lenses should be suitable with your camera, are very sharp and not too heavy for better handling in the wild.

  1. FULL FRAME Vs. CROP FACTOR

If you are tight on the budget, purchase the cheaper DSLR with a small sensor and a crop-factor. It has a shorter lens yet magnification is still very satisfactory. However, if you want superior image quality, nothing beats a full frame camera. 

  1. Camera Body

The shooting environment in the wildlife is harsh and precarious. Even the weather can be extreme and therefore tends to your camera needs to be solidy built to meet wet and dry conditions.

Conclusion

Wildlife photography is for a different breed of photographers. Some of the best ones have adapted to the environment and assumed the natural instincts of their moving targets. However, these adventurous shutterbugs share a common virtue which is patience. Your subjects in the wild can’t be commanded to pose and therefore patience is the key to taking great pictures in the wildlife. When you begin your journey as a wildlife photographer, be prepared for the beauty and the spell of the Wildlife.