Essential Photography Equipment for Wildlife Photography

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  By Julian Rad
Essential Photography Equipment for Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is probably one of the most difficult fields in photography, not only that you need certain knowledge of the animal’s behavior, also you have to know which photography gear will be ideal for wildlife photography. So, in order to show impressive photos of animals the right choice of the camera and lens is really important.

Earlier it was almost impossible to get a high-quality photograph of a wild living animal because back in the days we only had slow cameras and slow lenses. But now we have the opportunity to take breathtaking images of animals because modern cameras allow us to use fast shutter speeds and also lenses with fast autofocus allow us to capture wildlife sceneries which can’t be seen by the naked eye.

For example, this image, which shows two wild living foxes having a fight, was captured with a really fast shutter speed (1/2500s).

What’s the ideal camera body for wildlife photography?

When choosing a digital camera for wildlife photography, there are some important considerations. First thing you have to consider is, that you should choose a camera with a good AF performance and which at least has a continuous shooting rate of 7 frames per second, to capture fast movements of animals and therefore to get out the most of an action sequence, for example if you are shooting birds in flight or running/jumping mammals.

Another thing you have to consider is to use a camera body which has a good high-ISO performance because almost every wildlife photographer shoots whether in the dusk or in the dawn because at this time you have the best light of the day. If you will buy a camera body with APS-C sensor you will have a really big advantage, because you will have much more focal length due to the crop-factor. So if you use a 300 mm telelens on a 1.6x crop camera, you will, therefore, get a focal length of 480mm.

Which lens should I use?

Well, to capture a wild living animal you will need a telelens of course, but there are different types of the lenses. On the one hand you have tele zooms and on the other hand, you have lenses with fixed focal length. The main reason for choosing a tele zoom lens is that you will become more flexible because you can easily zoom in and out depending on the focal length you need.

When you are using a prime lens, you have to move the camera back and forth physically, so this could be a problem if you are too close to an animal or too far away, because you would disturb the animal you want to photograph when you move a lot. Another important consideration is to choose a wide aperture lens because you will need a lot of light if you want to capture animal action shots and especially mammals are often active in the morning where the light conditions are very poor.

Wide aperture lenses are also helpful if you want to isolate your main subject from everything else, for blurring the background and if you want to get a smooth and clear background.

If your lens has an image stabilizer, you will get much sharper images, because it will help you to receive high-quality images, when you taking photos in situations where you don’t have enough light, or if you don’t use a tripod while you are photographing.When you are taking photos of wild living animals you have to mind that you protect your camera and lens with a waterproof coat to prevent water from damaging your camera or lens.

To sum up, here a little list of photo gear before you start taking images in the wild:

DSLR (Like said before crop cameras will extend your focal length)

Tele Lens (chose a tele lens with an image stabilizer and wide aperture to be able to capture fast moving animals)

Tele-converter (A teleconverter will give you extra focal length)

Hiding Tent (using a hiding tent will maximize the chance to photograph timid animals)

Tripod (a tripod will help you get sharper images when you shoot at slow shutter speeds)

We hope you enjoyed this article !


All photos by Julian Rad.

Rating: 5.00 based on 2 Ratings
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Julian Rad is a self-taught award-winning wildlife photographer, who was born in Vienna, Austria in 1991. When he bought his first camera at the age of 20, he found an expression for the fascination he had about nature & wildlife. He already had many publications in national and internation magazines and newspapers (New York Post, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Times, GEO, Digital Photographer Magazine...). He has won several photo competitions such as the comedy wildlife photography awards in 2015.

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