Wildlife Photography - the Best Canon Cameras and Lenses

Wildlife photography is a genre with widespread appeal, so much so that we ran Wildlife Day 2018 at our Burgess Hill store in April 2018. We reviewed the kit on display from Canon, and have highlighted some picks from the current range to help you get the best out of your wildlife photography.

Image of the Canon 500mm f/ 4 IS II USM Lens
Canon 500mm f/ 4 IS II USM

Best Canon cameras for wildlife photography

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a perfect all rounder for wildlife photography, offering exceptional quality with its 30.4Mp CMOS sensor. It shares the same DIGIC 6+ processor as the flagship Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, so it has no problem processing dual pixel RAW files, even when shot at 7fps.

A favourite with sports and wildlife photographers alike, this entry level professional body is a rugged workhorse that will also let you capture some fantastic 4K video.

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

Of course, if you want the best of the best, you cannot overlook the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II. It may be less portable than the 5D Mark IV, but it does offer an incredible burst mode of 14fps. Coupled with a 61-point AF system with 41 individually selectable cross-type points, it can track and lock focus in the most challenging of circumstances.

An incredible dynamic range and low noise when shooting on high ISO allows means you can achieve real clarity in your shots regardless of the conditions you are shooting in.

Here’s what renown wildlife photographer Andy Rouse had to say about this camera:

Canon EOS M50 (Mirrorless) 

Small and versatile, the M50 is user friendly and offers outstanding image quality whilst being smaller than a DSLR. Its ability to track moving subjects is impressive – it has 143 focus points, eye detection and the ability to select focus point using the touch-screen display.

Canon Lenses for Wildlife Photography

Canon 100-400mm f/ 4.5-5.6 IS II USM

While Canon famously have a large range of L Series telephoto lenses, the 100-400mm f/ 4.5-5.6 IS II USM is pick of the bunch. Its focal range makes it a good all rounder, while its fast autofocus is perfect for capturing fast moving wildlife. Image stabilisation will allow you to stop down a further 4 stops, and of course being an L series, it has a weather sealed body to protect against dust and moisture.

Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM

If mobility is not an issue and you are after a greater focal range with a bright aperture (f/4), then the Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM is not to be sniffed at. Offering great image quality and L series quality optics, you can easily override the great USM focusing with manual focusing to refine your image.

Chilean Blue Buzzard-Eagle shot with a Canon 100-400mm f/ 4.5-5.6 IS II USM and 1.4x extender
Chilean Blue Buzzard-Eagle shot with a Canon 100-400mm f/ 4.5-5.6 IS II USM and 1.4x extender

We got to play with one during our Wildlife Day 2018 event at our Burgess Hill store, and the results were impressive. Used on a EOS 5D MK III body with a 1.4 extender, we snapped the picture above of a Chilean Blue Buzzard-Eagle with minimal fuss.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens

Capturing the best of the natural world does not always mean shooting from a distance. The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens is not only an incredible portrait lens, it allows you to capture precision shots up close. Hybrid image stabilisation minimises camera shake, essential for capturing those all important sharp macro shots.

Peacock Tree Frog shot using the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens
Peacock Tree Frog shot using the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens

We realise it's not always just about the fancy camera equipment (honest!) - we've compiled a blog on 11 essential accessories for wildlife photography - you may be surprised by what you find in there!


Sarkar said...

A good article and informative. I need some advise/suggestions.

I am on a budget as well as weight contraint.

For me 100 400 or higher lenses are not within reach. However, for wildlife photos on a car safari, I also need long zoom. I am contemplating to take a Canon 200mm f2.8 lens and a 2x converter on a M50. This will give me some reach around 500mm.

But I am having doubts regarding use of non zoom lens as it will restrict focal length versatility.

My other alternative would be to go for a canon 70 300 f4 or 70 200 f4 lens.

By the way I also have a Nikon P900 which gives huge zoom but not very crisp pictures.

Shall be obliged if you please let me have your inputs on the above. My email id is sila_india2000@yahoo.com.

Thanks and Regard

S Sarkar, Kolkata, India

Thanks and regards

Ashley Luke Laurence said...

Hi Sila, We're glad you found it useful. If you want it specifically for safari then you are right to consider a telephoto range - it will offer extra flexibility. 70-200 / 300mm are good shouts - we'd suggest looking for a version with image stabilisation on the lens, and if you are on a budget - consider second hand (https://www.parkcameras.com/bc/4-7551/canon/used-lenses). Hope this helps!

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