- Sports and Wildlife Photography Gear Similarities
- Wildlife Photography Gear for Weather Conditions
- Wildlife Photography Gear Camera Choices
- Lenses In Your Wildlife Photography Gear Kit
- Wildlife Photography Gear for Close to Home
- Other Recommended Photography Gear
- Nature Photography Gear for Beginners
- 5 Tips for Better Sports Photography
- Outdoor Photography Gear You Need Before Your next Trip
Photo by FrazaoStudio via iStock
Wildlife photography is a form of nature photography with more in common with sports photography than landscape photography.
I say this because one of the constants of my own experience in wildlife photography is that things stay in motion for the most part, and I need to adapt to what’s happening as opposed to me controlling every aspect of the scene.
In fact, if you were to browse through my wildlife photography gear, you would see many items that are different from my typical landscape gear. And you will also see some things are the same or similar.
Let’s talk about the best wildlife photography gear and what may be some great starter wildlife photography gear.
Table of Contents:
Sports and Wildlife Photography Gear Similarities
I’ll begin with the similarities between wildlife photography gear and sports photography gear and why they are similar.
In sports and wildlife, you are often tracking a moving, if not elusive, subject. You may also be at some distance from the subject. And finally, you’re more likely to be outdoors than indoors, so weather conditions play a huge part in approaching it, including the wildlife photography gear choices you make.
If you haven’t already, check out the articles covering sports photography and the “decisive moment" that are provided here on Photography Talk. Knowing when to take the picture is every bit as important as knowing how to deal with wildlife and other action photography.
Wildlife Photography Gear for Weather Conditions
One thing is certain about being outdoors: everything is ultimately uncertain.
Even in the middle of the dry season in the high desert, I’ve run into rapid changes in conditions. A hot summer day in the mountains can turn cold and wet instantly. I was hiking and photographing in the Rockies on a calm summer day with clear skies, and by the time I got back to camp in the afternoon, snow was falling, and the wind was howling.
Fun! But that can play havoc with your cameras and other electronics and optics. The good news is that just as I can dress myself in preparation for or anticipating changing conditions, I can do the same for my wildlife photography gear.
I have a new favorite thing for this: the GoShelter wearable canopy. It is completely hands-free, collapses down to a compact size for storage and transportation, and can protect my entire outfit of wildlife photography gear.
GoShelter collapses and expands similarly to a 5-in-1 reflector or a car sunshield. It attaches using a few straps around the waist, shoulders, and chest. It’s large, too, large enough to permit almost any camera movement I need to make while photographing outdoors.
Here is a YouTube video with real user testimonials about the GoShelter:
It’s very durable while being lightweight and comfortable to wear. I’ve used it in areas as varied as mountain hiking, windy beaches, organized sports events, and chasing butterflies and blue jays in my own backyard.
Wildlife Photography Gear Camera Choices
My wildlife photography gear choices may surprise some people. I like crop format digital cameras for wildlife photography. Here’s why: Crop Factor.
The crop factor does not change the focal lengths of lenses. It merely describes how that lens focal length behaves on a crop sensor camera compared to Full Frame format cameras.
Mounted on an APS-C format camera, a 300mm lens behaves like a 450mm lens on Full Frame format cameras based on the 1.5X crop factor. Using the 2.0X crop factor of MFT cameras, that figures out to be 600mm for that 300mm lens.
This is good for a wildlife photography gear setup because of the need or desire for more telephoto range in many wildlife photography situations. Another feature and benefit of many crop sensor cameras is rapid autofocus and shutter cycling.
As an example of a good camera for wildlife photography gear, look at the APS-C format DSLR style Nikon D500 professional camera. It is weather-sealed, rugged, and dependable, has a fast frame rate, and super quick AF.
You can adapt the features and capabilities needed for your own starter wildlife photography gear kit based on your budget, brand preferences, and other needs. Using the online platform MPB helps out because you save money on used equipment while having the safeguard of a 6-month warranty and a rigorous testing procedure before they sell anything.
I have used MPB for my equipment purchases, such as cameras, lenses, and flashguns. Not only are they great at getting gear, but they also take trades or buy outright the cameras and lenses you no longer need.
Lenses In Your Wildlife Photography Gear Kit
My wildlife photography gear choices for lenses are centered around fast-aperture telephoto lenses. I lean towards zoom lenses for my action gear since I can adjust as needed for whatever shot I’m trying to capture.
A 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is a good choice. It has a decent range of telephoto power, and it has a faster aperture than the kit lenses many cameras are purchased with initially. I also like lenses such as the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 ED telephoto zoom lens.
Though that is virtually a super-telephoto lens on an APS-C format camera, with the fantastic image quality at high ISO settings and vibration reduction in most lenses or cameras, this lens can be handheld or supported on a monopod in many conditions.
Other lenses I like in my bag of wildlife photography gear are macro lenses, especially in a short telephoto focal length, fast normal lenses, and a good all-around use lens, such as what may have come with your camera.
Wildlife Photography Gear for Close to Home
Photo by nkbimages via iStock
As starter wildlife photography gear, look no further than the camera and lens combo you already own. Even with a lens with a moderate aperture, such as that initial kit lens, you can capture great wildlife photography nearby in your neighborhood.
A bird feeder, or squirrel feeder as they often become, is a wonderful place to focus for getting your feet wet with wildlife photography. A local park or trail near your home will also yield many good subjects. With a GoShelter rain canopy, you won’t even need to worry about having a wet camera with your wet feet.
Just get started, and the best wildlife photography gear for your needs, wants, and style will become clear.