In this age, the cameras have got much attention and recognition. It is not possible for people to stay without a camera.
In most of the cases, digital cameras are being used because these cameras have high resolution and performance.
Everyone wants to keep the best moments and events of life in memory.
Capturing the photos of these events and moments is the best way to keep the memories fresh forever.
How To Buy The Best DSLR For Wildlife Photography In 2020?
DSLR cameras are perfect for wildlife photography. Today, we need digital images in great visibility.
The cameras capture the photos with the help of lenses and other accessories. It means if you will have a good camera and the right skills then it will be possible to capture good images.
Why you need a DSLR camera? This question contains many reasons. You are recommended to check the following points mentioned in this article below.
If you are trying to find the best camera then it will be better to check your budget first.
No doubt, there will be many readers that don’t care about the money or costs but for the average buyers, it is necessary to estimate the purchasing power first.
In most cases, buying a DSLR digital camera doesn’t require more money. In fact, these cameras are not expensive because these have been designed for commercial as well as domestic use.
However, you need to spend more money on lenses if you are planning to use it for wildlife photography.
Focus on high resolution:
It will be better to focus on the DSLR cameras having more resolution. Never compromise for the resolution because it will be important for you.
However, for a great capture resolution doesn’t matter, but in case of wildlife photography high-resolution cameras give extra benefits because the image can be cropped later based on the requirement, this allows you to capture the subject even if it’s far away.
The pixel capacity of these cameras is high that’s why there will be no problem capturing the photos in the original sense.
Yes, DSLR camera equipped with high resolution and good pixel quality usually gives better satisfaction. This is the reason most professional photographers prefer to buy DSLR camera with high resolution.
Check the miscellaneous features:
It is also important for the buyers to check the miscellaneous features of DSLR digital cameras.
This will increase the enjoyment by keeping the pixels really good for a broader image. Among the most essential features following are given below:
- Good quality lens.
- A set of lens hood if available.
- Memory card capacity.
- Systems and operations.
- Compatibility with other devices such as computers.
- Always take care of all these things when buying the best DSLR camera for wildlife photography.
Table Of Contents
- 1) Nikon D7500 DSLR. :- Best Camera for Wildlife Photography
- Nikon D7500 20.9MP DSLR Camera
- D7500 Highlights
- 2) Canon EOS 6D DSLR Camera
- Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera
- 3) Canon EOS Rebel T7i
- Canon EOS Rebel T7i US 24.2 Digital SLR Camera
- Nikon D3500 24.2MP DSLR Camera
- 5) Canon EOS Rebel T6i
- Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR
- Shutter Speed.
- What shutter speed do you need?
- Shutter speed top tip: Use a Tripod!
- Exposure tip!
- A list of base settings needed for Wildlife and bird photography.
- Aperture top tip: Blur the background!
- ISO and how it’s used when photographing wildlife in changing conditions.
- Camera mode and Auto ISO
- ISO top tip: Don’t be afraid to turn it up if needed!
- Bracketing top tip: Bracketing has a downside!
Top 5 Best Camera for Wildlife Photography 2020 List
1) Nikon D7500 DSLR. :- Best Camera for Wildlife Photography
Meet the new Nikon D7500, a camera ready to go wherever your photography or cinematography takes you.
Experience stunning images with sharp resolution and smooth tonal gradation, thanks to the 20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor and a powerful EXPEED 5 image-processing engine.
Take advantage of its wide ISO range of 100 to 51200 and its incredibly low levels of noise.
Expect your images tack-sharp and accurately exposed, thanks to the camera’s 51-point AF and Scene Recognition System using a 180,000-pixel RGB matrix metering sensor.
And with an approx. 0.052-second release time lag and approx. 8 frames-per-second shooting, you won’t miss a moment.
- High Resolution 20.9 MP DX-format CMOS sensor
- High Speed 8 frames per second continuous shooting up to 100 shots
- Breathtaking 4K Movies with Full Time Autofocus
- Dynamic ISO range from 100 to 51200
- Ground-breaking 180,000-pixel RGB (3D Color Matrix) exposure sensor
You’ll see exactly what you’re capturing with the approx. 100% frame coverage viewfinder, and for those who want to shoot both stills and movies, the D7500’s D-Movie capabilities now include 4K capture with full-time autofocus and manual exposure.
All of this advanced imaging technology is kept safe beneath the magnesium alloy covering the top and rear chassis of a compact body, whose sealing has been severely tested against moisture and dust.
The D7500 is ready to shoot indoors and out, and at 150,000 cycles tested, the camera’s durable shutter unit helps you keep shooting.
Combine all this with the unmatched NIKKOR lens lineup and Creative Lighting System and you have everything you need to explore your imagination to its fullest.
Where can creative freedom like this take you? Find out, with the D7500.
Stunning image details: 20.9 effective megapixels
Whether you want to make large prints or crop tightly in an image, the D7500 delivers the resolution you need.
At its heart is a DX-format CMOS image sensor with 20.9 effective megapixels, optimally engineered to gather more quality light through sharp NIKKOR lenses.
Coupled with 14-bit A/D conversion (12-bit selectable), the D7500 produces stunning images that are richer in tone and detail than previously possible in DX format.
The A/D conversion happens within the sensor, thereby maintaining exceptional image integrity without sacrificing shooting speed or energy efficiency.
Combine these with the agile DX format and its signature 1.5x focal length telephoto potential and you can begin to see where this kind of shooting power can take you.
Improved image quality and speed: EXPEED 5 image-processing engine
Sometimes you want to capture the subtle tones of a sunset. Other times you want to freeze the action.
The D7500 delivers both, thanks to the newest generation of image processing engine, EXPEED 5, which performs multiple tasks with more speed and power.
Expect smoother tonal gradations, even in difficult shadows and highlights, for a greater sense of depth in your images.
Shoot continuously at 8 frames per second so you can capture the action you’ve been missing.
Focusing performance such as face recognition in Live View mode is also further improved, letting you concentrate on your composition.
Standard ISO 100 to 51200.
With improved pixel quality of the image sensor comes a wider ISO range from the DX-format — ISO 100 to 51200 has now become standard with the D7500, enabling you to handle a wider range of lighting situations.
From the bright and sunny outdoors to low-lit evenings and interiors. Nikon’s renowned noise reduction technology has been upgraded even further.
Throughout the range, the D7500 delivers sharp images with minimized color noise. And thanks to the higher processing speed, even when High ISO noise reduction is activated, you can keep shooting continuously without stress.
Quality high-ISO performance can also enhance a lot for movie shooting, allowing you to capture the mood of a scene using only available light.
Capture 4K D-Movie with full-time autofocus and manual exposure
The D7500 welcomes in a new era of movie capture: 4K and movie editing functions for exceptional cinematic reproduction and quality.
In addition to smooth-moving images, the camera can compensate for distortion and other image-degrading problems.
Besides auto exposure mode, the D7500 offers manual exposure mode, which locks in the exposure value when shooting scenes with varying contrast levels, such as when panning from a bright window to a dark interior.
Aside from a built-in monaural microphone, the D7500 incorporates an external microphone jack for high-quality stereo sound recording options.
Now even more precise: The Scene Recognition System
The D7500 incorporates a built-in exposure-metering sensor with a far larger pixel count than any other D-SLR camera before it.
The 18,0000-pixel RGB sensor reads the scene’s brightness and colors more accurately and then applies this reading to optimize not only exposure, but also autofocus, white balance, and i-TTL flash calculations — all in mere milliseconds prior to the actual exposure.
With more pixels, the D7500 can recognize even smaller subjects — both moving and stationary. The newly improved Scene Recognition System delivers better photographs in every way.
Wide-area coverage, powerful 51-point AF
The D7500’s strategically positioned 51 AF points cover a significantly wide area of the frame, giving you flexible compositional possibilities.
The nine AF points in the center utilize powerful cross-type sensors — especially useful when you need tack-sharp focus such as with portraits and macro work.
And unlike other manufacturers’ systems, the D7500’s nine cross-type sensors work with all AF NIKKOR lenses f/5.6 or faster. The D7500 offers a variety of AF area modes, including dynamic-area AF using 9, 21, 39 points.
Switch between the three, depending on the predictability of your subjects’ movement, and the selected AF point and surrounding points will track your intended subject automatically.
There is also 3D tracking, which continuously follows moving subjects within the 51 AF points, indicating the activated AF point in the viewfinder.
Utilizing Nikon’s Scene Recognition System, Auto-area AF properly judges the main subject within 51 AF points and focuses on it. Therefore, no matter what the situation or composition calls for, the D7500’s autofocus system will be ready to meet your focus needs.
51-point AF & 2,016-pixel RGB sensor
Stay focused on what matters most.
Sophisticated AE with highlight analysis
After the incredibly accurate 180,000-pixel RGB sensor reads a scene’s lighting information such as brightness and colors, the D7500 cross-references what it sees with imaging data from 30,000 real-world shooting situations.
This way, the renowned 3D Color Matrix Metering II delivers exposure results that are faithful to how you see light and shadow interplay, even in difficult lighting situations.
This intelligent metering technique also delivers exceptionally accurate i-TTL flash exposures, and it all happens within milliseconds for both speed and precision.
Informed auto white balance (AWB)
Based on its massive collection of shooting data compiled from various light sources, the D7500’s intelligent AWB algorithm renders white as truly white — even when shot under a wide range of light sources, including the difficult mercury vapor lighting.
The D7500 also carries another AWB mode that maintains incandescent warmth in your images.
Contrast AF for live view and D-Movie
Live View and D-Movie users can rejoice because, with the D7500, face-priority AF is now faster and more powerful than ever. Up to 35 people can be.
For moving subjects such as pets, subject-tracking AF keeps them in focus. Normal-area AF is recommended for pinpoint focus and wide-area AF for handheld shooting.
All are effective both for Live View shooting and movie recording.
2) Canon EOS 6D DSLR Camera
Is canon eos 6d full-frame? Canon EOS 6D is currently the best full-frame option that any photographer or videographer can have. Its full-frame sensor of the extraordinary 20 megapixels and the advanced DIGIC 5 image processor make this DSLR a top pick.
Canon has generally raised its prices but this camera comes along with excellent functionality and features minus the price tag.
There is a whopping difference of $1400 between Canon EOS 6D and another full-frame alternative 5D Mark III, which makes this camera appealing to photography enthusiasts who want a cost-effective full-frame DSLR as well as professionals who require a full-frame camera as a backup.
This camera is power-packed with features such as multiple exposures, in-built HDR, and Full HD video. Together with this camera, you will find a comprehensive user manual, neck strap, USB and AF cables, eyecup, battery charger along with a rechargeable battery.
It is also equipped with GPS and built-in Wi-Fi and it is important to note that these features are only available in its competing DLSRs through optional accessories.
So, if you are particularly hunting for a camera with these options then Canon EOS 6D is an easy win for you.
However, this camera does not have a flash, so users will have to keep a budget for lenses and Speedlite.
Moreover, if you have a collection of cropped sensor compatible EF-S lenses, then you need to rethink before buying this camera as it only supports EF lenses.
If you wish to view video or images on HDTV you will have to get the Canon EOS Remote app along with an HDMI cable.
Picking an external microphone for video recording is definitely recommended with this camera for high-quality stereo sound recording.
Also, if you are a fan of dual card slots, you won’t find much luck with Canon EOS 6D as it has a single SD card slot which supports SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards.
Its optical viewfinder is clear, bright, and large with a 3-inch LCD that provides great coverage. It has 7 levels, through which you can adjust brightness manually, which means that you will be undercover even under low lighting.
Shooting, autofocus and shutter timing of Canon EOS 6D is also pretty amazing. If you are using the viewfinder, the battery life will last to around 1090 shots.
You can opt for an optional battery grip to double your shoot timing.
Do not expect Canon EOS 6D to be as good as Mark III when it comes to video quality.
However, if you need video recording for general use, it will not disappoint you. It captures full HD video at 24/25/30 fps in MOV format.
However, audio monitoring will be a bit challenging as there is no headphone jack available.
You can adjust the Picture Style parameters to your own liking to get the best results in still photography. The best thing about this camera is the fact that its colors are too over the top and are nicely saturated.
You can as high on the ISO as 102,400 and keep it as low as 50 with its amazing dynamic range. Canon EOS 6D balances the image noise pretty well and you can get fine results shooting JPEG and RAW images at IS0 800 on a daily basis.
The latest beginner level camera, Canon EOS Rebel T7i, is most likely to be the camera bought by first time professional camera buyers who are enthusiastic about taking great pictures.
This camera weighs 18.8 ounces including the 7.1 ounces of the lens. So, if you are particularly looking for a compact and small DSLR, you might want to buy EOS Rebel T7i.
Canon EOS Rebel T7i makes use of pentamirror viewfinder with 95% object coverage. However, it does not have a depth-of-field preview.
The Q button on this camera helps to adjust settings such as file format, metering pattern, drive mode, focus mode, white balance, flash power, color output, EV compensation, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
The 3 inch Vari-angle touch rear LCD of Canon EOS Rebel TTi provides a spectacular resolution. This has a relatively fine resolution to use with Live View but not so amazing when users zoom in to the images as they might appear blurry.
There is no built-in GPS, although it has built-in WiFi. So, this will let you transfer images directly to your tablet or smartphone.
The starting and shooting time of Canon EOS Rebel T7i is quite fast as it takes 0.45-second to shoot in normal lighting and 0.3-second to focus and shoot insufficient lighting.
If you are shooting in Live View mode, it will take 1.8 seconds to focus and click although it might drag to 4.8 seconds if the lighting is low.
This camera totally aces when it comes to continuous shooting as it can snap at 6 fps, which is decent if you want to capture fast-moving objects. Canon EOS Rebel T7i’s APS-C 24.2-megapixel sensor does a good job of handling noise if the ISO is set high.
If you are shooting JPGs, you can expect this camera to keep the noise under control at ISO 1600 BY 1.5 %, which goes up to 1.7 % if you are shooting at ISO 3200.
You can also adjust the strength of noise reduction through Custom Functions Menu and similarly decide to shoot in RAW format if you want to process the images in post. If you are shooting with this camera in the RAW file format, you will have a considerably high control in editing.
Canon EOS Rebel T7i records 1080p 60 fps quality videos that are crisp and sharp. It comprises a monaural mic, which picks up high-quality sound. It also has a mini HDMI port along with remote control and standard mini USB ports. It also supports SDXC/ SDHC/SD memory cards.
The grip of this camera is pretty amazing as you can easily access the back controls with your right thumb. There are basic 4 navigation buttons on the front for ISO, drive mode, autofocus mode, and white balance. The autofocus mode options include Servo AI, AI focus, and Single focus.
At the top end, you will find the power switch, flash popup button, mode dial, and the hot shoe. You can easily set all the automatic, semi-manual and manual modes through the mode dial. The Creative Auto control of Canon EOS Rebel T5 is similar to the Smart Auto Mode of other cameras.
The menu system is easy to navigate and very straightforward to use. My Menu Settings tab enables users to access the most frequently used options without much hassle.
Once you are shooting in the movie mode, you will have tremendous power with its shutter speed control, flash bracketing, and exposure settings. However, you will not find the time-lapse mode or integrated interval shooting. There is no mic jack as well so you cannot add an external mic for better audio quality.
As compared to T5, Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a lot better when it comes to low light sensitivity, sharpness, and video motion. If you are a fan of shooting action or sports, we will not recommend this camera to you. However, with its 6 fps continuous shooting speed, you can capture the action without any issue.
So, as long as you want to capture your pet eating its food or something similar, the continuous shooting of this camera will do justice to your photography.
You will not have to do a lot of color fixing to your images as this camera is pretty good at handling colors and keeping them real. It is particularly great at capturing natural landscapes so if you are a travel junkie, this camera might be the right pick for you.
The kit lens and the camera body come with numerous caps along with a strap. It includes USB cables, plug-in charger, and the battery. You will also get an easy to understand Basic Instruction Manual, which will get you through the important aspects of the camera.
4) Nikon D3500 Digital SLR :- Best Beginner Camera for Wildlife Photography
If you are looking for an entry-level option for a DSLR but at the same time don’t want to sacrifice features and quality in the process, you should certainly consider purchasing the Nikon d3500 digital SLR camera.
The d3500 is small, comfortable to hold, and has many useful learning tools that can help you ease your way into the DSLR experience if this is your first time using a camera beyond the simple point-and-shoot devices.
In many ways, it is similar to Nikon’s d3300 entry-option but has a few extras such as Full HD video at 1920×1080 60/50/30/25/24p resolution and offers a choice that will help facilitate growth as a new photographer but won’t necessarily hold back a more seasoned veteran either.
The Nikon d3500 digital SLR camera offers a variety of lens choices and accessories, and in kit form ships with an 18-55mm zoom lens, which is certainly a good starting point for a beginning photographer.
The image quality is excellent on the d3500, thanks to its 24.2MP CMOS sensor.
You will be surprised how much better the images from this camera look compared to similar entry-level options out there.
Even at settings like ISO 3200, the photos were taken come out looking great without any softness found on the edges or discoloration- unless you view them at their native size, even then, it certainly isn’t very noticeable.
The layout of the Nikon d3500 digital SLR camera is very well set up, including features like a thumb dial for quickly changing settings such as aperture values or even shutter speed.
There isn’t, however, a dedicated button for changing the ISO speed, instead, you need to press the ‘I’ button at the bottom-left and go through the settings.
While a little annoying, this certainly isn’t a deal-breaker.
Okay, so the d3500 offers a good amount of professional features, impressive HD, and a quality image, but is that all it has to offer?
Actually, no, one of the biggest selling points of the Nikon d3500 digital SLR camera is its beginner tools, namely the “GUIDE” feature.
In GUIDE mode the camera’s layout becomes a little easier to use, acting as a sort of ‘training wheels’ for those new to DSLRs, and at the same time you will find a variety of shooting options and will even be presented with tips and advice, on-screen, that will help you better achieve the type of pictures you are trying for.
It is in this way that the d3500 truly shines, giving you a no-comprise solution for taking high-end pictures but also acting as a guide that can help you learn the basic ropes of DSLR use and photography.
The Nikon d3500 digital SRL camera is not perfect by any means, but for an entry-level DSLR, it is about as close as they come.
It’s a picture and movie-taking abilities are lightyears ahead of most entry cameras and the d3500 is a good option for amateur photographers or those new to the business that need a cost-effective learning device that still takes impressive images.
With a 24.2 MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 image processor, you are able to take smooth, comprehensive, and high-quality images as well as HD movies.
The 3-inch large monitor for this Canon 24.2 MP camera enables you to view photos and clips, go through the menu, and create pictures.
Even in low-light conditions, with a high ISO sensitivity (up to 12,800), the Canon EOS Rebel T6i can certainly capture clear pictures.
Furthermore, it is easy to connect this Canon 24.2 MP camera to the USB port of a PC, all photos and clips could be uploaded automatically with easy set up via available networking environment when equipped with the Eye-fi component.
- 24.2MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 processor
- ISO 100-12800 sensitivity
- 14-bit image processing
- Scene intelligent auto mode
- Built-in wireless flash control
- 5 fps continuous shooting mode
- 19-point wide-area AF and iFCL metering
- 3″ Vari-Angle LCD
- Full HD movies
- Scene Detection technology
- Creative Filters
- Video Snapshot
- On-Screen Feature Guide
Movie Mode: Create cinema-quality HD videos
Full HD Video is captured at 1920 x 1080 resolution at 30p (29.97), 24p (23.976) or 25p frames per second, for up to 4GB per clip. Videos are saved as.MOV files and can be viewed in Full HD with HDMI output.
Other recording sizes include HD at 1280 x 720 (50p/60p (59.94) fps) or SD/VGA at 640 x 480 (30p (29.97) and 25p fps).
When filming Full HD footage with the EOS T6i, Movie Digital Zoom can be used to magnify the center of the sensor by 3-10x while maintaining Full HD quality.
Live View Function
The EOS Rebel T6i offers a bright, high resolution, flip-out Vari-angle 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor for shooting at a variety of angles. The resolution of the LCD is excellent because it can be tilted and twisted to advantage, it can be viewed even in strong sunlight
Just like a normal compact digital – LCD screen shows the image being captured, Live Mode is wonderful for videos and may help when building shoots from various angles (taking photos of the low object – without kneeling), Chases the face all over and gives the proper focus.
The Live mode was the only mode you might be able to use, but I consider the standard viewfinder eyepiece to be really simple to use and has all of the right information.
Live View Function allows us to watch the subjects directly on the big 3.0″ LCD monitor. We can easily focus any portion of the scene for precise manual focus.
There are two ways to use Autofocus along with Live View Function in the EOS Rebel T6i.
We can slowly move the Autofocus point around, swap among Contrast-detect and Phase-detect (Quick AF) modes, and even zoom in to 10x.
Activating it is as simple as pressing the Live View/Record button on the back.
EOS Scene Detection Technology – Automatic Scene Analysis for Standout Color
The EOS Rebel T6i DSLR’s new Scene Intelligent Auto mode combines five Canon digital camera technologies: the modern Picture Style Auto, plus Automatic Lighting Optimizer, Automatic White Balance, Autofocus, and Automatic Exposure into a robust new feature for photographers.
With the advanced EOS Scene Detection System, the camera automatically evaluates the image, taking into account of faces, colors, brightness, movement, and contrast.
Scene Intelligent Auto then chooses the enhancing features to deliver maximum impact. Blues and greens are more vivid, “hot” colors are fierier, and skin tones are smooth and truer to life.
The EOS Rebel T3i is compatible with all Canon lenses in the EF lineup, including compact and lightweight EF-S lenses, ranging from ultra-wide-angle to super-telephoto lenses.
Canon lenses employ advanced optical expertise and micron-precision engineering to deliver outstanding performance and deliver beautiful results.
Special technologies like the Canon Image Stabilizer technology in select lenses helps to minimize the effect of camera shake, effectively adding up to four stops of light.
With a dizzying array of lenses perfect for travel, sports, still life and everything in between, photographers can truly maximize the quality and performance of their EOS Rebel T6i with superlative Canon optics..
- EOS Rebel T6i
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR Lens
What We Like:
- VERY USER FRIENDLY: – The auto mode (or auto without flash) is highly forgiving, taking fantastically sharp images, true to color. They look so clear that they give us a feeling of capturing as close to real-life as ever seen before in a camera.
- Great Feature – Wi-FI COMPATIBLE: Your pictures will be able to be set up to automatically upload to your computer any time you are within range of your synched wireless network. No reason to spend a full day to export and upload the pics.
What We Don’t Like:
- The video capability is definitely incredible, but it does need a fast card (class 6 or higher, such as SDHC Class 10 options), the fast card could resolve it.
- Low Battery life: Uploading pictures by Wi-fi will eat the battery alive. The camera won’t auto-shutoff when uploading. If it’s only a few pics, that will be fine, they upload and the camera shuts itself off.
- But if it’s a bunch of pics, the camera requires a battery recharge just to finish uploading pictures.
- The software feels sort of undated, Canon has stuck with this same layout for a long time for continuity.
- But we can check the video tutorials online such as Youtube, which is much more vivid and also can get references from other users’ comments.
Best Camera for Wildlife Photography 2020:- Learn about Exposure
Exposure in bird and wildlife photography is a challenge, the light constantly changes, the subject is often moving and fast shutter speeds are usually called for.
When working with nature you rarely get a second chance to take another image if the first one is not exposed correctly. I explain here the three settings that control exposure, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture.
The shutter speed is a measure of the time that the shutter curtain is open and allows light to strike the image sensor.
What shutter speed do you need?
The basic shutter speeds range from 1 second to 1/2000 second. When you move up or down one number (called “one-stop“), the amount of light allowed to strike the sensor is either doubled or halved.
For instance, if you change your shutter speed from 1 second to 1/2 second, the amount of light striking the sensor will be cut in half. If you change your shutter speed setting from 1/2 second to 1 second, twice as much light will strike the image sensor.
In addition to governing exposure, the shutter speed impacts image sharpness. Very fast shutter speeds freeze the motion of a subject to ensure it is sharp, essential when photographing wildlife.
When slow shutter speeds are used, a moving subject will appear blurred. (Note, too, that the slightest movement of the camera can also make for a blurry image.)
Birds and animals can move very fast, so a shutter speed of 1/1000 second is usually the minimum requirement for a sharp image.
Larger animals are often much slower and require slower shutter speeds.
Shutter speed top tip: Use a Tripod!
Wildlife and bird photographers most often use long lenses to magnify the size of their subject. Unfortunately with long lenses blur related to lens movement is a problem.
Using fast shutter speeds can avoid this but due to other constraints to do with exposure, this is often difficult. Using a tripod can reduce lens movement and allow you to use slower shutter speeds.
The shutter speed can at times be slowed right down if you are working in dull conditions and don’t want high ISO settings. I often slow the shutter down to 1/300 and fire off 5 frames in the hope that one of them will be sharp, even small birds stop moving sometimes.
The aperture is the adjustable opening in the lens that allows light in to strike the image sensor. Apertures are sometimes referred to as f-stops.
The most common settings are f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f/22. The larger numbers represent smaller-diameter openings, and these smaller apertures allow less light into the camera to make an exposure.
Making a one-stop shift in aperture will halve or double the amount of light that strikes the sensor. For example, if your aperture is f/8 and you move to f/11, you will reduce the light by half. Moving from f/11 to f/8 will double the amount of light that reaches the sensor.
The f-stop also controls the amount of the scene, from front to back, that will appear in focus. A wide aperture like f/2.8 allows for a very shallow focus depth, while a narrow aperture like f/22 allows for much more of the scene to appear in sharp focus.
This phenomenon is referred to as depth of field, and it is an important tool in creating effective images.
Depth of field is also affected by the focal length of the lens. Telephoto lenses compress the image and make a shallower (narrow) depth of field with less of the image in focus. A wide-angle lens will show a wider view and give more depth of field.
A list of base settings needed for Wildlife and bird photography.
As a starting point you can set your camera to the following settings:
Aperture: A large as the lens allows: f/4
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
White Balance: Auto
Focus Mode: Al Servo or continuous focus
Auto Focus Point: Centre only
Picture Style: Natural
Aperture top tip: Blur the background!
Use large aperture settings F/5.6 or less to blur the background of your target subject. This is especially effective in bird photography and is referred to as Bokeh.
This image of a Crested Tit was photographed with an aperture at f/5.6, the bird is in focus but the background is blurred. This makes the subject stand out.
ISO and how it’s used when photographing wildlife in changing conditions.
The ISO (an acronym that stands for International Standards Organization) is a setting that determines the light sensitivity of the image sensor. Standard ISO settings are 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200.
If you need more light for proper exposure, adjust your ISO to a higher numerical value. The side effect of increasing the ISO is more noise (dots and colors in the image, a digital equivalent to film grain).
Most wildlife photographers try to keep their ISO setting as low as possible but it’s more important to keep your shutter speed fast enough for the animal you photographing, you are better with a sharp but slightly grainy image than a smooth image which is blurred.
Let’s look at a scenario that will help you to better understand how changing the ISO can help you meet your image objectives.
Imagine that you want to shoot a front-lighted subject using a 1/2000 second shutter speed and an aperture of f/4. The sun is setting, so you will need more light for a proper exposure.
The maximum aperture on your lens is f/4, so you cannot choose a wider aperture to let more light into the camera.
You cannot reduce your shutter speed because you want to ensure that your fast-moving subject will be sharp. Your only other choice is to set the ISO to the next higher number.
Camera mode and Auto ISO
Most wildlife and bird photographers work in what is called manual mode. This allows the setting of shutter speed and aperture to be set exactly how it’s needed.
ISO however is usually set to Auto mode which means that regardless of changing light conditions it will adjust and ensure the exposure is correct.
ISO top tip: Don’t be afraid to turn it up if needed!
Noise associated with high ISO degrades the image but if you need to use it don’t be afraid to go for higher settings.
Modern processing software can remove a lot of the ISO noise but it cannot do much with a blurred image or an image which is too dark and has lost detail.
The term “bracketing” refers to the practice of making a series of exposures using slightly different settings to improve the odds of getting a “correct” image.
The camera can be set to take a series of images at slightly different exposures on the basis that at least one of them will be exposed correctly.
This is a practice that I recommend beginners to use until they are confident with getting a correct exposure as you may not get a second chance to photograph an elusive bird or animal.
Bracketing top tip: Bracketing has a downside!
If your photographing moving birds or fast-moving animals I would not recommend bracketing.
Typically when you hold down the shutter button the camera will take three images then stop although some higher-end cameras can be set to take more.
If the animal is moving it’s more than likely you will want more frames than three and sod’s law is that the one that’s not exposed quite right is the one of the animals in the correct position.