Blog Objective - Wildlife photography gear for starters under $3000 USD
As a wildlife photographer you could basically start with any gear but there are some gears that could make your work easier and more productive. I get a lot of DMs on my Instagram account asking me for recommendation for beginner gears. To this question I have never thought that anyone could have a ‘perfect’ answer because as humans we are all so different. All technologies are not built for everyone, e.g. I could see myself using a Nikon system for a long time and most of my friends would feel the same about canon. Truth is that both are absolutely amazing systems, and can both produce some remarkable results.
In this blog my hope is that I can clarify some of the misunderstanding about camera gear and help you choose not only a camera and lens but also some additional equipment required to start that very difficult looking hobby called – ‘wildlife photography’
My personal favorite to start your journey as a wildlife photographer would be the Canon 7Dii. The camera comes with a 1.6 crop factor which is a huge plus for bird photographers. For people who prefer to sacrifice the crop factor for quality and image quality should also look at the 6D II as an alternative option.
A very popular option in Nikon is the D500 which is their flagship when it comes to crop sensor models. It’s a good all rounder camera with touchscreen abilities that are missing in some of the Canon options. It can also shoot in 4k
While the camera body plays a very important role in your photography I think that ultimately it is the lens where your investment should be. There are several zoom lenses in the market today to choose from that makes wildlife photography ‘convenient’ but I am a strong believer when it comes to quality over quantity (and convenience) which is why in my years of photography (as a photographer and mentor) I always advice people to go for a fixed focal length lens. And that brings us to me list of recommendations in both brands.
The 2 coolest lenses as a wildlife photographer you could start with are the Canon 300mm F4 IS L and Canon 400mm F5.6 L lenses. They are sharp, light and with a teleconverter give you the reach of over 500mm on a crop body.
If one prefers a zoom option instead then the Canon 100-400 mm f4.5-5.6 could be a great alternative
In Nikon I recommend the NIKKOR 300MM F4D IF-ED and the NIKON 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S as the zoom alternative
3rd party brands
My recommended lenses in the market today are the following:
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD
Teleconverters are basically focal length multipliers which are attached between the camera and the lens which helps the photographer with additional reach. This is definitely an advantage to bird photographers.
The 2 simple options here are –
Canon Extender EF 1.4X III
AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14E III