If you are heading into Yellowstone or any other National park, chances are you are looking forward to taking pictures of the multitude of animals in the park. This place has such an abundance of wildlife to photograph, it is literally every nature photographers dream. That is why there have been dozens of nature films shot throughout the years within Yellowstone, and professional photographers flock to this area to capture images.
What to look for in a good camera for nature photos? That’s a question I asked myself a few years ago, and even since then some amazing new cameras have hit the market that are ideal for this situation. We won’t be able to cover every detail of these cameras, so I will concentrate on a few features of each of them to compare. The features I like for nature photography are below.
Features to Look For
- Good zooming capability: Perhaps the number one thing that would separate your Iphone’s camera from an ideal nature camera is the zooming ability. In order to capture the best photos of animals possible you will need the ability to zoom right in for the shot. Getting close to wildlife is often not possible, so a good zoom will have to work. It is important to note that optical zoom is much different than digital zoom. Optical zoom will keep your animal pictures sharp and clear, while a digital zoom will work to some extent; If you zoom too much your pictures will become grainy and blurry.
- Durability: This is tough to accomplish in a good camera. All electronics are sensitive to bangs and bumps to some extent, but some cameras are certainly much more durable than others.
- Portability: Compact is the name of the game in nature photography. You want a camera that will fit in your backpack and not be too heavy or bulky.
- Image Stabilization: This is a very important consideration for nature photos. You will often see IS (image stabilization – Canon), VR (vibration reduction – Nikon) or even SR (Shake reduction – Pentax). listed in the features of cameras, but you might not have known what it is. Image stabilization is a great feature to have when capturing moving objects and when you are shooting while in an awkward angle and might be shaky. Essentially it will allow you to capture clear images at slower shutter speeds and it will reduce the amount of shaking as you are trying to get that amazing shot. Read more here about how it works and when to use it.
- Good Video Options: You want to not only be able to capture great images, but also good video. A good camera for your National park nature safari should also have a built in HD video function in case you feel the urge to capture more than a single image. You just never know when a opportunity for amazing video is going to pop up—so when it does, you’ll be ready at the flip of a switch.
Affordable Cameras for Capturing Wildlife Photos
Most people going to a national park on vacation are not going to want to sped a bundle on an expensive camera. We have compiled a list of great cameras that are perfect for taking pictures of animals in nature.
Canon Powershot XS410 with Image Stabilization
This fairly compact camera has a lot of great features for an amazingly low price. About 10 years ago a camera of this quality and this rich in features would have cost a small fortune.
- 40X optical zoom: This is an amazing amount of optical zoom for a smaller sized camera without a big bulky lens. At long distancs, you will be able to zoom right in on your animal subject and capture crystal clear images.
- 720P HD Video: This is pretty good video quality for a digital camera. It surely doesn’t have the capabilities that a full fledged camcorder would offer, but 720 p is still great HD video.
- 20 Megapixel Sensor for amazing images.
This camera is absolutely amazing buy for getting good shots of wildlife. Not only that, it will work perfectly for any other photos and video you’ll need to take at home, or in nature. The low price of this beauty of a camera is just icing on the cake.
Nikon Coolpix L340
The Nikon L340 has pretty much the same features as the Canon above, but it has a little less zooming capability. While it’s 28X zoom is still very good for a camera in this price range.
- 28X optical zoom: This means it will get 28 times closer than your phones camera can. Some phones have decent zooming, but they are all digital zoom, meaning massive loss of image quality the more you attempt to zoom into a subject. 28X is very good, jut not as good as the Canon model above, however this camera makes up for it in a lower price.
- 720P HD Video: Great quality video for a camera! When that bald eagle decides to swoop down and grab a fish, you’ll be ready to capture the whole video in HD.
- 20.2 Megapixel Sensor: Great image quality is a no brainer here.
The Nikon Coolpix L340 is the number one rated camera on Amazon for point and shot digital photography. This didn’t happen by accident, this low price and feature rich camera is surely one of the best buys around.
Pentax XG-1 Digital Camera with Shake Reduction (SR)
This camera has some serious zooming ability with a 58X optical telephoto lens! Just like our other options above you can get all this ability without ever changing your lens. Who has time to switch lenses while trying to take pictures of animals and wildlife? Nobody, because our subjects rarely sit still and you need to get your pictures as fast as possible before the opportunity goes away.Features
- 58X Optical Zoom: The most of any camera on this page! With this camera you should be able to take a clear shot of the eyelashes of a bison!
- 16 Megapixel: The least of the cameras listed, but the difference between 16 and 20 Megapixels will never even be noticed.
- 1080P HD Video: This is the highest quality video of all the cameras listed. You can expect stunning HD videos from this compact powerhouse.
This is a great camera or being currently priced at under $200 An affordable powerhouse that is loaded with great features and some awesome capabilities. Between the high zooming ability to the 1080P HD video, this one is hard to beat for its price. It has all of the good qualities that I look for in a good wildlife camera and a whole lot more.