When you first start out shooting nature photography you can sometimes feel pressured to learn everything at once. When you’re learning, you’ll be trying many different techniques that will provide the foundation for just about everything you’ll ever want to do with your camera. That’s why the best camera for beginner nature photography is one that offers ease of use but enough advanced features for you to grow with it as you develop your skills.
Whether you’re shooting in your garden or at a local nature reserve, you want a camera that can withstand the elements and be capable of capturing a variety of subjects, whether it’s a fast-moving insect or fungi in the low light of a forest floor.
What camera features do beginner nature photographers need?
Many photographers feel they need the best full-frame camera to shoot nature photography, but the best APS-C or Micro Four Thirds format cameras tend to be more affordable and can give you more reach given their crop factor. For instance, a Micro Four Thirds camera has a 2x focal length magnification factor, turning a 300mm lens into a 600mm lens, for example, whereas an APS-C format sensor has a 1.5-1.6x focal length magnification making a 300mm lens look like a 4500mm or 480mm optic. For more on crop factor, check out our guides on when to use APS-C lenses instead of full-frame and our breakdown of APS-C vs full-frame sensors.
When you’re looking at the best beginner cameras, you’ll usually find that their AF systems perform great in good light but may struggle a bit in low light. The best camera for beginner nature photography will have a lot of AF points spread across the frame. You can look for the cameras with the most AF points, but also check how sensitive these AF points are in low light.
Build quality is also important when choosing a camera for nature photography. Because you’ll be shooting outside in all sorts of conditions, the best camera for beginner nature photography should be able to withstand the cold, drizzle, wet grass, muddy fields, even lying down on sandy beaches. You’ll want a camera with a metal alloy body, if your budget allows for it. Also check that your intended camera has weather-proof seals along any joints and around the controls.
The best cameras for beginner nature photography you can buy today
With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best options for budding nature photographers. We’ve shot with all of these cameras, and you can read our more in-depth reviews, linked below, for a deeper analysis.
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