6 Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary: (2024 Guide & Reviews)

Last Updated on December 5, 2023 by Sharon Advik

I remember the first time I went on a wildlife photography expedition in Botswana.

I stood surrounded by the lush greenery of a dense forest, camera in hand, eagerly waiting to glimpse the extinct creatures that call it home.

Suddenly, a majestic tiger emerged from the bushes, and I felt an adrenaline rush.

I lifted my camera, hoping to capture the perfect shot, but as I reviewed the video shots on my camera screen, I realized it was blurry and lacked sharpness.

That’s how my need for the best camera for wildlife documentaries emerged.

Which are the Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary?

Here are my recommended top 6 Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary:-

Nikon Z9: (Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary)

As the sun began to rise over the sprawling savannah, I took out my Nikon Z9 to document the daily lives of lions.

With its lightning-fast processing power and high-resolution sensor, I knew every detail of the lions’ fur and features would be captured in crystal-clear clarity.

It is one aspect that makes it the best camera for wildlife documentaries.


  • Model: Nikon Z 9
  • Effective Megapixel: 45.7 MP
  • Image sensor: 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm (Stacked CMOS sensor)
  • Shutter speeds: 1/32000 – 30 sec
  • ISO range: 64-256,000 (expandable up to 32-102,400)
  • Video: 8K/30p capture and 4K/60p-from-8K
  • Storage: CFexpress (Type B) – XQD Type Memory
  • Viewfinder: 1.27-cm/0.5-in. (3690k-dot)
  • LCD: OLED with color balance, auto, and 16-level manual brightness
  • Dimension: 149 x 150 x 91mm
  • Weight: 1340g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

It has an exceptional ISO range of 64-25,600, which can be extended up to an incredible 102,400 in the “Hi+” mode.

This wide ISO range allows wildlife photographers to capture stunning images in various lighting conditions.

It also features a fast shutter system that can shoot at subjects with 1/3200 seconds and incredible precision.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

The camera’s native Z mount has a large diameter of 55mm, which allows for faster lenses with wider maximum apertures.

The Z 9 supports lenses with maximum apertures as wide as f/0.95, which provides exceptional low-light performance.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

The camera can shoot up to 20 frames per second in full resolution, making it an ideal choice for capturing fast-moving wildlife.

The camera’s electronic shutter mode can also shoot up to 120 frames per second.

Why is this camera the best?

With its weather-sealed body, I knew I could venture into even the most rugged and challenging environments without worrying about damaging my gear.

As I reviewed the images on her camera’s high-resolution touchscreen display, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe at the power of this incredible piece of technology.

Hence, this is what makes the camera perfect for wildlife scenarios.


Its advanced ISO range, autofocus system, and high-speed shutter make it an excellent choice for a wildlife documentary.

It gave me the tools to capture stunning images of wild animals in their natural habitats.

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  • Stacked sensor eliminates need for mechanical shutter
  • 45MP full-frame imaging leaves room to crop
  • Reliable 3D tracking autofocus
  • Intelligent subject recognition
  • Ample wired and wireless connectivity options
  • Big, gripped body for pro-SLR fans
  • Innovative articulating rear display
  • 8K ProRes Raw and 4K ProRes 422 HQ video
  • Banding may appear in scenes with digital signage
  • Z lens system isn’t fully built out

Canon R5: (Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary)

I woke up early, excited about my wildlife documentary shoot using my Canon R5.

I was in the beautiful Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming.

Once I entered the park, I saw bison grazing in a field near the roadside.

I parked my car and approached them slowly, keeping a safe distance, and used my best camera for wildlife documentaries to capture them.


  • Model: Canon R5
  • Effective Megapixel: 45 MP
  • Image sensor: 36 x 24 mm CMOS
  • Shutter speeds: 30-1/8000 sec
  • ISO range: 100-51,200
  • Storage: 1x CFexpress type B, 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC, and UHS-II
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch – 5.76 Million dots
  • Image stabilizer: sensor shift mechanism
  • Dimension: 138.5 x 97.5 x 88mm
  • Weight: 650 g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

It comprises a native ISO range of 100-51,200, which can be expanded to 102,400.

It also has a versatile shutter speed range, with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second.

This fast shutter speed allows for sharp, blur-free images of fast-moving wildlife.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

Small apertures provide less light to enter the camera.

I used an aperture of f/11 for maximum brightness and the slowest shutter speed possible.

Although this camera’s aperture range extends to f/22, its photographs were dull.

As a result of the small aperture, I achieved a shallow DoF, which looked fantastic in the edited photographs.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

The picture stabilization improved once I linked the camera with the RF lenses.

Because the light was bright enough to catch everything flawlessly, I chose “daylight” over AWB in the white balance settings.

Why is this camera the best?

The autofocus system of the R5 worked like a charm, allowing me to capture the animals in crystal-clear detail, even as they moved around.

The camera’s fast continuous shooting speed allowed me to take a series of shots in rapid succession, capturing their every move.

This is what I find the best thing about the camera.


It is a reliable, high-performance camera perfect for wildlife documentary photography.

Its wide range of features and ergonomics also make it perfect for wildlife documentaries.

The camera provides various tools to capture flora and fauna, from the high-speed continuous shooting mode to the advanced autofocus system.

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  • Superb 45MP full-frame sensor
  • Fast, accurate autofocus
  • Subject tracking at up to 20fps
  • Big, brilliant EVF
  • Swing-out touch LCD
  • 5-axis IBIS
  • CFexpress and UHS-II SDXC card support
  • 8K and 4K video look great
  • Battery life could be better
  • The lens system still has some room to grow

Nikon D850: (Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary)

I had the opportunity to visit one of Europe’s most breathtaking national parks, the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

As I explored the park, I encountered various animals, from the majestic red deer that roamed freely across the meadows to the colorful birds that flitted between the trees.

With my Nikon D850 in hand, I captured every moment of their natural behavior.


  • Model: Nikon D850
  • Effective Megapixel: 45.7 MP
  • Image sensor: (35.9 x 23.9 mm) (BSI-CMOS)
  • ISO range: 64-25,600 (Expandable to 102,400)
  • Shutter speeds: 1/8000 sec
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported) + XQD
  • Viewfinder: 2,359,000-dot
  • Dimension: 146 x 124 x 79 mm
  • Weight: 1005g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

The camera can shoot with an ISO range of 64-25600 but can be extended to ISO 32-102400.

Plus, it has a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, which can freeze even the fastest moving animals, and a minimum shutter speed of 30 seconds for long exposures.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

The camera’s wide aperture allows you to create a shallow depth of field, which can be particularly useful in wildlife documentaries.

A prime lens, such as the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G, has an aperture of f/1.8, but a zoom lens has an aperture of f/2.8.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

In terms of frame rate, it outperforms the company’s prior cameras.

Continuous shooting mode gave me a frame rate of 7 per second.

Why is this camera the best?

One of the best features of the camera for wildlife documentaries is its advanced autofocus system.

With 153 focus points, including 99 cross-type sensors, the camera can quickly and accurately track moving wildlife subjects, ensuring your shots are always focused.

This is particularly important when photographing fast-moving or unpredictable animals, such as birds in flight or running predators.

Combined with all features, it was the best pick for my trip.


Thanks to the incredible capabilities of the D850, I captured some truly breathtaking footage of the wildlife in Plitvice Lakes National Park.

And as I reviewed the images later, I knew I had truly witnessed something special with the best camera for wildlife documentaries.

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  • Full-frame 45.7MP image sensor.
  • 153-point autofocus system.
  • 7fps burst shooting.
  • Wide ISO range.
  • 4K video.
  • Large optical viewfinder.
  • Tilting touch LCD.
  • Dual card slots.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
  • No built-in flash.
  • SnapBridge system needs some work.

Sony a9II: (Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary)

I had been planning my trip to England’s countryside for months.

My goal was to capture the beauty of the wildlife in the area and create a compelling documentary that would inspire others to appreciate the beauty.

That’s why I brought my Sony a9 II camera.

Its fast autofocus and high-speed shooting capabilities made it the perfect tool for capturing the quick movements of animals in the wild.

By the end of the trip, I labeled this camera as the best camera for a wildlife documentary.


  • Model: Sony a9 II
  • Effective Megapixel: 24 MP
  • Image sensor: (35.6 x 23.8 mm) (Exmor RS CMOS sensor)
  • ISO range: Auto, ISO 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)
  • Shutter speeds: 1/8000 sec
  • Storage: Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II compatible)
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots, 0.78x magnification
  • Image stabilizer: sensor shift mechanism
  • Dimension: 129 x 96 x 76 mm
  • Weight: 678g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

The camera boasts a wide ISO range of 100-51200, which can be expanded to 204800 for low-light situations.

I found its shutter speed quite impressive, and it goes up to 1/32,000th of a second, allowing for fast and precise capturing of even the swiftest moments.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

It allows precise control over the aperture, with a range of f/1.8-f/22.

This provides the flexibility to create shallow depths of field, isolating subjects from their backgrounds, or to capture more of the scene in focus with a deep depth of field.

This is particularly useful for wildlife documentaries, where a shallow depth of field can create a more cinematic look.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

Because there aren’t always optimum lighting circumstances, I always record in RAW mode with this camera.

The incandescent illumination was effective.

At times, the AWB was sufficient.

The frame rate can be increased to 20 frames per second for the finest video quality.

Why is this camera the best?

One key reason I find the camera best for wildlife documentaries is its high-speed shooting capabilities.

With up to 20 frames per second of continuous shooting and a fast autofocus system, it can easily capture even the most fast-moving subjects, allowing for stunning action shots and precise timing of animal behaviors.


By the end of my trip, I had captured hours of footage and hundreds of photos, all thanks to my trusty a9 II camera.

And as I reviewed my footage, I realized I had captured the essence of this beautiful place that the animals call home.

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  • Blackout-free capture at 20fps
  • Superlative autofocus system
  • 24MP full-frame sensor
  • Dust and splash protection
  • 5-axis IBIS
  • 4K video
  • Wired and wireless file transfer
  • No S-Log video profiles included
  • The battery doesn’t match SLR rivals

Canon 7D Mark II: (Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary)

When I arrived at a wildlife park in Houston, I was greeted by birds chirping and the sight of trees swaying gently in the breeze.

It was a beautiful day, and I could sense that it would be great for wildlife documentaries.

The Canon 7D Mark II exceeded my expectations, and I knew I had captured some wonderful moments with the best camera for a wildlife documentary.


  • Model: Canon 7D Mark II
  • Effective Megapixel: 20.2 MP
  • Image sensor: 22.4 x 15.0mm (APS-C CMOS sensor)
  • ISO range: 100-16,000 (expandable to ISO 51,200)
  • Shutter speeds: 30-1/8000 sec
  • Storage: Compact flash and SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Viewfinder: 1.0x magnification (0.63x in 35mm)
  • Dimension: 149 x 112 x 78 mm
  • Weight: 910g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

The high ISO performance of this camera is excellent.

My nighttime documentaries are a perfect illustration of this.

It was nearing dark after trekking to higher elevations for better shots.

This camera was most likely placed in a difficult situation.

Surprisingly, even in low light and with the ISO set to 100 and the slowest shutter speed of 30 seconds, the programmed bulb exposure helped me acquire great shots.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

Nature’s splendor attracted me, and I longed to record it all.

To top it all off, I changed the white balance to “daylight” for maximum brightness.

I used the 10fps option for continuous scenes to reduce difficulty concentrating on moving animals.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

I encountered exciting objects and animals I wanted to shoot on my journey.

Because it was broad daylight, I adjusted the aperture to f/1.4.

And f/4 – f/5.6 worked great at places when I wanted to capture activity.

Why is this camera the best?

The 7D Mark II is considered one of the best cameras for wildlife photography and documentaries.

Firstly, it has a fast burst shooting mode, allowing the photographer to capture multiple images quickly, perfect for capturing fast-moving wildlife.

Secondly, it has a high autofocus system, ensuring the subject is in sharp focus, even in motion.


The camera and features make it perfect for visiting the wilds and making documentaries.

Its image sensor, auto-focus, and compact body made my trip easy with this camera.

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  • 10fps continuous shooting.
  • 65-point cross-type autofocus system.
  • Great control layout.
  • Huge JPG shooting buffer.
  • Lots of detail at high ISO.
  • Access to Canon lens system.
  • 1/8,000-second shutter.
  • CF and SD card slots.
  • Integrated GPS.
  • 1080p60 video.
  • Lacks built-in Wi-Fi.
  • It has a fixed rear LCD.

Canon 5D Mark IV: (Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary)

I’m a wildlife photographer, and I often find myself out in the field, trying to capture the perfect shot of animals in their natural habitat.

I chose the Canon 5D Mark IV as my go-to camera.

With its 30.4-megapixel sensor and advanced autofocus system, I can capture stunning images of animals in motion, from the subtle twitch of a lion’s tail to the majestic flight of an eagle.

It is the best camera for wildlife documentaries.


  • Model: Canon 5D Mark IV
  • Effective Megapixel: 30.4 MP
  • Image sensor: 36 x 24 mm (CMOS)
  • ISO range: 100-12800 (expandable up to 100-25600)
  • Shutter speeds: 30-1/8000 sec
  • Storage: 1x CompactFlash Type I (UDMA 7 compatible) 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC and UHS-I
  • Viewfinder: 0.71x 3 x 21mm
  • Image stabilizer: NA
  • Dimension: 150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9mm
  • Weight: 800g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

I was familiar with this model because I borrowed it from a family friend.

I knew which settings would be most effective in those scenarios.

This excursion aimed to be surrounded by all types of animals.

To eliminate the shadow effect, ISO 3200 with a shutter speed of 1/50 sec worked great.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

Choosing the right aperture allows you to capture the genuine essence of your surroundings.

I adjusted the aperture to f/5.6 to capture as much light as possible.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

Canon’s camera has a maximum frame rate of 7 frames per second.

It is adequate for wildlife documentaries.

Because of the 60 fps full HD filming capabilities, I enjoyed shooting videos with it.

Because I was usually shooting in low-light situations, I employed the AWB to achieve the best color mix and quality.

Why is this camera the best?

The camera’s advanced autofocus system with 61 autofocus points and Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology ensures it can track moving subjects quickly and accurately, making capturing crisp, sharp images of animals in motion easier.

Additionally, the camera’s fast continuous shooting speed of 7 frames per second enables photographers to capture multiple images of fast-moving animals and select the best shot later.

It also has a rugged, weather-sealed body that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions.


Overall, I loved how this camera performed well on my trip that I planned for wildlife documentaries.

My portfolio went one level up when I added the videos I shot with this camera.

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  • 30MP full-frame image sensor.
  • Fast 61-point autofocus system.
  • 7fps continuous shooting.
  • Unlimited JPG shooting buffer.
  • Pro-grade build.
  • Dual Pixel AF Live View focus system.
  • 3.2-inch touch screen.
  • Integrated GPS and Wi-Fi.
  • CF and SD card slots.
  • Clean HDMI output is 1080p only.
  • 4K video files are quite large.
  • No in-body flash.


Alright, guys, that concludes all the cameras we will discuss today in this article.

Do you guys have any experience with these cameras? What are your thoughts on them?

Which is your Best Camera for Wildlife Documentary?

Is there a camera I didn’t mention in this article that you love using for macro photography?

Would you please leave your thoughts and comments below?

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