6 Best camera for wildlife photography under $500: (2023 Guide & Reviews)

Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Sharon Advik

Whether you are a budding wildlife photographer or an experienced professional, capturing the beauty and drama of wild animals in their natural habitats is a compelling pursuit.

Finding that perfect camera to deliver stunning images often feels like navigating through a maze – it’s time-consuming, tricky, and often expensive!

You can capture amazing photographs without breaking the bank; we have researched extensively and compiled the top cameras for wildlife photography for under $500.

With my guide below, finding your ideal camera setup for any budget will be more accessible!

Which is the Best camera for wildlife photography under $500?

Here are my recommended top 6 Best camera for wildlife photography under $500:-

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330: (Best Camera for wildlife photography under $500)

I was always passionate about wildlife photography.

I would take day trips to nearby nature reserves and spend hours admiring the diverse flora and fauna that inhabited these natural havens.

One weekend, I decided to take my passion for wildlife photography seriously and invest in a high-quality camera.

With the help of some online tutorials, I quickly picked up how to use the sophisticated device properly and started snapping away at all kinds of animals – from majestic birds flying across a clear blue sky to timid little squirrels gathering nuts beneath a tall oak tree.


  • Model: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330
  • Camera effective pixels: 12.1MP
  • Optical zoom: 24x
  • Sensor: 1/2.3-type High Sensitivity MOS Sensor
  • Lens: LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT/14 elements
  • Aperture: F2.8 / Multistage Iris Diaphragm
  • Image stabilizer: yes
  • View finder: 0.39″ OLED LVF
  • Weight: 691g
  • Dimensions: 131.6 x 91.5 x 117.1 mm (5.18 x 3.60 x 4.61 inch)

ISO / Shutter Speed:

As I always love to do experiments and try new things, I am here to take some extra vigilant 4k videos of squirrels gathering nuts beneath an oak tree.

I set my camera ISO level at 2500 and the shutter speed at 1/320.

At this level, I was able to capture the perfect wildlife moments.

This camera helped me to click, so far, the best videos, even at this price range.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

In most of my daytime photography, I prefer to set a wide aperture, but for this particular scene, I put an aperture of f/4 to capture my subject well without going out of focus.

As f/4 always seems perfect for getting necessary details around the issue, I want to ensure everything is clear.

But want to achieve a high 4k motion images.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

To shoot the picture of folk birds in the sky, I adjusted my White Balance to a cooler temperature, making the colors in my video look more vibrant and true-to-life.

Then, I increased the Frame Rate by up to 30 fps of my camera to get smoother motion without blurring or other artifacts. Finally, I started shooting.

After a few minutes of recording, I knew I had captured something special; the birds looked alive and vivid against that beautiful sky backdrop.

Why is this camera the best?

This camera is one of the best cameras available on the market.

This camera offers a variety of features that make it an ideal choice for anyone looking to capture high-quality images and videos.

It has a powerful 24x optical zoom lens, allowing you to get close-up shots without changing lenses.

Its advanced 20.1-megapixel sensor produces detailed, sharp images with accurate colors.

This camera also has an impressive burst rate of 12fps and 5-axis image stabilization, making it ideal for capturing action shots or reducing blur in low-light conditions.

I consider it the best camera for wildlife photography for under $500.


Its 4K video capability ensures your recordings look great even when viewed on larger displays.

Its creative filter options also help to bring out unique effects from your photos and videos.

All this, combined with its intuitive user interface, makes the camera an ideal choice for amateur and professional photographers.

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  • 24x zoom lens with f/2.8 aperture.
  • All-weather build.
  • Excellent EVF.
  • Vari-angle touch-screen display.
  • High-speed autofocus.
  • 12.4fps burst shooting.
  • Strong high ISO images for its class.
  • Raw image capture.
  • 4K video.
  • Large-sensor superzooms offer better image quality.

Canon EOS 4000D: (Best Camera for wildlife photography under $500)

It all started when I decided to take a trip into the wild.

Armed with my trusty camera, I was determined to capture some of nature’s most majestic creatures on film.

After weeks of preparation, I had to put my skills to the test.

My first encounter was with an eagle atop a tree overlooking a riverbank.

As soon as it spotted me, it flew off into the sunset, but not before I had managed to get several fantastic shots!

My next subject was two bighorn sheep grazing in a nearby field; taking advantage of their stationary positions allowed me to adjust my Canon EOS 4000D settings and snap away without further interruption or movement from them!


  • Model: canon EOS 4000D
  • Lens: 18-55mm
  • Screen size: 2.7 inches
  • Video capture resolution: 1080p
  • Form factor: DSLR, copmact
  • Shooting mode: automatic
  • ISO: 100-6400, 12800 Expandable.
  • Fps: 3 fps Continuous Shooting.
  • Sensor: 18MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Weight: 201g
  • Dimensions: 2.7 x 2.8″ / 68.5 x 71.1 mm

ISO / Shutter Speed:

First, I set the ISO to 400.

This was essential in ensuring the eagle was not too dark or too light in the final image.

With a higher ISO, more light would be captured, allowing me to take advantage of any available natural lighting from the sun.

Next, I adjusted my shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second.

This was necessary to freeze motion and give me a sharp photo without any blurriness caused by the fast-moving wings or feathers of the eagle as it flew across the sky.

Additionally, setting a faster shutter speed means taking multiple images quickly, which gave me more chances to capture what I wanted and minimize camera shake due to wind turbulence and other factors.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

To take shots of a flying eagle into the sunset, I set my aperture to a slightly lower f-stop than usual, such as f/8 or f/9.

This will help me achieve a shallow depth of field and blur out any distracting elements in the background.

It will also help focus attention on the eagle and make the bird stand out in the shot.

I use a longer lens with a focal length of around 300mm or even longer to ensure that I capture the entire bird in my frame.

I couldn’t believe how beautiful all these photos turned out, especially compared to how careful attention needed to go into every detail.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

I first ensure that my camera is set to Manual mode to achieve the desired effect of capturing shots of a flying eagle into the sunset with a white balance and frame rate of 3fps.

This allows me to adjust settings independently of each other as needed.

I then adjust the white balance to Daylight or Sunny location to capture the sunset’s colors realistically.

Lastly, I set the frame rate to 3fps, limiting my movements but providing enough frames between shots to catch the flight pattern of the eagle.

Why is this camera the best?

This is one of the best-quality cameras for wildlife photography because it offers many features and benefits.

The 18-55mm lens allows for more creative options as it can cover a wide angle, making capturing landscape shots easier.

It also features a 24.1 megapixel APS-C sensor, which helps take better quality photos, even in low light conditions.

The camera has an ISO range of 100 to 6,400, allowing you to take brighter images without additional lighting equipment.


Finally, this camera has several features, such as scene intelligent auto mode, built-in flash, 6 fps continuous shooting speed, and much more, making it the perfect companion for amateur photographers who want to explore the hobby further.

In short, it should be your ultimate choice if you are looking for a reliable, high-quality, and best camera for wildlife photography under $500  that can help you capture beautiful memories effortlessly.

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  • Great value for money
  • Massive range of compatible lenses
  • Poor kit lens

Canon EOS 2000D: (Best Camera for wildlife photography under $500)

I explored the vast savannah grasslands in search of animals and soon spotted a majestic giraffe.

He stood tall above the other trees and plants surrounding him, and his neck stretched high and long like a tower.

His spotted coat caught my eye, and my heart started pounding as soon as I saw him – this would be an incredible shot.

I slowly approached the giraffe, cautiously taking each step to not startle him with my presence.

He stayed still, looking far away with his kind eyes and curious face.

I took out my camera and began snapping multiple pictures at different angles.

Every second felt like a precious minute as I tried to capture every detail of his beautiful figure.


  • Model: canon EOS 2000D
  • Form factor: DSLR compact
  • Screen size : 3 inches
  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Sensor: 24.1 MP
  • Lens: 18-55mm
  • Zoom: 19x
  • Autofocus: yes

ISO / Shutter Speed:

I used a combination of ISO and shutter speed to capture the giraffe.

Firstly, I adjusted the ISO to 400 to ensure the image was bright.

Secondly, I set the shutter speed to 1/1600th of a second so that it could freeze the action of the giraffe grazing tree leaves.

This allowed me to capture sharp, detailed images with little motion blur.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

Since light levels can be challenging when photographing animals in their natural habitats, I experimented with different aperture settings until I achieved optimal exposure levels while still capturing great detail in all parts of the scene, including shadows and highlights.

By shooting at sunset when softer light was available, I achieved beautiful results with excellent depth of field and color saturation, as you will also get the same.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

I adjusted the white balance to compensate for any color cast before taking a single shot.

Additionally, I used a frame rate of 3.0 per my camera limit, which allowed me to capture multiple frames per second without overwhelming the giraffe with noise or vibration from my camera.

This enabled me to capture each moment of the grazing with great detail and clarity while preserving the scene’s natural beauty and serenity.

By setting my frame rate at 3fps instead of a higher rate, I ensured that there wouldn’t be any unwanted blurring or distortion of fast-moving parts of the image.

Why is this camera the best?

This camera is an excellent choice for wildlife photographers of all levels and is the best for its price range.

It features a 24.1 megapixel APS-C sensor, allowing it to capture high-quality images even in low light conditions.

It also features an autofocus system with 9 points that works quickly and accurately to ensure sharp details.

This camera is one of the best for wildlife photography for under $500.


All these features make this one of the best cameras available in this price range – perfect for beginners looking for a reliable yet affordable option and more experienced photographers who need something versatile enough for their needs.

Its robust specs and intuitive usability make it a fantastic choice at an incredibly competitive price point – there isn’t a better option out there right now!

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  • Cheap to buy
  • Decent quality from a 24MP sensor
  • Huge choice of lenses
  • Basic AF, especially in Live View
  • Slow 3fps burst mode
  • Only 1080 video not 4K

Panasonic Lumix TZ90: (Best Camera for wildlife photography under $500)

One day, while trekking through the wilderness, I stumbled upon something incredible: A herd of elephants in full view!

As soon as they spotted me, they started moving towards me – and before I knew it, dozens of them surrounded me in awe!

So, with my heart beating out of my chest and adrenaline pumping through my veins, I lifted my camera.

I captured one breathtaking photo after another until they finally moved away again.

That experience marked a turning point in my life as a wildlife photographer; since then, every time I go out into nature with my camera ready for action, it brings the same feeling deep down inside, regardless of whether this is not elephants or any other animal species that comes across on the way.

Every moment is filled with excitement, knowing that you will go home with some beautiful memories that are forever preserved within your photos – because that’s what photography does best – immortalizes moments we would otherwise forget about over time.


  • Model: Panasonic Lumix TZ90
  • Form factor: Compact
  • Effective still resolution: 20.3 MP
  • Optical zoom: 30x
  • Image stabilization: yes
  • Photo sensor size: ½.3 inches
  • Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Dimensions: 1.62 x 4.41 x 2.65 inches

ISO / Shutter Speed:

To shoot the above scene, I set my ISO to 200, which would help with the amount of light passing the lens, giving me a clear image of the animals.

With that done, I increased the shutter speed to 1/500th of a second, ensuring no movement from either myself or the elephants would be captured in the photo.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

To get the perfect shot, I adjusted my aperture at f/2 to achieve a shallow depth of field – allowing me to draw attention to the elephants and create an out-of-focus background for more emphasis.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

I set my White Balance to “Shade” mode to capture this, giving me more accurate colors and tones throughout the scene.

Finally, I put my Frame Rate to at least 24 fps (frames per second) for smooth motion when the elephants move.

Why is this camera the best?

This camera is widely considered to be the best camera for wildlife photography.

Its powerful 30x optical zoom lens captures close-up shots of animals in their natural habitat.

Its 4K video capabilities allow you to capture stunning footage of them in action.

The camera also features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, making sharing your photos and videos with others easy.

If anyone asks me about the best camera for wildlife photography under $500, I will recommend this to him.


This is an excellent travel camera.

It’s small and light yet packed with features.

The image quality is excellent, especially in low light.

The 30x optical zoom is best for getting close to the action, and the 4K video looks fantastic.

Overall, the TZ90 is a great all-rounder that should appeal to anyone looking for a good travel camera.

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  • Adds tilt-angle screen
  • Easy touchscreen control
  • 30x zoom versatility in a pocketable body
  • Mode dial and lens control ring for easy adjustment and functionality
  • 4K Photo is useful
  • Low-light and full zoom limitations due to limited maximum aperture

DJI Osmo Action 3: (Best Camera for wildlife photography under $500)

My friend Mark and I have been best friends since we were young.

We’ve always had a passion for photography.

Over the years, we took road trips nationwide to capture fantastic wildlife shots and video footage.

We’d spend hours in the wild waiting for the right moment to snap a perfect photo or get an incredible angle on some unique animal behavior.

On one of our trips up north, Mark suggested that we take a side trip off-road into an area known as “The Badlands.”

We drove for miles without seeing another soul until this bison herd came out of nowhere!

It was truly magnificent, and we felt so connected with nature at that moment – like everything else just melted away except us and these beautiful creatures.

We continued to take photos and videos with DJI Osmo Action throughout our journey, but nothing could compare to what happened in The Badlands that day.


  • Model: DJI Osmo Action
  • Flash memory type: micro sd
  • Waterproof: yes
  • Screen size: 2.25 inches
  • Optical zoom: 4x
  • Video capture resolution: 4k

ISO / Shutter Speed:

I set my camera’s ISO to 800 and the shutter speed to 1/1000 sec to capture a bison herd.

This combination allows me to capture the pack in motion without introducing too much noise or motion blur.

Using a faster shutter speed, I can freeze the moment, allowing me to capture all the details of the herd and its movement.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

To capture a herd of bison in their natural environment, it is essential to adjust the aperture or “depth of field properly.”

To achieve this, choosing a wide-aperture setting f/2 is necessary, allowing more light into the lens and creating a shallow field depth.

This will help to blur the background, bringing more focus to the bison and giving them greater prominence.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

To capture a bison herd, I would set the white balance to “Cloudy” and the frame rate to 24p.

This combination will give me an ideal contrast and dynamic range to capture the animals in their natural environment.

Why is this camera the best?

It has dual screens, so you can see what you’re shooting without taking your eye off the action.

The camera’s RockSteady stabilization technology ensures that your footage is smooth and steady, no matter how much movement.

With its 12MP sensor and 155-degree field of view, the DJI Osmo Action captures all the details of your adventures.

So, again, I will say that this is the best camera for wildlife photography under $500.


After testing the camera, it is an excellent addition to the company company’s lineup of products.

The camera is versatile and easy to use, with excellent image quality.

The stabilization is also impressive, making it an excellent choice for wildlife photography and video.

I highly recommend this to anyone in the market for a new action camera.

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  • Front and rear color touch displays
  • Easy to change lens filters
  • Continuous 4K60 recording without overheating
  • Up to 4K120 and 1080p240 slow motion
  • 75-minute battery
  • Waterproof to 52 feet
  • Smartphone activation a strict requirement
  • Video limited to 4K, 8-bit quality

GoPro Hero11 Black: (Best Camera for wildlife photography under $500)

I captured outstanding shots on my solo trip to a nearby forest on a lively summer day.

First, I find a nice and cozy place to quickly get what I have planned.

At first, I was blank on what I wanted to shoot. I just thought, whatever it will be.

I will catch it on my camera.

As I went deep inside, I heard the voices of little woodpeckers waiting for their parents to come with food.

I immediately decided to shoot.

Then I took my binoculars to see where they were.

Nearby, I found my place and sat there to shoot woodpecker videos.

As I could trace their location, I took my GoPro Hero11 and took some detailed videos with 4k quality.


  • Model: GoPro HERO11
  • Lens:23 MP
  • Flash memory type: Micro SD
  • Image stabilization: yes
  • Audio recording: yes
  • Screen size: 1.88 inches
  • Photo sensor technology: NMOS

ISO / Shutter Speed:

A good starting point is to set the ISO at its lowest setting, usually between 100 and 200, and then adjust the shutter speed until a good exposure is achieved.

A relatively slow shutter speed of 1/250th – 1/500th of a second will allow enough light, freezing any motion from the birds’ wings. It has a max of 1/2000 sec.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

To capture woodpeckers feeding their little ones, the aperture must be set to a relatively small size (f/8 or f/11) to achieve a greater depth of field.

This will ensure that both the woodpecker and its chicks are in focus in the resulting image.

So I applied this to my camera, and I got stunning shots.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

To capture woodpeckers feeding their little ones, I set the white balance to Daylight, depending on the lighting conditions.

I also set the frame rate to 60 frames per second, generally considered the optimal rate for capturing fast-moving birds such as woodpeckers.

Why is this camera the best?

There are various reasons why this is the best camera for wildlife photographers.

It is compact and easily carried around, making it the perfect choice for those always on the go.

Additionally, it takes incredible photos and videos, essential for capturing memories of your travels or safari trips.


After trials, it is an excellent update to the already fantastic GoPro Hero line.

The new features and improvements make it a worthy investment for anyone in the market for a new action camera.

The image and video quality are excellent, and the new stabilization feature is a game-changer, making it the best camera for wildlife photography under $500.

We also love the new TimeWarp feature, which makes creating stabilized time-lapse videos easier.

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  • Great-looking 5.3K60 video
  • 4K120 and 2.7K240 slow-motion
  • 10-bit color sampling
  • Numerous time-lapse modes
  • Waterproof to 33 feet
  • Solid touch interface and voice command support
  • Subscription service with useful features
  • One battery won’t get you through the day


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 photography under $500?

Is there a camera you love to use for wildlife photography that I didn’t mention in this article?

Would you please leave your thoughts and comments below?

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