Black Gold Sights - Pure Gold
Camera for Hunting/Wildlife Pics?
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
cnelk 22-Nov-19
cnelk 22-Nov-19
cnelk 22-Nov-19
JohnMC 22-Nov-19
Grey Ghost 22-Nov-19
smarba 22-Nov-19
Ambush 22-Nov-19
stick33 22-Nov-19
ND String Puller 22-Nov-19
APauls 23-Nov-19
APauls 23-Nov-19
Paul@thefort 23-Nov-19
Paul@thefort 23-Nov-19
M.Pauls 23-Nov-19
Jims 23-Nov-19
Ucsdryder 23-Nov-19
Paul@thefort 23-Nov-19
Ziek 23-Nov-19
sbschindler 23-Nov-19
Cheetah8799 23-Nov-19
PECO 23-Nov-19
Brotsky 23-Nov-19
PECO 23-Nov-19
c3 23-Nov-19
Jims 23-Nov-19
Ziek 23-Nov-19
From: cnelk
22-Nov-19
Im looking for a camera that I can use to take pics/vids while hunting or wildlife photos. I am in no means going to be as good as BB, but I need more than just a cell phone capabilities - I would like to stay in the $300 or less range

Here is a photo I took with my cell phone that I wish I had a better camera

From: cnelk
22-Nov-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: cnelk
22-Nov-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: JohnMC
22-Nov-19
You are going to want a DSLR with a good long range lens. I say at least 200mm-300mm. Lens are lot like binos you get what you pay for. $300 won't go very far for a body or lens. Spends some time on sites such as DP review and you can't get a better "picture" of what you are looking to buy. You could probably find some good deals on craigslist on used equipment.

From: Grey Ghost
22-Nov-19
Yep, the lens makes more of a difference than the camera in my opinion. I use a Canon 100-400mm lens on a Canon Rebel XT camera for wildlife shots. Unfortunately, a good quality camera and lens is going to cost you considerably more than your budget.

Matt

From: smarba
22-Nov-19
I disagree with the need for DSLR. Many of the Panasonic Lumix DMZ variations will be in your budget and provide 24x or even higher zoom. High quality photos and I've been very happy with mine over the years, per BB recommendations as a modest camera for what I needed. Way, way, way better than cell phone pictures when you're trying to zoom.

From: Ambush
22-Nov-19

Ambush's embedded Photo
This pic is at thirty five yards.
Ambush's embedded Photo
This pic is at thirty five yards.
Ambush's embedded Photo
About ten feet in a foggy rain.
Ambush's embedded Photo
About ten feet in a foggy rain.
Ambush's embedded Photo
About 250 yards
Ambush's embedded Photo
About 250 yards
Ambush's embedded Photo
About 300 yards with lots of optical zoom left
Ambush's embedded Photo
About 300 yards with lots of optical zoom left
I will never get good with a “real” camera, so I have a good compromise for me. It’s a Canon SX730 HS. Forty times optical zoom and more (kinda useless) digital zoom. Takes very good video as well and has the important stabilization for us guys that aren’t quick to grab the tripod.

A nice feature for hunters is, I can take a pic, Bluetooth to my phone and send it to buddies or upload to Bowsite in a minute.

From: stick33
22-Nov-19
Go with an entry level SLR w/ a 300mm lens. $400. You'll be happy to have to manual focus for critters behind trees, etc.

22-Nov-19

ND String Puller's Link
I’m no expert, but I’ve been using this Sony for few years it has a great Zeiss lens and is basically a point and shoot on steroids. I actually bought the hx 400 - few more bells and whistles. My buddy has the 300 and has no complaints. You won’t be disappointed. Wouldn’t hurt to check eBay also.

From: APauls
23-Nov-19
At a recommendation of C3 who is on this site I looked into the micro 4/3 format. For hunters it is ideal. It is essentially a DSLR as far as usability and quality goes but in a smaller package. Way more mobile, weighs less, and lenses are smaller. My 100-300mm lens is basically 5” long. In a DSLR that would be twice the size. The format really took off and now there are many options out there. I have a Panasonic Lumix G7 and love it. I have a 20mm pancake lens, and two zoom lenses. I am always so thankful I have it. Because it is small it actually comes with me. The video is semi-pro. I can put it in “zoom mode” which essentially doubles the zoom and is still better than 1080P. So that’s the equivalent of a 200-600mm lens in a 5” package that can get you better than 1080P. Insane. PM me if you want I could send you some shots and stuff but to me, for a hunter, it’s the best of all worlds. And I love having it for family shots etc. I’ve also taken many of our “professional” pictures we use for work on our website

From: APauls
23-Nov-19
Oh, forgot another major hunter friendly feature on micro 4/3, the ability to turn shutter noise off. Total silence. Because there isn’t a shutter.

From: Paul@thefort
23-Nov-19

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
amount of light is very important in picture quality. some digital cameras do not do well in low light without a lot of adjustments.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
amount of light is very important in picture quality. some digital cameras do not do well in low light without a lot of adjustments.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
a camera with stabilization function is important. I have been using the ( good entry cameras ie, price, Panasonic fz70 for the past years with good results. Optical zoom is very good, farther Digital zoom is fair.. Lots of functions and yes, video. If you remember the video shots I took of one of my goose hunts-- satisfied. Check out Amazon and others for good prices, especially cameras that have had some upgrade model/function changes and are now on sale. Most cameras will weight a 1.3 lbs. Lots of info on Google search.

From: Paul@thefort
23-Nov-19

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
200 yards away. Most will agree, one needs to take a lot of pictures to come up with a few good ones. I do computer photo enhance most pictures.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
200 yards away. Most will agree, one needs to take a lot of pictures to come up with a few good ones. I do computer photo enhance most pictures.

From: M.Pauls
23-Nov-19
There are some real nice cameras out there, that’s not an issue. Just be real with yourself. If you’ve gotten cool pics on you cell phone that you wish were better quality, a big 5lbs camera/lens likely won’t be getting packed along and be at the ready for the next shot. It’s easy to get sucked into just “I’ll get the best” but it’s important to figure out how it’s size will fit into your hunting style. For me hunting comes first and I eventually dumped my DSLR with huge lenses (I do miss it I’ll say) because it just wasn’t realistic to bring it while I’m hunting. I compromised and got a camcorder. That may not be the right decision for many, point is, I think you’ll get a lot more enjoyment if it seamlessly fits your hunting style.

From: Jims
23-Nov-19
I have a Canon SX60 HS that I use for scouting and hunting. It has a pretty amazing HD 65x optical zoom. It works fantastic for taking photos and HD video. It isn't a pocket camera but is relatively small. The photos and video are by far way better than Iphone-scope footage I've taken with spotting scopes. It's super nice for taking photos and video of game while scouting and bringing home to size them up on the computer or big screen.

From: Ucsdryder
23-Nov-19
Brad, I have a canon dslr. I always talk about carrying it but never do. It’s heavy and cumbersome. Not to mention you have to plug it in, upload pictures, blah blah blah. I would go for the smallest camera with the best optical zoom (digital is worthless) and most importantly make sure you can Bluetooth it to your phone!

From: Paul@thefort
23-Nov-19
Matt, you are so correct. I carry mine on all trips because of its size, weight, has most fictions, and ease of operation. And carry it in a belt "fanny" pack in front for easy access. And maybe most important, the will to carry it and take pictures. My camera just adds to my hunting experience and once in a while I get a good picture I am proud of.

From: Ziek
23-Nov-19
I use a Sony DSC-RX10 IV. It's about the size of a DSLR with normal lens, but lighter. The zoom is 24-600 35mm equivalent. It has what they call 1" sensor, which is larger than most point & shoot, but not as large as most DSLR. For a single body/lens it's the best choice on the market. I can't/won't carry the size and weight of even a mirrorless body, with the lenses necessary for that zoom reach, AND have to screw around changing lenses in the field. It is no where near your price point. For $300 you might as well stay with a phone camera. A company called Moment has add on lenses for the iPhone (I don't know if they make them for other phones). That might be a better option for less money. We've used them and they work quite well. Especially for the newer phones.

From: sbschindler
23-Nov-19
one thing to keep in mind about a hunting camera and getting the good shot, the camera has to be convenient, having a camera that takes up a lot of space and has to have a neck strap to carry around is not as fast to use as a shirt pocket camera, most unique shots only give you seconds or at best a minute, you have to be ready for the shot, if you are mostly looking to take pictures instead of hunting you could have a bulkier camera at the ready but if you are mostly a hunter and have your bow at the ready and the camera stuffed away somewhere, a shirt pocket is very accessible

From: Cheetah8799
23-Nov-19
I have a Panasonic Lumix FZ40 that has 24x optical zoom and does a decent job of taking photos at longer range, but struggles with focusing properly if there is something inbetween me and the target. I carry it on trips where I know the zoom might be useful for longer range shots. I also have a cell phone adapter that holds my phone camera lens fairly stable to the binoculars. I can get some decent photos out of that too with my 10x42 binocs.

From: PECO
23-Nov-19

PECO's embedded Photo
PECO's embedded Photo
Look for a used DSLR. You can get a used camera body real cheap. You will need to pay up for a good lens though. Guys upgrade cameras like guys here upgrade bows. This photo taken with a Canon 30D, it was $1,400 when it was released 10+ years ago. You can get that body for less than $100. now. Lenses hold value much better. That buck was 100 yards away I'm guessing.

From: Brotsky
23-Nov-19

Brotsky's embedded Photo
Brotsky's embedded Photo
Brotsky's embedded Photo
Brotsky's embedded Photo
Brotsky's embedded Photo
Brotsky's embedded Photo
I use a Panasonic FZ300. Great zoom and the best part is the aperture doesn’t reduce at long zoom like on many super zooms so you can get good pics in low light. Also has 4K video which is awesome. WiFi connectivity right to your phone, take pic and transfer to your phone. Also can be had for $3-400 on sale.

From: PECO
23-Nov-19
My above mentioned camera is heavy though. Someone mentioned a Canon Rebel, much lighter and less money. The Rebel is a lot less money than the more professional cameras and still do more than you will ever do with it.

From: c3
23-Nov-19
This question is a can of worms and a slippery slope to say the least. As Adam said, I'm a huge fan of the Panasonic m43 camera's. From there, your budget is way too low to do much. Right from the get go there is a pretty hard fork in the road. Do you want to do video primarily and take stills from it or do you want pics and avoid the hassle of video editing and storage required?

If it's stills, something like a Panasonic FZ300 up to the newest FZ2500 would be awesome to start. Huge zoom, nice video and an all in one package.

If video is more desirable, I'd go with a Panasonic VX870 or 970 camcorder. They take great stills but have monster zooms and incredible image stabilization.

I'm a huge fan of video because 30 fps gives way more information than single stills at the super long range we generally get to see these animals at.

Here's a video with a bunch of action from 2 to 2 1/2 miles away. Each frame is useless, but as a video it's super cool to see what's going on.

In any case let me know if you want to get into the details of any of these systems. I'm super into it and can show you some of the incredible features each system has. Particularly using a m43 cam and long lens as the ultimate spotting scope :)

Cheers, Pete

From: Jims
23-Nov-19
A lot depends upon what exactly you want to do with your pics/video. I would highly recommend a super zoom if you are using footage for scouting and sizing up horns/antlers. You may not be too terribly happy with less zoom than 30x! Take a look at your spotting scope set at 20x...or even 30x and see if you would be happy with that magnification. I would be bummed if I was limited to only 20x power on my pics/video unless I'm super close. If you are like me, you generally zoom out your spotting scope to the max of 50 or 60x for field judging...especially when field conditions allow it!

I would just keep that in mind if you want to be able to size up critters at long range....super zooms are the way to go! My Canon goes to 65x which is nice! I only had my 35x camcorder with me on this year's whitetail hunt and was bummed I forgot my Canon with 65X!

From: Ziek
23-Nov-19
Jims makes a good point, in that, a lot depends on what you want it for. Scouting/trophy assessment or photography. I had a Canon HS 60 HS, and got tired of unusable photos at much of any zoom, especially in lower light. All of my photography is in conjunction with hunting, fishing, travel, hiking, and other outdoor activities. BUT, the photography is also important. There is a huge difference between a snapshot and a photograph. Most cameras will also take good video, but I could care less about that. But because full-frame, or even APS-C format, cameras with enough lenses to go from wide angle to adequate telephoto are way too bulky and heavy, with too many parts, to be able to carry with the necessary equipment for the primary activity. Compromises have to be made. For me, after trying many Canons, Panasonics, and others, the Sony best meets my needs. The one place I don't compromise is on price. I'm willing to spend what it takes for the best product I'm willing to lug around.

Many cameras will take good or even great photos at relatively close range and/or good light, as shown above. But even a little edge when handholding longer zooms, in less light, can make a difference.

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