Wildlife Photographer

ŠThe Wildlife Ho-tographer - Canon Equipment Review

photo of Killer whale mom and calf
photo of Bengal Tiger
photo of Humpback whale

photo of Polar Bear
photo of African lion
photo of Allen's Hummingbird

I have been in travel and wildlife photography for over 30 years and have met many enthusiasts through the years. During my travels and photo shoots, many people have asked me about the best wildlife viewing locations and tips on wildlife photography. Below are a few equipment reviews and some frequently asked questions I have provided answers for. You can see my equipment bag and read my wildlife articles. These are my personal opinion formed over many years out in the field and by no means the only answers or appropriate for everyone.

You can write me an email if you have any additional questions and follow me on Facebook , Instagram , Flickr , Twitter , and my Blog to keep up with my travels and the latest news and rumors on the world of photography.

Review of Canon EOS R3 - full frame mirrorless camera

Review of Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, top-of-the-line full frame camera

Review of Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens

Review of Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens

Review of Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens

Review of Canon EOS-7D Mk II, top-of-the-line APS-C DSLR camera

Canon wildlife and nature lens recommendation

Canon's best DSLR camera for nature and wildlife photography

How to protect your expensive camera gear against theft

Q : What is the best overall camera for wildlife photography for less than $2,000?

A : This is always a difficult question to answer. Many factors contribute to a good photograph - skill and experience, luck, and of course, equipment. All things being equal, generally, the better the equipment, the better the photo. My pick for the 'best' wildlife camera under $2,000 is the Canon EOS-7D Mk II with the 20 MP APS-C sensor, 65 AF points and 10 fps. You can read my review of the camera on my website.

Q : What is the best overall lens for wildlife photography for around $2,000?

A : This is another difficult question to answer and the same caveat above applies. If one prefers a prime lens, my pick will be the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM, but for those who prefer a zoom lens, then it is the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM or the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM, depending on focal length requirement. You can read my review of these lenses on my Blog.

Q : What is the best overall camera for wildlife photography, price independent?

A : Now this is an easy answer for me. It is the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. I have been using the EOS-1 series camera since 1989 and this latest body is simply the best yet. You can read my real world review of this camera on my website. The EOS-1D X Mark II doubles up for me as a Travel and Wildlife body since it is a full frame camera. When used with the EF 8-15mm f/4L and the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II lenses, it is an beatable combo for Travel and Landscape photography as well.

Q : What is your opinion on Canon's Series II super telephoto lens?

A : I photograph many different kinds of wildlife, from a small Hummingbird to the Blue whale, the largest animal on Planet Earth, ever. Since I am not exclusively a Bird Photographer, I do not own the biggest Canon lens but have used all of them, ranging all the way up to the EF 800mm f/5.6L IS. The longest Canon lens I own is the EF 500mm f/4L IS II. Canon has lowered the price of their Series II Super Telephoto lens recently. For those who already own the Series I lens, it is a tough decision to upgrade because of the price differential. For those who aspire to own the Super Telephoto lens, the market is filled with reasonably priced Series I lens. However, there are two new Super Telephoto lens I am very pleased in owning, despite the price. It is the incomparable Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X and the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II. Read my review here and here.

Q : What is the best camera/lens combination for wildlife photography, price independent?

A : Personally, I like to travel light and have all my gear fit into a bagpack I can carry on my back and on airplanes. The ideal combo for me are the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS-1D Mk IV and EOS-7D MK II bodies, plus the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II, EF 200-400mm f/4L IS + 1.4X or EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lenses. With extenders, I have focal length of around 100mm to 1,000mm to work with. The equipment are professional grade, all weather sealed and stand up to harsh use.

Q : I am a budding wildlife photographer on a limited budget. What is the best value in camera equipment I can buy?

A : Commercial Digital Photography has only been around for less than 2 decades and we are very fortunate today to have DSLR cameras that give us instant feedback. For those who are on a tight budget, I recommend purchasing Canon refurbished equipment or lightly used equipment from someone you can trust. Today's camera equipment are very rugged and if it has been taken care of, it should last a long time. I recommend buying the Canon EOS-7D Mk II body with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. This will give any photographer a well rounded piece of gear that can handle most wildlife encounters and obtain good photos. Take a look at my article on buying refurbished Canon equipment on my Blog.

Q : What is your favorite lens for Wildlife Photography, price independent?

A : Canon has quite a few lens I like for Wildlife Photography but the most versatile one for me is the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens. This Super Telephoto lens is the latest replacement to the unique Canon Diffractive Optics technology. The weight/image quality of this lens is perfect for my use and I can handhold this lens mounted on the EOS-1D body all day, giving me unparalled mobility.

Q : What is your favorite lens for Travel Photography, price independent?

A : There are many Canon lens that are great for Travel Photography but my favorite one is the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. This medium speed zoom lens has the perfect focal length for scenery and people photography. Although the technology in this lens is getting old and the coating and IS is of an older generation, it is still a top performer for me and the price is very reasonable for "L" grade glass.

Q : What are your favorite wildlife and where do you go to photograph them?

A : I enjoy the great outdoors and love the natural world with all its floral and fauna. My favorite group of animals are Cetacean (whales and dolphins), Ursus (Polar, Brown and Black bears) and Big Cats (Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, etc.) My home state of California is centrally located to many wildlife photography sites. North and south east Alaska, west and east coast of North America and the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii are some of my favorite whale watching spots. Bears can be found and photographed in Alaska and Canada. I head to India, Africa and Brazil for Big Cats photography. Visit my Wildlife Photography page to see these exciting wildlife on location.

Q : Are there any other lens you can recommend for Travel and Wildlife Photography?

A : I have used almost every lens in Canon's EF and EF-S lineup through the decades. You can read my lens recommendation to get further information on the other lenses.

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