What camera do you use for nature photography?

Just wondering what the distribution of camera types among iNatters is.

Note: If you use more then one pick the one you use the most. Only select 2 if both apply to that camera or you use both cameras equally. More advced compact camera could also be called superzoom/bridge camera. (This section was added on recommendation).

  • Phone camera
  • basic compact camera
  • More advanced compact camera
  • DSLR
  • Mirrorless camera
  • Film camera
  • Waterproof camera

0 voters

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Might want to put ‘more advanced compact camera’ as ‘bridge camera’ or ‘superzoom’; or add that option. They have long zoom and manual controls. Many look like DSLRs but the lenses cannot be removed. I have seen plenty of people use superzooms on iNaturalist.

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I have a small pocket stashable compact camera but with how it can be configured and the decent zoom I get with the lens I’d consider it under that advanced option that was suggested above! I’m more of a hobbyist slash enthusiast birder and not a professional so it was the perfect option for providing me with a good piece of equipment without tearing into my wallet too much!

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Yes. The list is a bit confusing. I primarily use a Canon SX70. I mostly call it a bridge camera. Without “Bridge” on the list, I checked mirrorless. I don’t think it has a mirror. It’s not what I call compact or pocketable.

Edited vote to More Advanced Compact. Also removed Phone Camera since I only use it for large readily identifiable species or random photos when I don’t have a real camera.

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Old compact Panasonic Lumix fz18 with raynox dcr-250 for smaller organism and without raynox for bigger. Last time I started to use a phone camera but sadly it’s quite shitty :(

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it’s a little dated and represents only a small period of time, but here’s some data about different cameras used to make iNat observations: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/good-cameras-for-nature-shots/1064/48.

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Still using Canon 7D Mk II, but if the long-rumored R7 ever materializes, I’ll switch to mirrorless.

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Huawei Y6II at full or half zoom. At 14 Megapixels it isn’t that bad. Look at these for example:










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I use a Cannon EOS Rebel 75 with a 55-250 zoom. DSLR - I grew up with 35mm DSLR and film, so I went back to what I was used to. It meets my needs. The zoom allows me modest long distance shots, but also lets me shoot things quite close as well. I had started out with a standard lens and macro extensions, but I found it forced me to get too up close and person with insects who generally did not like it! I like this setup, and have no plans to change. I’m not out to take art photos, and if cropping and light adjustment does not work, c’est la vie!

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Canon 700D (DSLR) when I can, but my phone is always with me and takes decent photos, so a good deal of my observations were taken on there.

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Using my trusty yet outdated iphone7 camera, with an additional clip on macro lens for smaller subjects.

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Old phone Xiomi mi9

For now two cameras
Nikon d750 + nikkor 105 2.8f for macro

Nikon d7500 + nikkor 200-500 for birds and mammals

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For macro photography I’ve heard Olympus TG recommended, which is one of the only with internal image stacking (although stacking devices can be separately added to some other camera lenses too). At a higher price, many rate Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens among the best and easiest to use since it also has image stabilization. Canon also has a longest EF 180mm f/3.5 macro lens which has pros of not needing to be as close to insects (avoiding scaring them away), but as cons lacks image stabilization, mostly requires tripod- vs. handheld use, and is slower/more manual in some ways. I’d like to learn which camera (body) may be ideal for those Canon macro lenses. Separately, there are also digital specimen microscopes which rise in quality at higher prices. Some photographers alternatively use inverted lenses with their digital camera lens or attach microscope objectives to them, for field use or to mount and use in place of a specimen microscope. I don’t know how to yet, but am wondering if it’s best to get a camera with macro lens and a digital microscope separately, or if everything could be attempted using only a camera and macro lens.

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I use Olympus TG for macro, though I do not use stacking. It is also waterproof, so have used it a bit submerged,too.

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Although personally I’ve only used them for a handful of observations (lichens, microscopic things in pond water, etc.), I suppose what isn’t represented on the list are USB microscopes, and microscope mounted cameras, and there might be some folks on iNat focusing on exclusively those kind of observations.

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Sorry I can’t edit the poll but I have put a note above it saying that more advanced compact means superzoom or bridge.

I use a Nikon D7000 with a 80-400mm lens for long-distance subjects and the same camera with a 60mm for most insects and plants.

Ditto - I’m waiting on R7.

I use a Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 and an Olympus TG-6. The Panasonic is great for birds since it has a superzoom (20-1200 mm), but the picture quality isn’t amazing unless you’re in exactly the right light. Possibly I could get more out of it if I learned to use manual settings, but those are a bit beyond me at this point. I usually use the scene mode Freeze Animal Motion, which has a faster shutter speed.
The Olympus is great for macro; it has several modes, including “microscope” and automatic focus stacking, which I hope to try out if I can find a bug that’s willing to sit still for a second or two. It’s also waterproof, which is a great feature - less because I actually use it underwater and more because it means I never have to worry about taking it out in the rain.

American Robin with the Panasonic: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/96546392

Jumping Spider with the Olympus: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/95200784

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Following to see if anyone uses a film camera for iNat :laughing:

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