Do I have to use film for wildlife photos?


Digital Wildlife Photos
"Please, I prefer to be shot on my good side."
"Please, I prefer to be shot on my good side."
Paul Tessier/Photodisc/Getty Images

Digital cameras have become so advanced that they're now being used in wildlife photography. One enormous benefit of using a digital camera is that you get instant feedback on how a photograph turned out. If you didn't get your shot of a tiger just right, then you can try again and again. If you're not very experienced with cameras, that peace of mind can be very assuring when you're on an expensive trip.

When you're looking for a digital camera to use to take wildlife pictures, don't assume that more megapixels is better. A camera with three to five megapixel capacity should be adequate [source: Vantassel]. Just as important as megapixel count are factors like autofocus, shutter speed and the photographer's ability to process the pictures after they're taken in terms of color, tone and vibration reduction. Don't think that a digital camera necessarily saves time -- you will likely spend as many hours converting and editing photos as you would if you were processing film [source: Wiggett].

While you don't have to lug around rolls of film in the wild if you're using a digital camera, you will still need to stock up on batteries and storage space. If you're taking a lot of photos, you may even need to lug around a laptop so that you can upload your pictures each night.

As it turns out, there's no right or wrong camera or method for wildlife photography. All you need is a durable camera able to withstand tough elements and a working knowledge of how your camera works. After all, there's no sense buying a fancy camera, be it film or digital, if you don't know your autofocus from your shutter speed. Experiment with cameras of both types, and you'll find the one that's perfect to capture pandas, wallabies, rhinos and all the friends you'll meet out in the wild.

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Sources

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  • Hill, Jon. "Photo Advice for Travelers on Safari in Africa." Safari Shots. August 2005. (Dec. 16, 2009)http://www.safarishots.com/safariphotoadvicearticle.htm
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  • "Taking Successful Pictures in Alaska." Alaska Outdoor Journal. (Dec. 16, 2009)http://alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/References/kpphototips.html
  • VanEmrik, Kate, Bill Buckley, Mitch Kezar, Lon E. Lauber, Mike Hehner. "Nice Shot! Outdoor Life Photographers Share Their Secrets For Making Your Best Shots…With a Camera." Outdoor Life. February 2005.
  • Vantassel, Stephen. "Tips for Choosing a Digital Camera for Wildlife Damage Photos." Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. 2007. (Dec. 16, 2009)http://icwdm.org/Photos/choosingacamera.asp
  • Weston, Chris. "The Essential Wildlife Photography Manual." Rotovision. 2005. (Dec. 16, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=ovE39LehHyQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false
  • Wiggett, Darwin. "Digital Myths and Realities." Nature Photographers. (Dec. 16, 2009)http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles0105/dw0105-1.html

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