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Which is the Best Camera in Dog Photography?

Welcome back to my tips!

First of all, I need to tell you what I mean when I say “Best Camera” in Dog Photography.

What does mean “Best Camera” in dog photography? Still, does exist the “Best Camera” in dog photography?

Everything is relative in the World and it depends on which is your observation’s point, and which are your criterions to evaluate a camera. What is most important for you? Which features the camera should have and which one of these is ruling for you?

I would like to help you in this difficult process, revealing my tips. Everything I’m going to tell you comes directly from my direct experience after many years of working in this difficult but magical and rewarding field called Dog Photography.

A bit of me: I did more than 60 Workshop all over the World, from Italy, to France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Israel, Canada, United States, and I’m planning always new ones in same countries and new countries like New Zealand and so on. I do this because I want to reveal this magical World from the technical side to the editing side without forgetting how to improve and enjoy our life with the Dog Photography even when it’s a business! Can you find something better? This has become my mission!

Last year cause the Covid in the World I launched also a successful online school called www.dogphotographymasters.com to reach all those wanted to learn, expand or improve their skills and develop a business too. In these years I have had more than 1.000 attendees all over the World in Workshops and in the online school and more than 570.000 followers on socials that believe in what I do and support me.

I used all brands from Nikon to Canon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax and Olympus, because my attendees of Workshops all over the World use all different material. For this reason, I had to study all the brands by the technical side trying to get the best by them and facing to the difficulties that sometimes they have to do something.

After this introduction you can understand why I can say I have a good experience to write what I really think about the “Best Camera” to use in Dog Photography. The experience never ends but it’s in a good point right now. In photography nobody is arrived and I continuously try to learn and improve in my journey.

Meeting so many people with different skills, from beginners, amateurs, professionals and experts, I discovered how people are cheated and blinded by some trendy features.

The trendiest feature I discovered my attendees to be influenced by, is the autofocus performance of a camera. It seems that almost all of them are influenced a lot by the autofocus performances of the cameras before everything. I think that the reason is because there is always one day when a photographer discover how could be challenging to take a good photo to a dog in movement or simply to a dog.

It’s crazy and unbelievable how much can be complicate to take a good picture in dog photography, especially with a razor focus on the dog’s eyes and everything well controlled all around from the composition, to the details and the light.

I’ve also found many professional photographers coming from other photography fields, in trouble focusing correctly a dog.

After reading these few words we should probably think that the answer behind the question “Which is the Best Camera in Dog Photography” is the camera which has the fastest and more precise autofocus performances. And this is the biggest and worst mistake that most of the photographers do. It seems that people are looking for the magical feature that will transform them in a great dog photographer! Nothing is more wrong than this!

In my photography’s journey I also fell in this trap before understanding what’s more important using a camera. Easily I could say that is a mix of skills where obviously the control of the autofocus is a good point but not at the first place in a ranking of important things for a camera.

In Dog Photography I’ve found how it’s mandatory to control the situations and the light. This is obviously something that everybody knows but is misunderstanding how to use it! Most of the times photographers don’t have the complete control of the technical staff because they don’t know exactly that they should go over a balanced exposure and a focused dog!

To create something good in Dog Photography with our images, we need a technical side of us and a creative side of us. They both should be handled quickly. In order to let our creative side to give the best in every situation, we need to manage all the technical staff in an automatic mode without thinking too much as drinking a glass of water. All the technical approaches should be experienced many times after understanding very well how they affect the final result visible in your photo. It’s not only about focusing a dog and taking a picture. This is something you can do also by a phone or choosing a very big depth of field and the result is most of the time not so impressive and without any meaning. And everybody realizes itself when he posts a picture thinking that people don’t understand his photography or his message in his pictures. This is because we need to open our eyes!

I used entry level cameras for beginners as well as professional cameras for expert people in several different formats (DX, APS-C, Full frame, etc. etc.) both DSLR and mirrorless.

If you reached this point of the post, it’s time to reveal you why I use a specific camera, and which is the Best Camera in Dog Photography in my honest opinion.

I found different good features in every brand but knowing what I need in Dog Photography, it’s easy to understand what it’s matching more my needs. In this way I can say what is the best camera in Dog Photography at the moment.

A camera should have a great AF sure, but clients and the audience don’t pay your fast AF. So, you understand why the AF is just a technical point. When you understand how to get the dogs perfectly focused on any situation, you understand why the AF has not the most important role anymore, giving space to other features that affect the quality of your photo! Yes, the Quality, because this is what clients pay and the audience is happy to enjoy and what is making your photo amazing. The final quality of a picture is also affected by the editing process but it’s mandatory to start the process from the best you can get from a shooting with dogs! And getting the best, it’s not only the AF (that is something that I teach and that everybody can figure out at the end), instead a world of settings and a very good knowledge of using the lens and its length, the aperture, the ISO and the shutter speed combined with the good use of natural or studio light and the details you have all around, the space and the distances with subject, camera and foreground and background. There are so many things to handle that the AF will be just a little part of it. During the shooting it’s very important to learn how to do all of this and the handling of the camera is also really important to control to all the parameters in real time during the shooting. So, it becomes really important if you can change these features easily and automatically without wasting any additional movement of your fingers or any additional finger to do something that another single finger can do alone.

I help people to do that and it’s amazing to see their smiles when they start to understand how to do it and how to enjoy it.

Trying many materials, at the end I’ve found how the mirrorless cameras can help a lot to enjoy the shooting time with dogs. Enjoy is the secret because it allows us to work comfortably and with a good self-confidence. Now, you can understand why, for me, the handling is at the first place in a ranking of important features for finding the best camera in dog photography. After that, I put the quality that a camera can handle and achieve under my control in difficult light conditions and only at the end I put the autofocus.

I discovered how a camera with all these features exists at the moment. As every camera, it can be improved in the feature, but now this camera is already amazing and can be used in all conditions with Dog Photography. There will be always someone telling you that in a specific situation a camera could be better than another one, but I’m speaking about a camera that has all the features needed and works in all conditions. This camera has all the important features well balanced itself (handling and weight, quality control and autofocus) and after learning how to use it correctly can be nominated by me as the Best Camera in Dog Photography for all uses. This camera is the Nikon Z6 II and it’s also amazing to know that its price is one of the biggest deals ever for a dog photographer.

Furthermore, the Nikon Z6 II can use the best quality lenses in the World for the Dog Photography like the Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII, the Nikon 200mm f2 VRII, the Nikon 70-200 VR S, or the Nikon 105mm f1,4 or f2.8, the Nikon 14-24 f2.8 S. These are my favorite lenses for Dog Photography that can be used for several different purposes in this field from outdoor to studio where the Nikon 24-70 f/4 is simply light and amazing.

We are at the end of this post and people usually read reviews and tips hoping to find that what they are using is the best, like if it’s a competition to be won. It’s not and you must enjoy what you are using not depending on the brand used! Still, never forget that the self-confidence should be searched somewhere else (not in an object) and the camera is just an object. However, It’s a magical object that helps us to improve our creativity and our life is used in Dog Photography!

Claudio Piccoli.


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