Whether you’re a photography or weather nut, getting in amongst the most wild storms in the world can make for an extraordinary experience! But before you head out to some of the best storm chasing spots in the world such as Iceland, the US plains or Thailand, you need to make sure you have some top-notch Storm Chasing camera and equipment to capture those radical moments!
We’re going to run through some of the best pieces of photography equipment on the market to ensure you’re all set for your storm chasing adventures. But before we do, let’s take a look at what makes for a great photography setup!
- Things to Consider for Great Storm Chasing Photography
- Best High End Storm Chasing Cameras
- Best Budget Storm Chasing Cameras
- Best Video Camera for Storm Chasing
- Best Camera Lenses for Storm Chasing
- Best Budget Storm Chasing Camera Lens
- Best Tripods for Storm Chasing (Fixed and Handheld)
- Best Camera/Lightning Triggers for Storm Chasers
- Bonus – Best Guides for Storm Chasing
Things to Consider for Great Storm Chasing Photography!
For most storm photography, lighting is going to be low when the weather starts to become overcast or if you’re shooting at night. For this, you’ll definitely need a camera that can operate effectively in low light. From a technical perspective that means you’re going to want to go for a camera with a large, high-quality sensor, a high dynamic range, and a high ISO range.
Putting these together should mean you get a low level of noise on your shots helping to make them crystal clear in darker, and of course well lit, environments.
Depending on the type of storm you’re planning to shoot will dictate how close or not you can get to it, therefore you need a range of different zoom options in your back pocket. Given the uncertainty and often fast-moving pace of a storm, you’re also going to want some versatility – therefore a varifocal lens, likely between the 20mm-200mm range, is a safe bet.
On the other hand, if you’re wanting to stay a little further away and capture the size and scale of your storm from a distance, a high quality fixed frame lens around the 10-15mm mark would be ideal. Additional variants here such as a fisheye or wide-angle lens may also be a good idea, depending on the type of photography effects you want to achieve.
The last thing you want is to miss or ruin your perfect shot due to the elements around you, you need to ensure you have the setup for a precise shot. There’s two things that will help with this, a tripod and a trigger device.
There’s a range of both handheld and mounted stabilising tripods on the market to assist in keeping the camera stationary and laser focused ensuring you get a great shot. Have a think about whether you’ll be taking photos on the move or setting up in a fixed location and pick the best accordingly.
There’s also a range of triggering devices that will again allow you to get a shot without any movement interference. For those that like chasing the most extreme weather, there’s also some great lightning triggers on the market which will do all of the shutter timing work for you!
Best High End Storm Chasing Cameras
The staple piece of equipment you’ll need to capture those special storm chasing moments is the camera itself and based on our criteria above, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is one of the premier pieces on the market.
Significantly, it has a 30.4 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor giving you an ISO range between 100 – 32,000 meaning it’s specialised for low light levels! It has a heap of additional features too including LCD touchscreen, 4K Video Recording, subject tracking and connectivity through WiFi and NFC. This really is up there with one of the best, so make sure you check it out!
For some comparison, we’ve also picked out the Sony α7R IV Full-frame Mirrorless camera another superior model in the camera market! It’s boasts the same ISO range as the Canon as well as an impressive 15-stop3 dynamic range function giving great sensitivity through changing, low light conditions.
Again it comes with all the specs listed above with the Canon but jumps up on the megapixels, being the world’s first 61MP camera. This will mean enhanced clarity within your images and when combining that with the noise reducing super-sensor means you’ll be getting some out of this world snaps!
Best Budget Storm Chasing Cameras
Both the Canon and the Sony listed above are firmly within the best tier of camera you can get for storm chasing, but we appreciate they’re a little pricey! If you want to get into snapping some crazy storms on more of a budget, check these out below…
First we’ve picked out the Nikon D3500 which is a great choice for those wanting an entry level storm chasing camera but still highly professional camera, still sporting great low light level functionality with a 100 – 25,600 ISO range.
It also comes equipped with a 24MP sensor, LCD screen and 1080p video recording, so you’re getting great quality at a fraction of the premier price!
For something a little different, you can also take a look at the Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera. For those super low levels, this one might not stack up quite as well with an ISO range of up to 6400 but does have an enhanced 24MP sensor and image stabilisation technology so will ensure better lit photos look great!
A unique feature of this Fujifilm is that it has a 180-degree swivel LCD touchscreen, making it super easy for taking high-quality selfies with. So for those of you that want to be in the shot alongside an epic weather system, this camera could be the one for you!
Best Video Camera for Storm Chasing
So most DSLR cameras, including the 4 we’ve shown above, will shoot super high quality video, but what if you want something a little more mobile or something you can fix to your dashboard whilst chasing the storm in your car?
The GoPro HERO8 is a great addition to your leading setup, giving you a small, compact companion for capturing live footage as you chase those storms. You’re still going to get great 4K, image stabilised video from the 12MP sensor, as well as smart notifications from the LCD screen and cool filing options such as time lapse!
Best Camera Lenses for Storm Chasing
For those cameras in our high end range, they won’t come with a lens as part of the purchase and, in truth, all DSLR cameras can interchange lenses, so you’re going to need to have a few different lenses in your setup to hit that zoom requirement we discussed earlier. Here’s some of our favourites!
To match with any Canon camera, we suggest this Canon EF-S 10-18mm lens which will be perfect for getting wide-angle, large shots of extreme weather systems.
It also includes Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer system which provides up to four equivalent stops of shake correction whilst it’s f 4.5-5.6 aperture delivers reliable, speedy and quiet wide-angle performance.
When matching with your Sony, why not take a look at the Sony FE 70-300mm lens? If you’re wanting to get a much closer shot, that large mm range will ensure you get all the zoom you need to feel almost inside the storm.
At large zoom, you’ll need even larger stability and Sony’s Optical SteadyShot technology will make for clear images even at the top end. Sony also guarantee the same awesome results when shooting video so you’ll be able to get some great, in depth footage without compromising on quality!
Best Budget Storm Chasing Camera Lens
Again if you’re on a more of a budget, there’s some great options for high-quality camera lenses either from the camera manufacturers themselves, or some independent but compatible independent lens makers.
First we take a look at this Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm lens which gives an absolutely massive zoom range supported by stability motors for ultra sharp clarity.
This particular model is compatible with Nikon cameras but they have model to fit into your Sony, Canon or Pentax cameras too!
Best Tripods for Storm Chasing (Fixed and Handheld)
Even though most of our cameras and lenses included some stability optimisation features, as the weather gets a little more severe or we’re moving around more often, we could do with some help in getting the perfect shot! Here’s a few great tripods to help you out.
Our favourite fixed mount tripod was this Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ given its mix of sturdy aluminium construction and functional versatility. Leg angles ranging between 20°, 40°, 60° & 80° all supported by a counterweight attachment means you can get stability for low or high level shots whilst knowing you’ll be rock solid if the winds pick up!
If you’re in full chase mode, you may need something a little more mobile whilst maintaining great stability, so why not check out this Roxant Pro Video Camera Stabiliser?
It comes with a no-slip grip and adjustable drop time movement so you have complete control over your dynamic video shots. Roxant are one of the industry leaders in handheld stabilisers are offer lifetime support and guidance with every purchase so you’re in safe hands!
Best Camera/Lightning Triggers for Storm Chasers
Getting the perfect shot is as much about timing and being in the right place as having the best and most expensive equipment. Especially if you’re on a longer expedition or trying to capture split second moments, it’s hard to stay primed and ready for hours on end. So here’s some great triggering devices that can do some of the work for you!
This AmazonBasics Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release is a nifty release that can be used to trigger your shutter without you even having to touch the camera. It’s battery operated and works up to 16ft away with a variety of models for compatibility with different camera manufacturers.
If you’re looking for something really smart to help you out, take a look at this RemotePlus Smart Camera Trigger from MIPOS. It allows you to manage your camera’s shutter release directly from your smartphone with their connect App or set up for dynamic triggering for events such as for lightning, lasers or sound.
This is especially useful for those lightning shots, with them being some of the most impressive and exciting snaps you can take as a storm chaser. Given their sporadic nature, the RemotePlus does the work for you leaving you with great pictures without the endless waiting around.
Bonus – Best Guides for Storm Chasing
With your equipment setup complete, there’s only one piece of bonus equipment we think you’ll need to get out there storm chasing and that’s a guide to ensure you stay safe and find the best locations for the perfect shots!
We recommend picking up The Complete Guide to Storm Chasing. It is the ideal tutorial for people who are new to storm chasing showing you what you need to know as a chaser, the best tools to use and how to forecast effectively!
To finish up, you’re going to be getting out in nature taking in the elements across some breathtaking landscapes all whilst trying to get the perfect shot – juggling all this can be tricky!
So, grab yourself a copy of The Landscape Photography Book by Scott Kelby which will walk you through getting perfect wide angle landscape and natures shots. It will walk you through all the techniques you need to get breathtaking shots right as the elements are closing in!
All that leaves us to do is wish you some happy storm chasing adventures – we hope you get some amazing shots with your very own combination of the best storm chasing camera and photography gear!
If you love storm chasing take a look then you need a weather station with lightning detector so you can be sure when a great storm is heading your way!