storm chaser photography

The Best Storm Chasing Cameras & Accessories

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 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!


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Things to Consider for Great Storm Chasing Photography!

Lighting

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. 

Zoom

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. 

Precision

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!

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
444 Reviews
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
  • New 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting in nearly any light, with ISO range...
  • 4K Motion JPEG video (DCI cinema-type 4096 x 2160) at 30p or 24p; in- camera still frame grab of 4K...
  • Superb Dual Pixel CMOS AF for responsive and smooth AF during video or live view shooting; LCD...

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

Sony α7R IV Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILCE7RM4/B)
94 Reviews
Sony α7R IV Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILCE7RM4/B)
  • Stunning resolution: world’s first 61MP full frame 35 millimeter back illuminated Exmor R CMOS Image Sensor
  • High speed: up to 10Fps continuous shooting at 61MP with AE/AF tracking; 26.2MP in APS C crop mode
  • Fast Hybrid Autofocus: 567 Phase detection AF points and 425 contrast AF points to cover more area
  • Advanced subject recognition: real time tracking and real time eye AF for humans, animals and movies
  • Accurate color reproduction: 15 stop dynamic Range at low sensitivities for greater Color accuracy

Last update on 2020-09-24

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 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!

Nikon D3500 W/AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Black (Renewed)
13 Reviews
Nikon D3500 W/AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Black (Renewed)
  • A DSLR That's as easy to use as a point-and-shoot camera
  • Compact, comfortable design That's great for travel and Special events
  • Image sensor That's 15x larger than those Used in Typical smartphones for sharper, clearer pictures
  • Works with Nikon's snapbridge app for sharing photos with a compatible smartphone or tablet

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens - Brown
71 Reviews
Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens - Brown
  • Newly developed 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor which outperforms previous models in its scene recognition accuracy in SR+ AUTO mode, color reproduction performance and skin tone reproduction capability.
  • Newly Developed XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS Power Zoom Lens
  • Bluetooth technology has been added for quick, easy and automatic transfer of still images and videos to paired smartphones and tablet devices, using the free Fujifilm camera remote app.
  • Large rear LCD monitor that can rotate 180 degrees
  • High resolution and high Definition 4K video recording

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

GoPro HERO8 Black Camera with Official GoPro Adventure Kit (Includes Headstrap, Quickclip, Floaty Hand Grip, and Compact Case) and 64GB Sandisk SD Card
63 Reviews
GoPro HERO8 Black Camera with Official GoPro Adventure Kit (Includes Headstrap, Quickclip, Floaty Hand Grip, and Compact Case) and 64GB Sandisk SD Card
  • Adventure Kit includes a compact carrying case, headstrap, Quickclip, and Floaty hand grip
  • SanDisk 64GB Extreme microSD 
  • Items may ship separately
  • Includes the GoPro Hero 8 Black Camera and GoPro Official Adventure Kit and a 64GB SD Card from Sandisk

Last update on 2020-09-24

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.

Reduced
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
1,414 Reviews
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
  • EF S ultra wide zoom lens. Drive System Lead screw and rack system driven by stepping motor
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.72 feet. / 0.22 meter
  • Stepping motor for noise free video shooting
  • Optical image stabilizer
  • Focal Length and Maximum Aperture: 10 18 millimeter,1:4.5 5.6

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

Sony FE 70-300mm SEL70300G F4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens
205 Reviews
Sony FE 70-300mm SEL70300G F4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens
  • Full-frame 70-300mm G Series F45-56 G Telephoto zoom, Nano AR Coating with Nano-precision structure, Optical SteadyShot for clear images even at full telephoto
  • 35 mm full-frame.9-blade circular aperture for smooth defocus background bokeh, 2x Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements reduces aberration, 4x Aspherical elements control spherical aberration and coma
  • Linear actuator achieves fast, smooth, quiet autofocus, Enhanced operability w/ direct control switches and buttons on lens, 105-450mm (35mm equivalent) w/ APS-C format cameras
  • Class-leading close-up focusing capability less than 3’. Mount type: Sony E-mount

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens with Built In Motor for Nikon Digital SLR (Model A17NII)
5,635 Reviews
Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens with Built In Motor for Nikon Digital SLR (Model A17NII)
  • The popular Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 Di LD Macro features a built in motor to ensure fast accurate focusing
  • Close-focusing ability - 0.95m (3.1 feet ), focal lengths between 180 and 300mm. Compatible with the d40, d40x and d60 in the mf mode due to the fact it does not have a built in motor
  • This telephoto zoom will crop in tight or bring distant subjects in close. Angle of view: 34-8
  • There is also an incredible macro mode for photographing small objects up close giving a magnification ratio of 1:2
  • This phenomenal lens comes with a 6 year warranty. Lens hood included for maximum glare protection and increased contrast

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod with Alta BH-100 Ball Head and Multi-Angle Center Column for Sony, Nikon, Canon DSLR Cameras
372 Reviews
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod with Alta BH-100 Ball Head and Multi-Angle Center Column for Sony, Nikon, Canon DSLR Cameras
  • MACC (Multi-Angle Center Column) for limitless shooting angles with firm hexagonal center column...
  • Position versatility - 3 section legs with 4 position angles - 20°, 40°, 60°, 80° and rock solid...
  • Extra stability - canopy suspension loop for counterbalance weight and Alta Link - 3/8 thread bonus...

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

The Official Roxant Pro Video Camera Stabilizer Limited Edition (Midnight Black) with Low Profile Handle for GoPro, Smartphone, Canon, Nikon - or Any Camera up to 2.1 lbs. - Comes with Phone Clamp.
1,677 Reviews
The Official Roxant Pro Video Camera Stabilizer Limited Edition (Midnight Black) with Low Profile Handle for GoPro, Smartphone, Canon, Nikon - or Any Camera up to 2.1 lbs. - Comes with Phone Clamp.
  • Limited Edition "Midnight Black" Edition - Don't be fooled by imitations. The Roxant logo should be...
  • Our superior design and construction provide "pro style" stabilization with less motion and shake...
  • For use with Point and Shoot, DSLRs, Video Cameras, GoPros, Smartphone and any other camera up to...

Last update on 2020-09-24

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.

Reduced
AmazonBasics Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release for Nikon Digital SLR Camera
12,855 Reviews
AmazonBasics Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release for Nikon Digital SLR Camera
  • Eliminate vibration and increase image clarity with this wireless remote for Nikon cameras
  • Activates the shutter remotely
  • Use for a broad range of images, like low-light and family portraits
  • Compatible with the following Nikon cameras: D3000, D3200, D3300, P6000, P7000, D40, D40x, D50, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D60, D70, D7000, D70s, D750, D80, and D90
  • Battery powered; 16 foot range

Last update on 2020-09-24

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.

MIOPS Mobile RemotePlus Smart Camera Trigger for High Speed Photography with Laser/Sound/Lightning Detection Sensor - C1 Cable for Canon Cameras
  • TRANSFORMS YOUR SMARTPHONE INTO A CAMERA REMOTE - The MIOPS RemotePlus employs Bluetooth technology...
  • TRIGGER YOUR DSLR WITH YOUR PHONE - Thanks to the app, whenever your smartphone vibrates, or the...
  • OFFERS IMPRESSIVE SENSOR MODES - This device features dedicated lightning, laser, and sound sensors....

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

The Complete Guide to Storm Chasing: How You Can Become a Successful Storm Chaser
17 Reviews
The Complete Guide to Storm Chasing: How You Can Become a Successful Storm Chaser
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hartog, Jeremy Den (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 61 Pages - 08/01/2012 (Publication Date)

Last update on 2020-09-24

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!

Reduced
The Landscape Photography Book: The step-by-step techniques you need to capture breathtaking landscape photos like the pros
202 Reviews
The Landscape Photography Book: The step-by-step techniques you need to capture breathtaking landscape photos like the pros
  • Kelby, Scott (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 06/07/2019 (Publication Date) - Rocky Nook (Publisher)

Last update on 2020-09-24

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 photography gear!

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