The Best Lenses for Wildlife Photography

zebra-1388654If you’re going to shoot wildlife photography, you’re going to need a good lens to do so… and you’re also going to need a BIG lens! Wildlife can be difficult to shoot because animals aren’t too keen on being anywhere near humans for the most part. So when you’re out looking for wildlife, you should usually look way off in the distance.

You know what doesn’t mix in wildlife photography and lenses? Short lenses. Even mid range lenses don’t mix well with wildlife photography.

When it comes to wildlife photography, you need the big boys. You need the lenses that everyone thinks are bazookas. It’s time to look at the best lenses for wildlife photography!

Now, since the lens selection (the best lenses at least) are slightly small for wildlife photography, this list might seem short, but if you pick a lens from this list you will not be disappointed.

The Lens List

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Zoom Lens – You want to talk about a beast of a lens? This is it. I’ve talked to the people at Tamron about this lens specifically at photography shows and they’re very proud to show it off, and with good reason. This would be a perfect wildlife lens that’s a fraction of the price as a Canon or Nikon lens would be. The great thing about this Tamron lens is that it’s a little more compact than some long lenses. It also gives you a huge amount of wiggle room to shoot with. Since it zooms between 150 and 600mm, you don’t have to constantly change lenses every time an animal gets closer or further away. Here’s the Canon Version and the Nikon Version

Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 Lens – Holy zoom! This Sigma lens has HUGE zooming capabilities! This lens could be used for every field of photography. If you need a zoom, and you don’t want to pay the big bucks for a name brand lens, this is your option. Much like the Tamron lens I just went over, the Sigma is a solid option because it gives you a lot of great wiggle room to shoot. Even though it won’t go to 600mm in focal length, 500mm is still enough to capture some great shots!Here’s the Canon Version, here’s the Nikon Version, and here’s the Sony Version

Sony 70-400 f/4-5.6 – I’ve been a huge Sony fan for the past year because they keep releasing some stellar gear to shoot with. This is a very interesting lens because it almost combines a classic 400mm lens and a 70-200 lens. Just think of this lens as the offspring between those two focal lengths. This would be a fun lens to shoot wildlife with! Buy it on Amazon

Canon 40mm f/5.6 – This is a classic when it comes to wildlife shooting. It is a fixed lens, meaning that there is no zooming capability which can be a good thing and a bad thing. The good is that fixed lenses are usually sharper. The bad thing is that because there’s no zoom, you will have to move your feet a lot to get the right distance you want! Buy it on Amazon

Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 – So, if you didn’t like the fact that the previous Canon lens I mentioned has no zooming capabilities, this is a great option for you! Pairing the 400mm reach with a zoom range of 300mm is a great lens that any wildlife shooter would love. It’s also about the same price as the fixed 400mm lens is, so you’re not losing anything there. Buy it on Amazon

Nikon 400 f/2.8 – This is the most expensive lens on the list. I try to keep lenses on my lists as cost efficient as possible, but this lens just can’t be beat if you’re a Nikon shooter. No, it doesn’t have any zooming capabilities, but it’s crystal clear sharp, and the f/2.8 is going to give you the ability to separate any animal from a background. Stellar lens to have. Buy it on Amazon

Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 – Just like I provided you with a zooming telephoto wildlife lens for Canon, I wanted to do the same for the Nikon shooters out there. Pairing the 400mm reach with a zoom range of 320mm is a great lens that any wildlife shooter would love. It’s also about the same price as the fixed 400mm lens is, so you’re not losing anything there. Buy it on Amazon