It’s loved by millions of photographers and in our article, we’ll share with you 12 of the best lenses for wildlife photography, and we’ve also included a buying guide with reviews for each of the recommended lenses.
Do you want to take better photos than most of your fellow photographers, then take a look at our list of recommended lenses below. Want to learn how to get started? You’ll find that here as well.
Don't waste any more time, here's our list including the best lenses for wildlife photography.
|Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens||Best Overall|
|Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens||Budget Pick|
|Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x||Upgrade Pick|
1. Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens
- Plenty of Extra Features
- Good for Low Light Conditions
- Wide enough for its size
Most people consider the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary Lens to be a relatively new lens on the market, but it has been around for quite a long time. It has generally received extremely positive feedback from users varying from hobbyist to professionals. If you’re looking for a super-telephoto lens that is compatible only with Canon, this lens is definitely worth considering.
This telephoto lens offers plenty of extra features including:
- A new and improved Hyper Sonic AF Motor that allows for ultra-fast, accurate and quiet focusing
- Anisotropic Lens Coatings on the front and rear lens elements that improve color performance
- Internal Focusing that helps to achieve high contrast and eliminate focus shift
- A manual focusing ring that offers a fly-by-wire feature that allows for intuitive operation
- A moisture-resistant Super Protect coating that helps repel moisture and prevent dust and scratches
- An advanced optical design that helps improve image quality throughout the zoom range
2. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens
- An excellent complement to a huge and fast telephoto lens
- Its VR (vibration reduction) image stabilization effectively compensates for blur caused by slight camera shake when shooting at shutter speeds slower than 1/2000 sec.
- Well-crafted, good looking, and extremely well-made lens
- Most photographers also appreciate its lightweight design and relatively compact body
- It delivers a tack sharp and crisp image, thanks to a redesigned lens coating technology that effectively minimizes lens flare and ghosting
- Great for wildlife photography as it offers a zoom range of 200mm to 500mm
- Ideal for nighttime photography or when shutter speeds of 1/250 sec. or longer are employed
- It’s pretty expensive
- It doesn’t focus quite as fast as some of the other lenses on this list, but for most people, its performance will be more than acceptable
With the onset of digital camera, camera lenses have become a lot cheaper. But quality has never dropped. If anything, we’re seeing an incredible leap in quality over the past 10 years.
Many expert photographers have replaced their lens every 3-4 years. As far as the best lens for wildlife photography, that depends on your budget and personal preferences. But one lens is on every photographer’s mind.
3. Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body
- Great battery life and image stabilization
- Versatile for landscapes and portraits
- Use of Canon EF and EF-S lenses
- WI-FI enabled to upload images directly to your device, a huge bonus for the traveling photographer who wants to share his or her shots immediately
- Stock kit lens isn’t exciting
- Fixed screen
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a solid camera. It offers incredible image stabilization and great battery life.
The 6D Mark II has just about everything you need to capture great photos, including a full-frame CMOS, a new processor, enhanced sensor, and other features to enhance performance.
Although the Canon 6d Mark II doesn’t shoot video, it is a great camera to use as a single-lens solution for an average shooter. Beginner photographers can use this as their primary camera to take great photos at a fraction of the cost of an equivalently equipped full-frame model. Plus, you can use many of your Canon EF and EF-S lenses with it.
4. Canon EOS REBEL T7i Body
- Canon EF-S 15-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens + Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens + Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens + Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Standard Lens + Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens With DC-DC Converter + Neewer Soft Box Lighting Kit + Neewer 52 Inch 5 Inch 4 Pin Chromakey Green Muslin Backdrop + Neewer 13 Inch 6 Pin Shooting Table Photography Background Kit + Canon 14 X 35mm + Tripod
Most of the wildlife photography gear choices for 2019 will have to prioritize on whether you want a live view LCD screen or large super telephoto lens. We’re talking about the wildlife photography kit featured right here; a package that has everything you might need to start your wildlife photography adventure.
This wildlife photography kit is equipped with a standard-zoom lens, a telephoto lens, and three additional lenses that are necessary in photography. A mic stand, a soft box, and a boom stand are included within this kit.
5. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM UD Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Compact,quality lens
- Excellent zoom range
- Fast auto-focus
- Canon’s Ultrasonic Zoom Motor (USM)
The Canon 70-300MM F/4-5.6L is an ideal course for your Canon DSLR camera to capture those far away shots of wildlife and nature. It offers great performance at an affordable price.
It's a great lens for low-light situations too, and offers super sharp shots throughout the zoom range. If your photography is just taking off into wildlife gems, this is a great lens to start with.
6. Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR
- 24.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor
- 6 FPS continuous shooting at full resolution
- High Resolution LCD with 1,037,000 dots
- Sync speed for flash is 1/250
- Built-in HDR, AEB, Long exposures up to 30 sec (with optional ML-L3 remote control
- Vignetting control and Active D-lighting
- 4K UHD Video Recording (Check Full Specs)
- A bit heavier than competitors
- The camera locks the focus on the first shot in continuous shooting mode
Model, 20.9 MP
Looking for the best wildlife photography lenses for your Nikon D500? This is it. It provides an excellent balance between price and performance. If you're ready to spend a bit extra for a top of the line camera body, this is the one to get.
The Nikon D500 has one of the highest pixel counts of any DX format 24 megapixel DSLR.
7. Nikon D7500 DX-format Digital SLR Body
- Lightweight with top-notch speed and image quality
- Support for 4K UHD video capture
- Nikon SnapBridge Bluetooth connectivity
- 5 fps continuous shooting in DX mode
- Fast 10fps continuous shooting in 1.3x-crop mode
- High ISO/low-light performance not up to flagship professional SLRs
- 9-point AF system cannot be expanded or upgraded
- No built-in flash (can be added via the Flashpoint XPLOR600)
- Electronic Viewfinder has vertical and horizontal parallax effects
- Modified version of the 24.5-million-pixel sensor found in the Nikon D810
The D7500 is an ideal camera for anyone looking for a highly-responsive versatile camera that can deliver superb image quality.
It also is the first Nikon DSLR to feature a touchscreen. The tilting touchscreen makes shooting at awkward angles much easier and more natural. It’s also an excellent zone focusing tool. Simply touch the portion of the screen you want in focus and it will be sharp, no need for manually selecting AF points in the viewfinder.
8. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera
- Superb build quality and image quality in general
- Fast enough to shoot action
- Dual Pixel Auto Focus is amazing
- No in-body stabilization
- Fairly cropped sensor means you need really good glass if you want wide angle
In terms of build quality, this camera has the serious construction of a tank. It has a magnesium alloy body to give it more durability over plastic designs.
The rear screen of the camera is a touchscreen and allows you to get a quick glance at your photos. The dual pixel autofocus is a great feature because it takes a lot of the work out of using a DSLR camera. It allows for a continuous autofocus and can shoot at 10fps.
The image quality is very good. You can get a full 1080/30p, which makes it a great choice for slow-motion. You’re also able to capture a shallow depth of field and get good shallow depth of field video. The swivel screen is also helpful with shooting in awkward angles.
9. Canon DSLR Camera
- 24.2-effective megapixels
- Four-stops of anti-shake correction
- DIGIC 8 image processor
- 4K video recording
- 5-axis image stabilization is available for photos
- Video autofocus works on all subjects
- 12-megapixel sensor with a dual-pixel autofocus system
- ISO range of 100-51200
- Digital level available (only in 1.0-degree increments)
- Autofocus performance can be slower than expected
- 4K video recording supported by internal memory only
- Battery life shorter than expected
- Dull video quality
The ever-popular Canon Rebel line of DSLRs is well-known for providing phenomenal image quality at a very affordable price. The EOS 90D builds on the success of the 80D and has provided a fantastic option at its class.
10. Canon Digital SLR Camera Body
- This is a solid camera
- It can be used for most types of photography
- Handles are solid and easy to hold
- Video quality is very poor
- There are many other cameras on the market with better autofocus and video quality
I have tried to use this camera for videoing wildlife and it did not impress me. The camera itself is great, but the video quality is not very good, so don’t buy it if you want to video wildlife. I have tried to use this as an action camera as well, and it also did not impress me. I would say that there are many other cameras out there that are better, so look for another option before you buy it.
11. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Lens
- Great for wildlife
- Vibration control for handheld shots
- Sleek design
- Great autofocus system
- Currently doesn’t have a weatherproof design
Looking to capture the beauty of the animal kingdom in all their glory? This massive lens may be right for you. If you’re a professional or an amateur looking to make a serious investment in a lens, this may be the right one.
This image stabilized optic features a constant f4 aperture, a minimum focus distance of 3.28 feet, and weighs right around 2.67 pounds. The sophisticated optical design and all-metal construction makes it a durable piece of photography gear.
The vibration reduction (VR) features offered on this lens have been greatly reviewed as being impressive, especially compared to the predecessor of this lens model.
12. AF-S DX Nkr 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
- Sharp, high quality lens
- Great range
- Light weight
- Autofocus and VR stabilizer
This is a very fine, versatile lens. Nikon's best compact telephoto zoom lens for its DX-format DSLRs. It has plenty of reach – at normal settings reaching as far as 300mm in 35mm equivalent terms.
The software included with the camera does a fine job of creating JPEGs, but this lens truly shines in raw file capture.
13. Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Fixed Zoom Digital Slr Camera Lens
- A good telephoto lens in a small package
- Made specifically for today’s high-resolution cameras
- The quick and quiet autofocus is ideal for its modest price
- The vibration reduction feature allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds and still get a clear picture
- It’s ready to go right out of the box and can be used immediately
- Not as sharp as some of the other Nikon lenses
- The lens may be a little too slow for some of Nikon’s newer cameras
14. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens
- Lightweight and compact
- Wireless Remote Control
- Razor sharp images
- Solid pictures even at the telephoto end
- Great optical performance at the wide end, super versatility in one lens
- Zoom creep (front barrel movement)
- Slow aperture
- Only average AF performance
- Slow autofocus (no HSM)
- No Image Stabilization
This Canon lens has become the standard zoom lens for many nature photographers for its versatility and value for money. Despite the f/3.5-5.6 aperture, it is a light lens (16 ounces) and is an excellent companion for DSLR camera owners on a budget and with a relatively lightweight backpack.
The fast aperture at the wide end enhances both low light performance and bokeh. In addition, the excellent image stabilization reduces camera shake for sharp images.
Although it is a relatively old lens (2003), its optical performance remains remarkable. With a 32cm minimum focus distance and IS, it is great for close-up work. It is also great for portraits, thanks to the fast aperture and image stabilization.
15. Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
- 24.3 MP
- A 2,016-pixel RGB sensor for the 51 area focus system
- The EXPEED 4 image processing engine
- The D-Movie mode
- ISO 100-12800 for stills and 100-6400 for video
- Full HD 1080p video at 60/30/24 fps
- Fully articulated 3.2-inch LCD touch screen
- Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
- 39 point AF
- Depth-of-field and embedded flash memories
- No 4K video
- No battery pack
The Nikon D750 is the latest iteration in Nikon’s popular D700 series of high-end FX-format DSLRs.
16. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens
- Gives you up to 600mm focal length
- Incredibly sharp and clear, even at 400mm
- Vibration Correction Image Stabilization
- Great for wildlife photographers
- 4.5-5.6 aperture
- ED glass provides top quality images
This lightweight and compact telephoto lens is designed for use on FX shooters but can also be used on DX cameras.
Its extra-low dispersion glass produces sharp images with high contrast.
Vibration Reduction helps to eliminate camera shake.
17. Canon EF 2X II Extender Telephoto Accessory
- Makes your lenses twice as powerful
- Super sharp lenses
- Works with hundreds of EF and EF-S lenses
- Budget friendly
For wildlife and sports photography, a telephoto lens is a must. But if your telephoto lens doesn’t have a built in 1.4x or 2x extender, you’re missing out.
The Canon EF 2X II Extender Telephoto Accessory functions as a teleconverter that works with any Canon EF or EF-S lens. It’s especially great for wildlife and sports photographers that need to get closer to their subject, but don’t want to carry a heavy lens around all day.
This teleconverter is the same one used by the Canon Photo/Sports Team for the Olympics and works with hundreds of different lenses.
18. Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x
- Provides high-speed continuous shooting
- Excellent telephoto zoom that can be well-used in wildlife photography
- Scratch and moisture resistant lenses
- Comes with a 1.4x extender for wider angle shots
- It is an affordable option, especially when compared to other lenses
- Not ideal for bird photography due to its relatively heavy weight of 5.7 pounds
- Careful with the narrow minimum focusing distance of 3.3 yards
Weighing in at mere 5.7 pounds, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x allows you to get up close and personal with your subject. It is perfect for capturing telephoto shots of birds.
The 10x optical zoom allows you to get in-close and shoot at a more natural perspective. The focusing ability of the lens is quite impressive as it can go down to 3.3 yards.
19. Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC PZD All-In-One Zoom Lens
- Good build quality
- Excellent image quality, especially above 200mm; capability besting full-frame lenses in this range
- Unusual zoom range; often one of the few lenses that will do this
- Fast, silent autofocus
- Conventional AF/MF switching for manual focus, no push-pull to put into MF mode
- Tripod collar that is easy to grip and allows for quick rotation; won't cause trouble when used on a non-manual rotation tripod
- Predictable behavior when exposure is stopped-down
- Tack sharp when properly focused
- Minimal distortion
- Adequate ghosting control
- Rather slow; can't be used in low light
- Requires a very fast lens to be handheld at its minimum focal length
- Not a fast lens in general
- Manual focus ring turns during video recording despite MF/AF switch being in MF mode
20. Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Nikkor Zoom Lens
- Image quality is phenomenal
- Sharpness is outstanding
- The vibration reduction (VR) helps tremendously when shooting handheld
- Nikon's AF system is the best in the business
- Vibration reduction is only modestly effective
- Heavy to carry and operate
Have you ever wanted to get closer to wildlife without spending a fortune on a long lense with vibration reduction?
If so, the 70-200mm f/4 G ED lens from Nikon could be a great choice. Let’s face it: most of us spend a lot of time shooting pictures of birds, flowers, and wildlife around ponds, lakes, and streams, so a long lense is ideal. You can also use to lens to snap pictures of wildlife in the distance, like horses.
If you have the cash to spend, this is probably the best lens for wildlife photography. We’re sure you’ll love the super sharp images this lens can produce.
21. Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens
- Most reasonably priced 500mm lens
- Image stabilization
- Beautiful bokeh
No wildlife photographer should be without this lens. It’s currently one of the most reasonably prices 500mm lenses on the market, yet it’s fairly small and light to carry in the field.
I found it to be among the sharpest lenses of its class. The Sigma does an impressive job of producing tack-sharp images across the entire frame.
The Sigma 500mm sports lens is a good choice for the serious wildlife photographer on a budget. You can get far more expensive lenses, but you won’t get a better one in this class.
22. Nikon Auto Focus-S FX TC-20E III Teleconverter Lens
- Telephoto lens without the high cost
- Auto-Focus capabilities
- One of the most affordable telephoto lens available
- Dramatically increases the zoom power of your camera
- Convert your DX lens into a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 2.7x (Nikon) , 3.0x (Canon) and 2.5x (Sigma)
- Transform your ultra-zoom into a super-zoom with a focal length of 3.1x
- Enable you to shoot at a distance from a near-distance
- Upgrade your lens to get a longer reach
- Capture stunning wildlife shots
- Designed to work on auto-focus cameras
- A bit tricky to work with, especially while using auto-focus
- Design tends to attract dust and lint
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23. Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Features a long zoom range (3.9x)
- Stabilizer with a 4 stop advantage
- Provides high-speed autofocus
- Great in low light
- Flat focal plane for extra sharp shots
- Fixed max aperture ranges from 4.5 to 5.6
- Absence of white circular elements
Sigma’s 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens is a great canon lens that is ideal for landscapes, portraits, nature photography, wildlife and more.
It comes in at a mere 3.75 lbs, which is a great weight for a lens that comes with such a great zoom range. Plus, the weight is well distributed with the lens weighing just under 3 lbs, while the rest of the weight is the lens hood, tripod collar, and lens caps.
Accompanying the 5x zoom range is a 1.7x equivalent magnification as well.
24. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L is II USM Lens
- Amazing optics
- Can be used for portraits
- Fast autofocusing is improved over the original model
- Good for nature, animals, or sports
- Waterproof and dustproof
- Great value
- Canon USA warranty
- 4.4 out of 5 star ratings on Adorama
- Not bulky like others
- * 100mm is only medium telephoto
- not long
25. Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens
- Sporty, low-gloss, matte black exterior
- Bright, white focus illumination dot
- Solid, well-damped focus and zoom rings
- Quick-Set electronic drop-down diopter
- Internal drop-in filter slot
- Fast lateral manual zoom control
- Weighs 8.27 pounds (3.75 kg)
- Lens hood is shaped for expsoure for handholding
If you're a wildlife photographer and in the market for a super telephoto lens, this lens is worth a look. It's a professional grade lens with a 1.4x maximum optical teleconverter that combines with the superb optical quality to deliver a close focus distance of 9.5' (2.9m) on an APS-C (1.6x FOVCF/1.3x equivalent) DSLR. It has a very usable light weight of 7.9 pounds (3.6kg). This is a lens that's going to make you a better photographer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the best zoom lens for wildlife photography?
For years, the big debate was between telephoto and wide angle lenses. Both have their pros and cons. A telephoto lens will give you a narrower field of view and a narrower depth of field, which works well for zoomed-in portraits and isolating your subject from the background. However, it can be limiting when you don’t have to a stationary subject to photograph.
A wide angle lens gives you a wider field of view and a greater depth of field, so you can take a shot of your entire subject. You can get up close and personal with the famous nose-to-tail shots when you’re using one of these. But it also means you have to be able to move around as you photograph. You have to keep your subject in the frame just as much when you’re using a wider lens.
Which lens is suitable for wildlife photography?
Selecting the right lens depends on several factors: preference, subject proximity, equipment limitations, and subject size. Particularly, the first three factors apply in most situations; you will usually have many options to choose from in these areas.
For wildlife photography, it’s best to start with the basic 50mm or 85mm lens. These are inexpensive and widely used, and they come in standard or telephoto varieties.
If you have a specific subject that involves a large animal or human, however, you may need a more powerful lens. For instance, a 400mm lens is an excellent choice for sports or even birds. These lenses, however, are not ideal for animals that are both small and far away from the camera.
What is the best Nikon lens for wildlife photography?
To discern the top eye-peering, bushy-tailed, four-legged photographers, we evaluated the specs, performance, and professional reviews of every Nikon lens designed for wildlife photography. Then we cross-referenced the data with professional DSLR lens recommendations and user reviews from popular photography review sites.
With all this data in mind, we narrowed our field of lenses to 12 top contenders. We also included tips on when and how to use a certain lens. And then, with the help of a professional photographer, we created a chart to help you more easily contrast and compare features. So without further ado, here are the 12 best Nikon lenses for wildlife photography.
What is the best focal length for wildlife photography?
For myself, the perfect wildlife lens is the standard 70-200mm f/2.8. It gives me the full range I need for everything from portraits to action shots and still captures those wildlife portraits I love. I don’t have to work hard to get my shots. It is also a good compromise between the consumer level lenses and the high-end professional grade lenses.
I must check my gear lot of times before I leave home because I travel with the lens a lot. This lens is good for travel with a small size and weight. It has a very fast auto-focus motor too. I have been using this lens for four years now and have no complaints.
I have used other lenses in the past, some for a short time only, and others for many years. However, this is the only lens I would recommend to a wildlife photographer who wants a single lens to cover most of their shooting needs.
Some styles of lens lend themselves better to certain subjects than others do. If you are a wildlife photographer planning to capture amazing wildlife images,
There are several styles of lens that are ideal, depending on the behavior of the subject. Use our guide to learn more about the features to look for when selecting the best lens for wildlife photography.
|Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens||Best Overall|
|Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens||Budget Pick|
|Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x||Upgrade Pick|