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New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-27-2017
Accepted Solution

Lens suggestions for birds and wildlife.

Hi.  I'm still very much a novice at photography though I truely love it.  I shoot with a Canon 80D.  I would like to be able to get some reasonable photos of birds and wildlife, but the strongest lens I own is an EFS 55-250mm lens.  I was hoping some of you might be able to steer me in the direction of what lenses I should be looking at.  Budget is unfortunately a concern.  Thanks in advance.

VIP
Posts: 8,627
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Lens suggestions for birds and wildlife.

[ Edited ]

OK, lets start.  I consider about 400mm to be the shortest FL to use for birds.  However, we must consider the crop factor of your 80D.  Your 250mm zoom offers a crop factor using that lens of 400mm.  So, it is basic.  Below is a photo I shot with a 300mm lens using a 1.3 crop camera the 1D Mk IV. (1.3 x 300mm = 390mm so very close to 400mm)

 

_52D8199-Edit-Edit.jpg

 

One of the best choices for shooting birds is the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 for Canon EF.  It offers a zoom range all the way up to 600mm (nearly a 1000mm using your 80D).  It is about $1400 new.  Another lens I love for shooting birds is the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.  It is light and quick.  You can hand hold it all day no problem.  It is around $1100 new.

I would also recommend the fantastic Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens but it is a lot more expensive at around $2200.  Still an excellent choice if you save up your dimes.

There are some other 'kit' lenses that go to 300mm but not worth it when you already own the 55-250mm, IMHO.

 

One thing often overlooked especially by beginners is, get closer!  The closer you can get to the subject bird the better.  Getting closer is better than getting a better lens.

 

Same lens, same camera, same guy but this is a lot farther away and it is shot at 600mm (780mm equiv.)

_52D8264.jpg

 

You didn't mention exactly what the budget is.  That will help in recommending a lens.

A lot less stuff for 2018 but still a lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,226
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Lens suggestions for birds and wildlife.

Keep in mind that as the magnification goes up so do the problems caused by poor technique. DO NOT expect perfect photos until you learn how to control camera shake. Long lenses get heavy fast if you aren't used to working with them. 

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-27-2017

Re: Lens suggestions for birds and wildlife.

Thank you for the suggestions!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,933
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Lens suggestions for birds and wildlife.


Tunesmithnw wrote:

Hi.  I'm still very much a novice at photography though I truely love it.  I shoot with a Canon 80D.  I would like to be able to get some reasonable photos of birds and wildlife, but the strongest lens I own is an EFS 55-250mm lens.  I was hoping some of you might be able to steer me in the direction of what lenses I should be looking at.  Budget is unfortunately a concern.  Thanks in advance.


What is your budget?  If it is less than $1000 USD, save your money and keep using the 55-250.  I would recommend one of the 150-600 lenses, or the Canon 100-400mm L lens with a 1.4x III adapter.  The Sigma 150-600mm “Contemporary” is a great lens, but it must be updated to the latest firmware, which corrects AF issues associated with the original release of the lens.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-27-2017

Re: Lens suggestions for birds and wildlife.

I am optimistic that by the time spring gets here I should have a budget of between $1000 and $1500 US for a new lens.  Maybe a little more.  Hope that helps.  Thanks again.

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VIP
Posts: 8,627
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Lens suggestions for birds and wildlife.

Well that fits nicely with the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 for Canon EF.  It offers a zoom range all the way up to 600mm (nearly a 1000mm using your 80D).  It is about $1400 new. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens is a close twin to the big Tammy at around $900.  They are a "your choice" option.  Nearly the same specs form either.  The Tamron has better weather sealing, the Siggy has none.  But keep in mind the prime lens, too, the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.  It is light and quick.  You can hand hold it all day no problem.  It is around $1100 new.

 

That probably let's out the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens as it is around $2200. 

 

Whatever you choose try to stay at or above 400mm.  Birds are small. 

 

One thing often overlooked especially by beginners is, get closer!  The closer you can get to the subject bird the better.  Getting closer is always better than getting a better lens.  As distance increases resolving power of the lens decreases.

 

Lastly get a good, and learn to use, a post editor.  Very important to mandatory for great shots. 

 

 

A lot less stuff for 2018 but still a lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
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