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Auto Zoom Lens Recommendations for Birds and Wildlife


Hello, my wife and I are new to photography, and we have a Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera.  We would like to shoot some close-up shots of birds and other wildlife, what would be the best auto zoom lens to purchase for beginners like us?

Thank you.




What do you mean by "auto zoom"?  For a lens to automatically zoom?   That won't be the case.  A zoom lens must be adjusted manually to amount of zoom (focal length) it would be set to.


Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

Ricky,  Thanks for the reply.  I meant auto focus.  Sorry about that.  Am still learning... I will look at those suggestions... thanks again


I am curious why you are using the term “Auto Zoom”. I suspect you might be looking at buying a used lens. Back in the 1960s, zoom lenses and auto exposure were still new, and lens manufactures loved to print “Auto Zoom” as advertising the latest technology.

Don’t buy a used lens that says “Auto Zoom” on it. It means it is on old manual focus film camera lens from the 1960s, and will be near impossible to use on a modern camera. 

Here is an example of a 1960s 80-200mm “Auto Zoom”.  If you try to use it on a modern camera, there will be absolutely nothing “Auto” about it. 

Mike Sowsun

Mike,  thanks.  I meant and should have typed auto focus.  that was my fault.  I am still learning.. 😊.  I appreciate the advice on the auto zoom.  I apparently have a lot to learn....


Close-ups of birds are very difficult, they're typically small and a long way away. If you've moved from a 'superzoom' fixed lens camera to your DSLR, you might be disappointed. To get reasonably close to birds (that aren't in cages) you'll need patience, practice, skill, as well as a long telephoto lens and these don't come cheap. The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 is probably your entry point. Note this isn't actually a zoom lens, it's a fixed focal length telephoto. If you do want a zoom lens, you might get some success with the Canon EF 70-300mm lens, there are several versions of it, mostly very good value. You will quickly discover, however, that most bird photographers are using lenses of 500mm and upwards. They need deep pockets and big biceps...

R6mkII, various lenses, speedlites. Also legacy Canons going back to T90 and even A1.



2 very popular lenses for birding on a Rebel are the Sigma or Tamron 150~600mm.  The mount designation will be "Canon EF".  For your own knowledge, your camera will accept lenses with EF or EF-S mounts.  

These lenses are both about $1K new, and $750 or so used in good condition.  A 300mm lens may not get you close enough without being super distracting or scaring your subject "bird". 

As Ricky and Mike pointed out, these lenses need to be manually adjusted (how far or near) your subject appears.  The focus (sharpness) can be done for you by the camera, or by you manually if you wish.  

This is not the case with a fully manual "auto-zoom" lens.  (Thanks to Mike) for mentioning.


Bay Area - CA

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Rick, appreciate the help and the recommendations.  We will look into a Sigma or Tamron 150mm - 600mm lens and go from there.  Thanks!


I have a T7 and bought the Sigma 150-600mm for nature and bird photos. It has proven to be a good investment.

We are always learning.

Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG

Awesome!  Thanks John.  I appreciate the feedback.  I agree, we are always learning!

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