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Need help in buying a lens for a beginner in wildlife photography


I am very much new to photography and I'm enjoying it. I have a Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and my main desire is to do nature shots (animals, birds, etc) what would you suggest for a really solid lens that isn’t going to break the bank(looking for lenses under 1500$)? Please help this noob to learn photography and capture some nice wildlife shots.



Assuming you want to photograph wildlife from some distance, then there are a few suggested lenses at different price points for your camera.

The more expensive lens is bigger and heavier but with a little more reach. There are other lenses but they are beyond your stated budget.

Brian - Canon specialist trainer, author and photographer
I use British not American English, so my spellings may be a little different to yours

Rising Star

KEH and MPB are resellers of used lenses with a good reputation and their rating system is accurate. I have used both with success and their return policies protect the buyer. Make sure you review the policy if you decide to buy used for either supplier. Also, The SL3 is one of Canons smallest DSLR camera with a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor. These are large lenses on a small body which will require that you carry the setup by the lens.

Lenses that will perform well on this camera and give you extra reach:

  • Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary - B&H Photo (New) - $939 -  MPB (Like New) - $824 - KEH (EX+) $875
  • Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 - B&H Photo (New) -$1399 - (EX) KEH $660 - (EX) MPB $834

On an APS-C sensor the 150-600mm I believe they would be equivalent of 225-to-900mm lens.

A 100-400mm can also be used but the reach will require you to get a bit closer to your subject. On an APS-C sensor the 100-400 I believe would be the equivalent to a 160–640mm lens.

  • Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD - B&H Photo (New) - $800 - (Like New) - MPB $720 - KEH (EX) $613
  • Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary - B&H Photo (New) - $800 - MPB (EX) $630 - KEH (EX+) $605
  • Both have the Canon Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM available for varying prices.

I own the Sigma lenses so I can only speak to those but I use both on DSLR and mirror-less (with adapter) and they perform great. I know several in the community use the 150-600mm for wildlife so hopefully they will jump into the conversation. The used market offers you a good opportunity to extend your reach within your budget. B&H also is a reliable supplier of used gear. Personally, I have only purchased equipment in Excellent condition or better and it has been accurate or better then described.

Be a different person on the web, be kind, respectful and most of all be helpful!

90D ~ 5D Mark IV ~ R6 Mark II ~ R50 and way to many EF lenses
Photoshop and Topaz Suite for image processing


"Please help this noob to learn photography and capture some nice wildlife shots."

Ok, here is what I would do in your situation $1500 bucks and an SL3. Buy the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2. New sells for around $1400 but is a good buy on the used market just make sure you check it out before you pay. I can tell you for certain if you buy one of the lesser lenses listed above you will only wish you had the 150-600mm later on. The Tamron G2 is the best of the bunch of 150-600mm super zooms. And most of all there is no substitute for focal length. You can never have too much!

I would also consider buying a good sturdy tripod.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!