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What lenses to look for? - Birds, Flowers, and Insects


I have an EOS Rebel T5 with these lenses . EFS 18-55 mm , 75-300 mm , and 50 mm . I'm looking to shoot more telephoto subjects like birds  close up . Also looking to shoot more closeup flowers and insects . Help with suggestions would be appreciated for reasonable prices .



I am not sure what your budget is but look at the 150-600mm zoom lens from Sigma and Tamron for the bird closeups.  I bought the 150-600 Sigma contemporary a little over a year ago primarily as a multipurpose lens while hiking and while it isn't quite as capable as my Canon EF 800 f5.6, it is very good and far closer in image quality than I expected given the 15:1 price differential between the two.

For close up work, the best choice is a dedicated macro lens and I love my EF 100 image stabilized macro.  But a low cost way to get into some macro work with your 75-300 is to use extension tubes which will allow it to focus closer than its normal minimum focusing distance.  Google extension tubes macro and you will find the applications and limitations of this approach.


EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video


Hi and welcome to the forum:
I usually shoot wildlife and some macro, so I hope that I can be of help. My first suggestion is to sell the EF 75-300 - it's a pretty poor optic.  Basically, you are looking at two scenarios here:
1. Long telephoto range for birds and larger animals:
For this one I would agree with Rodger that the way to go is to look for a used Sigma 150-600 Contemporary or the Tamron lens of the same range.  On your Rebel, those lenses would give you a Field of View (FoV) equivalent to 240-960mm on a full-frame camera.  I have the Sigma unit and it is an excellent lens - relatively lightweight, with image stabilization and some weather protection.  Since I don't live in the US, I would not hazard a guess as to price.
As an example of what the lens can do, here is a shot taken of an Australian Love Bird with the Sigma on a Canon EOS 5D MkIV:
600mm, f/7.1, 1/320sec, ISO-200600mm, f/7.1, 1/320sec, ISO-200

2. Close-ups of flowers and insects:  If you want to get really close, then a good macro lens is the way to go.  The good news is that these optics also make great portrait lenses.  I would suggest either the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM, or the EF 100mm f/2.8 USM .  Note the former is specifically designed for your type of Rebel sensor but will not work on a full-frame body if you ever get one.  The EF 100mm unit will work on both.

Again, as an example, this was taken on the unforgiving EOS 5DsR, using the EF 100mm f/2.8 macro:
100mm, f/8, 1/2sec, ISO-200100mm, f/8, 1/2sec, ISO-200

I hope this will be helpful!

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
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"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris


"I expected given the 15:1 price differential between the two."


Rodger part of that is build as we all know the Siggy C is no where close to the construction of a the ef 800mm L lens. Second part of that is aperture. A constant f5.6 aperture 800mm lens excluding any other factor is going to be several times more expensive to manufacture. Not to mention limited appeal to the market place.

Far more easy to build a variable aperture plastic 600mm lens that is lighter and has a bigger general appeal to the masses. I always thought Canon missed the boat on not making an affordable, plastic, 150-600mm super zoom.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


I agree, Canon absolutely did.  I think many of us have wondered why not, but Canon must have had a reason.

As far as the 150-600mm goes, we all agree its probably the most versatile/reasonable wildlfe lens out there and is a great match for the T5.  @dansathome2, I have this lens as well (Contemporary)  Thats 3 of us.  Ernie has the "S" sports model.  

Options for macro.  There are 2, both Canon.  The EF100mm and the EF-S 60mm.  Canon does not produce the 60mm any longer, but KEH has both of them.  EF100 LikeNew (minus) $650 and the EF-S 60 (Excellent+) $450.  

Given the $200 difference, I'd opt for the 100mm.  Although the MFD is 11.87 and 7.67, and the 60 only weighs half what the 100 is, the 100 is an L, and is a better long tern value.  You can also take it with you and use it on you next body (with the 150-600) regardless of the sensor you choose.  APS-C or FF.

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" EFS 18-55 mm , 75-300 mm , and 50 mm . I'm looking to shoot more telephoto subjects like birds  close up . Also looking to shoot more closeup flowers and insects"


Depending on what your exact goals are, what you have can do pretty much what you want. Yes, 300mm isn't really the best wildlife lens and will require you to be closer to your subjects. But its doable and getting closer is free.

My arbitrary bottom limit for a true wildlife and birder lens is 400mm. An one of the 150-600mm super zooms fits the bill as cheaply as possible in todays market.

Your 50mil can close focus to about 13" to 14" inches which can make a pretty nice close up of flowers. Again depending on what you want and how close.

I am not a fan of extension tubes because they are difficult to use and a general PITA but they work. So that does leave you needing a true macro lens if you want the extreme close ups of in innards of a flower. The Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens is the way to go for the least cost vs performance. Of course these are baseline options and more expensive and very much more expensive options are out there.

The best thing you can do for any photographic project is to d/l the free from Canon DPP4 photo editor. Learn it and it will make more of an impact on your pictures than any other thing you can do. Bar none!  Did I mention it is free and learning is free, too!  Always shoot raw format, never jpeg.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


"... but Canon must have had a reason."


I have to agree because I hope anyway they are smarter than we are in that area. But for the life of me I can not understand why. They must have found it impossible to build the equivalent lens at a similar price point.

"As far as the 150-600mm goes, we all agree its probably the most versatile/reasonable wildlfe lens out there and is a great match for the T5."


"Ernie has the "S" sports model."

I have owned or have owned every version of the 15-600mm super zooms made. I still have the Siggy C and Tamron. I don't currently own the Tamron G2 but I have used one and consider it to be the best buy, albeit just a tad bit better, of the models currently available. My goto is my Sigma 150-600mm Sport because of the extremely tough and weather resistant construction. I guess more of a left over form my past life because I really have never tested it to that level so to speak. Don't get me wrong it has been out in the elements but it hasn't been a money maker since I have retired and truthfully don't need that level of gear any longer.

I even have or had every 150-500mm before the 150-600mm came out. I still have a Sigma 150-500mm zoom which is a very nice lens if you get a good copy which took me three tries. Long story there!


Buying gone today I would get the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!