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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-01-2017
Accepted Solution

Wildlife photography

I have a canon EOS Rebel T5i. The longest lense I have is the 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 III.  I am not able to photograph wildlife from a longer distance.  I read that 2x extenders don't work with this lens.  What lens do I need to capture sharp images of wildlife from at least 300 yards?

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,387
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Wildlife photography

The lens you have isn't the best in it's range & 300 yards is a bit far for many lenses PLUS will require a solid tripod for great results with a long lens. Best bang for the buck will be a Sigma or Tamron 150-600 lens but it wan't do well if you try to shoot it without a tripod or laying on a good support of some kind.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-01-2017

Re: Wildlife photography

I forgot to ask if the lense you suggest will do well in low light. Most animals come to our pond at dusk

Super Contributor
Posts: 145
Registered: ‎12-03-2016

Re: Wildlife photography

[ Edited ]

I've been using both a Sigma 100-400 and a Tamron 150-600 for wildlife photography.  The Sigma is obviously much easier to carry, but the Tamron does have the advantage regarding reach.  Both have excellent IS and can be used hand held with surprisingly good results.  In published field tests, the Tamron will not show motion shake at speeds down to 1/100 or even slower at 600mm.  I never shoot that slow, but it is very solid at 1/320 or faster.  A tripod presents a much more stable platform, but I don't always have one with me, so I commonly use these lenses without one and get very good results.

 

Both lenses perform best at apertures of f/8 to f/11, which also expands their narrow DOF somewhat.  There is a real learning curve with long focal length lenses, and it takes some time to figure out how to get the most out of this type of lens.  Of my two "big" lenses, I actually prefer the Tamron with its 600mm option.  The Sigma is very good, but I tend to use it in situations where I just don't want to lug the bigger lens.

 

This Blue Heron was shot with the Tamron at 600mm hand held.  (f/9, 1/500, ISO 800)

 

IMG_3924.JPG

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,387
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Wildlife photography

Because the distance of roughly 300 yards was in the question I think a tripod becomes a necessity. Can you estimate the distance you took the GBH photo from? Not that I shoot them often but I've been able to get within 100 yards without even trying.

For a really good & long low light lens you need to spend big money. Your choices will be primes rather than zooms & will start up in the $5000 and up price range.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Super Contributor
Posts: 145
Registered: ‎12-03-2016

Re: Wildlife photography

[ Edited ]

That was one of my closer shots ... probably no more than 30 yards away.  Most often they stay on the opposite side of the pond where they are usually found, and those shots are about 100+ yards and much more difficult.  I've had some success even at those distances, but my hit rate is very low.  This is one when a Heron was quite a distance away.  I certainly would have benefitted from a tripod in this case, but the IS on the Tamron is really much better than I expected.

 

Neither my Sigma nor Tamron are good low light lenses ... they are best in bright light since they are not fast lenses and do not perfrom as well when wide open.

 

fullsizeoutput_382a.jpeg

VIP
Posts: 13,870
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Wildlife photography

"The longest lense I have is the 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 III"

 

While this is not the best choice for wildlife especially birds, 300mm isn't the reason.  On your camera this lens is acting similarly to a 480mm tele.  Pretty decent focal length in anybodies book.  The issue is distance.  You need to get closer.  Closer is the best over any better lens you may get.

Here is me and my buddy shooting a feeding heron at Frisco Lake and old train stop.  We both have a 300mm lens.

MK2N6972-Edit.jpg

As you can see he is just a few feet from the bird and I am just behind him.  Both of us have a 300mm lens.  Less focal length than you currently have.

 

Otherwise a 600mm does well for smaller birds, too.

_DS33437.jpg

 

Both of these are hand held.  Totally doable even though the big Siggy 'S' is very heavy. Plus it is mounted on a 1Ds Mk III. Again the distance is fairly short.

The best choice for you is one of the 150-600mm super zooms or perhaps the new 100-400mm Canon zoom.  There is also a couple prime lenses that are fantastic.  Both the ef 300mm f4 and the ef 400mm f5.6 primes do a great job and are not heavy at all.  Easily handholdable.  The 300mm f4 handles the 1.4x tele converter (670mm on your camera) well, too. 

 

Keep two things in mind though, get closer and practice, practice, practice.  

 

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 13,870
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Wildlife photography

"What lens do I need to capture sharp images of wildlife from at least 300 yards?"

 

You know one mistaken notion is telephoto lenses are designed to make very far away things closer.  Well of course that is true but only to a certain point. The real way to look at it is, telephoto lenses are designed to make small subjects look big.  For instance a small bird shot at a great distance will still be a small bird even with a big, big lens.  But a small bird shot at close range will fill the frame and that is what you want.  This is where the "get closer" idea is best.

 

Of course you  must use common sense if the subject is not a small bird but perhaps a grizzly bear. However, fortunately a grizzled bear is much larger so all things are relevant.

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