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Lens Search for Wildlife Photography

emsher
Apprentice

Hello everyone,

I am getting into wildlife photography and I want to invest in a good lens. I currently shoot with a Canon R6 + 70-200 2.8 lens but for capturing wildlife I need a little extra reach. I am looking for something under $5k and it can either be a fixed lens or a zoom lens. I am trying to stray away from adapters, so preferably a RF mount. In a perfect world, I would love to purchase the 600 mm... 

Please let me know you're suggestions, opinions, experience, etc!

16 REPLIES 16

jrhoffman75
Legend

If you do not want to adapt EF lenses this would be the longest RF lens with your budget.

Screenshot 2022-09-26 135047.jpg

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

I have the RF 100-500mm L that John referenced and use it on an R5 and R6. It is an excellent lens. Since I shoot a lot of small birds, usually at distance (30-50'), I prefer it on the R5 because of its higher MP sensor which allows me to crop and still get very good prints. For larger birds, other animals, flowers, butterflies, etc., it is a great lens for the R6. I mention flowers and butterflies because this lens will focus, at 500mm, to just under 3' so you can fill the sensor of the R6.

I understand that the cropping thing is just a personal preference and won't be an issue with most photographers, but I thought I would throw it out there in case you are in a similar situation, so you will know what to expect. I still highly recommend this lens for the R6 🙂

Newton

deebatman316
Mentor

Another good option that is budget friendly is the RF 100-400mm F/5.6-F/8 IS USM lens.

Screenshot 2022-09-26 173730.png

-Demetrius

40D, 5D IV, EF 16-35mm F/2.8L III, EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II, EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF 50 F/1.8 STM

430EX III-RT & 600EX II-RT


@deebatman316 wrote:

"Another good option that is budget friendly is the RF 100-400mm F/5.6-F/8 IS USM lens."


My wife uses that on her R6. She is disabled and needs a light rig and this lens is very light, which is one of the things I like about RF glass, both L and non. I've used it a bit on the R5 and it is a very capable lens and the photos she takes with it on the R6 are really good.

However, I wouldn't consider it if the RF 100-500mm L was within my budget, as the OP has stated. For us, it's a special needs lens. But I agree, it is a great "budget friendly" lens and not to be overlooked 🙂

Newton

How do you like RF glass so far with Canon's offerings. The only thing I don't like is the consumer level tend to have very slow apertures slower than F/5.6. Which doesn't help so well in low. I mainly take pictures in low light. Or the decent to fast aperture lenses cost a lot. I have tested the R, RP, R5 and R6 in low light (The R3, R7 and R10 were not released at that time). With native RF glass and the R5 performed the best but the camera still needed the AF Assist Beam from the camera body. Or my 430EX III-RT (Even set to IR AF Assist) and 600EX II-RT provided pre-flashes/ pre-fires to assist with low light AF.

-Demetrius

40D, 5D IV, EF 16-35mm F/2.8L III, EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II, EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF 50 F/1.8 STM

430EX III-RT & 600EX II-RT

@deebatman316 wrote:

How do you like RF glass so far with Canon's offerings. The only thing I don't like is the consumer level tend to have very slow apertures slower than F/5.6. Which doesn't help so well in low. I mainly take pictures in low light.


We only have four RF lenses and I love them all, but the only consumer grade RF lens we own is the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-f/8 and on the R6 the pair handles low light admirably at wide open f/8 and up, we usually push it a stop or two to get it into its "sweet spot" by bumping up the ISO, so we rarely shoot wide open. Still, AF is snappy with the RF 100-400, but I suspect the R6 has something to do with that 😉 For us, low light is forest canopy and underbrush on the forest floor, and the habitat we frequent is pretty dark (for photography) at midday. Mornings and evenings are really dark, and this seems to be the times that our subjects are the most active. Now, switch to the RF 100-500mm in the same light, and things really improve 🙂

Newton

Generally on DSLRs the limit for AF was F/5.6 but the 5D Mark III and IV, 7D Mark II, 6D Mark II, Rebel T8i and all 1D series cameras allow AF at F/8. When it came time to upgrade my old EOS 40D the only EOS R series bodies were the R and RP. I didn't like the battery life because it was quite low. I instead went with the 5D Mark IV. But in the future I'm open to the EOS R series. When I tested the R5 and R6 the battery life was much improved over the R and RP. I generally shoot closer to wide open with a speedlite. I mainly deal with low light indoor photography. Even though photo is more of a hobby and not my full time job.

-Demetrius

40D, 5D IV, EF 16-35mm F/2.8L III, EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II, EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF 50 F/1.8 STM

430EX III-RT & 600EX II-RT

Danfaz
Contributor

RF 100-500mm hands-down. It's fast-focusing, very sharp, and can even get pseudo macro shots with its .33X magnification at 500mm.


@Danfaz wrote:

RF 100-500mm hands-down. It's fast-focusing, very sharp, and can even get pseudo macro shots with its .33X magnification at 500mm.


I'm right there with you! It was the same with the EF 100-400mm L II. You can really get close at 400mm with that lens and it's saved my bacon a few times when I left home without my 100mm L macro. Obviously, nothing beats a good macro lens, but it sure is nice to have a long lens that can close focus.

Newton

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