Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own the best lens for wildlife photography?

If you ever watched any animal documentary, you probably have.

It is a type of photography that requires sophisticated equipment with high-end optics with a wide focal range that usually costs a lot of money.

Unfortunately, despite the growing need for comprehensive buying guides, the internet still lags in providing a sufficient amount of useful information on the topic.

image for wildlife photography lenses guide

With that in mind, I have decided to cover the topic, by outlining an ultimate guide that will help all photographers pick the best optics on the market, which will make their hunt for awesome wildlife images much easier

Best Telephoto
Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E
5.0
$1,396.95 $1,056.95

The color palette looks natural and vibrant, with strong and deep contrast tones.

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11/28/2022 02:18 pm GMT

The first contended offers an optical design of 19 elements in 12 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades and an angle of view of 12° 20′ to 5°. The minimum focus distance is 7,22 feet, and a maximum magnification sits at 0,22x. The

Nikon also offers optical image stabilization, which, in sports mode allows 4.5 stops of vibration reduction. One of the reasons why it made the wildlife photography lenses list is a great focus system that allows one to create tack-sharp images at all f-stops and focal lengths.

I tried taking images of fast-moving rabbits and the lens operated quite well, capturing the subject with ease, without hunt issues and it didn’t cause any missed shots. It also produces a minimum amount of vignetting, since I could only spot it at an f/5.6 and above 400mm. Moreover, it also has a great sharpness control, with rock-solid detail preservation across all focal lengths and openings.

The Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens doesn’t suffer from distortion problems, and the chromatic aberration is almost non-existent. I am also yet to spot serious flare issues (only minor samples could be found when directly facing sunlight).

Nikon lenses for wildlife also offer excellent image quality. The optical image stabilization is excellent as well, especially in sport’s mode. I don’t like taking a tripod in nature to capture images of moving animals, so the OIS does a splendid job. It also feels solid in hands, with most of the structure being made out of metal.

Pros

  • Wide focal length
  • OIS
  • Design
  • Optical solutions

Cons

  • Limiting aperture
Best Telephoto
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L Lens
5.0
$1,759.99

The lens is exceptionally resistant to dust and water. Images are razor-sharp and the maximum aperture is enough for shooting under low-light conditions.

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11/29/2022 04:44 am GMT

One of the wildlife lenses for Canon comes with an optical design of 21 elements in 16 groups, with nine rounded blades, an angle of view of 24° to 6° 10′, and a minimum focus distance of 3,22 feet. The maximum magnification is 0,31x, and the lens has optical image stabilization. One of the reasons why I included it on the best wildlife photography lens is its ability to focus with surgical precision, even at 400mm.

An important tip here is to set the focus on one spot, especially when photographing fast-moving objects, such as squirrels and birds. Another crucial point to mention is the robust and sturdy design of the lens which also justifies the price. It also sports an extra tripod stand adapter. Thanks to the image stabilization it is possible to hold the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens even at 1/30 when photographing wildlife.

What also helps is the ability of these optics to focus on wide landscape areas, which is convenient when photographing small animals in the trees or birds flying in the distance, since it provides crystal and sharp images. The overall image quality is outstanding, and although it is a lens of a wide focal length, I didn’t notice distortion or aberration issues. Colors are well distributed and balanced across the frame with sharp contrast. The design is impeccable, which was expected from a premium “L” lens.

Pros

  • Amazing image quality
  • Design
  • Focus system
  • OIS

Cons

  • Price
Best Telephoto
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Lens
4.5
$599.00

The lens packs a super Spectra coating lens element that suppresses flare and ghosting. It provides solid photo quality, even when shooting from hands.

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11/29/2022 07:01 am GMT

The second Canon I represent is the best telephoto lens for wildlife photography and has an optical design of 19 elements in 14 groups, with eight rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 34° to 8° 15′ and a focus distance of 3,94 feet. The maximum magnification sits at 0,21x and the Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens has optical image stabilization. One of the key factors that influenced me to put it on the best lens for wildlife photography is the awesome compact size of the lens.

It has a manual lock switch on the side of a barrel and the lens can be locked at 70mm. It is a convenient feature, especially if you like traveling a lot. More points also go to the general design, because the lens feels sturdy and robust in hands, and it can take a beating, making it a suitable candidate for shooting wildlife under demanding conditions. I was impressed by the optical image stabilization which works without flaw.

However:

I want to note that there is a slight risk of moving the focus ring, and it is the only objection regarding the design. The quality of images it takes is impressive, with overall sharpness across the frame. The focus is rock-solid, and if it isn’t 100% correct, you can easily move your hand to the focus ring to refocus the shot. The color distribution is phenomenal, with a natural brightness and crisp contrast.

Pros

  • OIS
  • Fast focus
  • General design
  • Versatile focal length

Cons

  • Limiting aperture
Best Telephoto
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Lens
4.0
$169.00 $98.76

The focus system is reasonably fast and quiet, and it also has a good feeling to the zoom ring.

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11/28/2022 12:41 pm GMT

Sigma came into the best lens for wildlife photography list with 14 elements in 10 groups, with nine diaphragm blades. Its angle of view is 34.3° to 8.2°, with a minimum focus distance of 59,1 inches and a maximum magnification of 0,5x. Unfortunately Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 doesn’t have optical image stabilization and for most of the photography sessions that include super-sharp focus, you should get a tripod or monopod.

I compensated a lot for vibration movements by taking the shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second. However, it is only possible to do so if you have good lighting. The aperture of the lens is solid for daylight conditions, or even for a golden hour time.

On the other hand, it would be difficult to shoot at night with the widest opening, without OIS. The lens works excellent under bright lighting and if you use smart stabilization methods in combinations with a smaller aperture (I got great results at an f/8).

In a way:

it is a specialized lens that is intended for nature and wildlife, and thanks to its affordability, it is a suitable candidate for beginners. Also, Sigma offers the best budget lenses for wildlife photography. Design-wise, it is made mostly out of plastic, but it feels good in hands, and it is not heavy if you consider the focal length. The focus system is reasonably fast and quiet, and it also has a good feeling to the zoom ring. The lens comes with a nice package that includes a custom case and a lens hood.

Pros

  • Focus system
  • Versatile focal length
  • Affordability
  • Solid design

Cons

  • No OIS
  • Limiting aperture
Best All-in-one
Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Lens
4.5
$349.89

Images that I have taken with the lens are full of rich details, sharp contrast, and vivid coloring.

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11/28/2022 08:48 pm GMT

The last optics included in the article has an optical design of 16 elements in 12 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades an angle of view of 82° 12′ to 5° 20′. The minimum focus distance is 15,3 inches with a maximum magnification of 0,34x. The Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 lens has multiple coating layers which contribute to producing clear and sharp images. It also sports optical image stabilization that ensures high picture quality under more demanding lighting conditions.

One of the reasons:

why Tamron made the best lens for wildlife photography is the build quality which is solid and robust, in combination with a fast and accurate focus system at all ranges. The overall image quality is solid, with sharpness present across the frame at all focal ranges, with minimum vignetting and distortion problems at extreme ends of the zoom. The optical image stabilization with the aperture of an f/3.5 allowed me to take gorgeous photos of distant animals, even under less than perfect light.

However:

I got the best results when I used the lens at 200mm and an f/8, but I was able to get solid work done in different aperture and focal range combinations. The package of the lens and the solid performance it offers for a reasonable price make it a great candidate for those who are willing to explore what wildlife photography has to offer.

Pros

  • Focus system
  • OIS
  • Versatile focal length
  • Design

Cons

  • Distortion and aberrations at extreme ends

Verdict

Getting the camera lenses for wildlife can be a solid investment, especially since to get quality optics for that type of photography, you need to put in a good amount of money.

With those ideas, I came to put the article given above, and shed light on some of the most popular and investment-worthy lenses on the market. No matter which one you choose to get, your portfolio will improve quite fast.

After learning something new from this guide, it’s time to pick a lens that will help to improve your photography skills. We advise you to test this lens if you’re still unsure about which one is best for you.

Check our other content, especially the macro lens guide and guide for underwater photography, as it contains great advice about how to improve your photography skills. 

Disclaimer: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Summary
These Are 5 Best Lenses For Wildlife Photography in 2022
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These Are 5 Best Lenses For Wildlife Photography in 2022
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In this guide, you will learn what are the 5 best lenses for wildlife photography in 2022 that will help you capture the perfect animal shot.
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Lensespro.org
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