Lenses are specific to their working just like a lens for bird photography, however, there are multipurpose lenses that can be used for more than one kind of photography. Canon, Nikon, Sony, and other lens manufacturers like this have introduced the best multipurpose lenses.
But in this article, we won’t be able to discuss every lens in detail so we picked the best lenses for bird photography. By choosing the best lens for bird photography you will be able to upgrade your wildlife photography by filling the frame with your bird movements. By selecting the exact lens based on your requirements you will be able to use it on various wildlife photography scenes.
“Digiscoping” is a method by which a camera is added to the birdwatcher’s spotting scope. However, lately, telephoto lenses are introduced for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras which might be expensive but more reliable. If you have one telephoto lens for wildlife photography, you can overcome many problems at once.
List of BEST LENSES FOR BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY
Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS
We will be thoroughly discussing some of the very popular most discussed lenses for bird photography. These lenses may include some very expensive lenses which only some can afford (super-telephoto and prime telephoto lenses) while some affordable lenses side by side.
What is the best focal length lens for bird photography?
A short zoom lens is considered, by many wildlife photographers, to be the best for bird photography such as 300mm or 400mm of focal length. Various photographers recommend a telephoto lens of at least 500mm as well. The best focal length for bird photography ranges from 300mm-infinity.
What are the best camera settings for bird photography?
That’s true; there are some best camera settings for bird photography that every photographer must set before shooting the erratic movement of birds fly. Following are some of the settings,
Lens for bird photography Nikon
Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR is a very fast telephoto lens that we consider to be the best lens for bird photography by Nikon.
Autofocus & Accuracy: A very fast, active, and responsive autofocus is produced by the Silent Wave AF system. This nearly-quiet AF system is best seen in both photos and video recordings. The AF can be manually overridden by the manual focusing ring. A Super Integrated coating is applied to individual lens elements which reduce flare and ghosting thus increasing accuracy and clarity.
Sharpness & stabilization: Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR telephoto lens has an optical design that carries three Extra Low-dispersion (ELD) elements. These elements complement the lens sharpness and accuracy by reducing chromatic aberrations and distortion. Besides the lens elements, there is a Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization system in the lens that compensates for up to 4.5 shutter speed stops.
Elements & Mount: Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR has a lens construction that consists of 19 elements in 12 groups. Out of these nineteen elements, three are ED elements. It is basically designed for FX-format Nikon image sensors however Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR zoom lens is also compatible with DX models.
Weight & Build Quality: The weight of the best lens for bird photography Nikon is 2300 grams. It is a zoom lens that has a weight considerably lighter than other lenses. The build quality of the lens is very impressive as it has a rounded nine-blade diaphragm, tripod collar, and lens hood. The lens, however, is not weather-sealed at all.
- It is relatively heavy
- Still aperture
- Good zoom range
- Impressive features and quality
- Heavy and bulky
Best budget lens for bird photography Canon
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is an amazing 88-400mm-equivalent zoom lens for bird photography. All the zoom range, sharpness, weather sealing, price, focus, image quality, and shutter speed of the lens makes it one of the best budget lenses for bird photography Canon.
Autofocus & Accuracy: The full-time focus system along with the Stepper motor works very rapidly to capture the best erratic bird movements. It is very sharp and accurate in working, moreover, the speed of the lens catching each element in the frame is also very impressive. The accuracy of the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is also improved in this budget; it is very accurate and clear.
Sharpness & stabilization: Fortunately, Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM features internal image stabilization that makes it highly clear and sharp. It is fast and accurate, at the same time, the sharpness of the lens is aided by the lens elements. With internal stabilization, it removes the unclear and unstable areas from the frame by increasing accuracy and sharpness.
Elements & Mount: Firstly, let’s discuss the lens elements and then the compatibility of Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. It features 15 elements in 12 groups in addition to the circular 7-blades diaphragm. The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM telephoto lens is designed for Canon APS-C-format Canon EF-S to mount DSLR.
Weight & Build Quality: When we checked its total weight it was approximately 375 grams. Canon EF-S 55-250mm is an affordable lens with a lightweight, compact body and good image quality. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is mostly made up of plastic, like the barrel and mount are made up of plastic but it is no doubt the best budget lens for bird photography Canon that one can get.
- Plastic mount
- Excellent sharpness
- STM focus motor
- Zoom range of 4.5x
- Lightweight and compact size
- Omit lens hood
Best lens for bird photography Sony
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS zoom lens is the best lens for bird photography Sony. Its optical design incorporates many systems which individually aids the lens performance.
Autofocus & Accuracy: The sophisticated Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS zoom lens features a Direct Drive Super Sonic wave motor which realizes a fast nearly-silent accurate autofocus. In addition, the aspherical lens element suppresses flare and aberrations for increased accuracy.
Sharpness & stabilization: For sharpness, Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS zoom lens incorporates low-dispersion elements to reduce flare and ghosting which enhance image sharpness. Furthermore, the NANO AR coating further aids the sharpness and clarity. Optical Steady Shot image stabilization compensates for the camera shake.
Elements & Mount: Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS features and optical design which has 24 elements in 17 groups. Out of these twenty-four, one is aspherical, and five are ED elements whereas NANO AR and fluorine coating is applied to individual lenses. It is originally designed for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras but APS-C models are also compatible.
Weight & Build Quality: Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS weighs 2115 grams. The weight and size of normal telephoto zoom lenses for wildlife photography lie in this range. Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS is the best lens for bird photography Sony because it has the best image along with the best build quality. It offers a lens hood, tripod collar, zoom lock as well as weather sealing.
- The aperture rating at f/6.3
- Good build quality
- Excellent performance
- Weather sealed
- Compatibility with full-frame and APS-C
When we say the best lens, certain names come to our mind, one of which is Canon. Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM is a zoom lens that we think is the best lens for bird photography.
Autofocus & Accuracy: Nonetheless, the Dual Nano USM focus system of the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM zoom lens is the distinguished part. With the accessibility to override full-time manual focus, the Dual Nano USM system maintains fast and accurate AF throughout the focal range.
Sharpness & stabilization: The optical design also constitutes Super UD and UD elements which suppress color fringing and aberrations throughout the focal range for better clarity, sharpness, and accuracy. On the other hand, Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens capture the best stable photographs even when handheld with the help of image stabilization.
Elements & Mount: Total elements in the lens constructions are 20 in distinguished 14 groups. These elements carry one Super UD and six UD elements. The Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM zoom lens is compatible with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless cameras.
Weight & Build Quality: Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM has a total weight of 1530 grams which is considerably light. The lens has a good build quality just as the image quality. It offers a rotating zoom method along with the lens hood and weather sealing. The basic construction material is magnesium alloy.
- Maximum aperture of the lens is relatively low
- Amazing focal length
- Good build quality
- Stellar image quality
Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is basically a zoom lens that provides a wide telephoto zoom range for bird photography.
Autofocus & Accuracy: A twin linear AF motor adds speed and accuracy to the autofocus of Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR zoom lens. The lens also has one Super ED element which induces accuracy by decreasing flare and ghosting.
Sharpness & stabilization: First of all, the nine-blade diaphragm contributes to focusing and sharpness on the other hand an optical design of five Extra low-dispersion elements induces sharpness by reducing chromatic aberrations and distortions. Five-stop image stabilization stabilizes the frame by clearing the unclear, blur and unstable areas caused by lens vibrations.
Elements & Mount: Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is a lens that has an optical construction of 21 elements in 19 groups all of which are fluorine-coated. These elements include five ED and one Super ED element. It is designed for APS-C-format Fujifilm X-mount cameras.
Weight & Build Quality: It weighs comparatively lighter than other lenses for bird photography which is 1375 grams. This is a compact lens yet very well constructed. Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR zoom lens is a weather-sealed lens that includes a lens hood and tripod collar.
- Sharpness decrease at wider range
- Amazing build quality
- Telephoto range of 600mm
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM is also considered one of the best lenses for bird photography because of its outstanding performance.
Autofocus & Accuracy: the optical design of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM zoom lens is balanced by the Hyper Sonic motor which is responsible for fast, accurate, nearly silent, and responsive AF. The full-time manual is also present in the lens. Additionally, FLD and SLD elements reduce chromatic aberrations and color fringing for better accuracy.
Sharpness & stabilization: Complementing the sharpness is a super multi-layered coating. The coating decreases flare and ghosting in different light conditions. Adding to the optical design is the Optical Stabilizer which reduces vibration for sharper images and videos when handheld.
Elements & Mount: There are a total of 24 elements in 16 groups out of which three are SLD and two are FLD elements. It lacks an aperture ring but has a nine-blade diaphragm. It is compatible with full-frame Canon EF-mount and APS-C models.
Weight & Build Quality: The weight of Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM versatile lens is 2860 grams. The lens has a large size that includes a tripod collar. The lens is dust and moisture-sealed for inclement weather and a thin coating is applied to the front element which makes it water and oil repellent. The overall build quality makes it one of the best lenses for bird photography.
- Physically bulky
- Excellent build quality
- Telephoto zoom range
Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM is a versatile telephoto zoom lens that is very accurate and sharp.
Autofocus & Accuracy: STM Stepping motor introduced to the optical design of Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM super-telephoto lens makes the autofocus very fast and quiet. Gapless dual-layer diffractive optics controls chromatic aberrations and color distortions and increase accuracy and clarity.
Sharpness & stabilization: The sharpness of the lens is maintained by the lens elements. The image sharpness can be clearly seen in the image quality and video recordings. An optical image stabilizer inside the lens produces intensely sharp and stable images by removing unstable effects from the frames.
Elements & Mount: Total elements in the lens are 10 which are distributed into 7 different groups. All of these elements make the lens unique, sharp, accurate, and stable. The Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM versatile telephoto lens is designed for full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless cameras.
Weight & Build Quality: Weight is an important factor of a lens and the weight of the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM lens is 930 grams. It is an extremely light and compact lens when compared to other lenses used for the same purpose. It is a strong and sturdy leg.
- Aperture of the lens is fixed
- Good optical performance
- Lightweight and compact design
- Omit weather sealing
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 is one of the best lenses for bird photography with wide compatibility mounts.
Autofocus & Accuracy: The optical design of Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens is distinguished by the ring-type Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) AF motor which provides fast and quiet autofocus. Full-time manual control is also present.
Sharpness & stabilization: Three low-dispersion elements nearly eliminate the color fringing, distortions, and chromatic aberrations which ultimately increase clarity, fidelity, and sharpness through the focal range. The Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilization minimizes camera shake up to 4.5 stops.
Elements & Mount: Lens construction of Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 includes 21 elements in 13 groups. All the individual lens elements are eBAND and fluorine-coated which collectively enhance the lens image and build quality. It is compatible with APS-C, however, this lens is designed for a full-frame Canon EF-mount.
Weight & Build Quality: Weight Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 telephoto zoom lens weighs 2010 gram. It is a lightweight and compact lens compared to other lenses. It has a removable tripod collar and lens hood. The lens is strong and reliable in harsh weather conditions.
- Sharpness level decrease at certain levels
- Very good stabilization
- Updated AF system
- Fluorine coated
- Weather sealing
- For mirrorless only
- It is very heavy (2Kg)
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL ED VR AF-S is a versatile telephoto lens that is compatible with Nikon cameras.
Autofocus & Accuracy: Silent Wave Motor for the autofocus of the lens works very accurately to provide fast responsive AF. It is accompanied by full-time manual focusing which further aids the AF of the lens. Two fluorite and four extra low-dispersion elements aid the sharpness, accuracy, and clarity by minimizing chromatic aberrations.
Sharpness & stabilization: Nano Crystal coating besides fluorite coating nearly eliminates the reflections whether internal or surface for the decrease in flare and ghosting while increasing in sharpness. Moreover, Vibration Reduction (VC) image stabilization of the lens compensates for the camera shake and sudden vibration.
Elements & Mount: Optical design of Nikon 600mm f/4E FL ED VR AF-S telephoto lens has 16 elements in 12 groups. The elements are fluorite and Nano Crystal coated for improved lens performance. Two of the elements are Ed while two are fluorite. It is designed for FX-format Nikon F-mount cameras but DX models are also compatible with it.
Weight & Build Quality: Nikon 600mm f/4E FL ED VR AF-S lens weighs 3810 gram. When compared to some of the best lenses for bird photography it is a heavy lens but to others Nikon 600mm f/4E FL ED VR AF-S is a relatively lighter one. Its build quality is very impressive as it is weather-sealed and contains a tripod collar as well. Nikon 600mm f/4E FL ED VR AF-S is undoubtedly one of the best lenses for bird photography.
- The lens heavy in weight
- Splendid image quality
- Amazing build quality
Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM is a versatile zoom lens that we think is one of the best lenses for bird photography.
Autofocus & Accuracy: Complementing the optical performance of the lens is the Hyper Sonic Motor which has been assigned the proper working of AF. The Hyper Sonic motor along with the manual focusing of the lens leads to fast and accurate AF.
Sharpness & stabilization: This zoom lens utilizes four SLD glass elements causing a very prominent decrease in color fringing and aberrations which ultimately cause sharpness and clarity to increase by a higher number. In addition, the optical stabilizer complements the shootings when handheld by reducing camera shake.
Elements & Mount: Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM zoom lens has a lens construction of 21 elements in 15 groups. These elements include four Super low-dispersion (SLD) elements. It is compatible with Canon EF-mount, FX-format Nikon F-mount, and Sigma SA-mount; moreover, it is also usable with the APS-C models.
Weight & Build Quality: Total weight of the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens is 1160 grams. It is a very light and compact lens compared to other lenses of the same category. Moreover, the build quality of the lens is also very impressive. It is strong and weather-sealed so suitably for inclement conditions.
- The telephoto reach of the lens is very limited
- Full-frame compatible
- Extraordinary image quality
- Impressive construction
- Relatively lightweight
- Omit tripod mount ring
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM is another amazing lens we present to you. It is compatible with multiple cameras like Canon, Nikon, and Sigma.
Autofocus & Accuracy: Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM has a fast, quiet, and precise autofocus and the credit goes to the Hyper Sonic Motor which is accompanied by the full-time manual focusing system of the lens. On the other hand, there is the accuracy for which the lens optical design is responsible for introducing FLD and SLD to the lens.
Sharpness & stabilization: Precisely, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM zoom lens features one FLD and three SLD elements which are used by the lens to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberration, furthermore, the super multi-layered coated lens elements improve the sharpness and accuracy by suppressing flare and ghosting. For stable and accurate handheld performance it also features an Optical Stabilizer.
Elements & Mount: One of the best lenses for bird photography in this list is the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM which has 24 elements in 16 groups collectively that make the lens construction. Two of them are FLD and three are SLD elements. It is compatible with full-frame Canon EF-mount, Nikon FX-mount, and Sigma SA-mount. The lens is also compatible with the APS-C model cameras.
Weight & Build Quality: Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM has a total weight of 1930 grams which is very light when it comes to telephoto zoom lenses. The build quality of the lens is also very strong and smooth. It includes a lens hood, tripod collar, zoom lock, and weather-sealed outer coating.
- Sharpness of the lens is not very impressive
- Good image quality
- Smooth handling
- Partially weather sealed
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS Pro is one of the lightest, compact, and accurate lenses in this list of the best lenses for bird photography.
Autofocus & Accuracy: The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS Pro telephoto prime lens features one of the best AF systems which I the Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) autofocus motor is utilized for fast, quiet, and active AF. There is a manual focus clutch by which the focusing modes can be changed immediately. Three Super Low-dispersion lens elements control the aberrations and fringing for improved accuracy of the resulting images and videos.
Sharpness & stabilization: The optical design also consists of three high refractive index elements and one extra-high refractive index element which ultimately induce sharpness by suppressing aberrations and distortions. It is further characterized by Optical Image Stabilization which compensates for the lens vibration when handheld.
Elements & Mount: The lens has a total of 17 elements in 10 groups all of which are ZERO Nano coated. Out of these seventeen three are Super ED, three are High Refractive and one is Extra-High Refractive element. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS Pro super telephoto is basically designed for Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras where it offers 600mm of equivalent focal length.
Weight & Build Quality: It has a total weight of 1270 grams which is relatively lightweight and compact. Build quality of the lens is as good as the image quality. It is strong, sturdy, and ergonomic. It also features a lens hood and tripod collar along with the weather-sealed lens coating.
- It Has no versatility of zooming
- Fast and precise aperture f/4
- An effective focal length of 600mm
- Heavy and bulky
In this section of the article, we will be discussing the features that are important for a lens. Before buying a lens we must know about it as we want the best lens only for our camera.
These features are very important when a beginner has no guide to follow. In this buying guide, we will discuss with you some of the most important features and their ranges that a lens for bird/wild photography must have. For beginners the following features are important,
A short zoom lens is considered the best for bird photography. This short focal length may be 300mm or 400mm focal length. Photographers also recommend a telephoto lens of at least 500mm focal length.
So when you go to buy a lens for bird photography select a shorter focal length. The focal length considered best for bird photography range from 300mm to infinity.
Aperture: An aperture of f/8 or f/11 is considered the best in most circumstances. The aperture determines the amount of light that reaches the image sensor. And it is given as an f-stop number. For a lens specifically bird photography or any other photography you must check the lens aperture
Shutter Speed: Shutter speed determines the time for which a lens shutter remains open and thus the amount of light that will reach the image sensor of that certain lens.
A faster shutter speed is good for bird photography so that the lens captures as many stills of the bird movement as possible. So choose a faster shutter speed when buying a lens
Budget: Budget is the most important and deciding point. Your budget determines the lens you can buy and the lens you can’t. So you must keep an eye on your budget and go for a lens that is not very expensive and out of range for you.
This was our article about the “Best Lenses For Bird Photography”. It carries many lenses that we think are the best lenses for bird photography because of certain features like focusing, aperture, focal length, weight, size, or price.
The lenses mentioned above were selected after complete analysis and investigation. On research we found the aforementioned lenses to be the best out of all the lenses for bird photography.
We hope this article helps you in a way!