Best Lenses for Bird Photography

Bird photography poses some serious difficulties. Unless you’re shooting close-ups of pelicans and the like, or tethered birds of prey, it tends to demand shooting small creatures at long distances. You, therefore, need all the telephoto power you can lay your hands on. Tracking the erratic movement of birds in flight can be notoriously difficult.

Traditional methods include ‘digiscoping’, a term coined at the end of the last century for mounting a camera on a birdwatcher’s spotting scope, via a specialist adapter. It’s typically a low-budget solution but, more recently, powerful telephoto lenses have become available for the latest digital SLRs and mirrorless cameras.

There are some fabulous zoom lenses on the market, including the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x and Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR, both of which have built-in teleconverters. However, at around $11,000 or more, they’re beyond the reach of most of us, and super-telephoto prime lenses can be even more expensive.

So here, we’ve rounded up the best buys that deliver mighty telephoto reach along with fast autofocus systems, capable of tracking birds in flight.

10 Best Lenses for Bird Photography


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