Best Lenses for Best Bird Photographs

I briefly cover lenses in my info-packed Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography on-line class. ($10 discount code for blog readers is: rsbirds1.)

In this post, I'll talk a bit more about what I feel are best lenses for bird photography.

If I could use only one lens, it would be the Canon 200-400mm IS with 1.4x teleconverter. That lens is super-sharp and super versatile. I took the photo above with that lens. I actually don't own that lens. I borrow it from Canon's CPS.

To digress for just a bit. Here's a photo of me, along with my friend Jonathan "The Big Cat Man" Scott, using that lens in Kenya. Jonathan loves that lens, too!

Another versatile lens is the  Canon 100-400mm IS Lens. Most of my bird photographs, including the one above, were taken with that lens. If you have the original push-pull model, check out the updated version. The rotating zoom is awesome, and I think the lens is sharper than the original model.

When the birds are relatively close, I'd recommend using a 70-200mm lens. I use the f/4 version because it's smaller, lighter and less expensive than the f/2.8 version.

For a general purpose fixed lens, check out the Canon 400MM DO lens, which I used to make the photograph above. When I go on a bird photography trip, I always have this lens with me. Again, I borrow it from Canon's CPS.

A must-have accessory is a Canon 1.4x teleconverter. I never leave home without it when birds are on my hit list.

Here's another shot taken with my Canon 100-400mm lens.

For environmental bird photographs, I recommend the Canon 24-105mm IS lens, which I used to take this photograph at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico.

I don't have any bird photographs taken with the Canon 70-300mm lens, but some say it's the sharpest zoom Canon offers. Above is a photograph that I took in Kenya that illustrates its sharpness.

Of course, 500mm and 600mm lenses are great for bird photography. They get you up-close and personal with the animals. Super-serious bird photographers use these super-telephoto lenses.

Again, you'll find lots of technical tips in my Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography on-line class. ($10 discount code for blog readers is: rsbirds1.)

The $10 discount code for my Landscapes & Seascape class (on the same page) is: landscapes.

Birds will be the focus of my December 2015  Bosque del Apache photo workshop, listed on my 2015 Workshops page.

Explore the light,