Be One With Nature: These Super Zooms Make Wildlife Photography Easy

Birding and other types of wildlife photography have become more popular than ever since social distancing came into play.

When it comes to using photography as a therapeutic tool, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of being able to get out into the great wide open to participate in wildlife photography. As we mentioned above, since social distancing became the new norm, many photographers have been trying their hand at birding and nature photography. To their surprise, many photographers are actually enjoying the time that they spend trying to take images of our winged, and our four-legged friends. These genres can be incredibly rewarding, but you need to have the right gear. After the break, we will take a quick look at some super zoom lenses that will help get you up close and personal with animals, and all sorts of other things.

Barn Swallow captured with the Olympus E-M1 III and 300mm f4 Pro

Once you actually try your hand at birding or nature/wildlife photography, you will be hooked. There’s a lot of subject matter out there, right in your own backyard even that you have possibly walked by or failed to notice for a long time, and when you finally slow down and start to take it all in, it can be a joy to the senses. This type of photography takes time to master, though, and you do need the right gear. Fortunately, there are now superzooms on the market, which are actually quite affordable, and that deliver stunning results. The lenses we have listed below are all great options, and we’re sure that if you picked them up, you’d be thrilled with them. Check out some of our favorite superzooms for birding and wildlife photography below.

Sony 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp image output
  • Light and easy to carry around
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Attractive price point
  • Very fast and very quiet XD Linear autofocus motor
  • Bright, bold, vibrant colors that will please wildlife photographers
  • Some weather sealing and good build quality overall

Cons

  • We wish it had a slightly faster maximum aperture

Buy now: $898

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Good image stabilization
  • Built like a tank
  • Fast to autofocus on the Canon EOS R
  • Weather sealed
  • Better balance than Sigma’s 70-200mm f2.8
  • Beautiful image quality
  • Not a bad price

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Big

Buy now Canon EF: $1,670

Buy now Nikon F: $1,670

Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 G Master FE

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Pretty lightweight
  • Ring around it that allows you to adjust how tight the zoom is
  • Image stabilization
  • Weather sealing
  • Sharp
  • Nice bokeh
  • Close focusing for what this lens is
  • Convenient focal lengths
  • Not too badly priced for a lens like this
  • Good for tracking subjects when shooting sports outdoors

Cons

  • Tracking moving subjects still more or less demands that you stop down the lens when shooting interior sports

Buy now: $2,498

Wildlife Photography Long Horns

Pro Tip: All of the lenses we have listed in this roundup are fantastic, but you cannot escape the fact that they are on the large side of things. Using super-telephoto lenses can be difficult due to their weight, so you must find a way to comfortably carry these lenses and your camera body around with you for long periods. We always recommend using a quality, padded strap so that you can stay comfortable, and so that when your arms get tired (and they will) that you can let your gear hang by your side without you having to worry about it. This strap is fantastic. I have used this personally for a long time, and it keeps me comfortable and puts me at ease. Check it out.

Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

wildlife photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Nice colors
  • Nice image quality
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Autofocus is a little unreliable at times

Buy now Canon EF: $799

Buy now Nikon F: $799

Fujifilm XF 200mm F2 OIS WR

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Crisp
  • Weather Sealing
  • Fast autofocus
  • Image Stabilization means you can hand hold this lens with the X-T3
  • Fairly compact
  • Focus switches
  • Amazingly lightweight and not at all difficult to carry around

Cons

Buy now: $4,999

Olympus 300mm f4.0 IS PRO

wildlife photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great colors
  • Sharp image quality
  • Nice bokeh
  • Incredible build quality overall

Cons

  • Pretty expensive

Buy now: $2,699

Captured with the Sony 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS

Pro Tip: Wildlife photography and birding may sound easy, but I can tell you that this is one hard genre of photography to master. Not only do you need to know your gear intimately, but you also need to understand the animals, their habitats, their routines, and so much more. There’s a lot more to wildlife photography than just turning up on these creature’s doorsteps. Fortunately, there are some excellent guides out there, and this is one of them. If you plan on trying to capture some of the critters that live with us, educate yourself about the process before you head out the door. You’ll be glad you did.

Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Contemporary

wildlife photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent image quality, though not as good as some of the company’s other lenses
  • Tripod collar is large enough to also allow you to carry the lens in your hand
  • Pretty lightweight to maneuver around with even while on the go
  • Effective image stabilization
  • Surprisingly fast to focus even with moving objects

Cons

  • F6.3 on the long end means that you won’t be using this lens a lot at night
  • Large
  • Heavy
  • Switches get knocked off of your settings too quickly. A way to lock the switches would be really, really appreciated.
  • Attracts one too many “big lens” jokes from your more immature friends

Buy now Canon EF: $810

Buy now Nikon F: $839

Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

wildlife photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Not as heavy as you’d think
  • Weather sealing
  • Feels great in the hand
  • Sharp output
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Aperture doesn’t change all that much, but even so you’d probably want to shoot at a higher ISO setting during the daytime
  • Fast autofocus performance on both the X Pro 2 and the X Pro 1

Cons

  • Holding it vertically is tough
  • Zooming in and out moves the scene that you’re viewing due to the motion involved with tuning the zoom ring. A push/pull design would have been nicer

Buy now: $1,650.43

Sony 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS

wildlife photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Well constructed
  • Relative compact & lightweight for a super-telephoto
  • Sturdily built
  • Excellent autofocus performance
  • Superb image quality

Cons

  • Maximum aperture is variable
  • Maximum aperture could also be brighter
  • Low light performance could be improved

Buy now: $1,998