beginner wildlife ? Lense suggestions


TPF Noob!
Jun 14, 2014
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
First off I quite new to photography.

as I was driving along a river, two bald eagles perched on a log in the water caught my eye. So pulled over grabed my camera out of the back seat and grab what is my biggest lense (55-200). I rarely had used this lense and really didn't know exactly what reach 200mm was. For the distance of the birds they may have filled 10% of the image. Sorry I can't upload the pictures at this moment.

In about a months time I'd like to buy a wildlife lense.

I can grab a used tokina 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 for around $500 CAD but as far as a budget goes I can spend roughly $1000-$1200 CAD if you guys have any other suggestions. It would be much appreciated.

Currently shooting D5300

Thanks in advance.
Wildlife photography can be addictive. Save and buy the longest lens you can afford. Don't be afraid to look into used lenses.
Thank you both for the info. The 200-500 looks like a great lense and I could certainly afford it in the near future.

I can definitely see how it would become additive. It was the first time iv tired to capture a picture of a bird and prior I didn't have a huge interested in birding. But that day alone I must have seen a dozen or more bald eagles and seeing them sitting there out of the reach of my equipment really peaked my interest. Maybe it comes back to wanting what you can't have

I will be checking the local buy sells daily on the hunt for a great lense/bargin
Another option is the Tamron 150-600, or the Sigma 150-600 "Contemporary" lens. I think they're less expensive than the Nikon 200-500. The Nikon is a killer lens, but if you can't afford it, there are still options.
I have a canon but I was with someone shoot 200-500 and his photos looked good. I would say it is probably better than the Tamron 150-600 (which I was using) on this very small data set.
I have a canon but I was with someone shoot 200-500 and his photos looked good. I would say it is probably better than the Tamron 150-600 (which I was using) on this very small data set.

I also shoot Canon and use the 100-400 but the Sigma 150-600 looks good
i can tell you this. any of these lenses will do you very well for wild life but 600mm is often not enough zoom, you sill always want more no matter how much you have lol. i wold not get anything less than 500mm, 400mm is not bad i think i could deal with it but a 500mm or 600mm lens is very nice to have.

first we have the sigma 150-500mm and the tamron 150-600mm lens. both are very good, the tamron is probably a little better and has a little more reach.. i had the sigma and got lots of really nice photos out of it. i almost kept that lens after i got my new wildlife lens but sold it to a friend who always wanted a good birding lens.

next you have the new sigma lenses the 150-600 contemporary and sport, haven't heard much about the contemporary yet but the sport is pretty awesome if you got the money. one guy on here has the contemporary and got some very nice photos with it. i am pretty sure most people would be very happy with either one.. the sport is heavy, that is my only real complaint.. carrying around about 8lbs of lens and camera is a pain, i actually bought a monopod so i can rest the weight on the ground when i am standing still,

next you have the new nikon 200-500mm looks to be a excellent value for the money, lots of great photos being posted with that lens on these forums lately. looking at photos from this and photos from my 150-600mm sport i am kind of wondering which lens is better and 500 is a nice amount of zoom, the weight looks descent for a big lens and seems like a good value over all.

you could always look at a 500 or 600mm prime lens but those will probably run you more money, i remember looking at them but cant remember exactly how much they cost and if something comes close to you its kind of hard to get its photo when all you got is 500 or 600mm worth of zoom, at times i get close enough to the great blue herons that i need to back up to get the bird in the frame at 150mm, so its nice to have a telephoto for that reason, you never know how close or how far those animals are gonna end up from you..

i never had a interest in birding till i got a camera, and than one day i finally bought a biding lens and i have been having a great time shooting wild life since.
It would be considerably cheaper to buy a "superzoom" bridge camera. Quite a bit smaller to carry around too.

With the cost of high quality 600mm lenses now reaching into the $$$$ range, it would be far less of a loss should you damage/lose or have someone steal your big, attention getting camera bag.

The superzooms have become a popular segment of the camera market due to a few interesting factors. First, as a single lens camera, the camera's sensor/processor and single lens are all tied together from the get go. This provides the designer/manufacturer the knowledge to design one single function device as opposed to the Swiss Army knife systems of an interchangeable DSLR. Since camera and lens profiles are now a part of a modern digital camera, many of the shortfalls of a high powered zoom lens mated to a discrete camera body can then be designed for best overall performance. First, from the lens and secondly, from the camera as a system. This often gives the superzooms an advantage in image sharpness across their considerable focal lengths and their aperture range.

Considering the smaller sensors of the typical superzoom, a longer (relative) reach from the lens results in more image data finding its way to the sensor. Where your 200mm lens placed the subjects in about 10% of the frame, a superzoom with the equivalent to a 1200mm or more lens might have filled, say, 80-90% of the frame. Obviously, the more pixels you can fill with usable subject data, the greater the clarity/detail retrieval of the subject and the more you can further crop in post production without introducing significant noise issues.

Here are a few examples of a superzoom in action; Favorite Canon SX50 HS Photographs - Tony Britton

Animal Kingdom.... SX50: Canon PowerShot Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

"SX50 beats all my DSLRs"

STOKES BIRDING BLOG: Canon SX 50 HS for Bird Photography: I love this camera!

Obviously, none of these photographers carry only a superzoom. They use the tool when it is the best for the task and have far more expensive cameras and lenses available.

Think of the superzoom as a compact, highly affordable package which can be at your side almost constantly. It's perfect for those shots you come across and there's no time for setting up a DSLR with a super long lens.

One further advantage to the superzoom category is their general ability to operate as "macro" cameras.
Macro lens vs p&s camera for macro shots | Page 2 | Photography Forum

The most likely downside to the superzooms is their low light capabilities - or the "speed" of the lens. Most have modest to good light gathering potential so they are not ideal for fast moving subjects not extremely well lit outdoors and even less so as light levels fall. However, compare their minimum f-stop to that of a moderately priced 600mm lens and you'll see neither lens is ideal for that situation. That takes you into the specialty category of lenses and significantly ups the cost.

The slightly lower mega-pixel rating of most superzooms is offset by the image magnification of the smaller sensor/lens combination. Though, if you want to blow up your shots to a wall sized 20X30" print or larger, then you'll probably want more than a superzoom.

Calculate the costs involved in the DSLR/zoom pairing and the convenience of the superzoom vs the extra baggage of the former and the superzooms are showing more and more why they are a wildlife photographer's go to camera.

Most reactions