Best Wildlife Lenses

18/02/2019 4:07 pm

Whether you are headed out on Safari, going bush, or to your local Zoo, wildlife photography requires a certain skill set. While the right tools don't necessarily equate to you capturing the winning image every single time, having the right lens on your camera is a good place to start.

From spending some time with your current lenses, you have figured out you need something with a little more reach. But how much zoom is enough, and what other features does the lens need to have? Read on for some tips on how to select the best lens for wildlife photography.

Wildlife Image

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM II

With this, the second iteration of this long Canon telephoto zoom lens, the brand did a lot right, combining the long-reaching zoom with a host of other features that make your life, and your acquisition of various distant subjects, that little bit simpler.

The 4-stop Image Stabilisation of the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L II is notable not just for its ability to reduce camera shake but also its ability to suit varied shooting conditions. There is the standard stabilisation mode, one that works only during exposure, and one that is designed for panning, which is ideal for those moments that you have to move with your subject to fit it in your frame. A tripod collar is included for adding some more stability when necessary.

The built-in USM AF motor of the 100-400mm L IS II lens is quick enough to keep up with even the speediest of wildlife, while it is accurate enough for you to be picky if necessary, finding their eyes for dramatic effect.


  • 4-Stop Image Stabiliser
  • Ring-type USM Motor
  • Rugged, weather-resistant design
  • Tripod Collar
Wildlife Image

Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR

Providing the Nikon F mount with a much-needed telephoto update, this newer version of the 80-400mm zoom lens is sharper than the original, it features a more effective VR stabiliser, and it focuses much quicker.

Optically, this lens shines, its mix of ED and Super ED elements providing a consistently premium level of sharpness and detail so you can enjoy the full range of the lens without sacrifice. With Nano Crystal and Super Integrated coatings applied, you can work freely in varied lighting conditions, which is very handy for wildlife shooting - as you are often camped out with the decisive moment arising at any given time.




  • For FX and DX-format Nikon DSLRs
  • VR Stabiliser
  • Removable tripod collar
  • Quality optical construction
  • Super Integrated & Nano Crystal coatings
Wildlife Image

Sigma AF 150-600mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport

Designed to meet the demands of the most adventurous and uncompromising of photographers, this Sigma 150-600mm DG OS Sports lens is just as notable for its physicality as it is for its optical qualities. As well as the dust and splash proof qualities of the lens barrel, this Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens also receives a specialised protective coating on both the front and rear lens element.

A lightning-fast HSM AF system is able to track virtually any living creature, while the advanced OS system keeps camera shake at bay, no matter what it is you have to do to successfully frame your photo, so you can move around and pan if necessary.

The long focal range is another advantage this Sigma offering has over many competitors, while if this Sports version is out of your budget range, Sigma also produces a lighter, not quite as sturdy Contemporary lens.


  • HyperSonic AF Motor
  • Optical Stabiliser
  • Rugged, weather-sealed build
  • Reliable Optical Build
  • Zoom Lock Switch

Honourable Mention - Sigma AF 150-600mm DG OS HSM "C"

Sigma also produce another excellent lens with an identical zoom range to the 150-600mm Sport, being the 150-600mm "C" lens.  If you want to harness the same level of power and are willing to sacrifice a bit on build quality in order to stay within your budget, this is a very capable telephoto zoom lens. Not quite as sturdy as the "Sport" version, this lens is a lighter option, which may be beneficial if you are travelling or hiking for extended periods.



  • HyperSonic AF Motor
  • Optical Stabiliser
  • Lightweight & Compact
  • Reliable Optical Build
  • Tripod collar

Tamron 150-600mm f5-6.3 DI VC USD G2

Taking up where the first very successful model left off, this second generation of Tamron's 150-600mm telephoto lens features improvements to optical quality, stabilisation, and focus performance, all of which lead to better suitability to wildlife photography.

Remarkable for a lens that covers such an extensive range, the 150-600mm G2 is relatively lightweight and comfortable to shoot with, so you can take advantage of the VC stabilisation and fire off some handheld shots when in the field. The improved USD AF system is not just quicker at finding focus but it does so in a stealth-like fashion, so if you are hidden behind some shrubs trying to go unnoticed, this lens won't be giving you away.


  • VC Stabilisation
  • Focus Limiter Switch
  • Fast Ultrasonic drive AF
  • Pair with Tamron teleconverters for maximum reach

Bonus Tip - Tamron Teleconverter

Pair the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC USD lens with this Teleconverter to get an even closer perspective of the wildlife that you are trying to capture. Although it is portable and it won't take up much space in your kit, this teleconverter does a whole lot of good, effectively doubling the focal length of your lens.


  • 2x Magnification
  • AF and VC functionality retained
  • Rugged, weather-sealed build
  • 2 stop F-stop reduction
  • SImple, portable design
Wildlife Image

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm R OIS WR

With more and more photographers opting for smaller mirrorless kits for their day to day and travel shooting, brands such as Fujifilm have capitalised, realising numerous high-performance bodies, and an extensive kit of lenses to use with them. This lens, the 100-400mm R OIS WR lens provides the growing X-series with a much-needed telephoto lens, which is perfect for wildlife purposes.

On the APS-C sensors of X-series cameras, this lens provides a huge equivalent zoom range of 152-609mm. It is good for framing images of animals that are safe to get relatively close to, and also those that you must keep your distance from.

Thanks to its built-in Optical Stabilisation and relatively lightweight build, you can confidently use the entire zoom range of the lens and still be sure of catching many sharp images. With dust and water resistance, as well as a protective fluorine coating, there will be no need to call the trip short on account of the weather, at least not on behalf of this lens!


  • Rugged dust & water resistance
  • Built-in OIS
  • Twin linear AF motors
  • Focus limiter switch


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