There is something thrilling about capturing the wilderness in all its glory. Such as an apex predator on the prowl or a mother duck protecting her ducklings. These scenes undoubtedly represent nature at its absolute best. To be able to photograph these moments with accuracy is no easy task. To capture these amazing moments you need the best Canon Lenses for wildlife photography.
If the thrill is what you seek wildlife photography is something you may like. All you need to get started is an open space and some equipment. Add some patience, the proper equipment in the mix and you will be on your way to making amazing photos. When it comes to equipment, the best Canon lenses for wildlife photography are Canon’s telephoto lens lineup. In this article we will explore three of Canon’s most popular lenses for wildlife photographers. Plus explain the benefits of telephoto lenses.
Canon Telephoto Lenses Bring Wildlife Closer
Except for the birds attending to their nests in your backyard, most animals prefer to keep their distance from humans. This makes a telephoto lens incredibly useful. Such a lens allows you to take photos of subjects that are much farther away. Meaning you won’t have to waste your breath chasing after wildlife.
These lenses create the illusion of a compression effect of sorts. This is similar to how human brains perceive subject to background relationships. This effect also improves the visual relationship between the subject and the environment that surrounds it. By making distant objects appear closer to the camera, these telephoto lenses offer a wide array of options to let the creative skills of potential photographers run wild.
When looking at a focal length of a lens the larger the focal length the greater the zoom. So it would be true to say a 400mm lens won’t get you as close as a 600mm lens.
Wildlife Photography: Stay at Safe Distances
In accordance with the previous point, telephoto lenses allow you to get up and close with wildlife without falling prey to it. Furthermore, maintaining a safe distance also safeguards the animals who tend to get startled or scared by humans in near proximity.
Telephoto lenses with a longer focal range also allow you to capture clear photographs even through mesh fences in zoos or wildlife parks, that might otherwise have proven to be a hindrance.
Telephoto Lenses Emphasise Blurred Backgrounds
An additional artistic advantage of the telephoto lens is its ability to create crystal clear portraits. Telephoto lenses achieve this by accentuating the subjects against a smooth, blurred background. With a long lens and wide aperture, it lets you isolate your subject. Thus creating that gorgeous contrast between a figure and its background. By using this creative technique your wildlife images will look more realistic and will have a wow factor to them.
Why Canon is a Great Choice for Wildlife Photography
Well, the answer is simple. The sheer variety of lenses that Canon offers makes it a great choice for photographers, both beginners, and professionals alike. From your suburbian feline to a big cat out in the wild, Canon has an extensive range of great lenses to help you capture the most candid or wild shots.
Canon cameras also offer a fast frame-per-second (fps) rating, which means that they can take photos extremely quickly. This has several advantages; for instance, faster lenses tend to let more light into the camera, which allows the photographer to continue shooting and focus longer even when the light levels begin to drop. Canon cameras also have a faster shutter speed, more exposure options, and a less noisy ISO, which is especially useful when shooting wildlife. When pairing a Canon telephoto lens with a Canon camera you gain all these benefits.
Furthermore, Canon telephoto lenses are suitable for photographers with varying skill sets and budgetary options. From the expensive, high-end equipment to the affordable lenses for beginners, Canon upholds a high standard in terms of quality and delivers incredible results irrespective of the price tag.
So, before you set forth on your next wildlife photography adventure, we have put together some of the best Canon lenses for wildlife photography that will help you take some absolutely incredible pictures.
Fabulous Image Quality, Excellent Focal Length Range, Pro-Grade Build Quality, Effective Image Stabilization, Fast and Accurate Autofocus.
- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 100–400mm 1:4.5–5.6
- Lens Construction: 21 elements in 16 groups
- Diagonal Angle of View: 24°–6°10′
- Focus Adjustment: Inner focus system / USM
- Closest Focusing Distance: 3.2 ft. / 0.98m
- Filter Size: 77mm diameter
- Zoom System: Rotation Type
- Max Diameter x Length: Approx. 3.7 x 7.6 in. / 94 x 193mm, Approx. 3.46 lbs. / 1570g (lens only, excluding removable tripod mount)
- Weight: 1640g (lens + tripod mount)
One of Canon’s Most Popular Telephoto Lenses for Wildlife Photography
Canon’s EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens is one of the most popular choices when it comes to wildlife photography. Featuring an outstanding image quality at all aperture and focal length settings, it is a portable, rugged, and versatile lens. This lens is not only affordable but also does a wonderful job of balancing cutting-edge performance even with a relatively lightweight and compact construction.
It produces crystal clear and sharp images, thanks to its quality optics coupled with advanced lens technology. The 4-stop Image Stabilizer is a super effective feature to reduce the effect of camera shake even when at full zoom. The combination of the fluorite glass and Super UD element helps to reduce any distortions across the zoom range. This also improves the camera speed, image quality, and helps create accurate colour reproductions.
The lens has an Air Sphere Coating which delivers contrast-rich imagery by reducing lens flare and ghosting. Another incredibly useful tool is the Zoom Touch Adjustment Ring. This allows the photographer to vary the resistance in the zoom ring based on the need, for instance, locking the mechanism to prevent accidental alterations to the focal length. The lens is small in size due to the f/5.6 maximum aperture, making it a lens that is easy to carry and hand-hold for long durations.
Despite certain drawbacks, such as the low-light autofocus causing lags at times, the EF 100-400L IS It has a solid build. It is overall a great choice for photographers in search of a dynamic lens that is well-suited for a vast array of environmental settings.
Features: Full-frame compatibility, built-in Lens Information Display, high-performance focusing, superb image quality, better build quality.
- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 70–300mm f/4–5.6
- Lens Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
- Diagonal Angle of View: 34°–8°15′
- Focus Adjustment: AF with full-time manual
- Closest Focusing Distance: 3.94 ft. / 1.2m
- Filter Size: 2.6 in. / 67mm diameter
- Max. Diameter x Length: Φ3.15 x 5.73 in., approx. 25.04 oz. / Φ80 x 145.5mm
- Weight: 710g
An Excellent Lens To Begin Your Wildlife Journey
Faster, better, and far more innovative than its predecessor, the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM Lens is the perfect companion for all of your wildlife adventures. Designed to produce ultra-high quality images, this telephoto lens features a versatile zoom range, allowing photographers to capture beautiful close-ups in the wild.
Nano USM allows photographers to focus on a subject smoothly, quietly and quickly making this lens the ideal choice for capturing still shots of fast-moving subjects. The lens also offers an improved image stabilizer that reduces camera shake up to 4-stops.
A 9-bladed circular aperture helps to separate a subject from its surrounding, allowing for beautiful background blurs. With a sophisticated optical design, the lens produces crisp and sharp images with high contrast and resolution even in difficult shooting conditions.
The design is sleek, chic, and extremely cool. It is the first Canon lens to feature an electronic Lens Information Display. Located at the top of the lens. The display comes in handy to maintain a steady shot and also allows you to check the depth of field and focus distance at various apertures.
Affordable, easy to use, the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM Lens is a great lens for anyone starting out and is the perfect addition to any standard lens kit.
Features: Excellent super-telephoto performance, quick and accurate focus, built to travel, brilliant image quality, rugged and strong construction.
- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 600mm f4L
- Lens Construction: 17 elements in 13 groups, including 2 fluorite elements and one super UD element; Super Spectra Coating (SSC); Air Sphere Coating (ASC); Fluorine coating on its front and rear surfaces
- Diagonal Angle of View: 4.2°
- Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing; full-time manual focus and Ring USM; Customizable Electronic Focusing Ring; 2 Focus Presets
- Closest Focusing Distance: 4.2m/13.8ft
- Filter Size: 52mm Drop in
- Max. Diameter x Length: 448mm x 168mm / 17.6in x 6.6 in
- Weight: 3050g
The Best Lens for Serious Professionals
If you had to pick just one Canon lens for wildlife photography for the rest of your life, then the Canon EF 600mm F/4L IS III USM Lens is it. A super lightweight lens that flaunts a compact design with fabulous technology. This professional-grade lens guarantees sharp and high-quality images.
The lens has a large amount of perspective compression. This is thanks to the lens’s long focal length, which can be used to create a deeper sense of intimacy in animal portraits. The focal length offers a fixed 600mm even if you are on safari or when access to animals is limited. Its focal length can easily fill the frame for an animal portrait from about ninety metres away.
The five-stop Image Stabilizer assists photographers if they are using a monopod or shooting on the side of a Land Cruiser. You can use the fingertip controls to start, stop, or even temporarily lock the autofocus. With the ring-type USM (Ultra Silent Motor), photographers can achieve a sharp focus quickly and quietly. Canon’s 600mm also allows accurate tracking of dynamic subjects, making it a great lens for capturing birds in flight.
This L Series lens is the cream of the crop given its high-end design and tech. Its superior image quality and professional performance, however, makes it one of the best go-to super-telephoto lenses for all the seasoned pros in the field.
Make The Right Choice, Seek Advice From Professionals
To find a good lens for wildlife photography, you need to take into account the focal length based on the kind of animals that you want to photograph. As a general rule, 300mm should be the minimum for wildlife photography. Another important aspect is the autofocus. As animals are constantly moving, a lens that can focus quickly is best for wildlife photography. Other factors to take into consideration are aperture and extender compatibility.
At the end of the day, when it comes to selecting a lens for your wildlife photography venture, in addition to these technical aspects, certain other factors need to be addressed. Starting with your own needs and skill level to exploring what the various brands have to offer, finding the perfect lens for wildlife photography takes careful consideration. Therefore, we recommend attending one of our workshops or visit us in store to learn more about Canon’s range of telephoto lenses.
Final Thoughts For Wildlife Photography
Given this extensive list of criteria, Canon is a great choice for wildlife photographers everywhere because of its consistency in delivering high quality and exceptional performance across the board. With a sleek design and a host of technical benefits, their lenses are diverse and thus cater to a variety of needs. From the faster frame rate to the advanced autofocus, Canon has a lot to offer and explore.
The market is full of incredible tech, and the longer you scroll through the options, the more confused you may feel. One of the best ways to convince yourself of the perfect lens option for you, however, is to come into our store and try it out for yourself.
Georges Cameras has been providing advice for our customers’ technological needs for several years. Attend one of our upcoming workshops or events to tap into the hidden potential of your equipment and learn more about the field of photography or come into our store to try the gear out for yourself.