It doesn’t matter if you’re new to bird photography or an old timer in the birding world having the right lens is key. I’d even say that having the best birding lens is even more important than having the right camera body. In 2021 there is a single lens that is truly the best bird photographer lens for Canon, Sony or Nikon.
When I started out with my bird photos well over 15 years ago I thought having the biggest lens was the ultimate dream. Well I still do sort of but only because I have this one lens in my bad. Then I learned how to take better bird photos.
In this video I expand further as to why I think the best bird photography lens is the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Doesn’t matter what camera manufacturer they all have a great version.
This video showcases bird pictures taken with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens and the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens so you can see just how versatile this lens is.
What’s the best bird photography lens in 2021?
The best lens for all bird photographers is the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. This should be your first purchase when buying a non-kit lens for birding in 2021 or any year. I know what you’re thinking but hear me out first.
The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is highly versatile for low light, quick action and as a first time lens for capturing birds it’s ideal. With this birding lens you’ll learn some key techniques on how to track and capture birds in flight, in bushes or trees. Once you master this lens and how to use it in the field then yes moving up to a 200-600mm or even the 100-400mm is easier. Starting out with a larger lens you’ll end up more frustrated and take much longer than needed to get in your groove for snapping photos of birds in the wild. Also, buying a quality lens you’ll have it for many years with many bodies regardless which brand you shoot with.
The ultimate Canon bird photography lens
I bought my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens years ago and still use it every time I go out to take pictures of birds. I have a range of Canon bird photography lenses but find the 70-200mm to be a go to lens almost all the time. I take it with many of my Canon birding camera bodies like the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera or the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera. It’s just a perfect lens to have for capturing birds in flight or nesting or anywhere in the wild.
Buy this SONY birding lens first!
When I first started to use SONY cameras I never thought I’d use them for bird photography. That was until I purchased the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens. Again, it was just as brilliant as the Canon lenses and quickly became my go to SONY lens for bird photography. Fast, lightweight and an ideal focal range for walking around taking pictures of birds and other wildlife. Learn more about what I think are the best SONY bird photography lenses.
NIKON birding lenses start with this one too!
Now I don’t own any NIKON cameras and too be honest I’ve never used one. But, I’ve heard that the Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S Lens is just like the Canon or SONY lenses a workhorse. So I would suspect that if you’re shooting with a Nikon camera for wildlife and birds you’ll also want to but this one too.
What is your favorite bird photography lens?