Picking a Lens for Birding and Wildlife Photography
Understanding focal length and range is crucial for bird and wildlife photography. When it comes to finding the right lens for bird and wildlife photography, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Different genres of wildlife photography will benefit from different lenses, and choosing the right one for your needs can help you get the highest quality images. This guide dives into the details of what go into picking the perfect lens for bird and wildlife photography.
Understanding Focal Length
The focal length of a lens affects image size and field of view. Focal length is the distance from the center of your lens to your camera’s sensor. The focal length of your lens affects the size of the image it produces on the sensor, as well as the depth of field, meaning the area of an image that is in focus. As the focal length increases, the size of the image increases, and the depth of field decreases.
Zoom or Prime?
Zoom lenses provide versatility, while prime lenses tend to produce sharper images. Zoom lenses, as the name implies, are lenses that can “zoom in” or “zoom out” in order to change the focal length. This allows you to quickly change the size of the image and the depth of field. Prime lenses, on the other hand, are lenses with a fixed focal length, and tend to be sharper and lighter than zoom lenses. Prime lenses are best for capturing sharp images, while zoom lenses are great for shooting birds and wildlife in their natural habitats.
Choosing the Right Focal Length
Choosing the right lens depends on the subjects you will be shooting. For bird photography, a lens with a medium-to-long focal length is usually ideal. This will allow you to capture small birds at a distance without getting too close and disturbing them. For larger animals, such as deer or lions, you’ll want a long-range lens to give you enough distance for safety and to get quality shots. If you’re shooting mammals, birds or other wildlife up close, a macro lens is ideal.
Always consider your shooting style when choosing a lens. Bird and wildlife photography require different lenses than other genres, due to the distance and size of the subjects. When picking a lens for bird and wildlife photography, consider the size of the subjects you will be shooting, as well as the distance and field of view you need. Whether you opt for a zoom or a prime lens, having a lens with the right focal length can drastically improve the quality of your images.