The Contender for the Best Wildlife Photography Lens

Allen's Hummingbird

Which lens reigns supreme in the realm of wildlife photography? If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this! It’s a popular and pertinent question with no definitive answer. Multiple factors, including the photographer, subject, and desired narrative, come into play. However, there is a focal length that stands out and is widely favored as a starting point.

400mm is a great focal length, and you can’t be wrong with this focal length, no matter how you reach it. This is the focal length I began with and relied on throughout the beginning of my professional life. It’s the lessons I gleaned from that lens as well as a few of the images it made that brought me here today. It is possible to reach that focal distance in several ways, including 300mm f/4 through an adapter, 80-400mm, 200-400mm, or a 400mm prime. Whatever method you choose to arrive at this point or what lens you are using you will are in the same position of view. That’s what’s important.

View angle, the amount of the world that you can see in the vicinity of your subject, that’s what I’m thinking of. Photography that is focused on wildlife is primarily about telling stories. What’s the subject doing? why did you decide to take its picture, how did it do, a funny moment, and much more can be communicated with just a single click based on the other elements you add to the subject. This is where angle of sight is a factor.

The most important component of the 400mm lens is the MFD. The Minimum Focusing Distance is often an integral role in story telling. A lot of people think of it with terms of image size, but I see it in relation to The Dance. The Dance is the process of using this focal length eliminate all unwanted elements from the frame, while incorporating all the elements that tell the story. It can be done using any focal length, but to capture wildlife and in particular the beginning, 400mm simply excels in The Dance.

Allen's Hummingbird
NIKON D3X + 200-400mm f/4 @ 340mm, ISO 100, 1/30, f/6.7

The greatest benefit to this camera is its biology lenses it imparts. Did you know that a piece of camera equipment can teach biology? Take a closer look and utilize optics to focus this is the crucial principle I learned from my first few years of shooting using lens Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 E-IF lens. Whatever lens you choose or matter it is an essential principle to better photography. For wildlife photography, the 400mm lens is the most effective in teaching this notion. You’ll have to use your feet in order to obtain the exact size of image you’d like typically when shooting with the 400mm. Be watching your subject in order to understand what not to do when approaching a creature is an important lesson you can learn from this lens!

Common Raven
NIKON D1H @ 850mm, 10/200, f/11.0

Are there any other lenses, focal lengths and lenses you can utilize for wildlife photography? There are plenty and my top pick is that of the Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 VR however, I wouldn’t suggest you begin with that. Although I prefer the 800mm for most of my wildlife photography, I still use the techniques I learned from the 400mm. Even though I own an 800mm lens, I own not just one, but two 400mm lenses that I rely on. The lens is a tool to help is your passion that transforms into a vehicle for telling stories. Therefore, while you can find the most effective lens, you must never forget that it is you to make it occur!

Snowy Owl
NIKON D2H @ 500mm, ISO 200, 2/1000, f/5.6