Best Canon Lenses for Wildlife Photography. Searching for the best lenses for wildlife photography with your Canon cameras? Here are the top recommended Canon wildlife lenses.
For wildlife photography, two factors are paramount: reach and speed. A lens that gets up close yet allows you to keep your distance, and lenses that focus quickly and transmit enough light to allow for very fast shutter speeds. So you need your lens to be fast and long.
As you know, the cost of going beyond 400mm (with good image quality) is high, but a longer-than-400mm lens is usually desired for wildlife photography. So, in wildlife photography it is important to invest in nice lenses, especially with telephoto. Lenses hold their value extremely well.
In addition, the lens performance in low light condition, cold weather (weather-sealed) are also very important for wildlife photography.
I try to include both Ultimate Canon Wildlife Lenses (high end) and affordable / smaller Canon wildlife lenses (the most bang for your buck) at a variety of focal lengths. The Ultimate Canon Wildlife Lenses are the best of the best. If you are a professional shooter, or you really care about the image quality of your wildlife photos, these lenses will meet your need. If you are full of enthusiasm, but can not afford the cost, you can choose the affordable Canon wildlife lenses with great image quality.
See all my friendly recommendations below.
Best Canon Lenses for Wildlife Photography
The Ultimate Canon Wildlife Lenses (High End)
1. Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens
The new large-diameter EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM super telephoto lens has all the upgrades needed to make it the go-to super long telephoto lens for professional photographers and anyone who has the highest standards for the gear they use. The Canon 600mm F/4L is commonly used for Sports/action, Wildlife photos and more. And Canon 600mm F/4L is most used by customers who consider themselves to be a Photo enthusiast among others. It has a great long focal length, a great long focal length and focuses very fast. The Canon 600mm F/4L is popular because customers like the following qualities of the Canon 600mm F/4L: Consistent output, Durable, Fast / accurate auto-focus, Lightweight, Nice bokeh, Rugged and Strong construction.
2. Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Lens
The EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Lens from Canon is currently Canon’s longest telephoto lens, and an excellent choice for any long-distance application such as outdoor sports, wildlife, and photojournalism. Even though it has a long 800mm focal length, the magnesium alloy used in the construction for this lens makes it lighter then the 600mm f/4L lens, weighing in at less than 10 lb.
This lens shares the same lightweight, weather-resistant construction as the rest of the L-series super telephoto lenses, as well as their improved control layout, weight distribution, and mechanical manual focus. Its two-mode Image Stabilizer system allows the use of shutter speeds up to four times slower with no perceptible increase in image blur. Mode 1 is best used for still subjects while Mode 2 is optimized to pan with moving subjects. The Canon 800mm F/5.6L is commonly used for Sports/action, Wildlife, Wildlife photos and more. And it is most used by customers who consider themselves to be a Photo enthusiast among others.
3. Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens
The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II is many professional photographers’ favorite super telephoto lens. It features completely redesigned Fluorite optics that deliver sharper images with less chromatic aberration and has a lighter weight thanks to magnesium and titanium construction elements. Although Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II is not as long in focal length as the 600mm f/4L IS II, it is smaller, lighter and less expensive. And Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens performs very well with extenders mounted behind it.
4. Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x
Designed to satisfy the discriminating needs of sports and wildlife photographers, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X is a high-performance super telephoto zoom lens with an optically matched built-in 1.4x extender for maximum versatility. With a simple flick of a switch, the zoom range can be quickly increased to 280-560mm (f/5.6). This capability is extremely useful in applications where it is not possible to change lenses quickly, while also protecting delicate equipment such as a digital SLR camera’s image sensor in environments with dust and high humidity. You can get incredible image quality, image stabilization and great versatility with its zoom focal length range.
5. Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
Over 28% lighter than its predecessor and now the lightest lens in its class, the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens from Canon is the perfect choice for nature, wildlife and sports photographers. The Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II is the second longest f/2.8 focal length lens, just begind Sigma’s enormous and incredibly-high-priced Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG APO IF Autofocus Lens. Dust and water sealing keeps the lens functioning even in less than ideal conditions and magnesium and titanium construction elements reduce its weight. The EF 400mm f/2.8L is compatible with Canon’s EF1.4x III and EF2x III extenders and this lens includes a lens hood, 52mm drop-in gelatin filter holder, a detachable tripod collar and a hard travel case.
6. Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
A worthy successor to the popular Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS, the all-new Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM super telephoto lens is lightweight, weighing approximately 8% less than its predecessor, yet offers faster operation, improved image stabilization and superior optics. The 300mm focal length is a little short for a lot of wildlife needs, but the image quality remains really awesome with extenders mounted behind it.
7. Canon Extender EF 1.4X III
The Extender EF 1.4X III from Canon is designed for select Canon EF mount L-series telephoto lenses. It increases the focal length of a lens by a factor of 1.4x while still delivering superb image quality. To ensure the best possible image quality in all shooting conditions, it combines redesigned optics, improved data communication between lens and camera and enhanced environmental protection. It is ideal for photojournalists and wildlife, nature and sports photographers who need to get close to distant and challenging subjects and it reduces the need to carry heavy telephoto lenses. This lens is only compatible with fixed focal length L-series lenses 135mm and over, as well as the EF 70-200/2.8L, EF 70-200/2.8L IS, EF 70-200/4L, and EF 100-400/4.5-5.6L.
8. Canon Extender EF 2X III
Designed to extend a lenses focal length by a factor of 2x, the redesigned CanonExtender EF 2X III delivers optical performance on par with the finest Canon super telephoto lenses. Extender EF 2X III meets necessary standards in terms of rugged, dustproof and water-resistant construction, and should be in every professional’s camera bag. It is ideal for photojournalists and wildlife, nature and sports photographers who need to get close to distant and challenging subjects and it reduces the need to carry heavy telephoto lenses.
Affordable (Smaller) Canon Wildlife Lenses
1. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
The EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS II USM lens delivers a superb combination of cutting-edge performance, compact construction and brilliant resolving power that’s great for sports and wildlife photography. One fluorite element and one Super UD element have been incorporated into the lens’ construction, and both help to reduce aberrations and distortions throughout the zoom range in order to deliver notable clarity, image sharpness, and faithful color reproduction. An Air Sphere Coating has also been applied to lens elements in order to reduce lens flare and ghosting for more contrast-rich imagery.
2. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Telephoto is designed to deliver ultra-high quality images along with lightning fast operation. It one of my favorite telephoto zoom lenses and I often use it for wildlife photography. If you have a APS-C format DSLR camera, you will find that this 70-300mm f/4-5.6L lens is really a great wildlife lens.
3. Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
The Canon 400mm F/5.6L is commonly used for Landscape/scenery, Sports/action, Wildlife, Wildlife photos and more. The EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens from Canon is a high-performance telephoto prime lens designed with portability and easy handling in mind. One super UD-glass element and one UD-glass element minimize aberrations and result in sharp pictures. The lens also has a built-in hood and a detachable tripod mount.
4. Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM Lens
The Canon 300mm F/4L is commonly used for Landscape/scenery, Macro photography, Sports/action, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife photos and more. The lens features a built-in lens hood and a removable, rotatable tripod collar for stable and secure tripod mounting, and it is compatible with Canon 1.4x and 2.0x extenders.
5. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
The all-new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM increases the speed, performance and optical quality of the EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM while maintaining all of the characteristics that have made it a legend for professionals and advanced amateurs alike. Although the 200mm focal length is short for general wildlife use, it can still deliver great image quality with an extender mounted behind it.
6. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Like every autofocus Canon “L” lens, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM delivers optical performance equal to similar fixed focal length lenses, with silent, high-speed ultrasonic (USM) focusing and full-time manual focus override capacity. Retaining the excellent performance at maximum aperture of the much larger f/2.8L but in a smaller size, the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens from Canon is a professional zoom telephoto suitable for a broad range of applications from sports to portraiture. It is fully compatible with the Extender EF 1.4x II and 2x II teleconverters. Although the 200mm focal length is short for general wildlife use, it can still deliver great image quality with an extender mounted behind it.
7. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Lens
This is an entry-level wildlife and all-around telephoto lens. If you can’t afford any of the other wildlife lenses listed above, You can choose this one. High-performance, L-series telephoto zoom lens combining light weight and compactness with an f/4 maximum aperture. It is fully compatible with the Extender EF 1.4x II and 2x II teleconverters. Although the 200mm focal length is short for general wildlife use, it can still deliver great image quality with an extender mounted behind it.