Which lens should I buy?
I would suggest there is four good, cheap
walk around wildlife lenses, on today's market depending on your requirements
and budget available . They are cheap (compared to the amount you could
spend on a lens) being around or under £1000, and portable. In
other words they are usable handheld without the need for tripod (A
Monopod or tripod is always useful though) and have a focal length of
use for wildlife. I would imagine there are Nikon lenses that fit into
this category also, but below I have only dealt with Canon fit lenses,
listed below in no particular order with a few comments.
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Lens
This lens has had some good reviews
OS is Sigma's equivalent of IS, so this
is a stabilized lens with a large zoom range.
It seemed too good to be true when i ordered one, and i found it's a
definitely a case of getting what you pay for. I used it for a week
and sent it back. Don't let me put you of if you're on a budget though
as for many people this lens may be a dream come true and will produce
nice but not brilliant images.
Positives: Good zoom range, stabilization
Negative: Image quality is not the best, and this is to my mind the
most important thing. It's also the heaviest of the four and some may
prefer to use it with support.
Canon EF 300mm f4 IS USM + Teleconverter
- Canon 1.4x
Yes just a 300mm lens but being F4 it will work on all Canon DSLRs with
a 1.4x converter, giving you a 420mm lens with auto focus and image
stabilization. I have not used this combo myself but from reviews and
info on the net I would suggest its well worth considering.
Positives: 420mm fixed, stabilization,
Negative: I Can't think of any but have not used this combo; i assume
image quality it good.
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS USM
This lens has been around a while and available second hand. This is
a zoom lens with a good range and stabilization, which up until recently
i had used for many years. Overall it's a good versatile wildlife lens.
Positives: good zoom range, stabilization,
good image quality
Negative: A little heavier than the fixed focal length lenses, but lighter
than the Sigma, and at its best in terms of image quality stopped down
which means slower speeds.
Update: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6
L IS II USM vertion two of this lens is highely regarded
Canon EF 400mm f5.6 L USM Lens
A no frills prime lens that's not especially fast, which keeps it cheap.
Image quality is good at F5.6 keeping it fast (ish) and worthy of its
reputation as a good flight lens.
Positives: image quality very good, light
Negative: No stabilization, but that would make it heavier; its lightweight
makes it easy to handhold, though a monopod always helps.