For action and wildlife photography it is essential to be at the heart of the action. But this is not always physically possible, so a zoom or telephoto lens is the next best thing. Most photographers wanting to get up close will use a camera with a crop factor as it makes a difference to the length of the lens; for example, a 200mm lens on a 1.6x crop becomes 320mm. There are other aspects to be aware of with a longer lens, as the more you zoom in the more you will have to compensate with the shutter speed.
A monopod can be a good accessory to have to hand as it provides the user with ﬂexibility, yet it still adds that extra bit of support. Most zoom lenses also come with some type of image stabilization feature. We recommend you keep it on, but it could affect the continuous burst mode, so check to see how your camera model handles this. You may also ﬁnd that this feature uses up the battery life on your camera faster than normal. There are many lenses on the market to choose from and with long lenses they do become pricier the longer they get. This is because they are complex in their design as there are many elements that make up the construction. You want to be careful not to bash the lens when out on location – if one of the elements gets knocked out of place, it can be expensive to ﬁx.
You may not notice that it’s broken until you get back to upload your images onto your computer and realize that they’re all out of focus.
Best Canon Lenses for Action and Wildlife
Canon EF 70300mm f4-5.6L IS USM. This affordable telephoto zoom lens from Canon has a decent focal range and supports an eight blade circular aperture, which creates a beautiful background blur and makes your subject stand out. It’s an ideal lens for zooming in close to whatever action you’re trying to capture.
Canon EF 200mm f2L IS USM. Fixed focal length lenses such as this one generally offer a wider maximum aperture. Canon offer a ﬁxed lens for every shooting scenario, and this one is geared towards the wildlife, sports and news photographers that crave a telephoto lens to bring them closer to the action. The lens also comes with a dedicated, detachable hood. It’s deﬁnitely a premium option, so only those serious should apply.
Canon EF 135mm f2L USM. Canon’s L-series of lenses promise to combine superior performance with superlative handling, and they are resistant to dust and moisture to boot. This the ideal optic for indoor sports, although it still fares well outside too.
Best Nikon Lenses for Action and Wildlife
Nikon AF-S VR NIKKOR 300mm f2.8. This telephoto zoom lens from Nikon has a decent focal range and supports an nine-blade circular aperture, which creates a beautiful background blur and makes your subject stand out. It’s an ideal lens for zooming in close to whatever action you’re trying to capture.
Nikon 55-300mm f4.5-5.6. This super telephoto has a ﬂexible range (35mm equivalent of 82.5mm to 450mm), which is perfect for photographing wildlife from a distance. The Vibration Reduction II stabilization system allows shutter speeds that are up to four stops slower and the Silent Wave Motor provides fast and quite autofocus to avoid scaring off any shy, unsuspecting subjects.
Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6. The Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6 lens is compact as well as lightweight, which is great for travel shots. It comes with state-of-the-art optical technologies such as Vibration Reduction and Nikon ED glass element for a cheap and cheerful price.