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5 Best Budget Lenses For Bird Photography (Reviewed)

As the main writer of CameraGurus, i have access to more than 150 camera lenses. This week, i decided to test which one of them performs best when it comes to photographing birds. During my tests, i concluded that the Sigma DG OS HSM 150-600mm was really easy to use and i had a lot of fun with it, however, it doesn’t perform as well on other situations. For something that is a great all-rounder, i would go with the Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3. We will discuss each one in detail in the following sections of this article.

Wildlife photography is considered one of the most popular genres in the world of photography. It depicts close-up shots of activities or portraits of the animals.  If you are an avid wildlife photographer who loves to capture birds, this article would interest you.

Camera lens manufacturers across the world produce numerous lenses for different purposes and birds’ photography is one such purpose. When looking for the best lenses for bird photography, you must focus on telephoto featuring fast autofocus systems as it is capable of capturing birds in flight as shooting them still is not always possible. These and many more useful tips discussed here will help you buy the best budget lens for bird photography.

Best Price/Performance
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3
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Best Mid-Range Lens
Pentax HD DA 55-300mm
Pentax HD DA 55-300mm
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Best All-In-One
Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3
Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3
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Best For The Money
Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3
Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3
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Best Overall
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED
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Several lenses are designed for capturing a long-distance subject (birds) in a hassle-free way, and those are the best options for birds’ photographers. We aim to assist the buyers in choosing the right lenses for bird photography. If you are planning to buy one, here are the 5 best lenses to choose from for bird photography besides useful tips.

Top 5 Best Budget Lenses For Bird Photography

5. 200-500mm Nikkor AF-S

When it comes to lens, only a few companies have been able to hold their position in the industry, and Nikon comes first when it comes to lenses. With a wide range of small and big lenses, the company has fulfilled the demand of photographers.

The New 200-500mm Nikkor AF-S Vibration Reduction Telephoto Lens for Nikon DSLRs is a beast in terms of capacity and features, and if you are planning to invest in the best lenses for bird photography, the wait is finally over.

200-500mm Nikkor AF-S Vibration Reduction Telephoto Lens for Nikon DSLRs is compatible with most Nikon DSLR cameras. But if you want to confirm, you can check compatibility by entering the model number.

It does not matter what you want to capture, this lens allows you to get close to the subject no matter how far they are. Not only this, you can even capture the subject as close as 7.2 feet away and it will result in stunning details.

The primary challenge of bird photography lies in getting the perfect frame, and when the subject is far away, it is really hard for photographers to capture the perfect frame. The camera comes with vibration reduction image stabilization technology that will put an end to capturing blurry shots resulting from unwanted jerks.

The fast f/5.6 constant aperture makes it a delight for wildlife photographers because it allows capturing beautiful out of focus backdrop with stunning details.

The 4.5 stops of vibration reduction is another advanced feature so that users can utilize the lens even in low lighting conditions like in the dusk or dawn. The lens also features a sports mode and it is optimized for camera pans and other movements. You can use this mode for fast action things and get the desired result without hassle.

By choosing the set, users will get AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR, LC-95 95mm Snap-On Front Lens Cap, HB-71 Bayonet Hood, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, and CL-1434 Semi-Soft Case. Please take look if you are about to invest in lenses for bird photography.

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4. Sigma DG OS HSM 150-600mm 

Sigma has won the hearts of the photographers with their wide range of lenses, and if buyers are planning to invest in the perfect lens for bird photography, the new DG OS HSM 150-600mm Contemporary Lens from Sigma will be an ideal choice.

The powerful lens weighs only 68 ounces and the minimum focusing distance 280cm/110.2 inches. If you are wondering about focal length, it is 150-600mm along with 9 diaphragm blades making it truly unique.

Sigma has prioritized the requirements of wildlife and sports photographers and they have included dustproof and splash-proof mount95mm filter to avoid inconvenience.

Usability is important when you are buying a lens for bird photography. The lens tends to be bigger and heavier, which often makes it difficult to set up for photographers but this DG OS HSM 150-600mm Contemporary Lens from Sigma is compact and lightweight which makes it unique.

Wildlife photographers are required to visit odd places to get the perfect frame and the water and oil repellent coating on the front glass element makes it easy to maintain.

The manufacturers have focused on portability and come up with unique features that are commonly searched by the buyers. Apart from the above-mentioned features, DG OS HSM 150-600mm Contemporary Lens from Sigma has comprised USB dock compatibility that will help users to adjust parameters as per specific requirements.

The lens comes along with a custom mode switch that can be used for instant access to your favorite feature and you can change the function from time to time. DG OS HSM 150-600mm Contemporary Lens from Sigma will be a perfect deal for bird photographers, and if you are looking for the best lens for bird photography, this will be a great choice.

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3. Tamron All in One Zoom 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3

Tamron has become one of the top-rated manufacturers for high-end lenses, and the new All In One Zoom 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 for Canon DSLRs from Tamron is considered to be one of the best budget lenses available in the market. Investing in the lens will be a lightning deal for the buyers since it can be used for capturing close up or ordinary landscapes from time to time.

As the name decodes, the lens is made to fulfil all of your requirements, which makes it truly versatile. Sometimes photographers complain about detailing in photos, but if you invest in All In One Zoom 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 for Canon DSLRs from Tamron, you won’t have to worry about it since it comes with image compensation with high-speed Piezo-driven auto-focusing system and image stabilization to get the desired shot every time you press the shutter.

Moisture tends to be the bigger enemy for lenses and it often affects the lenses, but All In One Zoom 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 for Canon DSLRs from Tamron has numerous lens coating that helps to keep your lenses safe all the time.

Also, photographers won’t have to worry about rain or other environmental factors while working. The focal length of this lens is 16-300mm and the minimum distance is 15.3 inches. In case buyers are wondering, what is so special about the lens, we must tell it is made of a newly developed glass that reduces chromatic aberrations and color infringement, and it can be a perfect companion for photographers who love capturing wildlife.

Many people look out for lens within a tight budget, and the new All In One Zoom 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 for Canon DSLRs from Tamron will be a suitable choice in terms of features and capabilities.

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2. Pentax 55-300mm HD WR Lens f/4-5.8 ED

Bird photography requires lenses with good focal length, and lenses with good focal length cost a lot.

There are only a few exceptions, and the new 55-300mm HD WR Lens f/4-5.8 ED from Pentax offers a perfect combination of good auto-focusing system and focal length, making it a suitable choice for photographers.

The focal length is equivalent to 82.5-450mm in a 35mm format and the quality of photos will surely amaze the photographers. The auto-focusing system is good quality and you will get stunning details if you capture photos with this lens.

Manufacturers have focused on the requirements of the photographers and they have used special lens coating and high definition glass for glare reduction and optimized light transmission. Say goodbye to the worries of carrying a camera in a swampy environment, and you can even use it in rain as well.

The lens comprises ED elements for color infringement and chromatic aberrations and you can get the perfect color, even if you capture in the low light setting. Another good thing about this lens is a compact design, which makes it easier to carry during long treks and you won’t have to think twice whether to carry it or not.

In case, buyers are thinking about investing in good quality lenses with decent features within a tight budget, this product should not be missed.

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1. Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2

A lot of people lookout for the advanced options when it comes to lenses. The new SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 from Tamron comes with a big range and it comes with excellent features that make it highly popular among the professionals.

From built quality to image processing, Tamron has not failed to meet the expectation of the buyers and if people are planning to invest in the best lenses for bird photography, SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 from Tamron will be a great choice.

The lens is packed with exclusive technology and the fluorine coating will help to capture flawlessly without impacting the quality. Moisture is not good for lenses, but if you invest in SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 from Tamron, you won’t have to worry about it.

If your priority is bird photography, this lens will be a perfect choice as the performance is extraordinary when you capture in-motion subjects. Thanks to ultrasonic autofocus that has changed the way of capturing in-motion things in recent years.

The lens features a new flex zoom lock mechanism and you can lock the zoom ring at any position. The lens is lightweight and compact, and it is compatible with easy to hold tripod mount.

The autofocus speed is faster than most lenses so that you can capture moving subjects without any hassle. There are 4.5 stops in VC performance and if you are thinking to invest in the best lenses f bird photography, you should not miss this product.

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Things to Look for Before Buying A Budget Lens For Bird Photography

There are many things buyers should consider while investing in a new lens for birds photography. Here are a few key aspects.


Perhaps size is the most important factor to consider before investing in a lens. For wildlife or birds photography, professionals suggest investing in a bigger lens for better results.

If you are planning to buy a lens of bird photography, make sure not to invest in small lenses. 200-300mm lenses are the minimum requirement for wildlife photography and if your budget permits you should opt for the bigger ones.  Always ensure that the size of the lens is compatible to the size of the camera.

Damp Proofing

Wildlife photographers need to visit odd places for the sake of their passion. Sometimes they need to visit damp areas in a dense forest to get the best shot and unless there are prot6ective coatings, the lenses may get affected. Moisture is not good for lenses and therefore buyers need to check for protective coating and damp proofing before finalizing it.


Buyers should not ignore online reviews before purchasing a lens. Online reviews are reliable, and they give a clear idea of what users are thinking about the product. You can visit eCommerce platforms and enter the model number to read reviews.


There is no doubt that passion for photography is expensive. However, it is wise to stay in budget while buying a lens. With careful search, you can surely buy one that comes in your budget. But don’t just consider the lens cost ONLY while buying lenses. Consider the features and benefits as well, and you will surely get a product within your budget.


Before ordering a lens, you should always do some research and make sure it will fit your camera. For example, the GH4 is a very popular camera among bird photographers, but not many lenses fit it. That’s why, i recommend you read our Panasonic GH4 lens buying guide, or look for similar buying guides for your camera.


The information contained in this article will help birds’ photographers to buy a lens that will help them get fantastic results while capturing birds. Each of the lenses discussed here is known for its excellence, and buyers should compare the features to choose the best one from our handpicked options.

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