This forum is for questions and general discussion in the field of bird photography and bird photography gear.
Hello everyone! I'm new to birding and have a Canon Rebel SLR1. I need recommendations for affordable entry level telephoto/zoom lenses. I'm only looking to spend up to $300 at the moment and don't mind buying refurbished. I live in Norfolk, Virginia where we have a lot of wading birds such as Herons and Egrets. Unfortunately, they tend to be 100 feet out in the water from me and the standard lens of 55mm is incapable of capturing photos of them. I'm looking forward to everyone's recommendations. Thanks again!
I'm well-versed in photography, but less so in birding and bird photography. My impression of bird photographers is that they all either have, or wish they had a 600mm lens in their collection. On your budget, you could go after a relatively inexpensive Canon-compatible XX-300mm lens (including Sigma, Tamron, etc.). This will give you more reach; image quality will not be special, and you'll still generally have to do some cropping. I think it will be good practice and fun though. A somewhat more expensive option would be a used, now out of production, Canon 400mm f/5.6, which apparently has quite good image quality.

I hope this helps.

Hi Kobe,
Welcome! You already got some really good advice form Smithers. I wanted to chime in and suggest looking in to lens rentals to try out a lens before you commit to buying it. If you're in the States, there are some really good options online that will ship you the lens for a short period of time. They also give the option to purchase used lenses after you try them out - might be cheaper than looking for a new or refurbished one. Rentals in Canada are unfortunately much more expensive.

In the meantime, you can also try checking out more populated bird watching spots, like duck ponds, where birds are used to lots of people nearby. Ducks in particular are great to start out photographing - they are bigger, move slower, and often let people get closer. Helps you get around equipment limitations :)
Hi Kobe,

In photography camera bodies come and go, but the lens stay with you for life!

So it's best to buy the best lens that you can, because, a 300 dollar lens, your going to be disappointed with the results!

The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM is a good zoom lens but not the best, it sells for $549.99 before tax American dollars.

Zoom lens are great when you first start out, as they give you versatility in shooting!

There's the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Lens it sells for $199.99 before tax, but this lens is not very sharp, and that's a word that's will become very important to you as you gain experience!

Good Luck!
Hi Kobe -- from just a birdwatcher's point of view and not a photographer, you might consider something like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera ... it goes for around $300, has a really long zoom and it will help you snap nice photos of birds to use in identification, etc. With a good tripod, you can take some shots of birds at long range, too. You probably won't get professional quality photos, but they will work.
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