Telefoto Lens Recommendations?

So I’m wanting to improve my resolution on my bird photography at a distance. I’ve had the same lens for 15 years, and it’s more than past time for an upgrade.
I have a Canon SLR and I’ve been considering an Opteka 650-1300mm or Opteka 420-1600mm. Does anyone have a telefoto they really like for a decent price they would recommend? With photo examples, distance, and price would be amazing.
Thanks for any input!!!

I haven’t used Opteka but my understanding is that they are inexpensive telephotos because everything is manual and there’s no image stabilization. If the lens is significantly lower in price than the lenses that are more popular, there’s a reason for that. Just be aware of the limitations. You might check out Tamron lenses also for your Canon.

Question is how you’re going to use it, as no good pictures will come from them, for purely documentation probably doable, but with no autofocus that’ll be hard. I can’t imagine using such long lenses unless you shoot on a complete plain, and no stabilization is a big minus, I never used Canon dslrs, I use Nikkor 200-500 with camera with cropped matrix, so it gives 750 at max, it’s enough to shoot bigger birds at a kilometre distance, it’s a harder lens to use as little movement means focus is not on the right spot, with 1300 and no stabilization it sounds impossible, it’s hard to manually focus as again very little movement makes a great difference for photo. I’m sure there’re better native lenses or Tamron that are shorter, but will both give you better quality and will suit all your needs. For lower price and bigger zoom it may be easier to buy a Canon superzoom.


Right now I have a Canon 75-300mm. It’s just not doing the job. I manually focus it most of the time, and it’s done a decent job, just doesnt have the capability to zoom in as close as I need it to. Honestly I think I need to see some photo examples.

I use a Canon 77d and a Sigma 150-600mm C lens. Since the 77d has 1.6x crop sensor, the lens is actually 960mm at full zoom, I find that’s plenty of reach for me. It is a bit heavy but the photo quality is very good. The lens is $900. I used to use a 300mm for bird photography, but it didn’t have quite enough reach. With the 150-600 I can get decent shots of even far away birds with some cropping.

It’s pretty good for in-flight shots too.


What lens are you using now? Which Canon DSLR? What is your budget? Answering your question is almost impossible without context.

1 Like

Up above I mentioned I’ve been using a Canon 75-300mm. My camera is a Canon Rebel T5.

I use a Cannon T5 Rebel, with a 55-250 lens. Like @marina_gorbunova says, it does what I need to make an identification, either at close range or longer range. Are you photographing birds for artistic purposes rather than to make an identifiable observation? The difference, for this discussion, is important.

1 Like

Given the age of your camera I wouldn’t invest money in a new lens. You might want to consider a teleconverter instead. It will give you the extra range you want at relatively low cost. The down side is that teleconverters don’t work that well in low light conditions.

1 Like

Another downside of a teleconverter is that you won’t be able to use autofocus with your current camera/lens set.

You don’t mention a budget - which makes a big difference. Another possible option is to invest in photo editing software. To me, that will give you the biggest bang for your dollars toward improving your images. I have never taken a photo that couldn’t be improved via editing. It’s not a quick easy solution but if you invest the time in learning to edit you will always have that improvement.

With lenses, you generally get what you pay for. Weight is another consideration. If a lens is too heavy, you’ll end up with blurry images unless you lug around a tripod. I like a 70-400mm zoom (on an APSC camera) as a tradeoff between weight, reach and image quality. With your camera, I don’t think you will get much improvement with a new lens unless you are willing to pay upwards of $1000. You might find a used lens in the 400mm range for less, but that has it’s own pitfalls.

I don’t believe that’s true of teleconverters / extenders that are made to be compatible with a particular camera model.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.