Best Wildlife Photography Lenses For Nikon Cameras – 2020 Review

Wildlife photography demands a constant balance between patience and time. This type of photography can be highly influenced by external factors, including weather conditions and lighting conditions.

All these crucial elements make it necessary to own the best wildlife photography lens for your Nikon body.

In this article, we have summarized some of the ideal wildlife photography lenses that will help you to capture the moment successfully.

Comparison of the Best Wildlife Photography Lenses For Nikon Cameras

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED

  • Built-in VRII to reduce any vibration
  • Great aperture for excellent image quality
  • With a focal length of 18-300mm, this lens is considered as the best overall
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G

  • Vibration reduction technology to ease the task
  • A zoom lens with nice focal length to choose from
  • Compatible with all FX-format cameras, this is the runner-up
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Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR f/34-8

  • Image stabilization for HD pictures and videos
  • Ultra-fast in operation to allow rapid photography
  • Compatibility with both FX and DX-format cameras makes this best for the money
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NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II

  • Image stabilization for HD pictures and videos
  • Extra-low dispersion glass to ensure great contrast
  • Best Nikon Telephoto lens for wildlife due to its effective focal range
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E

  • Great aperture to allow vibrant images
  • Vibration reduction technology with sports mode to ensure perfection
  • Suitable for both FX and DX-format camera bodies, making it the best wildlife lens for Nikon D500
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Can Any Lens be Used for Wildlife Photography?

Wildlife photography requires a lens with a zoomable focal length. A lens with a fixed focal length won’t do great in such a scenario. Since you are often quite a distance from your object, the focal length must allow some manual adjustment to capture the perfect shot.

Generally, a lens with a focal length of 70-300mm will do you great. The incorporation of the wide aperture with this focal length enhances the chances of great wildlife photography experience. Therefore, wildlife photographers generally use long lenses with a full-frame DSLR. A telephoto lens is also considered ideal for this kind of photography as it enlarges the picture and brings the distant object closer.

Can You Really Find a Quality Wildlife Photography Lens That’s Affordable?

Wildlife photography lenses fall in a great range of cost. Some of them are quite heavy on the pocket while others are relatively affordable. With so many options available on the market, it is not too difficult to find a lens that is good enough both in terms of performance and price.

It is a fact that the lenses incorporated with highly advanced features do not come with a low price tag. In case you don’t want to spend tons of money on just a lens, you should just pick a model with essential features to make an affordable purchase. However, it is generally recommended to make a generous investment once to have the comfort of a lifetime.

Characteristics of Our Favorite Wildlife Photography Lenses

Whenever you intend to buy a great lens for wildlife photography, you’ll find a lot of options on the market. Unsurprisingly, you might end up getting confused. Therefore, in order to simplify your search, we have presented a couple of essential features that must not be overlooked to have a wonderful experience. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Focal Length

A lens with a good focal length is highly admired as it helps you to capture distant objects seamlessly. You won’t lose the subject in the background and will end up with a really defined photograph. Generally, a great wildlife photography lens is equipped with a focal length up to 300mm to boost your image quality.

Aperture

A lens with the max aperture is quite versatile in nature and lets you take mind-blowing images regardless of the lighting conditions. Having the max aperture helps you shoot even in low light conditions with great ease.

Water-Resistance

Whenever you are in the field, dust and hail are likely to damage your lens. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for a model that is water-proof and weather-resistant in order to avoid any major loss in investment.

Budget-Friendly

Wildlife photography lenses can be quite expensive at times and, therefore, do not fall in everyone’s budget. Therefore, go for a model that is relatively affordable and features top specification to add value to your investment.

Quick Take - Best Wildlife Photography Lenses for Nikon Cameras

Before we dive into our review, here are the best wildlife photography lenses for Nikon cameras:

  1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED
  2. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G
  3. Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR f/34-8

Review of the Best Wildlife Photography Lenses for Nikon Cameras

Hopefully, you are now well familiar with all the significant features that should always be focused during a purchase. Now, we have a detailed review of our favorite products with its associated pros and cons. Let’s jump in!

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • No worry of any flare or distortion
  • Durability makes it last for a long time
  • Extra-low dispersion glass to provide maximum contrast
  • Vibration reduction technology to enhance the experience
  • Manufactured from high-quality materials to offer a robust design

CONS

  • An expensive model
  • Not resistant to water
  • Might face some chromatic aberration at 300mm

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens has earned the position of the best overall product for its ability to satisfy its users. Almost all users of this exotic lens are quite satisfied with its performance. They report it to be a highly durable lens with sturdy construction and has the capability to ensure vibrant images under any conditions.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the most versatile lenses available on the market, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED comes with a nice design that has a low-dispersion glass. This helps in reducing contrast and providing distortion-free images. Moreover, the model is equipped with VRII technology that is quite impressive.

Who Will Use This Most

A great model on the list, this Nikon lens is ideally designed to suit Nikon cameras completely. This lens can be used by professionals to take with them on a wildlife safari for capturing some stunning shots. Moreover, it can be used by photography enthusiasts for sports and nature photography as well.

Bottom Line

This lens is packed with so many exceptional features and, therefore, deserves to be the best product of all. The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED features not only a robust design but also a great aperture to let you take some nice pictures whenever you want.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • The auto-focus is extremely fast
  • Distortion can be reduced by virtue of VRII
  • Attractive design that is appealing to look at
  • Suitable for zoom as well as long-range photography
  • Composed of heavy-duty materials to ensure durability

CONS

  • Lacks resistance to water
  • Some concerns over price
  • Lens collar needs to be replaced

What Recent Buyers Report

This runner-up has gained many positive remarks from customers in terms of durability as well as superior performance. The most appreciated quality of this lens is its super-fast auto-focus that allows the user to take stunning images in almost no time. Moreover, the great focal length works well during photography.

Why it Stands Out to Us

A powerhouse of features, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G, is built to serve you in the long run. It comes with a nice focal length that can be adjusted according to your choice for capturing a worthy shot. Moreover, it features image stabilization to reduce any distortion in your images.

Who Will Use This Most

This model is an ideal option for anyone who loves to indulge in wildlife photography. With an adjustable focal length, it works well with almost all FX-format cameras to achieve high-level photography. Its zoom and long range make it suitable for nature, wildlife, and even sports photography.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an excellent lens to acquire exotic wildlife photography, then you must get your hands on the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G. Not only does this lens feature a nice design, but it is also a solid-performer that works in the best way possible to provide stunning photographs.

Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Fixed Zoom Digital Slr Camera Lens, Black

PROS

  • Quite silent in operation
  • Suitable for a number of purposes
  • Comes with the most affordable price tag
  • Image stabilization to allow distortion-free shots
  • Robust construction that is meant to serve you a long time

CONS

  • Poor customer support
  • Lack of distance indicator window
  • Limited compatibility with Nikon bodies

What Recent Buyers Report

This model is immensely popular among its users for its reasonable price. It comes with all the essential features and does not feel heavy on the pocket. Users report the auto-focus is extremely fast and yet silent in action. Moreover, this model can be used for more than just for wildlife photography.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Available at a great price, the Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR f/34-8 mainly stands out to us for its fast auto-focus that is complemented by a stepping motor. This motor allows photography without any interruption. Moreover, VR image stabilization works great in capturing stunning shots.

Who Will Use This Most

Since this lens is relatively less expensive, it can be the go-to choice for many budget-conscious people out there. Its long focal range makes it ideal for wildlife photography. Moreover, the image stabilization features ensure that you can take vibrant images even in low-light conditions. What else can you ask for?

Bottom Line

One of the most affordable lenses, the Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR f/34-8 is meant to provide exotic images according to your desire. Whether we talk about its sturdy design or the high-end performance, this Nikon lens is a great bargain at such a reasonable price.

Best Nikon Telephoto Lens for Wildlife:
 NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6 G ED VR II

NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II Lens - White Box (New)

PROS

  • Works well for many tasks
  • Quality construction to ensure durability
  • Super-integrated coating to avoid any flare
  • Vibration reduction technology to avoid blurry images

CONS

  • Less focal range
  • Ring might lock at times
  • Relatively slow auto-focus

What Recent Buyers Report

This model has received mixed reviews from its users. Firstly, it is highly admired for its reliable construction that increases the confidence of users in this product. Moreover, some advanced features result in highly defined images. Although there are some concerns over its relatively less focal range, it is still great to have around.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6 G ED VR II is an all-rounder as it is equipped with all top-notch features. Talking about its design first, it is nicely built and features super-integrated coating to reduce flare at a maximum level. Moreover, it comes with extra-low dispersion glass and vibration reduction technology to ensure high-quality pictures.

Who Will Use This Most 

It is proven to be an ideal choice for not only wild-life photographers but also for photography enthusiasts involved in sports coverage. The model is highly durable and, therefore, can be taken along on rough, adventurous trips to capture your special moments. Similarly, the focal range works great with DX-format lenses.

Bottom Line

Without a doubt, the NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6 G ED VR II is the most efficient wildlife photography lens currently available on the market. This model is integrated with advanced features that are meant to provide some worthy shots of your choice. All in all, it is an excellent and versatile lens.

Best Wildlife Lens for Nikon D500;
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • No tension of distorted images
  • Works well for a variety of tasks
  • Large lens with reliable construction
  • Can be used even in low-light conditions
  • Long focal range to provide exotic photographs

CONS

  • Relatively heavier model
  • Might face an issue during mobility
  • Not suitable for people on a tight budget

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens is no different from its competitors in terms of performance. Users report it to be great for wildlife photography thanks to its long focal range. Moreover, it is much-loved for its defined picture quality under any conditions. Although some users have minor concerns over its price, many reported that it was worth the investment.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E makes its way to our list for exhibiting a great set of features. Not only does it feature an amazing design, but the model is also established with many quality features that work together to provide a stunning photograph. The aperture is fast, plus the vibration reduction technology saves the user from any worry of distorted pictures.

Who Will Use This Most

With so many specifications, this lens is quite suitable for wildlife photography. Since it has a wide aperture, you can use this model for capturing some excellent pictures, even in low-light conditions. Moreover, this lens is specifically designed to support Nikon D500 in order to improve your overall experience.

Bottom Line

Equipped with top-notch features and versatile in performance, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E is a must-have. The design is durable, plus you can use it under all conditions to take the perfect shot. In short, you’ll not find a better model than this on the market.

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Lens for Wildlife Photography

Having a great lens for wildlife photography is quite beneficial in many ways. From speedy auto-focus to long focal range, these lenses are meant to suit your specific way of wildlife photography. Read on to find out the major benefits associated with investing in a great lens for wildlife photography.

Impressive Image-Quality

One of the major advantages of owning a nice lens is that they are quite efficient in providing high-quality images. There are less chances of any distortion and flare because of the vibration reduction technology and super-integrated coating. You can easily take them with you on your trips to produce sharper images.

Versatile

This is undoubtedly the most significant benefit of a quality lens. The above-mentioned lenses are equipped with extremely fast auto-focus to ensure a defined image. All of them are not only ideally suited for wildlife photography, but they can also be used for other purposes. The integration of vibration reduction technology makes them highly suitable for sports coverage and also birding without missing the focus.

Value to Your Bucks

Investing in a quality lens will always be beneficial in the long run. Getting a well-known lens means it is likely to come with all the advanced features that are helpful in creating stunning images. The durability of these lenses saves the user from expenditures of frequent repair and replacement.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Making an investment in a lens for wildlife photography can be daunting as they are relatively expensive. Therefore, to ensure a worthy investment, it is recommended to take a few factors into consideration first before making any purchase.

Size

The size of a lens is an important factor to consider, especially when you want it for wildlife photography. A bigger lens is often difficult to handle even by professionals. It might cause an inconvenience when you are on your adventurous trip. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a model that can be packed in your backpack easily.

Weight

The portability of any model is highly affected by its weight. Since some of these lenses are quite large, they are relatively heavier. To ensure comfort during your wildlife adventure, try to get a model that does not feel too heavy and, therefore, can be easily carried around.

Durability

This is one of the most important factors that must be considered to bring value to your bucks. Try to pick a model that is water-proof, splash-proof, and capable of enduring harsh conditions without compromising on the performance. There are some lenses on the market that are nano-crystal coated to enhance reliability.

Cost

Price is a crucial factor when it comes to lenses as not everybody wants to spend a great deal of money. Therefore, set your budget first and try to pick a lens that is equipped with almost all essential features but at the same time, does not cost you much.

Conclusion

Wildlife photography can be extremely tricky for multiple external influences. Having a great wildlife photography lens will surely save you from too much trouble in the field. All of the above-mentioned lenses are ideally designed to give you the best results during your adventure trips. An efficient lens is meant to bring value to your bucks. Therefore, it is advised to go through the buying guide at least once before setting out to buy a lens.