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Top 10 Best Nikon Lenses for Wildlife Photography (2020)

What lenses do professional wildlife photographers use? Wildlife photography is an adventurous journey. To make the most of it, you have to choose the best lens to go with your camera. To capture lions in Africa or watching birds take flight, getting the best photos comes down to your lens. When choosing a top rated lens, you should consider image stabilization. You’d capture most of the photos from a distance to ensure the least disturbance of the animals. The lens should be of high quality, perform in low light, and have long focal length. What is the best Nikon camera lens for bird photography?

Also recommended: Best Bird Photography Lenses

A List of Top 10 Best Nikon Lenses for Wildlife Photography in 2020

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

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The Nikon 70 300mm telephoto lens with f/4.5 -5.6 maximum aperture is best for Nikon digital SLR cameras. It boasts 2 focus modes with fast auto, silent focusing with a minimum focus range of 4.9 feet. More so, it has a focal range of 70-300mm. The effects of camera shake are minimized by vibration reduction VRII.

Pros

  • High-quality image, at shorter focal lengths
  • Efficient image stabilizer
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • At longer focal lengths, lateral chromatic aberration is visible
  • Sharpness lags at the edges at full opening and the center at longer focal lengths

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II

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The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G has 7 Extra-low Dispersion elements to provide sharpness in the widest aperture. Also, its Nano Crystal Coat reduces ghosting and flaring. The vibration reduction technology enables shooting over up to 4 shutter speeds slower. The silent wave motor enables fast, precise, and quiet autofocus. While its Flower-shaped lens protects it from image degrading light.

Pros

  • Sharp throughout the zoom range
  • It doesn’t extend when zooming
  • Focus limiter switch
  • A built-in vibration reduction

Cons

  • Some pincushion distortion
  • Close focus is limited to 4.6 feet
  • Expensive

Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S

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The Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S is a compact, elegant telephoto lens ideal for wildlife photography. It boasts silent wave motor tech that is quiet and fast. Besides, its high resolution and high contrast photos are made possible by its ED glass elements. More so, its M/A mode enables switching from manual operation to autofocus seamlessly. Lastly, the autofocus elements achieve a natural blur due to its 9 blade rounded diaphragm.

Pros

  • It Covers Full-Frame Sensor
  • Tripod Collar
  • Built-in autofocus
  • It comes with its hood

Cons

  • It’s weighty
  • It’s costly

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II

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The Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II is a professional telephoto, high-performance lens. Firstly, Its images are super sharp. Its color correction is effective, thanks to its 3 low dispersion elements. Second, its image clarity is superb due to its Nano crystal coat that reduces ghosting and internal flare. Thirdly, it promotes image integrity by eliminating comas and aberrations. Fourthly, its autofocus memory recall function returns to a predetermined focus point with the push of a button. Finally its rugged build is moisture and dust resistant. And its tripod detection mode compensates extra vibration from the tripod.

Pros.

  • It has a wide aperture
  • Its images are quite sharp
  • Image distortion is minimal
  • Quality build materials
  • It has a rotating tripod collar
  • Compatible with teleconverter

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not cheap

Nikon 400mm f/2.8G VR

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The Nikon 400mm f/2.8G VR will take your photos to a whole new level. Its edge to edge sharpness is unmatched. Vibration caused during shutter release is counteracted by its vibration reduction system. It will detect tripod mount and adjust its stability accordingly. Its silent wave motor increases autofocusing speed.

Pros:

  • Images are sharp even a focal length of 2.8
  • It has a quick focus capability.

Cons:

  • It’s heavy for new users.
  • You can feel the VR kick.

Nikon 500mm f/4G VR

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The Nikon 500mm f/4G VR combines nano crystal coating and a meniscus protective glass element to minimize ghosting and flare. The lenses have been optimized to deliver edge to edge sharpness. Shutter release vibrations are easily eliminated by its new tripod detection technology. This compliments the already existing vibration reduction minimizing the effects of camera shake. Autofocusing is precise and powerful.

Pros:

  • It delivers sharp images.
  • It has exceptional Fast focus
  • It easy to use on the go.
  • F4 is fast enough in low light conditions.
  • It offers an excellent narrow depth of field.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • It is difficult to handhold for long
  • Sturdy tripod and a high-quality mount

Nikon 600mm f/4G VR

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It’s the best lens for wildlife photography. The superb NIKKOR 600mm f/4G telephoto lens brings distant objects up close with clarity. Nikon Vibration Reduction image stabilizer provides of blur-free handheld photo shooting. It can deliver sharp still images and High Definition videos. Advanced Nikon lens technology outputs impeccable results in super difficult situations. And it’s highly rugged build extra durability.

Pros.

  • It offers a long focal length.
  • It works on all kinds of sensors.
  • It has a built-in autofocus motor
  • It includes a lens hood and a tripod mount.

Cons.

  • It doesn’t have a built-in image stabilizer
  • Its not very rugged
  • Its heavy
  • Its costly.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED

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The NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED will capture some of the most thrilling moments. Light and rugged, photographers find it easier to use yet get excellent images. Whether it is in low lights, conditions, clarity, and precision remain impeccable. Its unique diaphragm maintains consistent exposure at high-speed shoots. Its pro-grade dust and moisture sealing improves its outdoor capability.

Pros

  • The optical quality is outstanding.
  • It has super-fast focusing
  • Virtually has no distortion
  • It has an excellent build quality
  • It is light.
  • It has an effective VR system
  • It usable in harsh conditions.

Cons

  • It costs a lot of money

Nikon FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED

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The Nikon FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED has a unique fast F/5.6 aperture. It can take stunning autofocus backgrounds and performs even in low light conditions. It is compatible with optical TC 14E teleconverters and DSLRs. Its compact design is ideal for bird watching and wildlife photography. The Zoom power on the fx format DSLR of 500mm is equal to 750mm on the dx format with a focus distance of 2.2 meters and a focal length of 200-500mm.

Pros.

  • It has sharp optics.
  • Vast telephoto reach.
  • It has optical stabilization.
  • The removable tripod collar is included.

Cons.

  • It outputs soft edges at 200mm.
  • It is not compatible with some older D-SLRs.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED

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The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED is the pinnacle of performance in the Nikon wildlife photography lens. This 800mm prime marvel optical design has a magnesium alloy body that is water and dust resistant. And its lightweight fluorite lens improves performance and handling. An AFS TC 800 increases the focal length to a staggering 1000mm bringing the wildlife closer.

Pros

  • It has a high performing VR & Autofocus
  • Its lightweight, thus it easier on your hands.
  • It has extra-long Focal Length
  • Precise and extreme focus speed.
  • It has high-performance optics.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Big size

Final thoughts

Nikon is a leading tech innovator in the photography world. This list of the best Nikon lenses for wildlife are your choices for the most thrilling moments in the wild. And as the saying goes, the glass is more important than the gear.