3 lightweight lenses for bird photography that photographers will love

Given the opportunity, we think everyone would enjoy photographing birds. But not everyone wants to carry so much weight on them. Luckily, there are some fantastic lightweight lenses for bird photography. With the right settings, they will stand out from many other lenses on the market. And we would know, since we tested them! So in this roundup, we dive into the best lightweight lenses for bird photography. Check it out!

Pro tips for getting the most out of lightweight lenses for bird photography

Here are some great tips on using the best lightweight lenses for bird photography that we feature in this roundup:

  • The Phoblographe roundups only highlight the elements that we have tested. All images (except one) in this roundup were taken by our staff. And in each section you will find a reference to our full review of each of these lightweight lenses for bird photography.
  • Live in a city? Try to make your home more bird friendly. Install bird feeders or baths to attract birds for photography. There are many easy, at-home ways to do this. If you’re using a bird feeder, opt for birdseed mixed with chili oil. It will repel rats and squirrels, but is fine for birds.
  • Bird photography requires precise focus and long focal lengths. Luckily, these lightweight lenses have just that.
  • If the birds are still, you won’t need the fastest autofocus. But if they are moving, be sure to put your camera in continuous autofocus and tracking mode. Generally speaking, we keep our Sony cameras in AF-C mode with the bird autofocus setting.
  • The lenses we recommend have built-in weather resistance.
  • The best thing about Tamron’s lenses is their light weight and high build quality while getting the job done. Hard to beat them!

Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD

Technical specifications

  • Focal length: 150-500mm
  • Maximum aperture: F5-6.7
  • Viewing angle: (diagonal) 16°25′-4°57′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
  • Optical construction: 25 elements in 16 groups
  • Minimum object distance: 0.6 m (23.6 in) (WIDE) / 1.8 m (70.9 in) (TELE)
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 1:3.1 (WIDE) / 1:3.7 (TELE)
  • Filter size: φ82mm
  • Maximum diameter: φ93mm
  • Length: 209.6 mm / 8.3 inch (from the front tip of the lens to the face of the lens mount)
  • Weight: 1725 g (60.8 oz) (without included tripod mount) / tripod mount 155 g (5.5 oz)
  • Aperture Blades: 7 (circular diaphragm, circular diaphragm remains almost perfectly circular up to two stops from maximum aperture)
  • Minimum aperture: F22-32
  • Standard accessory: round lens hood, lens caps, tripod mount
  • Compatible mounts: Sony E-mount

How is the autofocus

In our review we state:

“…the combo we used is better for wildlife. Fauna don’t tend to move as fast or as erratically as athletes. Want a beautiful photo of a butterfly? This is the combo you will want.

“The Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD can focus between 23.6 and 70.9 inches from the front of the lens, depending on the zoom position. That’s good enough for such a long lens, and it lets you get close-ups just over a 1:3 ratio.

Modified RAW

Buy now

Tamron 70-300mm f4.5-6.3 Di III RXD

Technical specifications

  • Weather sealing
  • Sony FE mount
  • Works with Sony AI with Animal AF
  • 5.8 inches in diameter
  • 67mm filter thread
  • 15 elements in 10 groups
  • 3 inches in length
  • Minimum focus of 2.6 feet
  • 1.2 lbs.

How is the autofocus

In our review we state:

I mainly tried this lens with the Sony a7r III. But I also used it a bit with the original Sony a7. The autofocus is quite comparable to each other. But overall, focusing with this lens is precise, fast and reliable.

Buy now

Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A VC VXD

Technical specifications

  • Model: B061
  • Focal length: 18-300mm
  • Maximum aperture: F3.5-6.3
  • Viewing angle: (diagonal) 77°24′- 5°30′ (for mirrorless format of APS-C frame)
  • Optical construction: 19 elements in 15 groups
  • Minimum object distance: 0.15m (5.9in) (WIDE) / 0.99m (39in) (TELE)
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 1:2 (WIDE) / 1:4 (TELE)
  • Filter size: φ67mm
  • Maximum diameter: φ75.5mm
  • Length*: 125.6 mm / 4.9 inches (Sony); 125.8mm / 5in (FUJIFILM)
  • Weight: 620g / 21.9oz (Sony / FUJIFILM)
  • Aperture blades: 7 (circular diaphragm)**
  • Minimum opening F22-40
  • Standard Accessory Flower-Shaped Lens Hood, Lens Caps
  • Mount: Sony E-mount, FUJIFILM X-mount

How is the autofocus?

In our review we state:

One of my favorite features of this lens is its close-up capabilities. At the wide end, the lens can focus at 5.9 inches, but that’s the distance to the camera sensor. Together with the length of the lens, this means you can focus on objects 0.2 inches from the front of the lens in the wide-angle position. That’s close enough that Tamron actually has a warning in fine print to be careful not to let objects touch the front of the lens.

Buy now

This piece is presented in partnership with TAMRON. We have independently and ethically reviewed all products in this roundup already without sponsorship. And we’ve worked with them to recommend a few key gems for you.

The various product overview features are done internally. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend equipment that we have fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, it might be on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists filled with cutting-edge knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



About Wesley Williamson

Check Also

‘We Women’ Photo Exhibit on Bloomingdale’s Trail Highlights Non-Binary Women and Photographers

LOGAN SQUARE — The challenges facing black pregnant women in Alabama, the plight of people …