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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Canon 350D Lens advice please (1 Viewer)


New member
Hi,I'm seeking advice on a good quality lens for my Canon camera EOS 350D. I've had the camera a good while now and only recently become interested in the wildlife in the garden. I got talking to a guy who has taken some cracking photos of birds however the cost of his lens is something I can only fream about. I do have a Tamron AF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 lens but I find it doesn't get me close enough top the subject. As you can probably tell I'm a real novice when it comes to photography so would be glad of any advice you can give me but I should add that I'm on a limited budget,would buy second-hand from a reputable business if it has to be,thank you


Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to BirdForum

I think that if you can give an idea of budget it will be easier for people to give recommendations. I'd definitely recommend buying a secondhand lens, there are some great deals out there.


Well-known member

The Canon 400mm f/5.6 is a popular budget lens. It is maybe £650 on UK ebay (about £1250 new). It does not have image stabilization, but as long as you keep the shutter speed up around 1/640 or above, you should be fine with practice. Or use a monopod. I understand it takes a 1.4x teleconverter well too. On you 350d, 400mm would be 640mm equivalent field of view, which is a respectable focal length for birding. it is also light weight for a long lens at 1.2kg (without tripod collar attached).

Going from 300mm to 400mm will give you a 1.33x boost. You could take an existing, uncropped, photo you have and remove 25% from the height and width to see what that looks like. For example, a 4"x5" photo would become a 3"x 3.75" field of view.

The next step would be the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary (sometimes just called the "C") or the Tamron 150-600 G2 (the G2 is much better than the original version of the lens). They are both f/6.3 at the long side, but work very well in good light. If it is often overcast or gloomy where you shoot, then an f/6.3 lens might be a bit more challenging. I see on amazon uk, the Sigma is £700 new and the Tamron £1050 new. These are heavier lenses, closer to 2 kg. They will give you a 960mm field of view on your camera.

Going from 300mm to 600mm is a 2x boost. Take an existing uncropped photo, and remove half the width and height to see what it would look like.

Are those prices anywhere near where you were looking? There are older models of 150-500mm or similar from Sigma, but they are very heavy and the image quality is not up to the lenses I just mentioned.

I am a Nikon shooter, so I have not used any of these on Canon. I used to use the Tamron G2 on Nikon and was happy with it. I know several other bird photographers who use the Tamron 150-600G2 on Canon and like it quite a bit. Basically, the choice comes down to : 150-600 for reach, or 400 f/5.6 for lighter weight and faster speed.

The 350d is 8 MP, so you do not have a lot of room to crop down, so the 150-600 might be a better choice. I think the 350d likely tops out at 1600 ISO, so the faster 400mm f/5.6L might be better to keep the ISO lower. I'm not sure how the 350D does with higher ISOs. Sorry to waffle around like that, but I am not sure which way to go for the 350d. On the 7d, I know the 150-600 works fine at moderate ISOs to make up for the higher f-stop.

For these heavier lenses, I recommend using a sling strap, such as the Black Rapids Sport sling strap. The key thing is it slings around one shoulder to keep the weight off your neck. It also has an under-arm strap to keep it from creeping up onto the side of your neck. They work very well, but are a bit pricy. There are many knockoffs, but most do not have the underarm strap. A monopod can also help, especially if you want to keep the lens focused on a target for some time, such as waiting for a bird to take off from a perch.

Price disclaimer: I am searching from the US, so those prices might be off a little, as sometimes I only see shippers who ship to the US. The ebay price is from a single quick search and I cannot represent the quality of the specific product I saw.

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Feathers Wild Bird Care
It does depend on your budget. I have previously owned the Canon 350D with a Sigma 70-300, so a similar setup. I now use a Canon 7D II with a Canon 400mm f/5.6. I would personally recommend first upgrading the camera body before the lens. As mentioned above, going up to a 400mm will only increase your reach by 1.33x, but a newer camera body could easily double your camera resolution, so you can afford to crop more in post production and essentially achieve that greater reach you're looking for. Not to mention the image quality (particularly at higher ISOs) will be far greater with a more modern camera body. I have used and would recommend MPB for used camera equipment. It's a bit of a minefield as to what to choose and will of course depend on your budget.


Well-known member
I think I'd agree that a camera upgrade first might be in order. A Canon 7d (original Mk 1) should be pretty inexpensive and a giant leap forward to 18 MP. That would give you an extra 1.5x crop right there (MP go as the square of a linear crop, so sqrt(18/8) = 1.5). That would make your 300mm lens 720mm at the same 8MP image size, versus the 640mm equivalent going with a 400mm on the 350d.

Usually I vote for lens before camera, but I think the 350d might be too limiting nowadays.

Other options in less old cameras would be say the 550D or later or 60D or later. It really just depends on your budget and what you can find in good condition. Try to find something with a low shutter count (say 50,000 or less, but there's nothing magic about that number). Though the 7d would be my preference in budget-conscious canon birding cameras.

The 650d and 70d were the consumer-level cameras that got the Digic 5 processor, the same as the 5d mk3, 6d, and 1dx. So I would try for one of those or the 7d.

Basically, newer cameras get more FPS, larger buffers, better auto-focus, and maybe a stop or two more ISO performance per processor generation.

Hopefully you can find a good salesperson who can help walk you through your options. Remember to bring your existing lens(es) and an SD card with you so you can try them on the new body and decide if it's making enough difference for you. You can bring the SD card home and look at the photos on a screen to see what's what.

ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
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