Is there a PERFECT LENS for WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – Could it be the Nikon 180-400mm?




What is the best lens for wildlife photography? That is a question I get asked a lot but a question that is very hard if not impossible to answer.

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In this episode of Photographer’s Friday I am sharing my thoughts about which lenses I use for wildlife photography and why.
I have just got the new Nikon 180-400mm f/4 1,4 TC to play with for a couple of weeks and that might be the best lens for me – only time can tell.
Because we all have different needs and different preferences it will be hard to find a lens that is best for everyone – also because we can not get everything in just one lens without sacrificing either sharpness and speed or flexibility and lightweight.

In this video I am telling about my Nikon 600mm f/4 VR super telephoto lens, the Tamron 150-600mm g2 telephoto zoom and then finally the new Nikon 180-400mm f/4 1,4 TC.

AND sorry for talking so much – it is just such a hard topic and I am trying my best to get around the things I feel matter when it comes to choosing lenses for wildlife photography.

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In Photographer’s Friday I share my photography tips and camera technics and tell about how I plan my trips and stuff like that. My goal is to inspire as many as possible and to share my fascination of nature and wildlife photography.

If you have any questions or ideas for future episode please let me know in the comments.

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My name is Morten Hilmer and I work as a professional nature and wildlife photographer. In a series of short 4K videos I will share my fascination of nature and the animal kingdom with you and invite you behind the scenes when I am out photographing the fascinating wildlife, the stunning landscapes and the wild nature. I work as a ILCP photographer, and nature conservation is very close to my heart.

Read more about my time in the Sirius Dogsled Patrol: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160226-photographing-greenlands-elite-dog-sled-patrol

Beside the many publications, my photographs have been awarded in the Wildlife photographer of the year and European Wildlife Photographer of the Year photo competitions.

In spring 2017 I published my book Silence of the North: https://mortenhilmer.com/en/shop/sile…

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All the best
Morten Hilmer

Website at https://mortenhilmer.com

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Comments 26

  1. Awesome talk about your lenses and what you prefer. As I move into doing more photography and video stuff, I'm very keen to hear peoples opinions on these things so that I can try to make a better choice for myself and my needs. So this video was very informative and helpful towards that! Thank you! Cheers!

  2. Hey Morten, No need to apologize for your English. I have no clue of any words in your native language. I love my Nikons, I've been a Nikon shooter for over 40 years. But I must tell you that I am am in a state of angst when I think about ever spending $12,399 for the 180-400 mm lens. I was apoplectic when I spent over $800 for a F3 many years ago (still have it). No doubt it would be great to own it! My photo business is mostly who or what will stand in front of my camera (and what I can get from the air with my drone), which is a great many portraits, real estate, and events. I do some wildlife shots from my boat on the river, but not enough to warrant an expensive lens like the 180-400. My Nikon 70-300 seems to work fine, but I would love a little more reach so I think I will take your comments to heart and take a closer look at the Tamron or Signma. Enjoy your coffee.

  3. Hi Morten. This is a fascinating insight into your choice of lenses and the situations you would use them in. I would love to own a large Nikon prime like your 600 f/4 but, as a hobbyist, I can't justify the price, and I'm happy with my Sigma 150-600 sport. The Nikon 180-400mm looks a fantastic lens – can't wait to see images from it. Another great "Photographer's Friday" video Morten. Really enjoying your channel. Many thanks for sharing.

  4. Rigtig informativ video. Tak for det Morten. Jeg vil lige hører. Du snakkede kort om teleconverter, vil du nogensinde vælge at bruge en teleconverter på 150-600mm'ern. Jeg har den nemlig selv, og bruger den på mit d750, men syntes ofte at jeg ikke kommer tæt nok på. Og hvor mange X converter vil du max bruge?

  5. What are your thoughts on the Nikon 300mm f4 lens? It's so small, almost like a 24-70. Combined with a D850 you can crop in a lot. Maybe that could be a really good setup.

  6. Morten, outstanding video. Great to hear your views. Like someone else said, your English is great, so much better than my second language. I don’t speak one.
    Africa and Special Forces? I’d love to know more. And whatever the project is that’s coming up soon for you, I want in…. like everyone else. Ha. Keep it going.. love it.

  7. Nice video – and 100% on that its a different perfect lens for everyone
    This does indeed seem like a great lens – very versatile and almost prime quality.

    I shoot sports as well as wildlife and can imagine it good for shooting the far side of the field, and when players approach flip the TC and good to go again.
    That said, for me you cant beat the look of that fast prime, so my 500mm F4 will stay!

    Also lucky that cost doesnt matter to you – its a very expensive lens over here in Australia.

  8. I shoot the Sigma Sport 150-600 mm and have found that I have had challenges with fine tuning for sharpness. I know that it can produce sharp images as seen in social media so I am keeping it and working on the fine tuning. You are absolutely right that the Tamron and Sigma lenses are very versatile and mine is rarely off of my D500. I look forward to seeing your images from the 180-400 mm…..maybe it will be worth the change? Could you try it with tc’s as well? Thanks Morton…keep your enthusiasm and great videos coming.

  9. Hmmm… I wonder if i ask nicely Canon Europe will send me a 200-400 with built in teleconverter for me to try out……..PLEASE. LOL. Good informative video Morten
    PS… I think you have a coffee addiction lol

  10. 24min of very good video once again! I recently purchased the Tamron 150-600 G2 while in Japan, to get back to wildlife photography. Combined with my D500 it's a great weapon but I am still struggling with the sharpness. But I do think it is because I don't use the best settings more than anything. When I see the pics you take with the same lens, it proves I can do much better! 🙂 I need to undeerstand better bith my camera and the lens!

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