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Double-crested Cormorant feeding a chick. Sony RX10 IV, focal length 220mm. Exposure: 1/800 sec, f/4, ISO 100. Photo by Bob Krist

It’s always dangerous to use the word “never” in a broad sweeping generalization, but I do believe that I’m safe when I say that I’ve never, ever heard an avid birder say, “I wish I had a lens with a shorter zoom range.”

No, like that pithy observation that says it’s impossible to be too rich or too thin, it’s a given that, when it comes to photographing birds, the longer the lens, the better. Of course, birder-friendly focal lengths like 400mm, 500mm, and 600mm don’t come without a hefty price — both in terms of dollars spent and pounds hauled around.

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Bob Krist

Bob Krist

Bob Krist is an award-winning freelance photographer who works regularly for magazines such as National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, and Outdoor Photographer. The Society of American Travel Writers has named him “Travel Photographer of the Year” three times, and his work has been featured in many books and videos.

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