I am planning to take a photography tour in India to photograph tiger and other animals. What lens would be recommended for such purpose?

I am canon user and have 5d mk iv with 100-400 IS I. I have 1.4x III extender. I can rent a 500mm lens if that's recommended but I am not sure if such a long lens is the go to choice for photography in jungle where the animal may be close to me. I have no experience in this area, so I don't know how close the encounters are, or how big the 500mm lens will zoom onto the biggest cat.

Any advise would be much appreciated. Any anecdotes from people who have photographed big cats in jungles would also be helpful. Thanks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How close/far do the guides for your tour say you will probably be from the tigers? What times of day are you most likely to encounter them? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 1, 2018 at 2:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you’re within 50yards of a tiger, make sure you can run faster than at least one other tourist. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Dec 1, 2018 at 2:28

1 Answer 1


I haven't photographed big cats in jungles, but if you're trying to be prepared for wide range of focal length possibilities, you can't get much more versatile than Sigma's 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport. This is the successor to their famed (infamed?) 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM "Bigma".

I have rented the 50-500mm Bigma on multiple occasions. It's no 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, but considering the single-lens versatility, I wouldn't hesitate to both recommend it in a similar situation, and to use it (or the 60-600mm) again.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Shooting underneath the canopy in jungles can present challenging lighting, even during the day. An f/4.5-6.3 lens might be a little slow. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 1, 2018 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark Absolutely. My best experience with the Bigma was shooting eagles from a pontoon boat in Minnesota on an overcast day. My more frustrating experience was shooting deer in the snow at 50 yards on an overcast day, under thick evergreen cover. But my recommendation was entirely focused on the focal length versatility. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Dec 1, 2018 at 2:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Jungle canopy is a lot darker than an overcast sky, except you also have high contrast bright spots. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 1, 2018 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark yes. My point with overcast sky was that I had good lighting conditions. No hot spots, even lighting, enough light to shoot wide open at a high enough shutter to not have motion blur at 500mm. I'm saying that was a good day. Jungle cover is somewhat more like my deer experience, which was very difficult under the dark shadows under conifers. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Dec 1, 2018 at 2:43

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