Zoom or Fixed Lens?

Choosing between a zoom or fixed lens for nature photography.


Have you wanted to get a new lens for nature photography? Did you know you can get a zoom or a fixed lens? I will discuss some of the pros and cons to each type of lens in regards to taking nature photography. I was using an Olympus 75-300mm and an Olympus fixed 300mm for the photos, but the pros and cons can be similarly applied to any Nikon/Canon equivalent.

Let’s start with the 75-300 zoom lens. For nature photography most of your subjects are far away. Having a zoom lens is very useful. A lot of animals are skittish and will often run when anything gets close. If your subject moves having the ability to zoom out a reframe your photo is a huge plus. Loosing sight of your subject at the critical moment can be really frustrating.

Pretty much all the time a zoom lens is going to be smaller and easier to carry than a fixed lens. Traveling is much easier when you have a smaller lens.

One of the drawbacks of a zoom lens is that you have variable aperture. In less than ideal conditions this can cause your pictures to come out blurry do to slow shutter speed.

With a fixed lens, like the 300mm, you get the furthest range of the zoom lens. This allows you to get the same far off shots of the zoom lens, but it is much harder to recompose if you lose track of your subject.

If you are traveling the fixed lens is larger and heavier. This can prove inconvenient for some trips that require you to pack as small/light as possible.

Having a fixed lens does have its advantages. Being a fixed lens it is sharper. You also get a fixed aperture allowing you to take the lens into varied lighting conditions.


Recap of pros/cons




Easy to recompose


Variable aperture


Fixed 300mm


Fixed aperture




Be sure to stop in any Creve Coeur Camera location and we can help you decide what lens will work best for your photography.

-Dan Brown, Crestwood Store

Did you know you can rent lenses from us too? Ask your CCC Store how!