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Lenses for Dogs

For dogs, we prefer a high quality zoom lens in the range of 80mm-200mm or a telephoto lens with a focal lens around 135mm to 180mm. This focal length allows you to get in close to your subject to get good portraits but still keep a comfortable distance away (which is important as many shelter animals get skittish when you stand too close). They also keep the correct perspective on the animal by not exaggerating facial features by making them too wide or too narrow. Anything shorter and you risk being too close to the animal and making your subject uncomfortable. Also, shooting portraits with a lens of these focal lengths helps create a soft, blurred background (often referred to as bokeh) that can really help the animal stand out.

Since my eyes are not great and I sometimes have a problem seeing correct focus, I find that having a lens with a fast aperture such as 2.8 helps me and the camera focus faster. An aperture of this size allows more light into the lens which makes the image easier to see in the viewfinder. These lens are also typically sharper than consumer grade lenses that often have smaller or variable minimum aperture. However, they usually cost much more and aren't necessary to take good animal photographs.

If you use a consumer grade zoom lens in the range of 80mm-200mm with a variable aperture of 4.0-5.6 while practicing the techniques discussed on this Website, you will take animal photographs that are probably dramatically better than what your shelter now has.

Almost all the dog photographs on this site were taken with a Nikon 80mm-200mm 2.8 AF-D lens, hand held.

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