Telephoto Lenses: Characteristics and Uses

In photography the use of telephoto lenses is very wide spread. A specific type of long focus lens, the telephoto lens has the particularity of a physical length that is shorter than its focal length. However you should not confuse long focal length lenses with telephoto lenses. Although a telephoto lens has a long focal length, it also has a very specific construction, which incorporates a special lens group known as a telephoto group. This element effectively increases the focal length of the camera in a much shorter overall design. A telephoto lens is a great option for any photographer and here are a few reasons why you should consider buying a telephoto lens if you don’t own one already:

– Because of their design, you can have a long focal length with a telephoto lens in a much lighter and shorter construction than with a normal long focus lens. This will make it ideal for traveling, for example. Also, if you want to photograph objects at far distances a telephoto lens is the best option, because the lenses with normal construction will make the camera very hard to handle.

– Telephoto lenses can be used with great success for macro photography as well. They can be used to get great close-ups of small subjects like butterflies or flowers while the photographer can be standing away from the subject he or she is photographing. Although they cannot be used for extreme macro photography of small bugs for example, a telephoto lens has its advantages when it comes to macro photography. Due to the focal length compression you can blur the background more than you could with a macro lens with a shorter focal length. Also, because in the case of telephoto lenses you will stay at some distance from your subject, you will have enough depth of field at lower aperture settings. This means that you can also choose sharper apertures and faster shutter speeds when taking macro photos with telephoto lenses.


Photo by Amarand

– A telephoto lens is a great choice if you are interested in photographing wild life. It allows the photographer to keep a safe distance from the subject so that he or she doesn’t disturb or frighten the wild animals. Very long telephoto lenses are especially useful when photographing birds and they will allow the photographer to remain virtually invisible to them.

– For photographing large venue events like concerts or sports events you will need a long telephoto lens as you will most likely not be able to get close to the subjects you want to photograph. However, if the event takes place in the evening and you don’t have the same amount of light as you do during the day, you should consider buying a telephoto lens with the widest aperture possible, like f/2.8. Although these are more expensive than normal telephoto lenses, they will be able to capture more light and they will be perfect for this type of photography.

Below are some interesting examples of photographs taken with telephoto lenses:


Photo by Emptyremains


Photo by koolgiy


Photo by lansakit


Photo by xaly


Photo by AmbAngels


Photo by Westerberg

Check the telephoto lenses here:

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Motorized Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon SLR Cameras

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer Telephoto Zoom Lens – Grey Market non US Product

Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

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