What is telephoto lens?

Telephoto lenses give you the power to select portions of the landscape, and enlarge them on film, so that you can pick out details of the scene and frame them up for intense scrutiny. Most telephoto lenses provide quite a modest degree of enlargement: at its longest setting, for example, an 80-200mm zoom enlarges the subject by just four times - much less than the average pair of binoculars. Nevertheless, this is sufficient for most landscape pictures, and most photographers choose a lens in the 70-250mm range as their first telephoto.

If you find yourself frequently cropping in on the central area of pictures shot with a moderate telephoto, you may be tempted to buy a longer focal length. Bear in mind, though, that lenses with focal lengths longer than 250mm tend to be heavy, costly and cumbersome. It is best to borrow or hire such a lens before buying. You can cut bulk and weight two ways - by using a mirror lens, which is half the size and weight of its conventional counterpart; or by coupling an existing lens to a teleconverter. Unfortunately both these solutions have drawbacks. Neither produces such sharp pictures as a conventional lens used on its own, and mirror lenses have a non-variable aperture.


More about telephotos lenses

- Short Telephotos Lens
- Long Telephotos Lens
-  Medium Telephotos Lens
- Mirror Lenses and Telescopes
- Tele Extender
- Characteristics of Tele Lenses

- Tips on how to handle long lenses