Telephoto Lens Guide

Last Updated on April 6, 2021

A telephoto lens is a lens that has a longer focal length than a standard lens. This allows the photographer to zoom in on their subject and get closer to it without needing to move in physically.

The telephoto lens is perfect for getting sharp photos of distant objects in low light. It also captures fine details and produces pleasing shallow depth-of-field images, which means that the subject looks natural while the background is blurred.

What is telephoto photography?

camera on tripod with telephoto lens

Telephoto lenses allow the photographer to get much closer, usually without moving in, which can be helpful for photographing wildlife or inaccessible subjects.

A telephoto lens focuses on a specific point so you can shoot images of people in the distance without worrying about focusing.

The focal length of a standard lens, which is often used in portrait and wedding photography, is 50mm or less. This blurs backgrounds and makes the subject appear larger with more impact.

A telephoto lens features focal lengths between 80mm and 600mm, making it ideal for photographing far away subjects like wildlife or sports events.

What is the difference between telephoto and zoom lens?

Telephoto lenses are designed to enable photographers to get closer to the action while maintaining the original perspective of a scene.

They achieve this by using a very long focal length. These types of lenses usually have less wider ranging abilities than zooms, but with practice you can use them to create interesting effects with a shallow depth-of-field that blur out the background and focus attention on your subject.

They are typically paired with wide aperture settings.

A zoom lens on the other hand, offers a range of focal lengths. The most versatile optical zoom lens is a 10x zoom, but you can also find telephoto and wide-angle zooms too.

They offer more flexibility and convenience to photographers who like to be able to move around while shooting.

What are the advantages of using a telephoto lens?

The main advantage of using a telephoto lens is that you can get closer to your subject without moving forward, which is particularly helpful when shooting wildlife or sports.

Why are telephoto lenses so expensive?

They are typically made with more complex glass elements and precision-crafted mechanical parts than standard zoom lenses.

They also often include features like image stabilization that aren’t always found on less expensive lenses.

Telephoto lenses are some of the most expensive types of lenses available for DSLR cameras. Most cost between $500 and $2,500 and more, while some high-end models can go as high as $10,000.

What can you shoot with a telephoto lens?

Many wildlife photographers use telephoto lenses to shoot birds, insects and other small animals in the wild. You can also take candid photos of small animals in a home or garden.

There are also many situations when the longer focal length of a telephoto lens is particularly useful.

For example, telephoto lenses are ideal for shooting landscapes, especially from an elevated point such as a hillside or building ledge.

They can also be used to get close-up overhead shots like bird’s-eye views.

Sports photographers love the telephoto lenses because they can get very close to the action without needing to move in. They also tend to be less expensive than professional sports cameras.

Can I use a telephoto lens for everyday shooting?

Telephoto lenses are often an excellent way for professionals and amateurs alike to expand their photography skills, but their high cost means that they are not always practical for general everyday shooting.

For this purpose, it’s probably better to go with a standard zoom lens if you want more versatility and versatility.

Which is better telephoto or macro lens?

They are designed for different purposes. A macro lens has a short focal length that enables you to shoot images with a very shallow depth-of-field.

It is not meant to work at long distances, though the images will still be sharp.

However, telephoto lenses are able to focus on specific objects from a distance and are able to create a blur on the background.

Macro lenses can be used as telephoto lenses if you use them properly and often will have a similar quality as one at half the cost of a telephoto lens.

What’s the difference between telephoto and wide angle lens?

Wide angle lenses offer a wide field of view. These types of lenses are designed to take in a large portion of the scene at once.

Many traditional cameras, such as the 35 mm is limited to about 70 degrees of horizontal angle. A wide-angle lens can get you more than that and beyond because it covers more ground than normal lenses do.

Live your life like a pro photographer with the help of these great tips

  • In low light conditions, a telephoto lens makes it easier to get clear photos of distant subjects. A greater magnification power is also helpful for taking fine landscape, portrait and wedding shots.
  • Telephoto lenses are perfect for capturing landscapes and animals in the distance because they eliminate the need to move closer to them. This is also beneficial when you are trying to take photos of fast-moving objects such as surfers, cyclists and other active people.
  • The longer focal length of a telephoto lens allows you to get closer to your subject without moving in, which is helpful when trying to take clear wedding or portrait pictures. This increases exposure time and makes portraits appear more natural.

What features should you look for when choosing a telephoto lens?

Look for autofocus capabilities.

The ideal telephoto lens should be able to offer accurate and fast focusing. This is also important because it is difficult to manually focus when you are using a long lens.

Choose a telephoto lens with an ultra-wide aperture, which allows you to capture sharp photos in dark conditions.

Telephoto lenses with high magnification powers are usually prime lenses. This means that they have fixed focal lengths, which make it easier to quickly focus and compose your shots.

How to choose a telephoto lens for astrophotography?

When choosing a telephoto lens for astrophotography, there are some specific features you need to consider. Telephoto lenses typically have focal lengths from 2000mm or more, making them able to take photos of the entire sky at once.

When you are shooting the night sky, it is important to remember that wide-angle lenses have a wider angle and thus a smaller depth of field.

This makes distant stars appear softer and more blurry.

This effect increases with focal lengths, so for example lenses with focal lengths between 200mm and 500mm produce sharp images, while those with focal lengths above 500mm can blur stars considerably.

How to choose a telephoto lens for wildlife photography

Telephoto lenses are used in wildlife photography to get close-up photos of animals. When producing close-up wildlife images, get as close as possible without getting too close.

You can also choose a telephoto lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger to increase the depth of field and improve your chances of capturing sharp outdoor images at any focal length.

How to choose a telephoto lens for sports photography

Telephoto lenses are one of the most common choices for sports photography. Their high magnification powers allow you to capture close-up photos of athletes and their actions from a distance.

When shooting a game or a race, you can get great results even with moderately long lenses. A medium telephoto lens with 200mm to 300 mm focal lengths is usually enough to capture amazing action sports shots.

If you have the money, a telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2.8 or larger is a great addition to your kit. It will improve your depth of field and help you get more in focus.


It can be difficult to know where to start when selecting your first telephoto lens. In general, the longer the focal length of a lens, the wider or more detailed that image will appear. Telephoto lenses have telephoto capabilities, which means that they are able to produce clear photos of objects at great distances.