What is a Telephoto Lens, how much is a Telephoto Lens, What is a Telephoto Lens for?

What is a Telephoto Lens, how much is a Telephoto Lens, What is a Telephoto Lens for?

Brian Mathers

You bet, 3 big questions that all tie together so we are going to cover them all! 

You are most likely considering purchasing a telephoto lens or you are just getting started and want a bit more information, either way we are writing this for you with the intent that by the end of this you have a better general understanding of a telephoto lens and then we will back away and let you decide which brand/version/price point is best for you! 

First question, what is a telephoto lens!?! A telephoto lens that has a focal length of 60mm or greater. Pretty simple! Ok next question!...kidding ok! 

Let’s dive in a little deeper to give you a better understanding. :) A telephoto lens can either be a prime lens (fixed focal length) or a zoom lens (adjustable focal length), the key thing is that it is 60mm or longer. Now there are two general terms for different sizes of Telephoto lenses. The first one is a ‘medium telephoto lens’. This generally captures any lens between 60mm and 200mm. The second term used is a ‘super telephoto lens’. To be classified as a super telephoto lens, the lens would be 300mm or longer. Basically the name ‘telephoto lens’ is a fancy name for a lens that has a longer focal length of 60mm or longer.

Next question, how much is a telephoto lens. The short answer to this is that it depends. They range from  $150.00 to well over 5K depending on how large and fancy you are going. On the cheaper end of the spectrum you can find some decent Vivitar telephoto lenses, as soon as you start looking at the brand names such as Nikon, Canon, Sony ect you are jumping up closer to the 1K range and up depending on what you are going for. If you are not prepared to fork out this kind of cash you can always look at Telephoto Lens Adapters. The lens adapters clip onto your existing lens and provide a very good picture for the money invested if used correctly. The telephoto lens adapters range from as low as $40.00 and up to $250.00 or so. As always you have to take into consideration if you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of picture quality for the money you could save. 

Third question, what are telephoto lenses for? Or for SEO purposes we will ask the question this way as well, what are telephoto lens for? As you have to clear the 60mm focal length to be considered a telephoto lens, you can well imagine that you are going to need to be further away from your subject to get a clearer photo. The main use of a telephoto lens is to shoot at a distance. They are used for landscape photography, portrait photography, wildlife photography, ect. Anything that you want to shoot from a distance is a great candidate for a telephoto lens.

There are some tricks that a telephoto lens can help with, such as creating a blurred background around a subject. Making things seem closer to the camera then they actually are. Finally taking incredible portrait photos. We find the greatest use being long shots.

With that we will wrap things up. We hope this gives you a little more information on what a telephoto lens is and what some of the options are on the market. Now we will back away and let you decide what will work best for you! :)