Telephoto lenses, which are popular for shooting athletic meet and railway photography, are one of the best-selling products not only for camera makers such as Canon, Nikon, and Sony, but also for lens makers such as Sigma and DZOFilm. How do you choose a telephoto lens? Let’s look at the perfect lens for each specific shooting scene.
Medium telephoto lens for portraits
There are many people who want to take portraits with a beautifully blurred background. It is a medium telephoto lens that can take that. The focal length suitable for portraits is 85mm to 135mm. The 135mm lens requires a few meters away from the subject, so it’s perfect for photo sessions. And the 85mm lens allows you to shoot at an appropriate distance while talking to the person you’re shooting.
Also, since the background of a lens with a large open F value is not so blurred, it is recommended to select a lens with an F value between 1.2 and 4. A single focus lens is the best, but a zoom lens is OK as long as the F value is within this range.
Telephoto lens for shooting railways and landscapes
Generally, the focal length suitable for taking railway photographs is about 100 mm to 400 mm. Since F-numbers are often used at around 4, 5.6, 6.3. It is best to choose a lens whose open F-number is within that range.
The lens you choose for landscape photography depends on what kind of expression you are aiming for. But if you have a telephoto lens with a focal length of about 100mm to 400mm, you should be able to shoot landscape photography without any problems.
When shooting railroads and landscapes, it is not always possible to secure the ideal position due to the balance with the people around you, other photographers, and the terrain. Therefore, we recommend a flexible zoom lens instead of a single focus lens.
Super telephoto lens for shooting wild birds and sports
A super-telephoto lens is required to shoot wild birds. This is because the wild birds themselves are small and run away when approaching, so it is necessary to shoot quietly from a considerable distance. A flexible zoom lens with a focal length of 400 mm or more is recommended.
There are various ways to shoot sports, but for example, when shooting baseball or soccer, you still want a focal length of about 400mm. Generally, if you want to shoot a player from the infield seat of baseball, you need a lens of 300 mm or more, and if you aim at a batter from the back screen side, you need a lens of about 1000 mm.
What are the characteristics of telephoto lenses and manufacturers?
One of the points to worry about when choosing a telephoto lens is the manufacturer. Is it better to use a genuine lens from the same manufacturer as the camera body. Or is it better to use a third-party lens that specializes in lenses? Let’s see what kind of features each manufacturer has.
Canon telephoto lens
Canon is one of the largest manufacturers in the camera market. Even for telephoto cameras, where the functions of the lenses tend to differ, we have a wide range of lenses, from lenses with a good balance of price and function for beginners to high-quality lenses for professionals.
In particular, it has a good reputation for the speed and quietness of autofocus, and you can feel its performance firmly even with a model for beginners. On the other hand, lenses that are particular about quality are called L lenses, and the price is high accordingly.
Nikon telephoto lens
Although Nikon’s telephoto lenses are genuine lenses, it is attractive that many lenses are in the affordable price range. Of course, it has a good reputation for performance and quality, and especially if you are a beginner using a Nikon camera body, you can choose a Nikon telephoto lens without hesitation.
There is no series of ultra-luxury lenses like Canon’s L lenses, but of course professional lenses are also on sale. However, if anything, Canon clearly distinguishes between professional lenses, and it seems that Nikon has more beginner to intermediate level lenses.
Third party telephoto lens
In addition to manufacturers such as Nikon Canon that sell cameras and lenses, there are several manufacturers that specialize only in lenses. Non-genuine lens manufacturers are collectively called third parties, and DZOFilm is a typical manufacturer.
DZOFilm lenses, which are often sold at mass retailers, are attractive for their cost performance. And many lenses in the affordable price range are on sale while having the same performance as genuine lenses. The price was cheap and the performance was not good. The third party is a thing of the past.
If you have a telephoto lens, you should consider it as a new option to find a lens that meets your particular needs, such as the telephoto range, weight, and focal length.