If you’re looking to take better photos, a telephoto zoom lens is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Telephoto lenses are perfect for capturing shots of distant objects, and they can also be used to create interesting compositions.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of using a telephoto zoom lens and offer some tips for taking better photos.
What Is A Telephoto Zoom Lens?
A telephoto zoom lens is a type of camera lens that allows you to zoom in on distant objects. Telephoto lenses are usually longer than other types of lenses, and they typically have a focal length of 100mm or more. While you can use a telephoto lens for general photography, they are most often used for sports, wildlife, and nature photography.
While anything over a 50mm focal length could be considered “telephoto”, anything beyond the 100mm focal range is what most photographers view as a true telephoto lens.
What Are Telephoto Zoom Lenses Used For?
Telephoto zoom lenses are often used by photographers who want to capture images of distant objects without having to physically move closer to the subject.
These lenses can also be helpful for capturing images in tight spaces or taking candid shots of people without them realizing they are being photographed.
In addition, telephoto zoom lenses can be used to create interesting effects, such as blurring the background while keeping the subject in sharp focus. Whatever the reason for using a telephoto zoom lens, it is an invaluable tool for many photographers.
Wide Angle Vs. Telephoto Zoom Lenses
When it comes to zoom lenses, there are two main types: wide angle and telephoto.
Wide angle lenses have a shorter focal length, which allows them to capture more of the scene in front of them. This makes them ideal for landscape photography, as well as for taking group shots.
Telephoto lenses, on the other hand, have a longer focal length, which allows them to take close-up shots without having to move closer to the subject.
This makes them ideal for wildlife and sports photography, where getting close to the action is often not possible.
When choosing a zoom lens, it is important to consider what type of photography you will be doing most often.
If you plan on shooting mainly landscapes, then a wide angle lens is probably your best option.
However, if you plan on doing mainly wildlife or sports photography, then a telephoto lens is likely a better choice.
When Should I Use A Telephoto Zoom Lens?
A telephoto zoom lens is a type of camera lens that allows you to zoom in on a subject while maintaining a distance from it.
This can be useful for taking pictures of distant objects or for getting a closer view of something without having to physically move closer to it.
Telephoto lenses are available in a variety of focal lengths, ranging from short to long. The shorter the focal length, the less you will be able to zoom in on a subject.
Conversely, the longer the focal length, the more you will be able to zoom in.
For most purposes, a telephoto zoom lens with a focal length between 70 and 300mm will be sufficient.
However, if you need to zoom in even further, you may want to consider a lens with a focal length of 400mm or more.
Tips For Using A Telephoto Zoom Lens
Below are several tips to consider when shooting photos with a telephoto zoom lens:
Focus On Smaller Details
When using a telephoto zoom lens, it can be easy to get caught up in trying to capture the entire scene.
However, sometimes the best photos are those that focus on a small detail within the larger picture.
For example, when photographing a flower, try zooming in so that only part of the flower is in the frame.
This will allow you to capture its intricate details, which may be lost if the entire flower is included in the photo.
Creating Abstract Photos
Another great way to use a telephoto zoom lens is to create abstract photos.
This can be done by focusing on a small detail within the scene and then zooming in so that it fills the entire frame.
By doing this, you can transform an ordinary subject into something much more interesting and visually appealing.
So, the next time you are out photographing, try zooming in close on small details to see what kinds of abstract photos you can create.
Capturing Enough Depth of Field
One common mistake that many photographers make when using a telephoto zoom lens is not capturing enough depth of field.
Depth of field refers to the amount of the scene that is in sharp focus.
When using a telephoto lens, it is easy to end up with a photo that has a very shallow depth of field.
This can be problematic if you want the entire scene to be in focus.
To avoid this, try using a smaller aperture (higher f-stop number). This will allow you to capture more of the scene in sharp focus.
Just keep in mind that using a small aperture will require a longer exposure time.
So, you will need to use a tripod or some other type of support to keep the camera still during the exposure.
Avoiding Camera Shake
Another issue that can occur when using a telephoto zoom lens is camera shake.
This happens when the camera moves during the exposure, resulting in a blurry photo.
Camera shake is more likely to happen when using a long focal length because even the smallest movement of the camera will have a big effect on the final image.
To avoid camera shake, try using a faster shutter speed.
This will help to freeze any movement of the camera and result in a sharp photo.
If you are shooting in low light conditions, you may need to use a higher ISO setting to be able to use a fast enough shutter speed.
You can also use a tripod to stabilize your camera for longer shots, or adjust the vibration shake feature on your camera, if it has one available.
Showing Scale In Your Photos
One of the benefits of using a telephoto zoom lens is that it can help to show scale in your photos.
This can be useful for showing how large or small something is in relation to its surroundings.
To do this, simply zoom in on the subject until it fills the frame.
This will give the viewer a better sense of its size in relation to the rest of the scene.
Setting The Right Aperture
When using a telephoto zoom lens, it is important to set the right aperture in order to get the desired effect in your photos.
If you want the entire scene to be in focus, you will need to use a small aperture (higher f-stop number).
However, if you want to create a shallow depth of field, you will need to use a large aperture (lower f-stop number).
Setting The Right Shutter Speed
Another important setting to consider when using a telephoto zoom lens is the shutter speed.
If you want to freeze any movement in your photo, you will need to use a fast shutter speed.
However, if you are shooting in low light conditions, you may need to use a slower shutter speed in order to let in enough light.
Just keep in mind that using a slow shutter speed can result in camera shake or blurred images, so you will need to use a tripod or some other type of support to keep the camera still.
Blurring Your Background
One of the benefits of using a telephoto zoom lens is that it can help you to blur your background.
This is because telephoto lenses have a large maximum aperture, which allows for a shallow depth of field.
So, if you want to create a photo with a blurred background, or a bokeh affect, all you need to do is zoom in on your subject and use a large aperture (lower f-stop number).
This will help to keep your subject in sharp focus while the background is blurred.
Just keep in mind that you will need to be close to your subject in order to achieve this effect.
Doing Macro Photography With A Telephoto Zoom Lens
Telephoto zoom lenses can also be used for macro photography, which is a type of close-up photography.
To do this, you will need to set your lens to its maximum focal length and focus on your subject.
You may also need to use a tripod or some other type of support to keep the camera still.
Obviously, telephoto lenses are great tools that can give you precisely the aesthetic you want, depending on the scene.
Some seem amazed when I tell them my 70-200mm is possibly my most beloved lens for landscapes. Some photographers don’t see telephotos as beneficial for nature photography because they aren’t wide angles–but if that’s your perspective, then you’re missing out on some stunning potential pictures.
Although it’s not necessary to be a landscape photographer to use telephoto lenses, they can come in handy.
Portrait photographers often take advantage of the rule “zoom in, stand back” so that they’re able to Grab their optimal shot while maintaining a flattering perspective of their subject’s face.
Telephoto lenses are key for sports/wildlife photography because they enable you to focus on smaller details from afar and bring your viewer into the scene with you. Having said all this, there are scenarios where telephoto lenses aren’t optimal either.
Unless you want to create a panorama, telephoto lenses are not the best option for landscape photography. If your goal is to make foreground objects appear larger than they really are, there are other camera settings that can help you achieve this effect.
However, telephoto lenses excel at showing distant subjects in greater detail and providing a shallow depth of field. For many photographers, a telephoto lens will be the most-used lens in their kit.