Back to our lens discussion.  Going down in magnification from the super telephotos, we arrive at the lenses just classified as telephoto.  The exact beginning of the range is debated, but for our definition, we’ll start at the low end of telephoto lens focal length, 85mm, on SLR cameras (some define the start at 100mm).  We move to super telephoto at about 300mm.

The 70-200mm zoom is the default lens on my camera. It is a fast zoom at f 2.8; produces sharp photos; and covers my favorite focal ranges. There are certain lenses, you just feel good with.  It's kind of hard to explain, but, when I have that lens on the camera, I know what I'm going to see.

photo of a window dormer in the snow, Manassas, VaTelephoto focal lengths between 85mm and 200mm have the same characteristics as the super telephotos discussed last week.  They deliver an image close into your subject without standing right next to them.  They compress distances. They provide a more pleasing perspective, without distortion.  Being a people photographer, telephoto is my most frequently used focal length range.

Tomb of the Unknown, Arlington National Cemetery, VaTelephotos, besides doing all the above, are also favored for use as portrait lenses. Traditionally, there have been several focal lengths touted for portraits: 85mm, 100mm, and 135mm.  Each focal length has their champions, so don't ask me which is best.  The real answer is the one you prefer.  I have a 70-200mm zoom, so I have all three of the favorite portrait range focal lengths covered. I also have a 105mm prime lens.  Both lenses have a maximum aperture of f 2.8 for great bokeh and light gathering (fast lenses).

wedding photo, father and daughter danceThese lenses create less distortion (seldom a goal in people photography) and the tighter perspective helps eliminate clutter in the background.  Additionally, a longer lens allows you a comfortable distance to make your portrait.  You don't want to crowd their space, especially for kids.

photo first birthday

Telephotos are always popular lenses for whatever your subject matter.  They can give you extra reach.  Their characteristics give you a pleasing .  The best of them can be expensive, but, if you don't need a pro-level lens, you can find them at a reasonable price.  This is a lens range that will provide you lots of fun.


Another giveaway!  If you leave a comment here or on our Facebook page between now and 31 March, we’ll enter your name into the drawing for another great prize.  Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. is a three DVD set from Kelby Training.  It retails for $199.99.  Leave us a comment (only one per day will qualify) for your chance to win this great prize.  Our thanks to you.