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What are the pros and cons of Telephoto lenses?

Telephoto lenses are a popular type of lens for photographers, especially those who shoot wildlife, sports, and portraits. Here are some of the pros and cons of using a telephoto lens:



Telephoto lenses have a narrower field of view than standard or wide-angle lenses, which can create a compressed perspective that makes the subject appear closer to the background.

210mm f/5.6 1/60 Phase One P30+ Mamiya 645 AFD II Photography - Munish Khanna

Photography - Munish Khanna

Photography - Munish Khanna

210mm f/8 1/125 Phase One P30+ Mamiya 645 AFD II Photography - Munish Khanna

Even though the hand and the face is closer to the camera as compared to the body, there is no distortion but a pleasing compression.


Telephoto lenses can create a shallow depth of field, which can blur the background and create a pleasing bokeh effect.

Photography - Munish Khanna

The beauty of long focal length lenses is that you get the Bokeh effect even when the Aperture is not all the way open. This one is at f8 Aperture.

Blurred Background

200mm f5.6 1/80 Canon EOS 5D mark III Photography - Munish Khanna

You get the Bokeh effect only if there are point light sources in the distant background and you are shooting with an open aperture but you anyways get a nice out of focus and blurred background when shooting with long lenses.

f4.5 1/80 200mm canon EOS 5D mark III Photography - Munish Khanna


Telephoto lenses can be used for a wide range of subjects, including wildlife, sports, portraits, and landscape photography.


Telephoto lenses allow photographers to get closer to distant subjects, which can be especially useful for wildlife, sports and of course Events photography.


Too Heavy

Telephoto lenses are often larger and heavier than other types of lenses, which can make them more difficult to carry and use for extended periods of time.

Price is High

Telephoto lenses can be expensive, especially if they have a wide aperture or other advanced features.

Depth of field is very Shallow

Telephoto lenses have a shallower depth of field than standard or wide-angle lenses, which can make it more difficult to keep the entire subject in focus.

EF 100mm Macro f2.8 lens at f4

Image stabilization is a must

Telephoto lenses can be more susceptible to camera shake, which can lead to blurry images, especially when shooting in low light.

In summary, telephoto lenses have a number of benefits, including compression, bokeh, versatility, and reach. However, they also have some drawbacks, including weight, price, depth of field, and image stabilization. It's important to consider these pros and cons when deciding whether to use a telephoto lens for a particular photograph or situation.

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