Telephoto lenses can be both primes or zooms and have a focal length of 100mm or more. Telephoto lenses can help you to fill a frame by tightly cropping a subject from several feet to several hundred meters away. As such these lenses are the preferred choice of wildlife, sports and even portrait photographers. One of the best portrait lenses is the 135mm f/2. The 200-400mm f/4 Nikkor lens referred to elsewhere on this page is also an excellent telephoto lens used for a wide range of photography requirements.
Lenses with a focal length of 400mm or above are considered as super-telephoto. Telephoto lenses tend to suck a in a lot of the background in images. Background elements appear larger than they are in real life. This is a phenomenon also known as background compression. This happens more with telephoto zoom lenses. Another draw-back of telephoto lenses is that they are difficult to work because of the small field of view. Once you lose a subject you will be literally hunting for it through the viewfinder.« Back to Glossary Index