I mean no offence to birders and sports shooters, but I don't practice those types of photography.

So what other types/styles of shooting can be done with long (200-300mm+) lenses, other than the obvious?

Please provide example photos to better illustrate your point.

4 Answers 4


Pigeon-holing lenses is not always a worthwhile exercise. Any lens can work in virtually any setting.

Long lenses can be excellent in landscape situations, for example picking out and isolating a particular feature. The long focal length also has the effect of compressing perspective. They can also be used in street photography, where the length allows you to discreetly capture scenes.

  • Thanks for your input. My intention is to do the opposite, since I feel that long lenses are already pigeon-holed. Do you have any examples that might illustrate the points you have made? Apr 12, 2012 at 20:24
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    lightharmony.com/blog/… Apr 12, 2012 at 21:07
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    As Ansel Adams put it (I believe it was in The Camera), all photography is abstraction. While shallow DoF was never a big tool in his repertoire (f/64 works a lot better on view cameras than on, say, APS-C) he did tend to use long-focus lenses to excerpt interesting graphical elements of a scene. Whatever else a long/tele lens might do, its primary function is cropping the scene before us; everything else is perspective.
    – user2719
    Apr 12, 2012 at 23:36

My favorite use of telephoto in landscape photography is compressing the scene. Matt explained this very nicely here.

Actually, I really like landscape without the sky and using compression with a telephoto. Excellent examples of this here (photographs by Krzysztof Browko)


One of the most common uses for a high focal length telephoto lens is to provide a very selective field of focus. Telephoto lenses, when focused on a subject in the foreground, much of the background will be extremely out of focus, providing a sort of artistic effect. This is amplified with a small f-number.


Zoom Burst can give some interesting results.

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