I have a Canon PowerShot SX60 with a massive 65x zoom range (21-1365 mm equivalent). There have been some compromises (small sensor, small aperture), but the main selling point is probably that zoom anyway. I bought it mainly to take pictures of birds and other animals (that are quite a long way away), which it does very well. But I was wondering now, what else is a very long focal length useful for? What can I do with it that would be tricky/impossible with a shorter focal length? As an example of what I'm looking for, this answer explains how to get a shallow depth-of-field by zooming in, which would otherwise be tricky with a point-and-shoot:

What are the depth-of-field capabilities of point & shoot cameras?

closed as too broad by mattdm, Philip Kendall, Olivier, scottbb, Caleb Mar 27 '17 at 2:03

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    This is too broad to be answered here. Most what? What do you want to do? – mattdm Mar 25 '17 at 18:39
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    This is the wrong way around - you got something you didn't need and now you are looking for problems that it can solve. Start from a problem, and get something that solves it. – Aganju Mar 25 '17 at 18:46
  • @Aganju I originally got it to take pictures of birds and other animals, which it does wonderfully. I'm just wondering if there's anything else that the zoom range could be useful for (e.g. getting a shallow depth-of-field that would otherwise be tricky with a point-and-shoot). – mdriesen Mar 26 '17 at 11:34
  • @mattdm I could rephrase it somewhat: what is a very long focal length useful for? What can I do with it that would be tricky/impossible with shorter focal lengths? – mdriesen Mar 26 '17 at 11:51
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    @mdriesen Sounds better to me. – mattdm Mar 26 '17 at 11:59

Just one of the many options: try the Brenizer method to create pictures with a shallow depth of field using stitching and a long focal length.


You could try shooting sports, which is another situation where you are usually further away frm your subject than would be ideal. However, especially if you try to shoot indoors, you will probably quickly find that the poor low-light performance induced by the small sensor and narrow aperture will become limiting.

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