63 votes
Accepted

Why are some big telephoto lenses so expensive compared to telescopes?

Rarity. There were only approximately 20 of these now out of production lenses ever made. When they were in production they sold for about $90,000 (US). Due to the time needed to grow the large ...
user avatar
  • 168k
51 votes
Accepted

Why buy prime super telephoto lenses instead of zoom super telephoto lenses?

Who in the world buys large primes? Wildlife and sports photographers, mostly. I'm struggling to see how one would find use in a long focal length prime, 300mm and above for example: without zoom, ...
user avatar
  • 49.1k
42 votes
Accepted

Things to look for in a camera to match cameraphone image quality

TL;DR - Pretty much everything in your post indicates that you don't really need a new camera, but need to learn how to use the equipment that you have. I haven't used RAW... it still boggles my ...
user avatar
  • 20.3k
37 votes

How to photograph distant objects (10km)?

You can't. I don't care what you've seen on CSI, this just isn't possible in the real world. Even taking Canon's ridiculously big (and now discontinued. Oh, and $100,000) 1200mm lens, The Digital ...
user avatar
  • 19.8k
33 votes
Accepted

Which planet looks the biggest through a camera? Which planet is the easiest to take a picture?

Because the distance from Earth to each of the other planets varies due to orbital mechanics, the size of each planet as seen from Earth can vary significantly. Which planet is the largest and the ...
user avatar
  • 168k
25 votes

How to photograph distant objects (10km)?

By specifying that you want to do your surveillance photography in "good sun light", you have already shot yourself in the foot. The best time to do this kind of photography is at night or in the very ...
user avatar
  • 977
23 votes

Which planet looks the biggest through a camera? Which planet is the easiest to take a picture?

Normally Jupiter is easily the largest seen from Earth, but depending on orbits, it could sometimes be Venus (next time in September, and then next in 2020). This site will answer about details ...
user avatar
  • 12.5k
19 votes

How to photograph distant objects (10km)?

The general consensus in this thread is that detailed photography of a subject at a range of 10km is exceedingly difficult, and probably impossible using commercially available equipment — and there's ...
user avatar
  • 616
17 votes
Accepted

Telephoto lens: is optical stabilization important?

If you're shooting with a tripod ­— a good, solid one, not a sub-$100 deal — image stabilization isn't very important. If you're shooting in a controlled environment with strobes, it's not very ...
user avatar
  • 140k
14 votes

Why we can't use telephoto lens for macro objects?

There is no direct relationship between Telephoto focal lengths and Macro capability. There are some fixed focal length prime lenses that fall into the Telephoto range in terms of focal length and ...
user avatar
  • 168k
13 votes
Accepted

Why are superzoom lenses small but giant telephoto lenses huge?

The 1200mm lens you cite is something of an aberration, since it's built-to-order, not a general-market lens — see Why are some big telephoto lenses so expensive compared to telescopes? and Why are ...
user avatar
  • 140k
13 votes

How to photograph distant objects (10km)?

As others have said, 10 km is not feasible due to the physics of light and atmospheric distortion. However, I'd like to address another aspect of this that hasn't been mentioned yet: if someone is ...
user avatar
12 votes

Things to look for in a camera to match cameraphone image quality

Almost any camera system will out perform a camera phone when used properly. A camera phone uses a tiny sensor so even MFT cameras have a bigger sensor capturing more light so superior in low light ...
user avatar
  • 565
11 votes
Accepted

What will I lose by switching from FX to DX mode (with an FX lens)?

Your 200mm will still be a 200mm. It will project the same image on the sensor. In DX mode, all that will happen is the camera will throw away the outer areas of that captured image and retain what ...
user avatar
  • 32.8k
11 votes

Which planet looks the biggest through a camera? Which planet is the easiest to take a picture?

Though the angular size of Venus in the Earth sky is larger than any other planet, because Venus is an inferior planet that largest angular size happens only when Venus in the the direction of the Sun....
user avatar
11 votes

Sigma 150-600mm vs 300mm prime with extender?

With any lens of greater than 300mm focal length on a full frame camera you're probably not going to get results you're happy with shooting handheld. On your 1.6X APS-C camera, the same angles of view ...
user avatar
  • 168k
10 votes
Accepted

Why do images sometimes look "softer" at higher focal lengths (like 300-500mm)?

Several focal-length-related factors can influence sharpness: It is usually harder to manufacture long focal lens, so at constant cost, expect a 50 mm to be sharp, a 200 mm to be not-so-sharp, and >...
user avatar
  • 1,623
10 votes
Accepted

Why would I need a portrait lens if I have a telephoto zoom lens covering the same focal length?

There is no such thing as a portrait lens. Just some are known to produce more appealing portraits. It can be used to shoot any other thing where the focal-length desired is the same. Note that I didn'...
user avatar
  • 101k
10 votes

How many extra stops do monopods offer for tele photographs?

The monopod removes three degrees of liberty: distance from ground is fixed, and roll and pitch are linked to position in space. But you are overlooking that you are no longer lifting the (...
user avatar
  • 16.4k
10 votes

How can I get more magnification when shooting wading birds?

Shooting from the same point of view will always result in the same image (in terms of magnification) with every 300mm lens you can get (zoom or prime doesnt matter). To achieve a higher magnification ...
user avatar
  • 1,493
9 votes

Why are some big telephoto lenses so expensive compared to telescopes?

Michael Clark missed one important point in his otherwise correct answer: Physical vs. Optical length Think about what the 1200mm really mean. This is the focal length. This normally means that the ...
user avatar
  • 842
9 votes
Accepted

Zooming in meters

It's impossible to say. This is because a "zoom factor" is a relative measurement, not an absolute one. 10x zoom doesn't mean the picture is enlarged 10x. All that the zoom factor is telling you is ...
user avatar
  • 49.1k
9 votes
Accepted

What techniques can I use to take "macro" photographs with a regular telephoto lens and no adapter?

Pseudo-Macro Photography with a Telephoto Lens Macro photography is one of the all-time favorite pastimes of photographers. The enlargement of the small and microscopic to huge scale, the exploration ...
user avatar
  • 69.1k
8 votes
Accepted

What are the technical limitations that prevent lens manufacturers from producing 70-300mm f2.8?

Manufacturers produce what they think they can sell. It is possible to produce a F2.8 70-300 lens, but such a lens will have a very large front element (approximately 107mm or 4.2"). Lens with such ...
user avatar
  • 2,288
8 votes

Which planet looks the biggest through a camera? Which planet is the easiest to take a picture?

Short answer: Venus subtends the largest angle, followed by Jupiter. Intermediate-length answer: Randall Munroe provides the following helpful visualisation (extracted from a larger visualisation at ...
user avatar
  • 1,467
8 votes

Why do moon shots bring out the worst in telephoto lenses?

The moon is a fairly easy object to photograph. There are a few things that are helpful to know up front. As no specific lens example or photographic example was offered, I can only offer general ...
user avatar
  • 3,567
7 votes
Accepted

Is it a good idea to use adapted tele lenses with a micro four thirds camera for fast moving (nature/wildlife) photos?

As someone who occasionally indulges in bird photography, shoots micro four-thirds, and has adapted manual lenses to her Canon dSLRs, I'd say don't do it. The lens will be disproportionately big and ...
user avatar
  • 49.1k
7 votes

Which telephoto lens will be best for photographing bears in Alaska?

I'd say that if you have to ask which lens would be most suitable, you're probably going to want the range of the Sigma 50-500mm. The 70-200mm f/2.8 is the best of the lenses you listed. The 70-300mm ...
user avatar
  • 31k
7 votes

How to photograph distant objects (10km)?

Studies by US universities indicate that a subject can be recognized from a distance of about 45 meters. To recognize a subject 10 kilometers, you need a telescope with sufficient power to cause the ...
user avatar
  • 36.2k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible