Telephoto lenses have a number of appealing qualities – not the least of which is that they look amazing mounted on the front of your DSLR.
If you’re shooting wildlife, chances are you need a high quality, powerful zoom lens.
If, on the other hand, you’re doing street shooting – laying hands on the big zoomer just might be a mistake.
Before you go out and blow a lot of cash on one of these expensive lenses, make sure you really need it. The fact is that the closer you zoom in, the more the image will suffer. Nevertheless, there are some good reasons to have one for your photo or video project.
Telephoto lenses are the most expensive kind of lenses, outside of certain specialty types. That means renting is a good option. Before you rent, research the company you want to rent from. Read reviews and check their BBB standing before you accept responsibility for their lens. That done, you should be greenlit to rent from your chosen merchant.
Things to know about Telephoto Lenses
Make sure that the lens you get is the lens you need. If you’re shooting birds, you probably want the longest focal length you can get. If you’re shooting something less distant – something that you just can’t get closer to for some reason – a medium length lens might be more appropriate.
Telephoto lenses come with some significant disadvantages over shorter and fixed focal length lenses.
First, the more you zoom in, the less light will make it to your sensor. This can make shooting in low light impossible at great distances- especially for professional purposes. Modern DSLRs can overcome this, but the images can still come out very grainy if you’re using a high ISO number.
What’s worse, when you zoom in, it becomes much harder to steady the image, and the image itself will lose sharpness. That means, if you think you can get away with renting the cheapest TPL, you’ll probably regret it.
These issues make the use of a high-quality tripod an almost absolute necessity- unless you’ve got hands like a world class surgeon.
Our recommendation is that you rent the highest quality TPL that you can find and afford. Be sure to research the lens you intend to rent, as even renting can be pricey. The fact is that, unless you use a very good TPL, chances are you can achieve the same effect as an inferior TPL by cropping the image.
Therefore, when you need a TPL, don’t make the mistake of paying for an inferior lens only to have to go back and get the real thing later.