Weight mat­ters

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Longer tele­photo reach and wider avail­able aper­tures both re­sult in larger, heav­ier lenses. For ex­am­ple, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens only weighs 850g, whereas the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 is four times heav­ier, at an im­pres­sive 3.39kg.

The size is­sue

Con­stant-aper­ture tele­photo zooms may seem phys­i­cally quite large, but their over­all length typ­i­cally doesn’t ex­tend at longer zoom set­tings.

Take the strain

Us­ing a tri­pod or monopod to sup­port the weight of a big tele­photo lens makes for a much more com­fort­able shoot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and helps to fend off cam­era shake.

Get a head

Gim­bal heads en­able smooth tilt­ing and pan­ning with a tri­pod or monopod as they ro­tate the lens around its cen­tre of grav­ity. They’re great for air shows and for shoot­ing birds in flight, es­pe­cially if us­ing heavy lenses.


This can be a prob­lem with very long lenses in tripod­mounted shoot­ing. When tim­ing isn’t crit­i­cal, use the ex­po­sure de­lay mode, fea­tured on most Nikon SLRs.

Crop fac­tor

The ‘ef­fec­tive’ fo­cal length is mag­ni­fied by 1.5x when us­ing an SLR with an APS-C for­mat sen­sor. This boosts the ap­par­ent reach of tele­photo lenses.

Shal­low depth

For fairly close to midrange shoot­ing, wide-aper­ture tele­photo lenses can give a re­ally tight depth of field, mak­ing them use­ful as por­trait lenses.

More power

All Nikon and Sigma lenses here are com­pat­i­ble with their own-brand tele­con­vert­ers. Tam­ron rec­om­mends Kenko TCs.

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