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Monday, September 1, 2008

Long-Lens Landscapes


Get a different perspective on your favorite scenic vistas by experimenting with telephoto lens compositions

This Article Features Photo Zoom

long-lens
5
5 What About The Sky?
Undoubtedly, a dramatic sky can make for spectacular landscape imagery, and it’s a fair statement that these occasions often are better suited for the wider lenses in your kit. When the clouds light up orange and pink or when the delicate pastels of dawn or dusk fill the heavens, you almost always want to fit as much of it as possible into the frame, though long lenses are still useful for occasions where just a sliver of sky is all it takes to set off an interesting foreground.

Too often we try to force a sky into a landscape composition since it complements our natural way of seeing. Here’s a helpful rule of thumb I often use: If there’s nothing spectacular happening in the sky, it’s better to leave it out of the frame altogether.

6 Limitations Of Working With Long Lenses
For all their usefulness, be aware that long lenses have some distinct limitations and that good technique should be practiced. Due to the high magnification involved and their larger physical size, longer lenses are prone to vibration. A sturdy tripod is a must. Another effect of the large magnification ratio is limited depth of field.

For many nature photographers, the wide-angle lens is the one we reach for when we’re facing a landscape. The wide perspectives made famous by photographers like David Muench and others are stunning, but to ignore the possibilities that long lenses offer you when shooting landscapes is to ignore a whole range of shooting possibilities and compositions.

Not All Long Lenses Are Telephotos
While the moniker “telephoto” is commonly used to describe any lens of a long focal length, such use is inaccurate. Telephoto describes lenses designed so that their optical center is behind the rear element, thus requiring less extension to focus at infinity. The telephoto design is especially useful in very long lenses, which otherwise would require extremely long barrels. Still, a lens of a given focal length, even a long one, may or may not be a telephoto lens.

Long-Lens Examples

Camera

Focal
Length

Maximum
Aperture

Minimum
Aperture

Dimensions

Weight

Built-In
Stabilization

Estimated
Street Price

Canon EF 300mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM

300mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

5.0 x 9.9 in.

89.6 oz.

Yes

$4,000

Canon EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM

70-200mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

3.4 x 7.8 in.

51.2 oz.

Yes

$1,600

Canon EF 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6L IS USM

100-400mm

ƒ/4.5-5.6

ƒ/32-38

3.6 x 7.4 in.

49.6 oz.

Yes

$1,300

Canon EF 70-300mm ƒ/4-5.6 DO IS USM

70-300mm

ƒ/4.5-5.6

ƒ/32-38

3.2 x 3.9 in.

25.4 oz.

Yes

$1,200

Nikon AF-S VR Nikkor 200mm ƒ/2G IF-ED

200mm

ƒ/2

ƒ/22

4.9 x 8.0 in.

92.8 oz.

Yes

$3,800

Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm ƒ/2.8G IF-ED

70-200mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/22

3.4 x 8.5 in.

51.2 oz.

Yes

$2,000

Nikon AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6D ED

80-400mm

ƒ/4.5-5.6

ƒ/32

3.6 x 6.7 in.

48.0 oz.

Yes

$1,500

Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/2.8D ED

80-200mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/22

3.4 x 7.4 in.

43.2 oz.

No

$950

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 35-100mm ƒ/2.0

35-100mm

ƒ/2

ƒ/22

3.8 x 8.4 in.

57.6 oz.

No

$2,300

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 150mm ƒ/2.0

150mm

ƒ/2

ƒ/22

3.9 x 5.9 in.

56.0 oz.

No

$2,500

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm ƒ/2.8-3.5 SWD

50-200mm

ƒ/2.8-3.5

ƒ/22

3.4 x 6.2 in.

35.0 oz.

No

$1,000

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300mm ƒ/4.0-5.6

70-300mm

ƒ/4-5.6

ƒ/22

3.1 x 5.0 in.

22.1 oz.

No

$375

Pentax smc DA* 300mm ED ƒ/4

300mm

ƒ/4

ƒ/32

3.3 x 7.2 in.

37.7 oz.

No

$1,300

Pentax smc DA* 50-135mm ƒ/2.8

50-135mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/22

3.0 x 5.4 in.

24.0 oz.

No

$850

Pentax smc DA 55-300mm ED ƒ/4-5.8

55-300mm

ƒ/4-5.8

ƒ/22-32

2.8 x 4.4 in.

15.5 oz.

No

$400

Pentax smc DA 50-200mm ƒ/4-5.6

50-200mm

ƒ/4-5.6

ƒ/22-32

2.6 x 3.1 in.

9.0 oz.

No

$200

Sigma APO 300mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG/HSM

300mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

4.7 x 8.4 in.

84.8 oz.

No

$2,600

Sigma APO 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 II EX DG

70-200mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/22

3.4 x 7.3 in.

48.0 oz.

No

$900

Sigma APO 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG HSM

120-300mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

4.4 x 10.7 in.

91.2 oz.

No

$2,400

Sigma APO 120-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM

120-400mm

ƒ/4.5-5.6

ƒ/22

3.6 x 8.0 in.

61.7 oz.

Yes

$850

Sony SAL-300F28G

300mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

5.8 x 9.4 in.

81.6 oz.

No

$5,900

Sony SAL-70200G

70-200mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

3.2 x 7.7 in.

35.2 oz.

No

$1,900

Sony SAL-70300G

70-300mm

ƒ/4.5-5.6

ƒ/32

3.3 x 5.4 in.

28.2 oz.

No

$800

Sony SAL-18250

18-250mm

ƒ/3.5-6.3

ƒ/22-40

3.0 x 5.4 in.

15.5 oz.

No

$550

Tamron SP AF300mm ƒ/2.8 LD

300mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

4.7 x 8.4 in.

99.2 oz.

No

$4,000

Tamron SP AF70-200mm ƒ/2.8 Di LD

70-200mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

3.5 x 7.6 in

40.0 oz.

No

$750

Tamron AF28-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD

28-300mm

ƒ/3.5-6.3

ƒ/22

2.9 x 3.3 in.

14.8 oz.

No

$375

Tamron AF28-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC

28-300mm

ƒ/3.5-6.3

ƒ/22-40

3.1 x 3.9 in.

19.4 oz.

Yes

$600

Tokina AT-X 535 PRO DX

50-135mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

3.1 x 5.3 in.

30.4 oz.

No

$650

Tokina AT-X 100 PRO D

100mm

ƒ/2.8

ƒ/32

2.9 x 3.7 in.

19.2 oz.

No

$350

Tokina AT-X 840 AF D

80-400mm

ƒ/4.5-5.6

ƒ/32

3.1 x 5.4 in.

35.9 oz.

No

$650


See more of Guy Tal’s long-lens landscape photography and other images at http://guytal.com.

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