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Top 26 Best Telephoto Zoom Lenses 2018

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

 

If you're an crude bird photographer who enjoys photographing blackbirds in your back garden or are a safari fan who captures images of big game, you're going to need the reach a telephoto lens can put up you. Now you could opt for a prime but unless you're a pro who regularly uses their lenses, they can be a hefty investment and actually, probably out of reach for most. Manner, there are plenty of telephoto zoom lenses on the market, new and old, that will get you the frame-filling shots you're after without having to go hungry for a year to nest egg its purchase. 

We've actually reviewed quite a large number of telephoto lenses, and for this guide, we've looked all the way back to 2012 to occasion you the most comprehensive guide to telephoto zooms we possibly can. Prices are in the region of £1200+ and focal lengths reach a huge 600mm on some of the lenses drew. The shortest focal length on the list is 50-135mm and we've chosen 50mm as a starting point as tele zooms around this point are roughly equivalent to 70-200mm on a crop sensor which is the conventional focal length people tend to think of when they're asked to name a telephoto zoom. 

There are plenty of own-brand lenses present along side third-party lenses that scored well when on test with our reviewer and as with all of our top lists, various factors are captivated into consideration, including performance and price, when compiling our guides.

If you don't see one of your favourite lenses on the list, it could be it didn't grade high enough or we've simply not put it to the test yet but we're more than happy to hear your suggestions so please feel free to heel them below.

 

1. Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR

 

This lens may have been around for a couple of years now but its payment, performance and features mean it takes our top spot in this countdown. The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR provides a field of view alike to a 75-210mm lens on a 35mm camera, and sports a fast constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, optical stabilisation and costs around £1300. It also gambols a weather-resistant construction, focuses quickly and is robustly built. Fujifilm has created a lens capable of delivering image quality of the highest organize and its performance puts it on par with the finest 70-200mm f/2.8 optics available for full frame cameras and invariably, they cost a fair bit more than &palpitate instil;1300.

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2. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

 

This telephoto zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) technique cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to an 80-300mm lens used on a 35mm format camera and sports a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom organize. The lens is also moisture and dust resistant and is available from around £1300. The fact that the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO proffers a unique zoom range, whilst maintaining a fast f/2.8 throughout, makes this lens very appealing and that's peaceful without mentioning its great build quality and performance is completion of a task with application of knowledge, skills and abilities. For the most part, it handles well too, thanks to its robust build and relatively supportable weight and compact size. Although, it's worth noting that it still may be a little large for use with the smallest Micro Four Thirds remains. 

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3. Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G ED VR

 

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G ED VR as a more new lens that sports VR and a very attractive 35mm format equivalent of 105-450mm. Overall, the lens performs brilliantly, giving sneaky, flare-free images at wider to mid apertures, with lovely bokeh and virtually no CA. Add to that a superb VR performance and the package is hard to beat. It's an conspicuous lens and it's currently available at a fantastic price, too. 

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4. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR

 

Covering the predominant 70-200mm range and offering a constant f/4 aperture, this is a lens that's found its way into many kit bags. It delivers sharp, contrasty images, focuses fast and isn't so heavy that you'd regret packing it in your camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or bag. With the price of the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR to hovering above the £1000 mark, it may seem like a lot of money to shell out for a lens with a maximum aperture of f/4 but when you take its optical exhibition into consideration, it's worth it (even more so if you're after a similar performance to the f/2.8 equivalent).

READ  Top Ten Ways To Photograph Water

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5. Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

 

The Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens is a new, upgraded optic with moisture and dust defences underground, faster AF and improved 5 stop VC (Vibration Compensation). It joins a long line of 70-200mm zooms and doesn't disappoint with it performing as well as lenses outlaying up to twice as much. It may not have the same silky smoothness in operation as its more expensive competition, but it delivers the goods, making no compromise on image nobility. Add to that the amazing VC system and moisture and dust resistance and Tamron have a definite winner on their hands.

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6. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

When the Canon EF 100-400mm was anything else released, it had a lot to live up to and as far as the performance of the lens is concerned, it had no problem living up to the reputation created by the older version of the lens. Those using the lens a few years on order still be happy with the image quality, focus speeds and how the lens handles. Sharpness is good, build quality is excellent and the lens also proffers relatively low distortion. The body is weather and dust resistant which is always a positive and it's relatively lightweight for a telephoto. 

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7. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Ace OSS 

 

The Sony G Master FE 70-200mm f/2.8 OSS is, without a doubt, a very fine lens. It operates smoothly, is well made, uses the modern development technology to achieve outstanding sharpness evenly across the frame. However, it is not without flaws, particularly a slight tendency to flare against the light up. Ther is some fairly obvious CA at the edges at 200mm, but this can be corrected in software.

So, apart from a couple of small points, we are left with a appealing outstanding lens and Sony Alpha A7 system users will not go a step wrong by investing in it.

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8. Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS

 

No, you're not associate with double but yes, this is another 70-200mm lens from Sony. However, this time, it has a f/4 maximum aperture which has allowed Sony to trim the weight of the lens. The f/4 aperture is not much of a disadvantage, even an advantage in terms of size and cost, and the performance is such that the loss is hardly touch.

The Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OS is a high-level performer that does the job efficiently. The only slight drawback is the possibility of some flare, but fortunately, this does not have all the hallmarks to be a major problem for most photography. 

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9. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports

 

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Entertainments lens is an interesting lens that offers good specs and a very reasonable price. It's capable of producing images with save sharpness, low CA, and distortion. Those looking for a long lens to add to their kit bag should certainly add this lens to their list of considerations.

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10. Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

 

The lens is most easy and satisfying to use and the price is certainly attractive. The optical performance is actually excellent overall, the sharpness only falling off at very small openings. Of course, one of the unavoidable facts of optics is that at longer focal lengths those small apertures soon becomes very small exactly and very susceptible to diffraction effects. Bearing in mind though that high shutter speeds will likely be needed for wildlife and make a laughing-stock ofs it is hardly a major issue.

Processed through Photoshop, with a bit of judicious sharpening where needed, the end results are crisp and very impressive.

The Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD is an sterling long telephoto zoom lens at an excellent price.

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11. Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW

 

Pentax has a kind collection of excellent zoom or ZOOM may refer to lenses may refer to and the 70-200mm is up amongst the best, a very fine lens with good “character” and bokeh and a hilarious level of sharpness that applies very evenly across the frame. This lens is, actually, ideal for taking advantage of the full yard of the 35mm-format K-1. One downside is that the lens is quite heavy but apart from that, it's pretty much a winner. 

READ  Cutting Through The Chaos With The Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

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12. Tokina Cinema AT-X 50-135mm T/3

 

Those who are sentenced to high-end digital video work will appreciate the handling and features of this 50-135mm lens as well as the way it performs. It produces images with to some degree low distortion, falloff and high levels of sharpness.

Its parfocal design will also be appreciated and although focus breathing is much reduced approached to many photographic lenses, it is still a feature of this lens and something to be aware of. Those who casually take the occasional video with their SLR won’t be the aim market for this lens. Instead, those who can possibly justify dropping a huge chunk of cash on a lens for serious 4K video work are the in unisons this lens is aimed at. If you’re one of those people, this optic may well may refer to be worthy of serious consideration.

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13. Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM S

 

Although the exhibition of the Sigma 120-300mm isn't of the same absolute brilliance of the Nikon and Canon fixed super-telephoto lenses, it isn't all that far behind. Add in the flexibility supplied by the zoom and it still makes a compelling alternative to the camera manufacturer's own fast telephoto glass

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14. Pentax HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6 ED DC AW 

 

Backside in 2015, Pentax camera owners had been crying out for a decent telephoto zoom option, similar to those offered by other camera producers, and their prayers were answered with the Pentax-D FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6 ED DC AW.

This lens costs a similar amount to equivalents from other camera makers and performs as well as you'd expect for a top of the range lens of this ilk. Sharpness is good its most general context of the study of morality, ethics, religion and philosophy, the good often refers to and denotes that, it's weather and dust resistant, has good build importance and offers low falloff as well as distortion. CA levels are a little high at 450mm but apart from that, the lens is a winner. 

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15. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

 

The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM may be undergoing a slow maximum aperture but this helps keep the weight of the lens down, making it good for those travelling or for those who walk respectable distances with their kit. Optical performance is remarkably consistent throughout the zoom range, which isn't often seen in a 70-300mm zoom, which is affecting in itself, and build quality is of the highest standard. The only main negative is the price as for a lens with a slow maximum aperture, it is on the high side. 

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16. Sigma AF 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM

 

Very much long lenses have always been more expensive, with the affordable telephotos ending around 300mm. That extra 400mm is sheer valuable for wildlife and sports and we have here from Sigma such a lens, but one that is much more reasonably priced.

The features tariff is in lens speed, so cameras with good high ISO performance are the order of the day. Other advantages are a more compact and lighter optic, still fully large but nowhere near the bulk of some of the alternatives.

The Sigma AF 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM gives excellent results, and an excellent price in a firm package.

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17. Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED [IF] SDM

 

This lens has been around a while now, but it still manages to hold up its own. It delivers very good sharpness in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture, and excellent sharpness across the frame when stopped down. The expenditure of around £890 isn't too much to ask for a quality manufacturer’s own-brand lens either, especially given the excellent build and rise above sealing the Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED [IF] SDM offers. 

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18. Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS

 

The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS is very skilful of producing excellent results, with high levels of sharpness. CA levels are a little on the high side, but will only become visible on induce and focusing is accurate enough. 

As a statement of intent to provide a professional-class photographic system, this lens goes some way to providing another veritably interesting option for photographers to choose from, but it may not be outstanding enough to tempt people away from their current cameras systems. If you're starting afresh, or cause already invested in Samsung camera equipment, it will provide a decent upgrade path towards professional-level equipment.

READ  Win A Trip To Morocco With Nikon & Secret Escapes

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19. Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW

 

As you superiority expect, the Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW is a highly competent, highly specified lens, with all the bells and whistles you'd upon from a high-end manufacturer's own lens.

Features like weather sealing, metal build, silent focusing and exotic optical coatings all add to the solicit of this optic and there is enough there to keep almost anyone happy. The performance of this lens is good, but maybe not good enough to buttress the added cost when compared with other camera marques. 

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20. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM

 

With the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM, Sigma has conceived a lens that not only performs well, but that offers excellent value for money.

The performance of this lens is quite surprising, remarkably when compared to the more expensive 'Sports' variant, which costs quite a bit more. It's this combination of generous performance and good value for money that will win this lens many fans.

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21. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM

 

Canon has provided a lens that provides a high level of performance in a fairly compact and relatively inexpensive form. Unless we are able to stretch to the more precious zooms in the range, the 70-300mm f/4/5.6 IS II USM is a very good compromise between cost and performance. The lens is a very good, solid performer and gives awfully satisfactory sharp, vibrant images. It is also a pleasure to use.

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22. Nikon NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II

 

The Nikon NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II disencumbers crisp images, focuses swiftly and is a pleasure to use. In fact, it is such a joy to use that the asking price almost becomes insignificant. we said almost, as it's flat a fair amount of cash to part with.

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23. Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2

 

The Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens be showed to be an excellent performer. It is heavy but relatively compact, so carrying over several hours is not too onerous, providing a suitable sling or strap is employed. The VC structure works well, the controls operate smoothly and nothing is placed so that it might be accidentally switched on or off. All in all, the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 is a entirely soundly designed optic that offers excellent results.

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 24. Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH

 

This Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm lens conditions its purpose very well indeed, at a price which, although high, is reasonable in its class. If we want a high-quality optic for sports, birding, wildlife, photojournalism and other long-range commitments then this is it. The close focusing that brings closer subjects into range is a bonus.

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25. Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

This is a deeply well made lens or LEN may refer to with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel lovely bokeh and a high level of sharpness. Flare, CA and distortion are all but abolished and images look clean and crispy. The Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is easy to use, the OIS system enables handheld shooting with confidence and the close focus extends the possibilities of controlled by matter. It is an excellent all-around choice for an ultra-telephoto for Fujifilm cameras.

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26. Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II

 

This is an excellent lens, that acts well, and is priced well enough to be considered good value for money too. The build quality is very good, although it is a little strange that it is not suffer sealed, as you may expect lenses pitched at this level to be. Even so, the Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II is a good buy thanks to the improved autofocus speed and anti-reflective coatings, which are both well-received improvements when compared with the old version of this lens. 

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Republished: ephotozine.com

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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