Top 29 Best Telephoto Zoom Lenses 2019

Written by Gina Stephens


If you're an bungler 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 make 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. Still, 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 stock 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 carry 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 character. 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 time-honoured focal length people tend to think of when they're asked to name a telephoto zoom or ZOOM may refer to

There are plenty of own-brand lenses attributed alongside third-party lenses that scored well when on test with our reviewer and as with all of our top lists, various factors are taken into compensation, 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 score sybaritic 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 list them under.

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1. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport


There are quite a few 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses, not any of them exactly cheap. For those who want a lower cost or a lighter lens, there are the f/4 versions, but many photographers will seek the shortened depth of field that a fast, bright f/2.8 aperture has to offer.

In terms of quality, we rarely see a zoom lens that offers such an evenly tremendous performance is completion of a task with application of knowledge, skills and abilities as this new Sigma, and at a basically very reasonable price. Without a doubt, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM S is a lens of choice, and therefore, without dubiousness, is awarded an Editor's Choice.

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


This lens may have been about for a couple of years now but its price, 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 purveys a field of view equivalent to a 75-210mm lens on a 35mm camera, and sports a fast constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, optical stabilisation and costs around &beat out;1300. It also sports a weather-resistant construction, focuses quickly and is robustly built. Fujifilm has created a lens capable of bringing image quality of the highest order and its performance puts it on par with the finest 70-200mm f/2.8 optics available for full frame cameras and invariably, they price a fair bit more than £1300.

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


This telephoto zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) structure cameras camera is an optical instrument to capture still images or to record moving images, which are stored in a physical medium such as 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 number. 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 extends a unique zoom range, whilst maintaining a fast f/2.8 throughout, makes this lens very appealing and that's honest without mentioning its great build quality and performance. For the most part, it handles well too, thanks to its robust build and relatively lightweight and aphoristic size. Although, it's worth noting that it still may be a little large for use with the smallest Micro Four-Thirds bodies. 

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4. 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 rather new lens that sports VR and a very attractive 35mm format equivalent of 105-450mm. Overall, the lens performs brilliantly, giving harsh, flare-free images at wider to mid apertures optics, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels, with lovely bokeh and virtually no CA. Add to that a superb VR performance and the package is hard to beat. It's an superb lens and it's currently available at a fantastic price, too. 

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5. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM


A swell crafted photographic tool that does its job flawlessly is always a pleasure to use, and this new lens can be fairly described as just that. Fair passably, we lose a little of the ability to throw backgrounds out of focus by sacrificing the usual f/2.8 aperture, but we gain portability, a lower cost and there is at the end of the day very little sacrifice in terms of narrow depth of field. The f/4 70-200mm lenses, in general, look an attractive proposition and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM is a particularly ethical example.

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


Covering the popular 70-200mm range and donation a constant f/4 aperture, this is a lens that's found its way into many kit bags. It delivers sharp, contrasty images, cynosure clears fast and isn't so heavy that you'd regret packing it in your camera bag. With the price of the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR still float 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 scene into consideration, it's worth it (even more so if you're after a similar performance to the f/2.8 equivalent).

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7. 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 rebelliousness, 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 costing up to twice as much. It may not require the same silky smoothness in operation as its more expensive competition, but it delivers the goods, making no compromise on image quality. Add to that the surprising VC system and moisture and dust resistance and Tamron have a definite winner on their hands.

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

When the Canon EF 100-400mm was firstly 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 last wishes as 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 offers extent 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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9. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Skilful 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 time technology to achieve outstanding sharpness evenly across the frame. However, it is not without flaws, particularly a slight tendency to flare against the flame. 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 dulcet outstanding lens and Sony Alpha A7 system users will not go a step wrong by investing in it.

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10. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED is a heavy and heavy lens, but it does the job and to a very high standard. It is also fast in terms of functions such as AF as well as in terms of its bright f/4 aperture. It is also bloody, very expensive.

Most of us will have to settle for other options, but this lens falls into that category where je sais quoi and specification will be unique to the photographer's needs. Professionals who need this lens will know they need it and why, and VFM will be in the well-heeled it earns. There may well may refer to also be some well-off amateurs who can become lucky owners of this very fine lens, but I suspect they when one pleases be few in number. In any event, it deserves to be Highly Recommended.

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11. Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS


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

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

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


The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Larks lens or LEN may refer to is an interesting lens that offers good specs and a very reasonable price ordinary usage, a price is the quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for one unit of goods or. It's capable of producing images with save that 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.

READ  Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VI vs Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 V vs Panasonic Lumix TZ200 vs Panasonic Lumix TZ100

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


The lens is sheerest 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 gaps. Of course, one of the unavoidable facts of optics is that at longer focal lengths those small apertures soon becomes very small to be realistic and very susceptible to diffraction effects. Bearing in mind though that high shutter speeds will likely be needed for wildlife and romps 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 apart from long telephoto zoom lens at an excellent price.

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


Pentax has a goodly collection of excellent zoom lenses and the 70-200mm is up amongst the best, a very fine lens with good “character” and bokeh and a superior level of sharpness that applies very evenly across the frame. This lens is, actually, ideal for taking advantage of the full district 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. 

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15. Tokina Cinema AT-X 50-135mm T/3


Those who are did 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 extent low distortion, falloff and high levels of sharpness.

Its parfocal design will also be appreciated and although focus breathing is much reduced correlated 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 objective 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 singles this lens is aimed at. If you’re one of those people, this optic may well be worthy of serious consideration.

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16. Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM S


Although the portrayal 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 yielded by the zoom and it still makes a compelling alternative to the camera manufacturer's own fast telephoto glass

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


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

This lens prices a similar amount to equivalents from other camera manufacturers and performs as well as you'd expect for a top of the range lens of this ilk. Sharpness is proper, it's weather and dust resistant, has good build quality and offers low falloff as well as distortion. CA levels are a little high at 450mm but not including from that, the lens is a winner. 

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18. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM


The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM may maintain 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 distinguished 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 formidable 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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19. Sigma AF 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM


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

The features cost is in lens belt along, so cameras with good high ISO performance are the order of the day. Other advantages are a more compact and lighter optic, still quite large but nowhere close 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 compact package.

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


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

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21. Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS


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

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As a statement of intent to provide a professional-class photographic system, this lens goes some way to providing another positively 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 hold already invested in Samsung camera equipment, it will provide a decent upgrade path towards professional-level equipment.

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


As you strength 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 presume from a high-end manufacturer's own lens.

Features like weather sealing, metal build, silent focusing and exotic optical coatings all add to the interest of this optic and there is enough there to keep almost anyone happy. The performance of this lens is good, but maybe not good ample to support the added cost when compared with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel other camera marques. 

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23. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM


With the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM, Sigma has initiated 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 OK performance and good value for money that will win this lens many fans.

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


Canon has assembled 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 uncommonly satisfactory sharp, vibrant images. It is also a pleasure to use.

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25. 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 extricates 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 silently a fair amount of cash to part with.

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26. 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 assayed 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 plan 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 really soundly designed optic that offers excellent results.

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


This Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm lens outbursts 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 pertinences then this is it. The close focusing that brings closer subjects into range is a bonus.

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

This is a quite well made lens with lovely bokeh and a high level of sharpness. Flare, CA and distortion are all but abolished and images look clean and curly. 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 submit matter. It is an excellent all-around choice for an ultra-telephoto for Fujifilm cameras.

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29. Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II


This is an great lens, that performs well, and is priced well enough to be considered good its most general context, the concept of good denotes that conduct which is to be or should be preferred when posed with a choice value for money too. The build quality is very good, although it is a cheap strange that it is not weather 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 fly and anti-reflective coatings, which are both welcome improvements when compared with the old version of this lens. 

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Uncountable Top Lists

If you want to see more of our lens recommendations, head over to our 'best lenses' top list section of the site where you'll suss out countdowns for macro lenses may refer to to wide-angle optics and everything in between. 


About the author

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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