I like a zoom lens because it is very convenient, so I enjoy it more than a fixed lens. There are Ultra-Wide, Standard and Telephoto Zoom Lenses. I use our telephoto zoom lens most when I go out shooting for fun.

Our telephoto Zoom lens, 75-300 mm, is old — you can only buy a used one today — and cheap. But it works pretty well.

A Subject is Far

When a subject is far away, you will naturally use a telephoto lens and want to zoom in, especially with birds.

These Mt. Rainier images are shot from a ferryboat.


A) ƒ/13.0 170 mm 1/320 250

The focal length of image A (above) is 170 mm; B (below) is zoomed in 300 mm. The longer the focal length, a subject becomes larger but it covers less area (narrow angle area).


B) ƒ/13.0 300 mm 1/250 250


A focal length is a distance between a lens and image censor (film). The illustration below shows the angle view of focal length.

focal length angle of view

angle view of focal length

The angles shaded in purple get smaller and smaller, as the focal length in mm gets larger and larger. This Nikon site may help more to understand.

Two subjects – near and far

Experimenting using different focal lengths, when shooting two subjects near and far is very interesting.

This silhouette image C is zoomed in (300 mm).  It’s nice because of the sky color and a seagull happened to be flying by.

Telephoto Zoom Lens 300

C) ƒ/7.1, 300 mm, 1/125, ISO-125

Telephoto zoom lens 75

D) ƒ/7.1, 75 mm, 1/125, ISO-200

But, image D (left) is more interesting to me —  to see the differences of size and distance of two subjects, and the gradation sky color.

My initial purpose for using a telephoto zoom lens was taking birds, but it is one of my main lenses now.

My hardest experience for using telephoto zoom lens was bar /bat mitzvah ceremonies, where we had to be stationed far back from bima (stage) or had to shoot from an upper balcony.  And we were not allowed to use flash. The lighting was usually bad, either dark or too bright and made images contrasty.


Keep these in your mind:

    • The longer the focal length, the more shaking; so images tends to be less sharp. Faster shutter speed helps. Turn image STABILIZER on when you are not using a tripod.


  •  The longer the focal length, the shallower depth of field. Even though two subjects are next to each other,  one may not sharp as the other. So watch your f-stop.